When Daphne Mulder invited a group of people over to see her new house, she expected to receive housewarming presents, compliments on her taste in abodes, and a few renovation tips. What she got was a competition.
Peter Dawson – her friend from college, and Brandon Muir – her friend from work, were going head to head in the “I’m Way Cooler Than You Could Ever Hope To Be” game.
“There are no words to describe how I felt watching Bob Dylan perform in person,” Peter said to a captivated audience. “All the time I kept thinking, ‘Wow, I’m only a few hundred feet from one of the greatest songwriters ever. I am so glad I got a chance to see him before it was too late.”
“I saw Fountains of Wayne once,” Brandon said after listening to Peter go on longer than necessary about the greatness of Bob Dylan.
“Fountains of who?” Daphne asked her guest.
“Fountains of Wayne. You know, they sang Stacy’s Mom. It was nominated for a Grammy…in 2003 if my memory serves me correctly.”
“That’s nice,” Peter said while rolling his eyes.
“It was more than nice. It was awesome! I’ve seen Katrina and the Waves, too; and Paula Cole, Gotye, Lisa Loeb, and Len. I have a thing for one hit wonders.”
“Anyway,” Peter then said. “that Bob Dylan concert showed me that there’s a whole world out there worth exploring. So do you know what I did next? I backpacked around Europe for three months.”
“Have you ever been to the Corn Palace in South Dakota?” Brandon interjected before Peter had a chance to tell everyone every little detail about every postcard worthy moment he experienced. “When you think about all the things made or fueled by corn, it really does deserve a palace of its own. The good people of South Dakota did it up right, I must say.”
The other guests at the party gave Brandon a long quizzical look, unsure of the point he was trying to make. Peter broke the uncomfortable silence by regaling everyone with stories about swimming with sharks, the joy of now being able to afford a luxury vehicle, and how he was the one who created the man cave craze. Brandon countered with a tale about having a gallbladder attack after eating too many peanuts, one about finally figuring out how to save money (don’t buy things you don’t need), and a third one about a dream he had where he and Cindy Crawford were parents to a kid whose face looked like a rhino’s.
“You’re an odd man Brandon Muir,” Peter said.
“No, you’re the odd one Peter Dawson,” Brandon argued.
“How so?” Peter wanted to know.
“For thinking that all the stuff you’ve done is somehow special. Millions of people have accomplished the very same things you’ve bragged about, but there aren’t too many who will go out of their way to see the likes of Fountains of Wayne or to worship a common vegetable. Sometimes, the key to happiness is celebrating the ordinary.”
“Do you know what I find makes me happy?” Daphne asked her two guests.
“What?” they said in unison.
“Gift certificates to a hardware store. You two did bring me a housewarming present, right?”
“Thanks for a great night Daphne!” Peter quickly said while grabbing his coat.
“Yeah, thanks for inviting me,” Brandon said while following Peter out the door.
“Someday, this will make a great story at someone else’s party,” Daphne said before shutting the door of her new house. “But I won’t share it until after my host has received her present.”