My good friend Ara Topouzian is something else. He has many skills and talents from being CEO of the Troy Chamber of Commerce, to playing the kanun in some of the finest libraries in Southeastern Michigan, and a loving husband and father. The purpose of this blog is to highlight his unknown and unheralded passion: giving me grief and getting under my skin on social media. I should mention that returning the favor is also a passion of mine.
The first thing you have to know is that we, and a few other musicians that we lasso into our jests, are basically idiots. We really admire The Three Stooges and to a lesser degree Seinfeld and others. We live and treat each other as if life were a sitcom. We are always teasing and scheming to get under each other’s skin. This all used to happen on email and phone mostly because I was a late comer to Facebook. I was pretty good at baiting Ara. I knew what would get him going and subtly work them into the exchanges. I was kind of like Larry and Ara was like Moe. I was pretty good at it.
Recently, on Facebook, Ara has taken the game to another level and kind of turned the tables. Now when he responds, it all is peaches and cream. He is complimentary. If you didn’t know him, you might think he is just a nice fellow. For example, I just started using foursquare to inform the business doings of my day. Ara seized the opportunity to respond with: “Please continue to give the detail of your day in this forum. It is thrilling. Where are you now?”
I changed my profile picture. Ara commented, “This is a very nice picture Mark. Thank you.”
He is being facetious and it is getting to me.
Drat, he has stumbled upon my weakness. How did he do it? I simply do not know how to react to passive aggression or in this case, its close cousin, furtive sincerity.
I recently wrote a blog about the Racine Armenian community after we played a picnic there. Ara commented:
I share your thoughts Mark. Racine has always been a warm community and open to sharing their friendship and love. Also picnics are a fantastic tie to our history and also hold a special place in our minds and soul. We were once referred to as merely "picnic musicians", this is much more of a compliment than what was intended. This is our history and thus we should embrace and rejoice our traditional Armenian picnics with live music.
Is he being serious? Is he being facetious? Yes. Dang, he is really getting good at this. Maybe he was being sincere but with his new strategy, I cannot tell. This is a devious strategy and it is working!
It all started in July when I posted about picnic grape leaves. Here is the dialogue:
Ara Topouzian: Riveting dialogue Mr. Gavoor. I am grateful for the pictures, posing, and your prowess in picking leaves. Bless you.Mark Gavoor: riveting dialogue, mr gavoor, grateful, bless you??? Someone has hacked into Ara Topouzian’s facebook account!Mark Gavoor: Seriously maybe Ara Topouzian has been kidnapped. I will have to call the Troy Business Development Office.
I called Ara and questioned his new sappy sugary strategy. When I asked why he was doing it, he said, “I was just waiting for this exact phone call.” I fell right into his trap. Drat.
What will I do? I am going to have to re-tool my offense and my defense.
Hmmm… maybe I will begin by blogging about it and him. He does seem to enjoy the attention.