By Dom Cioffi
During the recess after my freshman year of college, several of my friends and I decided to head to Cape Cod to work for the summer. The idea was to rent a beach house for three months, get mundane jobs that catered to the tourist crowd and party as much as possible.
Luckily, one of my friends had an uncle who owned a few rentals just outside of Hyannis, which made the whole operation a little easier to navigate (remember, we were college kids in the 1980s; we were stupid and poor).
The conditions of the rental were suspect at best with inferior beds, a shoddy kitchen, and a bathroom that could barely fit one person. But ultimately, we were happy to be near the ocean and have a roof over our heads.
The first week was spent searching for employment, and out of six guys, five found immediate work as landscapers. I was the lone holdout.
For some reason the idea of digging holes and spreading mulch all summer didn’t appeal to me. And so I approached several other establishments that I believed could offer me a more suitable way to make money.
I ended up landing a position at a local health club that specialized in tennis. Basically I vacuumed courts, cleaned locker rooms and catered to the needs of wealthy locals. The work was dull and uneventful, but the owner appreciated that I was an eager college kid who did things his way.
Not surprisingly, much of my free time was spent trying to meet girls. And while there were loads of beautiful women running around the health club, I quickly realized that none of them was interested in me, the part-time janitor.
However, over time I did strike up several fun acquaintances once the ladies of the club grew accustomed to my attentiveness and non-threatening presence.
What I learned from these women is not far removed from what you might glean from watching an episode of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” that most of them were suffering from extreme self-absorption and entitlement issues.
They reveled in their lofty social positions and were extremely catty to anyone they felt didn’t meet or exceed their standards. Clothing seemed to be their biggest concern as was the location of their summer home and the jobs their husbands held.
Still given my age and ambitions in life, I enjoyed being around them, if only for the eye candy aspect.
My most memorable experience with this crowd occurred one afternoon after a group of them had finished playing doubles. One of the women had left her racquet cover on the court so, being the good guy that I was, I brought it over to the lounge where the ladies were enjoying a post-match beverage.
Once delivered, the girls started light heartedly bantering with me. I obliged their questions, but after a few minutes I started to feel a condescending tone taking hold. It wasn’t overtly obvious, but just enough to tweak my insecurities.
I’m not sure how the subject turned to airplanes, but it was somehow suggested that I had never seen the first class section of a plane except for passing through on my way to coach.
And that’s what initiated the first lie.
I proceeded to tell this group of women that I had not only sat in first class, but I had sat in first class next to the musician Sting.
They were shocked at this announcement and suddenly very interested in what I had to say (remember, it was the 80s and Sting was HUGE).
All four were enamored with the musician, partly for his voice and good looks, but mostly, I believe, for his apparent mastery of Tantric sex.
I went on to tell them how Sting and I had a nice conversation about music and religion. I greased the story by mentioning how Sting insisted that I have a drink with him and that I got the feeling he was lonely.
I met every one of their probing questions with another lie and before I knew it, I had concocted an epic web of deceit.
Finally, sensing that I had run the ruse to the end, I kindly excused myself from the conversation, claiming I had to get back to work.
But I left them with one final mistruth: before walking away, I mentioned that Sting had chronic halitosis and that it was so bad that I had pretend to fall asleep just to avoid more conversation.
The look on their faces was priceless.
So, however wrong it was to lie, sticking that little nugget in their elitist heads was ever so satisfying.
This week’s feature, “Danny Collins,” is about a fictional singer on the same level as Sting who has his own set of chronic problems – the least of which is bad breath.
Starring Al Pacino as an aging rock star, “Danny Collins” delves into the struggles of a man who has never known limits, but who is suddenly confronted with a strange gift that forces him into a pattern of redemption.
Check this one out if you’re in the mood for a solid character-driven drama that tugs at the heartstrings. The story was definitely driven by Pacino, but the supporting cast did a great job of backing him up.
A famously rich “B” for “Danny Collins.”
Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at [email protected]