ROCKVILLE, MD—Local resident Alan Bower's particular brand of sardonic, no-holds-barred commentary about everything around him has firmly established the 31-year-old policy writer as an absolutely terrible person who is always ready to crack a joke, sources reported Monday.
According to friends of the modern-day Oscar Wilde, Bower has a singular knack for sucking every last bit of genuine enjoyment out of any situation with his hilarious, nonstop incisiveness.
"Alan is a really funny guy," said civil engineer David Finestra, 30, whose slightly eccentric clothing choices are a favorite target of Bower's biting analysis. "His sense of humor takes some getting used to, but nothing gets past him. Who knew someone could go off on a Kmart billboard for 25 minutes? But that's just Alan for you."
"Man, and if you're already having a bad day, and then you spill the tiniest bit of beer on your shirt, you'd better look out!" Finestra continued. "That's good for at least four or five scathing comments from Alan. The guy never stops. Ever."
Though Bower's lightning-quick, whip-smart criticism occurs without pause, brother-in-law Peter Ulster, 34, said the deft ironist still manages to surprise those who know him by expertly dismantling their enthusiasm from an inexhaustible variety of angles.
"With Alan, you never see it coming," Ulster said. "You'll be discussing something you really enjoy—like, say, surfing or whatever—and you think he's engaged and agreeing with you, and then bam! He pulls the rug right out from under you with a spot-on remark about how it's a pretty feeble attempt to recapture one's long-past youth. He'll get you every time with that one."
Other acquaintances indicated that shooting blistering one-liners at any person he comes in contact with is just one of the ways in which Bower can always be counted on to ruin a good time. Longtime friend Stephen Rosenthal said that dogs, infants, films, and even inanimate objects are never safe from Bower's hilarious assessments.
"Trust me, nothing's sacred to Alan," Rosenthal said. "I remember one time he came to my 6-year-old son's T-ball game, and he gave it the same type of relentless send-up that he would give to a bad movie or a Vespa scooter. There's just no holding him back."
Added Rosenthal, "He's really, really funny."
But it's at parties, sources confirmed, that the awful man's complete eradication of even the tiniest bit of non-ironic joy is most apparent. At any social gathering, Bower is able to draw total attention to himself and his clever, razor-sharp barbs, which always have everyone laughing and walking on eggshells.
"You really have to watch what you say around Alan," coworker Sarah Orbe said. "He's just so quick and hilarious, and he's always, always 'on.' I'm really glad he heard about my birthday party this weekend through a mutual friend. I'm sure he'll really liven things up like only he can."
Though Bower's reputation for amusingly tearing apart everyone and everything in his path is well known, his own passions remain a mystery. When pressed, no one who is acquainted with the scintillating killjoy could attribute anything even remotely resembling an authentic personality to him.
"Now that you mention it, I don't think I've ever heard him say that he liked or enjoyed something," said market research associate Kyle Sullivan, a former roommate of Bower. "Other than that he makes some pretty trenchant points about how annoying and pointless market research is, I guess I actually don't know a whole lot about him."
"Oh, but I did hear that he's getting divorced again," Sullivan added.