All my life people have been walking up to me handing me vegetables. Some lettuce here, a tomato there. It’s random and annoying. I just take these idiots’ onions and stupid cucumbers and throw them over my shoulder with disgust, throw them away, and continue on my lonely impossible search for a salad.
I’m at home with a sick Parker (age 4). We’re watching videos about flights to the moon.
I asked Parker if he is going to be an astronaut when he grows up and go to the moon. He said no. I asked him what he is going to be. He said a teacher.
Then he asked me what I’m going to be when I grow up. I said I don’t know.
I used to know this girl, years ago. We were in love with each other. We never talked about it, we never said a word, but we both knew: we were in love with each other. You could just tell.
We both had steady “significant others” at the time. Well, I did. I think she did, but maybe not. I can’t remember. This was years ago, back in film school, and because we were working on the same movie we spent a lot of time together. A lot of time together. Much more than we spent with our “significant others.”
Don’t worry, nothing happened between us.
Well, that’s not exactly true. Nothing physical happened (I’m not a jerk), but it didn’t have to. We were in love, and in the best possible way. “Best possible” because, well, we didn’t have to live up to anything. Nothing was going to happen between us. There was no chance. Nothing could possibly happen. And that was the beauty of it.
Nothing physical happened, but sometimes the physical stuff is the least important.
It was like high school. On the set we could share knowing smiles, make secret eye contact, or just sit together alone silently during breaks. Falling in love is so easy – every raised eyebrow is a valentine, every smile is electric, each eye contact a caress. Everybody could see us, everybody knew. Or maybe they didn’t, I don’t know. It sure felt like it then. It felt great.
And then we didn’t have to go home to each other. We never had a chance, so we never had to live up to anything. We could be perfect – all potential, no obligation. I could flash a devil smile of promise but never had to deliver anything. All ambition, no reality. No gravity. I was a genius because I said I was, because I acted like one, because she believed I was – because I believed I was.
I was a genius because I never had to prove that I was.
All we shared was our best – funny, charming, lovable – because that’s all we could share: the make-believe. It seems like too often our “significant others” get only the worst: the reality, the having to prove, day-in, day-out, who we are. You know, the crap. I don’t know about you, but my killer devil smile doesn’t get too much mileage in the real world.
And I’m not just talking about the people in our real-world lives, I’m talking about our “art” and our passions, too. Our ambitions. It’s easy to be a genius when you’re young and naive and you tell yourself you’re a genius: you just get up and do it, because you don’t know any better. Magic happens because you let it happen. You believe it is possible, so therefore it is. You don’t have to prove anything because you don’t recognize even that obligation. If you wrote something, it was genius. It just was. End of story.
But then you grow up. And before you know it, it’s hard to see anything but the obligation. Is this any good? Can I sell this? How bad does this suck?
It’s not really “negativity” I’m talking about, it’s not about “just think positive,” it’s bigger than that. It’s about, I don’t know, how do I put it… ambition? Magic? Self-delusion? No, it’s about one thing:
Confidence. It’s about confidence.
It’s about the work being good and energetic because you believe it is and that makes it – magically – get better. How could it dare not be good? It’s about that girl being in love with you because you’re being you, because you are loveable, and that makes you more loveable because that makes you even more “you” than you can usually dare to be. And it’s about you knowing this but not needing it – not needing anything at all. It’s about you knowing this so well you don’t even have to dream about living up to anything. You wouldn’t even conceive of the idea of having to live up to anything, not in a million years.
I haven’t seen her in years, which is the perfect end to the story.
I’ll never forget her. Or my devil smile.
Stay with me here – a few related ideas swirling around.
Last week (May 3 or 5, I can’t remember) I hit a milestone of sorts at the day job: including the time I was temping there (I temped for a few months as a temp-to-hire ), I have now been there for four years. Four years. Is that a long time? It is and it isn’t.
It is also an additional milestone for me: it is now the longest-held job I’ve ever had. In my entire life. Four years. Is that pitiful? For a guy my age? It is and it isn’t. I worked in TV for 6 years, but that was 12+ jobs (that I can think of right now) for 7 different companies, each of which lasted anywhere from 9 months to 4 days. Even of the pre-TV day jobs, the current one is the marathon winner.
All this means at least a couple of things: (a) it has been 10 years since I started working in TV and (2) it is now impossible to deny that I am officially out of the TV business. So my current day job is no longer a fluke, it is the all-time duration king. It is now the rule, not the exception.
A friend of mine (an entrepreneur, which is pretty near-identical to being a screenwriter/producer) is now getting ready to start her first “day job” in several years, maybe ever. She has emailed me asking for any pearls of wisdom I can throw her way, because she doesn’t want the day-to-day crap of the day job to overtake its real purpose: merely funding her passion. To her (and myself), I say good luck. The day job is supposed to enable you to follow your real passion, but it can so easily overtake it and become Read the rest of this entry »
Well, how did I get here?
How do I work this?
Where is that large automobile?
This is not my beautiful house.
This is not my beautiful wife.
What is that beautiful house?
Where does that highway go to?
Am I right? Am I wrong?
My God… what have I done?
Snowmobile rot conceal
Bleach(ed) white blues
Curtain rod confetti
Easy-bake urinal cake
Simon sand hand in gland
Rank reek rug
One day you will come around
Knock upon my door
Step lightly now stop show me how
Leave me on the floor
Subtle stretch and softly retch and
I don’t know
There is now Neil Sedaka on my iPod. And I am damn proud of it too. 5 stars.