The pompous asshole vibration. Where does it come from? It is visual, auditory, olfactory? Can it be avoided before the abomination on your senses sends you reeling towards a monastery? After all, it only takes a few seconds for a pompous asshole to invade your psyche- and the scar is permanent- your own fault of course, for making a bad call- but there you are, dirtied, collaterally damaged- by an environ exuding the toxic vapors of baseless self importance.
I suppose driving on the wrong side of the road or selling girl scout cookies laced with goat shit are worse sins than pomp and the circumstance of its origin, but pomposity leaves in its wake an undetectable alteration in the DNA of its victim.
You enter the fray. A person looks familiar. You smile and ask, “You look familiar!” They seem off-put, offended. “No, you must recognize me from the newspapers.” Then you notice the ascot. Too late. You’re in the building now, swirling in a sea of name tags stuck to the lapels of Clark Kents vying for a phone booth. The room is a tomb, a crypt the size of two football fields, an echo-chamber of anxious merry-making- as the third-tier citified elbow their egos towards comparable ladder rungers.
Another smile at a woman jabbing at a piece of pork, cellphone to her ear. “Pretty noisy in here” I say. Her pencil-lined lip curls. “Well, there’s the door.” – Good advice, but the room is swinging now, the band plays on, the fat woman sings, all is well in Gotham City! I walk up to another couple, “You guys look so sophisticated, really, you look great.” – The woman holds up a glob of something. “Do you like my purse? It’s an owl.”
I spot a singular artist in the sea of suits. She buys me a drink. A lovely Lois Lane, she can still finesse the trenches, but she now sees the by-line: the swirling hype of a legitimate cause, the building of a dream, the slithering rise of the mediocre.