Step up and shake the hand
Of someone you can't stand
You can tolerate him if you try
--- Tom Lehrer, "National Brotherhood Week"
There's this guy, Dram, whom I occasionally meet at the Hangout. He's a local comedian and musician of no great critical acclaim. I like him okay, but whenever we meet there's this automatic, slightly hostile repartee between us, and he has made no secret of the fact that he doesn't appreciate my company at all. Which is fair enough, as I can be abrasive to a degree at the best of times, and for some reason he tends to bring out the itch in me to joust verbally. Everyone agrees, however, that we're very much alike and we both have personalities that tend to clash with others equally brash and cutting as we are. The difference is, I'm cognizant of it and willing to be plain and civil with Dram; he always turns it into a war of words. (Of course, there's always the possibility that our encounters are some sort of supremely arch meta-act to him, a comedian whose rather meta stage act consists in commenting how unfunny he is on stage --- in which case, I'm the thick one.)
Our exchanges usually end with me crossing some kind of line and him leaving. For example. A few meetings back, in repartee delicto, I said something or other ostensibly flattering but in so oily and obsequious a manner as to be rather insulting. He pounced on the flattering aspect and made an allusion to my apparent homosexuality. I replied, "I'm gay, all right." [Pause, eyelock.] "Gay for you!" He left.
Tonight, I saw Dram again. Once more, I was civil and kept to myself, but he started up the old badinage. Friar talked about an acquaintance of his whose dog had been hit by a car, and Dram suddenly turned quite vicious, saying he'd love to see me hit by a car and suffer before dying. (Honest, I hadn't said much up to this point.) I looked at him and said, "I dreamed yesterday I was having sex with your head." He blinked, and I clarified, "Not you. Just your head."
Friar added, "He was skullfucking you."
Everyone agreed that for someone whose chosen career involves dealing with heckling, Dram's not very good at dealing with heckling.