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That Guy in the Coffee Shop

That Guy in the Coffee Shop

    Yesterday I was Kansas City for business. I had a few hours between meetings and stopped into a local coffee shop. By the time I was ready to leave, the only people left were the barista and one other customer. I made some witty banter with the barista while tossing away my garbage, which prompted her to ask where I’m from. I replied that I live in California, and this led to the customer across the room chiming in to ask which city. It turns out he has a friend who lives near me.

    The customer was a big, blusterous, hairless guy, about 35-years old. It helps my story if you have a mental picture of a friendly blowhard who probably played high school football.

    I cheekily asked what his friend’s name is. It was a long shot, but I figured it would be funny if I actually knew him. The rest of the conversation went like this, spoken loudly across the room of the otherwise empty coffee shop.

    Guy: “You don’t know him.”

    Me: “How can you be sure I don’t know him?”

    Guy: “I can tell by looking at you.”

    Me: “How can you possibly tell by looking at me?”

    Guy: “I can tell by the way you’re dressed. My friend’s a high roller.”

    For my non-American readers, a “high roller” is a rich guy. I was wearing jeans and a nice sweater.

    Me: “I could be a high roller. You never know.”

    Guy: “No. If you knew my friend you’d be wearing an expensive suit. He only hangs around with other high rollers.”

    Me: “Still, I could be a high roller. You never know.

    Guy: "No…”

    As he continued loudly explaining his hypothesis that people who look like me could never know people who look like his high roller friend, I sketched Dogbert on a napkin. I signed it, wrote my name more legibly below my signature, folded it neatly and handed it to him on the way out.

    Me: “Tell your friend I said hi.”

    I didn’t pause to check his reaction, because it seemed funnier to not look back, so I don’t know if he’s familiar with Dogbert. But the odds are fairly good that his businessman friend has seen it somewhere. That should be an interesting conversation unless he tossed the napkin before he left the coffee shop.

    Yeah, I know I was being sort of a dick. But how was I supposed to resist in that situation? I don’t have that kind of self-control.


    Scott Adams

    Co-founder of CalendarTree

    Writer of a book

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