The Miami Marlins suspended manager Ozzie Guillen five games for making… (Reuters )
"What did you say?"
As soon as I heard the question, I knew there would be trouble.
The Vin Diesel-bodied dude turned around and looked at my friend and me, even though only one of us had been talking. Clearly bigger than either of us, he stood up on the bus and repeated the question. I knew my answer was critical to my safety and that there was no Bud Selig-type to discipline this guy.
Fast-forwarding this tale for the sake of column space, my gift of gab narrowly saved our asses from getting an old-fashioned beatdown. Due to my friend's birth defect (he's incapable of whispering), the guy had heard the roast session about him that was meant only for my ears. While he's never played pro baseball or managed a big-league team, clearly my friend is an Ozzie Guillen.
As a hard-core Sox fan, I'm more than familiar with the Guillen-tine. But we all have buddies or girlfriends who, like the former White Sox player and manager and current Miami Marlins skipper, let their mouths get them in lots of trouble. Guillen, you'll remember, returned this week from a five-game suspension for his unwelcome words about Fidel Castro.
Whether it's ill-advised tweets, Facebook faux pas or real life comments that go awry, they never seem to learn, right? Besides wearing an "I'm not with this guy" T-shirt with an arrow pointed in his direction, there's not much you can do to separate yourself from a friend during those awkward times.
However, over the years I've learned a few ways to just deal when that one buddy starts to toethe line. Ever since the bus incident, I now follow up my friend's obnoxious comments by shouting out, "And scene!" as if we were practicing a monologue, so as to fool the would-be offended into thinking we're just running lines. Yeah, it's a little eccentric, but it beats getting stole on.
I also have unwittingly been thrust into personal PR, becoming a master of the disclaimer and the press-your-luck release. Remembering and reciting a prepared statement—usually telling people they're on an extremely low-budget version of "Punk'd"—to those within earshot when I sense tempers starting to flare has done wonders.
Having a loudmouth for a friend isn't the worst thing in the world, though. They can be used effectively to get cabs, better tables at restaurants or the bartender's attention.
They also can make us look extremely well-behaved in their presence and take attention away from us if needed. Bad hair day? Make sure you call your girlfriend and invite her along to wherever you're headed. Think anybody will notice your 'do when your lovable jackass of a friend is in rare form? Probably not.
Let's face it: Our loudmouth friends probably are not going to change anytime soon. Whether it's dealing with a gossipy girlfriend or your diarrhea-of-the-mouth main man, knowing how to curtail your friends who have no filters is key.
While no one wants to baby-sit adults, being aware of your surroundings as well as your crew's tendencies can save you from a night that ends with the words, "Everything was fine until he said ... "
Oh, and a two-drink maximum may help as well.
ANTHONY ROBERTS IS A REDEYE SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR.