Public Apology: Dear Rory's Parents

public apologyDear Rory’s parents,

I’m sorry if I conjured up a very disturbing image for you at Jack’s birthday party.

It was about this time last year, I think, that we found ourselves talking by the bowl of ranch-dressing dip. Jack was turning four. I was there because my kid was in Jack’s preschool class. You’re friends with Jack’s parents, I believe. One of you works with one of them, maybe? Anyway, you have a son who was at the party, too. Rory.

Being that four-year-old birthday parties are geared for the entertainment of four-year-olds, they’re generally not so much fun for grownups. Even less so when the birthday boy is a classmate of your kid’s, as opposed to, say, the kid of one of your friends. I didn’t know any of the adults who were there very well. Still, even though I would have probably rather been sitting in the corner with headphones on, watching the episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars that was being projected on the wall, I made an effort to have a conversation.

“Rory’s a nice name,” I said. “It’s Scottish, right?”

You didn’t know. Neither one of you are Scottish, it turns out. You just liked the sound of it. You asked me if I was Scottish. I said no, but that I always thought of Rory as a Scottish name because I knew it mostly from a song by a Scottish band I like. I should have stopped talking right before I said that, but I didn’t. “The Vaselines,” I said, “Do you guys know them?” You didn’t. I didn’t expect you to. They’re kind of obscure. “They sing that song ‘Jesus Don’t Want Me for a Sunbeam’ that Nirvana played on the MTV Unplugged thing.” You did know that song, you said.

“What’s the song with ‘Rory’ in it,” one of you asked, perfectly friendly.

That was when I knew I should have stopped talking earlier.

“Oh,” I said, feeling the pores in the skin on the top of my head open up. “It’s actually, umm, in the title to the song.”

You waited.

I should have lied. How hard would it have been to make up a song-title with ‘Rory’ in it? “Rory Be Mine.” “Hey Hey, Rory.” “Rory Wants a New Pair of Shoes.” Whatever.

Instead, I gritted my teeth and in the most casual, least creepy voice I could manage, told the truth. “Rory Rides Me Raw,” I said.

I could tell from the looks on your faces that you hadn’t heard of that one.

We didn’t talk much more after that, though the party was a long one. They waited for the balloon-tying clown to show up before serving the cake. It felt like forever.



Previously: Dear Guy in the Spiked Leather Jacket

What is the deal with Dave Bry? God! Well, he is The Awl’s Associate Editor for Blunderparenting and Raekwon, for one thing.