Roast or Toast
Posted On March 10, 2023
My wife invited some friends to a birthday gathering and gave them two options…
My birthday was last week. Right now, my wife is inviting friends to dinner and asking them to come and either roast me or toast me and if I were this invitation, I know what I’d do.
I’m not sure if it’s me and my friends or just males or just certain types of males, but I’d roast me. My friends and I constantly work hard to roast each other whenever we can. It’s savage exchange whenever we’re together.
For example: When I walk into my gym the head trainer starts trash-talking me as soon as he sees me. He leaves no stone unturned in his evisceration of me. And I smile and laugh at his creativity and usually come back with something like “I didn’t think it was possible for someone to gain that much weight since yesterday. You’re like a plump, wet snowball rolling down a hill. I wouldn’t tell anyone you own this gym looking like you do – it’s not good for business.” However, he and I have shared some of the most thought-provoking conversations I’ve had in recent times.
Another one – Several weeks ago I nearly stopped writing these commentaries and I shared my reasoning with a friend. “Cam,” he said, “all of your commentaries are bad and some of them are actually worse than bad.” He then handed me his phone to show where he’d downloaded every one of them and had book-marked some to listen to again and again and others he shares with friends who he felt would enjoy them and others still he shares with people who he feels needs to hear them. It was a generous gesture on the heels of a sharp poke at me. In return, I won’t let him forget the nearly spectacular meal he cooked back in December. He, however, admitted that the meat was a bit undercooked. And now, that’s all I talk about with him now – his undercooked meal which was almost good but was not.
The model of these roasts is, upon greeting – especially when there is a small crowd – loudly roast and eviscerate. We tell each other how badly each other looks with a beard. After they shave, we tell them we preferred the beard since it hid their face. We discuss each other’s incompetence in their job. It goes on and on. The only thing off the table are wives and children – we don’t include them. Do we discuss our wives’ and children’s disappointment in each other as husbands, fathers, role models, partners? Of course. That is a layup. That’s table stakes. Quietly and interpersonally, though, out of earshot of the group, we dial down the roasting and offer compliments and appreciation though sparingly.
It’s strange how weird yet comfortable this all is. It’s strange and weird how much I look forward to a brutal assessment of me whenever I step into a place where friends are gathered.
So, to my friends who will join me for my roast or toast party, bring your best. I’m not worried. I know each of you well and know none of you are smart enough to bring anything that could sting.
I’m Cam Marston and I will probably regret saying that.