The 1999 Zagat Survey of My Friends.
BY ERIC MCHENRY
I got tired of trying to describe my friends to people who’d never met them, so I put together this guide. Nina and Tim Zagat had nothing to do with its production and do not know that I’m using the name.
Maggie Dietz: It is impossible to characterize Maggie without using the letter ‘x’. She is buxom. Her hair is flaxen. She’s a minx. Maggie has an exhaustive vocabulary and is very charixmatic, which used to intimidate me. I imagined her being 10 feet tall, and in my dreams she would beat me up. The Roman numeral for 10 is X.
Nicole Long: Nicole has a wonderful ambiance, and I mean that in the vaguest possible way. For someone who’s not especially clever, she’s quite effective at making people feel stupid. But it’s the good kind of stupid. She’s all right. And she has a car.
Heather O’Neill: She’s all right too, but she has no ass.
Kyle Leiker: He will try to make you eat Turkish food. The Turkish food will be reasonably priced, and the selection will be good. Kyle has been in college for nine years.
Gavin Bruce: Everything you say will remind Gavin of something he saw on TV once, which is fine if you don’t easily tire of Lancelot Link anecdotes. He recites the dialogue verbatim, and his vocal impersonations are uncanny, which distinguishes them from your and my vocal impersonations, which aren’t exactly canny but aren’t very good either. Check out Gavin.
Ben Lerner: His best years are behind him.
Ed Skoog: As his name suggests, a huge, huge man. Ed looks more like a building than anyone I’ve ever had dinner with. In high school, his nicknames were “Building” and “Skoog.” Ed is a fine writer, and along with, obviously, Floyd Skloot, has one of the two best contemporary writer’s names. He can seem inscrutable, but only because he’s nuts. He once bought a $100 station wagon just to ram shopping carts. I highly recommend Ed.
Jessica Piazza: She has no ties whatsoever to organized crime, and furthermore is the best friend anyone could ask for. For which anyone could ask. Yes.
Steve DuBois: Imagine a combination of Keith Olberman and Carl Bernstein. Steve isn’t really like that. He’s more like the progeny of that chubby-faced woman who’s in a lot of TV shows and some snide little red-headed guy. Steve is responsible for most of my good one-liners, but I don’t credit him very often because I would have come up with them on my own. He lives in Salina, Kansas, which means good parking. Steve is a good friend.
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