the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Icebreaker


I’m finally back in Redondo Beach after four days at the home of Ron, my writing partner.  We’re currently trying to woo a producer with a brilliant, never-seen-before story idea, and we wanted to email him an outline before Easter. 

Ron is an obsessed sports fan.   For the last two days, all he watched was NCAA basketball.   I need to talk to my therapist about being more assertive with the TV remote control.  I use to blame Sophia for hogging the TV because we always end up watching HER shows (how do you think I got hooked on All My Children?)  Now, I’m realized that it is MY fault, not Sophia’s.  I’m always letting the other person make the TV decisions.  When I’m with Sophia, I watch “The Bachelor.”   When I’m with Ron,  it’s the NCAA.   It is the exact same pattern.   Mark my words — one day soon, I’m going to grab the remote control first.  If I ever get married again, god help that woman.  She’s going to be watching BBC America and “The Simpsons” all night long.

Last night, Ron brought me to his friend’s home for… guess what?! — to watch a college basketball game.  The house was jammed with male alumni of Cal State Fullerton.  The “Titans” were playing in their first championship game in 30 years.  Everyone was wearing an orange Titan cap or a Cal State Fullerton t-shirt with the team mascot, which looked, at least to my eyes, like a weird caricature of Ganesha, the Hindu God of Success (or maybe it was just a really ugly elephant).

The living room was cramped.  I ended up sitting next to an athletic-looking guy whose name I don’t remember.  Let’s call him GUY. 

It was awkward sitting next to Guy.  He was yelling and screaming “Pass the ball,  F**ker!” a lot, and didn’t seem interested in much of what I had to say.  I definitely have been spoiled by my female readers.  I relate to you.  I feel that you care about every word I write.  I may be wrong, but I’m pretty confident that I wow you with every post – even a dumb post about eating a Pop Tart for breakfast — and a good 72% of you will still be imagining what it would be like to take me on your kitchen table like a tigress in heat while your kids are at school.   We click that way. 

Women are easy for me.  It is talking with men that requires the work.

First Quarter of Cal State Fullerton Game

Neil:  “How many of these players make it to the pros?”

Guy:  “Very few.  Maybe 1%.”

Neil:  “It seems as if these schools are using these players.  The schools make a lot of money with these games and the kids make nothing.  And since so few are going to make it in the pros, shouldn’t the schools be pushing them to spend more time trying to get into law school?”

Guy:  “What do you care?  Are you their mother?”

Second Quarter of Cal State Fullerton Game

Neil:  “Recently, I read that female professional cheerleaders make fifty bucks a game.  Did you know that?”

Guy:  “Yeah.”

Neil:  “I couldn’t believe it when I read that.  The players make six million dollars and the cheerleads make fifty bucks.  Even the Dallas Cheerleaders.  I wish I was a union organizer for the cheerleaders of the world.  The guy selling beer in the stands makes more money.”

Guy:  “Maybe they like cheerleading for the team.”

Neil:  “Nah, would YOU want to wear a skimpy outfit and bounce around for NOTHING?”

Guy:  “Huh?  That’s weird.  What are you talking about?”

Third Quarter of Cal State Fullerton Game

Neil:  “You want any of these “Sun Chips?”

Guy:  “Ha Ha, Sun Chips are gay.”

Neil:  “I’m not crazy about them either, but gay?”

Guy:  “You know.”

Neil:  “Yeah, I’m not being politically correct or anything.  I sometimes say something is “gay” too, even though I try not to, but I usually say it for something that is considered feminine, like the ballet.  I can understand someone saying, “Going to the ballet is gay,” but really — “Sun Chips are gay” just doesn’t make any sense.

Guy:  “OK, forget it.  Sun Chips are not gay.”

Neil:  “And frankly, some of those gay ballet dancers are pretty strong.  They could probably kick our asses.”

Guy:  “I doubt it.” 

Neil:  “Do you want any potato chips?  They’re straight.”

