Barry Smith: Irrelativity |

Barry Smith: Irrelativity

Jordan Curet The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

If I’m to believe these “most influential people of 2012” lists, then my past year was entirely shaped by the comings, goings and carryings-on of politicians, entertainers, athletes and scandal-makers. Well, my year surely seemed different from all that. So I’ve made my own list.

Most Influential People of 2012 – Personal Edition

• The woman who sent me a free thing. I called Apple customer service to change my order. See, I’m getting a new iMac (!!!) and decided that I wanted the trackpad rather than the mouse. The woman at Apple said that my order was too far along to make this change, and my only option would be to cancel the whole thing, reorder and move to the back of the line. The horror! “But,” she added, “how about if I just send you the Magic Trackpad for free? Would you like that?” It was an act of gizmo kindness that really touched me deeply. They say it’s the little things that make life worthwhile. And I agree. But more specifically, it’s the little electronic things.

• The guy in the audience last summer. He sat front and center and proceeded to ignore me, refusing to make eye contact or look at the screen where my hilariously complementary images were projected. And even though I know better, I was not able to NOT take this personally. Why don’t you like me? How could I be so terrible that you’d pay money to see my show and then intentionally not watch it? Waaahhhh! But when I saw him quickly slip his pinky deep into his nose and then expertly transfer the booty into his mouth, well – my need for his approval vanished in an instant. His midshow snack break allowed me to be free, free, free. And now, whenever I find myself in front of an audience, rather than picturing them in their underwear, which rarely worked, I imagine them all doing what this guy did. Goodbye, stage fright.

• The guy who flashed his lights at me as I was roaring around the corner going at least 20 mph over the speed limit. Thanks, man. I wonder: How long was it after the invention of the automobile that someone flashed their lights at an oncoming car to warn them that the cops were lurking ahead?

• The girl at Starbucks who sold me a decaf latte. Not only did she refrain from emasculating comments about me drinking decaf, but as she was counting out my change, she held one of the bills up to show it to me. “This doesn’t look right, does it?” she said, passing it over for inspection. It was a 1957 Silver Certificate $1 bill. Cool! I assured her that it was just fine, and I carefully put it in my wallet, brought it home and taped it to the wall over my desk, where it still hangs. This piece of paper has been floating around the world almost 10 years longer than I have! I remember my mother had one of these Silver Certificate dollars in her jewelry box, as if it were a precious gem. That was 35 years ago. Now I have one of my own. Thank God Starbucks lattes are so expensive; otherwise I would have just paid with pocket change.

• That one dude who sold me that gift card. Yeah, it was a shady deal – I knew it right away. This weird dude and his even weirder friend came up to me while I was in the checkout line at Home Depot, and he offered to give me a $300 gift card for 100 bucks. Said they needed cash to buy gas to get home. Yeah, OK. I handed the card to the cashier, and she verified that it was good for $300. So I handed the guy a Benjamin, making sure I referred to it out loud as a “Benjamin,” just so he knew who he was dealing with. As he walked away, very happy, I had the good feeling of not only helping out a fellow human in need of some gas money but also supporting the local meth economy. I had mixed emotions about the whole transaction, and mixed emotions are always part of a good year. It means you’re evolving spiritually.

• You. Well, probably not you personally. I guess it kinda depends on who you are. It’s just always a good idea to end these types of lists with “you.” So, yeah – you. Thanks for a great year.

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