the tuna fish story
Once, I stole a window decal form a movie theater for the film I Heart Huckabees. It died with my car when they both went to the big trash heap in the sky (RIP Jameson Lyndale 1993-2006), and I’ve been sad about it ever since because of how much I enjoyed said film. Also, the decal was really pretty and rainbowy.
The point is – I really enjoy I Heart Huckabees.
If you haven’t seen the film, you should, but I’m not going to explain it to you now. I’m only going to say the part that matters: Jude Law plays this super cocky guy who works at a store called Huckabees. He has this story that he tells about Shania Twain.
Here’s the story: “Shania hates mayo all right, and she can’t eat chicken salad, thats no joke. We gave it to her once, she threw up in the limo – the lady hates chicken salad. So I bring out a bunch of tuna fish sandwiches – she still doesn’t believe me – I say, Shania, I’m allergic to mayo – which, by the way, is a lie. Shania still doesn’t believe me so I eat two of the sandwiches in front of her to prove it. So she eats one and a half sandwiches, one and a half sandwiches… before she realizes, its chicken salad.”
Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin are following Jude Law around, and they recorded him telling the story. They play it back for him, and it turns he tells this story constantly – pretty much every time he meets new people. It’s his story to make himself seem cool and smart and important, and it’s his fallback instead of actually being any of those things.
Me and my roommate Eric refer to this as a “tuna fish” story. It’s technically more of a “chicken salad” story, but that’s not the point. Whenever we hear someone tell a story repeatedly in a grandiose way, we go, “Oh, that’s a tuna fish story.”
I have a few of them myself. Most of them involve a few ridiculous incidents that happened to Eric a few years back. I’ve analyzed it, and I think I tell them because they’re hilarious, it establishes Eric and I as a duo with a shared history, and it makes me seem like the cool one. But mostly, because the stuff that happens to Eric is the most ridiculous and bizarre stuff that ever happens.
The point is – everyone probably has “tuna fish” stories. I don’t think they’re necessarily bad things. Comedians entire sets are pretty much just “tuna fish” stories. So I’m not knocking the idea of one in general.
I am about to knock one particular “tuna fish” story.
As you may ore may not know, Mark Hoppus has a new show on Fuse. (New episodes Thursday 7/6 Central – so you can catch the premiere of Community right after on NBC). On his first episode, he had on his friend John Mayer.
My thoughts on John Mayer prior to the interview: His music was a hit or miss with me and I never really got into it. I vacillated between annoyed by him as a person and really enjoying his overt honesty and bluntness. But at the time of the interview, I liked him.
So, Mark asks, “When you meet people, do you still introduce yourself? Do you still say, ‘Hi, I’m John?”
And I’ve been looking for a clip so you could see his response or I could write it word for word, but the youtube is hating on me. So what I’m saying might not be exactly correct. Don’t quote me on it.
But John says something to the extent of, “It’s funny that you say that. The other night I was out with Jay-Z, and he met my friend Keith, and Jay says, ‘Hi, I’m Jay,’ then he stops and turns to me says, ‘Wait. Do I need to introduce myself? Do people know who I am?'”
And Mark laughs and says something like, “Right. You still say it be polite.” (Mark also made a joke about everyone knowing him or something, but I don’t remember what he said exactly. I laughed, though).
And John says, “Right, to be polite, you still say it, and that’s what I said to Jay.” John laughed, and then reiterated the story he’d just told. “Jay was like, ‘Do I need to tell him I’m Jay? Or do people already know who I am?’ I mean, he’s Jay-Z.”
I wish you could’ve seen it visually, to see the way John Mayer’s body language was, like he leaned into Mark to emphasize the importance of what he was saying. There was also something incredibly rehearsed about it, as if John had told the story a thousand times before.
In fact, I think Mark accidentally cut him off when he laughed, and that’s why John Mayer had to repeat the story, because he had to say everything about it. Get it all out.
The story itself isn’t that terrible. It actually is something that could be anecdotal and fun about Jay-Z. An amusing talk show story, which is what it was meant to be. But the way John Mayer said it, I’ve never heard anybody sound more pompous or pretentious.
I don’t know how to explain it. It was like John Mayer was yelling, “Do you get it? I’m so famous I don’t have to introduce myself, and I’m friends with Jay-Z, who’s like the most famous person on the planet, but he still asked me for advice, because I’m so smart and so fucking amazing. Also, I’m on a digital cleanse, because tweeting about Halo has become too emotionally draining and I need to stop letting people in my life because everybody wants to be in my life. And I’ll only date a girl that listens to my music, because if she’s not obsessed with every part of me, then what’s the point? Also, I wrote ‘Your Body is a Wonderland’ about myself, because have you seen this package? Haha, but yes, I’m polite.
Okay, so the last thing about “Your Body is a Wonderland,” he didn’t really say, but I’m actually paraphrasing everything he said during the interview.
I guess in fairness, I’m not sure if that was a true “tuna fish” story. It might just be the way John Mayer always talks, but he wasn’t that bad the rest of the show. He did seem condescending, though.
I don’t have a real point with this. Just make sure your own “tuna fish” story isn’t condescending, and I want to punch John Mayer in the face.