Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Book of Brian.

These are the things I would include in my book in the Bible.

1)    Miracles. They keep things interesting and exciting. And what’s more miraculous than a strapping character who can throw awesome knives or hear everything? Even if it’s really, really quiet.

2)    Rules. These are the parts that religious people pay very close attention to. It’ll assure that my book is referenced all the time. Suggested Rules: Hold the door for ladies; Keep it real; Brush before you shower (so if you want orange juice with breakfast, by the time you drink it, it won’t taste bad.)

3)    Predictions.

4)    Jesus. I haven’t read the whole bible. I’m only about a quarter of the way through it. But they don’t talk about Jesus nearly enough.

5)    No Chewing with Your Mouth Open. Technically, this is a rule and should probably be under item 2, but I wanted to outline it specifically. It’s an abomination of God.

6)    Riddles. Maybe at the bottom of every page? I don’t know. I have to work out the details.

7)    A Cliff-Hanger. Like when Murphy Brown got pregnant. We didn’t know if she was going to keep it and at the same time Eldon had finally finished painting the house.[1]

8)    Cameos by Other Prophets. Why can’t other prophets have missions that bring them into my book, too?! Crossover storylines are special edition material.

9)    A Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Chapter. So the reader can feel connected to the text. Christianity is a living, breathing thing and we forget that.

10) A Lot of Begetting. Romance keeps women interested.

11) Pop-ups. And not just trees and a house. Pop-up plagues.

12) Plagues. New ones. Like a Pet Army or athlete’s foot.

13) Something About Jerusalem Belonging to Catholics. The Jews and Muslims are cutting up that sweet pie and before it’s all done I want a slice.

14) Brian. Duh.

[1] She did keep it and Eldon stayed on to paint the new nursery.

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Unfortunately, today, the amazing athlete and owner of the “Say ‘Ow!’” label died. Junior Seau was a stud and now he’s gone.

But that wasn’t the story on the news. The story was his mother. And her genuine emotional response, caught on countless cameras and replayed by countless affiliates. It was exploited by countless anchors and viewed by countless people. Like you and like me, home from work, eating pizza, without an attachment in the world to her or her son. Nobodies. Distant satellites, at best, for a second caught in orbit by the gravity of this woman’s situation.

How dare we?

This is on us. This is our fault. It’s the result of our celebrity obsession and reality fixation, though this isn’t a game show. This isn’t the red carpet. And, above all, this isn’t fair, not to a woman who, like all of us, just yesterday would have gripped her wishing penny and said “Lord, just don’t let me outlive my child.”

And now she has. We used to send those people cards. Before Access Hollywood came on at every dinner table, we’d wear a suit and stop by in-person to deliver flowers. Now we grab a camera. We tear open their chest and broadcast their weeping heart on primetime news like it’s an episode of Entertainment Tonight. Like it’s something to tweet about. Which I did.

Our problem is deep and we’ve lost our boundaries. Our sick celebrity infatuation has left us entitled. We love to know who’s sleeping with whom, and who’s drinking what, where. But with stars and athletes that’s part of the deal. It’s in their contract. When you cash a multi-million dollar check for a 3-month stint on set pretending to love Emily Blunt you’re not selling your art. You’re selling your soul. It’s deep in the fine-print, but everyone in this town knows it’s there. Everyone. This woman is a free-agent. She signed nothing.

Here in LA, you do interviews. Take pictures. Get your face on Us Weekly and be seen at Coffee Bean. Because every time you do you get paid more. You’re building a relationship with your audience and your audience is America. You need them to know about your personal life because if they don’t know then they don’t care. And if they don’t care they don’t see your movie. And if they don’t see your movie then you don’t get paid. So, ipso facto, every (obscene) check you cash is an agreement to open your life up to Americans. After all, we’re best friends.

And so I don’t feel bad when I see a celebrity complaining about their privacy. Because it’s never Emma Thompson making those complaints. It’s the people who pose for pictures outside Chateau Marmont and sell their wedding album to People. And I’ve never seen Ms.Seau’s wedding album.