Fourth Quarter of Cal State Fullerton Game

Ron pulls a chair next to the couch.

Ron:  “Hey, Guy, have you met Neil?  He’s my writing partner.”

Guy:  “Oh yeah?  I heard about you.  You’re the one who writes the blog, right?”

Neil:  “Well, yeah…sometimes…”

Ron:  “You should see how many women come to read his blog.  There’s hundreds!”

Guy:  “Cool.  Have any of them ever shown you photos… of their tits?”

Neil:  “Well… uh, actually, uh… yes.”

Guy:  “Really?”

For the first time of the evening, he actually looks my way, as if I now exist. 

Guy:  “I’m gonna get a beer.  You want a beer, Neil?”

Neil:  “Sure.”

The perfect icebreaker!  My new friend, Guy.  Thank you, Blogosphere!  I can’t wait for BlogHer.

Unfortunately, Cal State Fullerton and their Ganesha mascot lost the game.  (so much for the Hindu God of Success)


  1. claire

    Just remember not to get too assertive about the remote if you’re a house guest. 😉

    I saw more than enough football games to last a lifetime when I first moved to LA and was staying with some guy friends.

  2. Yvonne

    Awh sounds like you and Guy might be on the road to a beautiful relationship…

    But seriously, hang in there Neil. We’re all rooting for you and Sophia.

  3. HeyJoe

    That’s hilarious. I dread situations where I might have to discuss sports with other guys. Not that I don’t LIKE sports, I just don’t know enough about the current state of sports to discuss it intelligently.

    I’m so gay.

  4. Chag

    I’ve always wondered about the sexual orientations of my snack foods.

  5. Finn

    I love BBC American and “The Simpsons.” And Sun Chips. Which are totally not gay. Cheetos are gay.

  6. gorillabuns

    Oddly enough, my husband and I pretty much agree on T.V. shows. Maybe this has something to do with my inability to digest “chick flicks.”

  7. Baroness von Bloggenschtern

    I admire your tenacity, yet am puzzled your reluctance to give up the oh-so-stimulating meeting of the minds with Guy.

    Guy being a guy – typical. Neil trying to carry on a conversation during a televised sporting event in a room full of costumed neanderthals – masochistic.

  8. Annika

    There are 350 unread items in Google Reader right now. I’m glad I clicked on this one first. Now when I mark all read it will be so I don’t laugh any more, which I think might kill me. (Uh, that didn’t make sense. Here is what I was trying to say, in a boring but clear rephrase: You funny. Too funny. Stop that.)

  9. kanani

    I think next time you should just accept invitations where you’ll be watching The Discovery Channel or PBS. You and sports and sports are a painful match. Consider yourself lucky they didn’t tack you up onto the wall with duct tape.

  10. Nat

    “Do you want any potato chips? They’re straight.”

    Killer! I am going to incorporate it into my spoken language.

  11. Brandon

    You should come watch the tournament with me. I’m a big sports fan, but I’m one of the few intelligent ones that can actually function during a game.

  12. Penelope

    Have you thought about having “Women show me their tits” put onto a t-shirt? It could save time in future ;o)

  13. better safe than sorry

    i could watch family guy all night, but the simpsons, i don’t think so. have you ever watched the tudors? my sil told me about it, i thought it was going to be a real estate show, as in a type of house, it’s not, but i bet it’s on bbc america.

  14. TRO

    Hooters – the great uniters.

    Don’t feel alone, Neil, I always hang with the ladies at any party or outing. Lawnmowers and sports bore me after a bit, but seducing other guy’s wives/girlfriends while they are talking those things in the other room never does.

  15. buzzgirl

    “Guy” sounds like a complete douchebag. In my humble opinion.

  16. brettdl

    I have a friend Neil, who had a similar experience at a Super Bowl. Boston College literary degree meets caveman discussing the finer points of farting.

  17. Stacey

    Funny, I always relate better to men than to women.

    So what are the odds that Guy is creating his own blog right now?