In America, we’ve come to expect it. We don’t make that connection between payment sent and service received. Every time we buy a movie ticket or click on Perez Hilton we’re buying a little piece of that person’s life until, after 300 million clicks there is none of that individual left. Just a property for us to exploit and enjoy. They’re split, thousands of times over, into stock, and we’re the holders. Entertainers exist for our entertainment. Period.

Seems harmless enough. Just an honest free-market exchange.

And the free-market is the beauty of this country, right?  It’s what seperates us from the rest of this world. It’s what makes us better. Because it’s a choice. Nobody gets top billing on a movie without making that decision of how and when to sell themselves. And you’ve got to respect that. I guess.

But more importantly, you’ve got to respect the people who never made that choice. You have to respect the people who never sold their person. Ms. Seau isn’t a celebrity. She never had a Nike contract. She’s just a grieving woman. And she owns it. That grief is hers. We can’t take that. It’s not our right. Who are we?

We are voyeur thieves, kid-napping a woman in her darkest hour and it’s disgusting.

It’s worse than disgusting. It’s sad. In the sincerest form of that word. It’s devoid of promise and potential. A genuinely tragic moment. One that makes me exhale my life and stand a hollow shadow with no form. I am only shame.

Leave her the fuck alone. Please.

It hurts.

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The gift of foresight.

Do psychics read your future or do they just read you?

Sure, it’s an age-old question and one to which every logical response is “you” but I don’t want to believe that. I don’t know that I can. And what I want to believe is desperately what I want to believe.  (Regardless of the beliefs that are actually mine.) No more can my head command my heart.

Tiffany, the psychic on 6th and Spring (310.936.4671), started with, “do you want to ask me any questions?”

I didn’t. I just wanted to listen.

She started talking and touching on some points. She said writing will be a big part of my life. A big part of my future. “What do you do?”

“I’m a writer.”

“That makes sense,” she says.  Yes, it does. She didn’t say I should be one, only that I was. And that I was pretty all over the place with it. I wrote some of this and some of that. And that it was very unfocused. My head was gone all day and all over.

Yeah, that makes sense too.

Then she said I’ve got a health issue. Hm. “But…” she corrected herself, it’s under control. It’s serious. Though “wait” she said, it’s been in me 2 years and that I should make sure it’s checked out. I felt like I should get excited and tell her that I was diagnosed terminal two years ago. (Which I was.) Give her a high-five and let her know that it is checked out. It’s under control. But I didn’t.

I just waited and wondered. I stared at her. I probably scowled a little.

When she told me I’ll be making a move soon, I kept it to myself that that’s why I was downtown. That I had, one hour before, unloaded my bed and wanted to walk around my new neighborhood. I didn’t smile at her. I didn’t stop my brow from furling.

I just judged her. Like an asshole.

Until she asked me what happened. What happened? She stared through my mask and asked again what happened to me. “What do you mean?” She answered that I was on track. I was pretty straight and together. I was headed the right direction. Then 5 years ago: something happened.

I wasn’t judging her anymore.

“Or someone.”

And I cried a little bit.

So are you a psychic if all you can do is tell people what they already know? What I remember about Greek mythology was that the final chaos still trapped in Pandora’s box was the gift of foresight. Maybe that’s not true, but it’s what I remember. And it’s what I want to believe.

Now I don’t know if this is the part where she sensed I needed a carrot on that long swinging stick, but she mentioned I’d recently met a soulmate. Now soulmates are a hard thing to get behind. I stopped believing in them. (But I probably want to.) She said that soulmate doesn’t trust me. And that there’s a lot of distance between us. She stressed “a lot” but I don’t like italics and I’ve used them twice already, so know that she made sure I knew she was understating the truth. And so that’s what I’m doing with you now. She stressed “a lot.”

That space… what if it doesn’t change? What if her emphasis was just the soft crack of my home run pitch hitting the catcher’s mitt? And, here I am, knowing what I do believe, but utterly unsure of what I want to. Because what if there are no coincidences? I’m terrified. What if everything she said is true?

I took her business card.

But I had to ask her for it.

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