  18. Joe C

    Ganesha’s alias for Fullerton is “Tuffy the Titan” — my best friend went to CSU Fullerton for a while and he used to draw him (and many other things).

    Great story as usual Neil!

  19. savia

    So glad I could do my part.

  20. bookfraud

    as a reformed sports fan, i appreciate your pain, neil. tits are always a great way to break the ice when dealing with these types.

    why are sun chips “gay”? and does something being “gay” make it bad? if we called something “black” or “asian” or “jewish,” would that make it bad? of course, we would never say that, because that would be racist. but it’s ok to call something gay.

  21. chantel

    You might risk you life trying to assert yourself during NCAA tourney. I recommend something easier like during antiques roadshow or something.


  22. ...deb

    Loved watching this in my head. I’ll be chortling all weekend, sorting chips and other snack foods.

  23. Neil

    Bookfraud — Absolutely right about calling something “gay.” I’m not going to use that term anymore, unless it is about ABBA, which is “gay” in a positive way. In fact, from now on, I only use the term “gay” to describe something really cool, like the Village People or avocados.

  24. Postmodern Sass

    Sorry, Neil, Sun Chips are, indeed, totally gay. Now, Kettle Chips? Those are chips for men. I know, because I eat ’em, and I’m a guy-girl. Just check out the non-girly flavours.

  25. Jody

    Neil, I’m back! Sun chips aren’t gay – but wavy lays are (a total rip off on Ruffles).

  26. bookfraud

    yes! use “gay” to mean cool things. i think of stereotypical “gay” things — musicals, nice clothes and grooming, etc. — and i wonder why those are bad at all.

  27. brettdl

    We actually had to ban our programmers from calling everything “gay” or “ghetto.” It drove us NUTS.

  28. Diane Mandy

    Ha! This post cracks me up because I have the opposite problem. During March madness, I am the woman sitting alone watching the game with the guys, while the women folk congregate in the kitchen.

  29. Bri

    Basketball, ugh. I feel for you. I don’t think I’ve commented yet, but I’ve been reading for a while now, hope to see you at BlogHer!

  30. Bec

    BBC America. It just sounds so much more exciting that BBC One/Two/Three/Four and the promos are sooooo much better than the ones they show here. With the exception of the Season 4 Doctor Who promo which is so good it makes me giggle with glee.

  31. Nina

    Just popping in to say 1) I love college basketball 2) I love Sun Chips and 3) I love you.

  32. SwanShadow

    I’ll tell you what’s gay: Rooting for Cal State Disneyland.

  33. Karl

    Ugh, sports. Blecch. I’d just sit there, wondering when they were going to kick for a field goal.

  34. Jennifer

    Break free; find wireless somewhere! I just started reading your blog and now you’ve gone all detached…sigh.

  35. Jack

    You grabbed an old photo, not that it matters. But the UCLA game yesterday was great!

  36. turnbaby

    The power of the boobage is very compelling 😉

  37. jon deal

    Someone should write an academic paper on “Gender Orientation of Common Snack Foods as a Cultural Indicator.”

  38. Heather B.

    So I’m assuming that since I have been completely obsessed with my brackets and how incredibly effed up it is, that means that you and I are kaput as friends? That is so very sad. Seriously though once you watch it you get into it. Really. Try!

  39. Neil

    Heather — I don’t even know what you mean by your “brackets.” Do you WANT me to be interested in them?

  40. sizzle

    “Potato chips are straight”- you crack me up. 🙂

  41. Arjewtino

    I “starred” this entry on my Google Reader, it was THAT good.

  42. TRO

    Sun Chips just got gayer . . .

  43. Nichelle

    hate to be picky about facts but college basketball is broken up into two halfs, not four quarters like pro basketball.

  44. Jenny, Bloggess

    Those chips are totally bi.

    Also, I have the strongest urge to send you a picture of my tits.

  45. Neil

    Jenny — neilochka at yahoo dot com.

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