Saturday, April 11, 2015

Don't Call it a Comeback

I used to write. A lot. Like, a lot a lot. Liiiiiiiiike, a whole lot. Now, not so much. In fact, the last thing I wrote was two years ago. It was about the Boston Marathon bombing, and I wrote about how much I love the city of Boston, and how wounded I was by the awfulness that occurred there. Writing, for me, is the first step of self-healing. When I updated this blog weekly, it was so that I could write about the things that troubled me. Processing childhood trauma, organizing my feelings about myself, sifting through the unhappinesses of living.

I wrote because I was lonely, I wrote because I was frustrated, I wrote because I was I was told I was a good writer. On the whole, I think I probably even am a good writer. I can't particularly say that I like the act of writing, though. While the process of chosing the correct word for what I mean to convey is fun, setting and codifying those words is an anxious process. Worse yet, I really only tend to write about the stuff that triggers my unhappiness, which leads to more unhappiness, which I'm trying to avoid. Like, for instance, right now. I don't really like doing this. But I need to figure out for myself what about it about writing that makes me miserable, and it's been eating at me all day, so here we are.

The fact that I so rarely write anymore is probably a good sign. It means that my brain is full of stuff other than my own unhappiness. I rarely feel the need to drain the metaphorical pus from the wound, because I so rarely find myself deeply wounded. There was a point, about a year before I stopped regularly updating this blog, when I realized that I had written about every single unhappy moment I had up through my mid-20's. I was out of misery to process, but I decided to keep writing. I didn't have any more traumas that I wanted to exhume and examine, so I started writing about other stuff. It wasn't very good. Most of it was actually quite bad. But I kept writing.

I wrote not for myself, but because I felt duty-bound. I don't really know to what or to whom, but I was compelled to keep writing, even though everything I wrote felt dull. It came from me, but it wasn't personal. I'm not sure if the lack of personal ownership led to shittier and shittier writing, or if my shitty writing caused me to want to distance myself from it emotionally. Either way, it felt as though I was jogging in someone else's shoes.

Part of my perceived obligation was the literary journal I led. Writing, Writer, Writest is something I was really proud of, and produced a lot of terrific writing from a lot of falented people. Eventually, like all monsters, it grew to consume its creator. You know what's really overwhelming? Running a literary journal. Despite help from my friends Meg and Katie, I couldn't handle writing AND collating AND editing AND ego juggling AND being alive AND eating food AND being happy, so eventually I had to duck out. I made a few more stabs at writing after that, but nothing stuck. I was unhappy, and I was done.

Writing is the first step in the process self-healing. Cleaning and dressing the wound. But for a wound to fully heal, you need to let the body hew the flesh back together on its own; no amount of prodding or picking will speed up the process. But writing about something that isn't personal, that isn't causing me anguish, is an empty gesture. To extend the writing-as-biological-funtion metaphor, it's like when your liver keeps trying to process toxins well after you're sober and you get a hangover. The only reason I'm writing this is that I've been unhappy lately about the idea of writing, and once it's finally on the page I hope to have purged that feeling. The incident is the wound. The writing is the healing. The finished essay is the scar. Always there for me to go back to, to run my fingers over, to remember how I felt when I was hurt, and when I was healing. Some scars have interesting or funny stories, but they all have a painful provenance.

I am, for the first time in as long as I can remember, happy. I no longer need to write. It no longer serves me. So, I'm done. Goodbye.

Also, I can't write an ending to save my life.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston

I've been crying for the past two days.

I grew up in what would be considered rural Massachusetts. Not farm rural, but definitely woods rural. And cranberry bog rural. Beach rural? Beach rural is I think just called "on the coast." In any event, it was definitely the middle of nowhere. Barnstable, MA is a small enough town that it was a clue in a particularly difficult question on an episode of "You Bet Your Life", and Groucho mispronounced it. "Bahwn-STAY-bull? Is it pronounced 'Bahwn-STAY-bull?'" Living in a podunk like Bahwn-STAY-bull (it's "BARN-sta-bull" by the way), I wanted nothing more than to leave for the big city, so naturally I revered Boston (pronounced "CAME-bridge"). Every school field trip to a museum or Revolutionary War monument or aquarium was the best day of my life. Not even the time my girlfriend broke up with me on the way home from the 11th grade trip to the Old North Church could sour my opinion of Boston. Boston was my dream, and someday it would be my home, or at least that was the plan. Aside from a four week stint of Greater Boston Area couch surfing after failing out of Bridgewater State College, I've never really lived in Boston. Don't get me wrong, I really love living in Los Angeles, and it's not like I can't ever move back east, but The Hub is still the city I identify most with. It's a culture of tough, hard-working people, and I'd like to think that I'm at least one, if not both of those things. Probably just hard-working, though.

My Boston is both a place and a feeling. When I was struggling to figure out who I was, Boston was the place that I felt most comfortable. I didn't feel weird or crazy or worthless any of the things I felt when I was at college or back home in Bawhn-STAY-bull. Once I realized that there was a city for people like me, it became my safe place, emotionally. I'm failing out of school. (It's okay, you can always drop out and move to Boston.) I hate my family. (It's okay, you can always run away and move to Boston.) My girlfriend is cheating on me with a guy who lives in Boston. (It's okay, you can break up with her and move to a different part of Boston.) If you can have civic pride for a city you never lived in, I certainly had Boston pride. I love Boston, (historically racist) warts and all.

The attack on Boston was painful in so many ways. The human loss is immeasurably sad and the thought that anyone could contain so much hate is unfathomable. The fact that it happened on Patriots' Day, the biggest Massachusetts state holiday, added a cruel insult to the even crueler injury. I saw the pictures - and I know everyone else has already said this, but seriously don't look at the pictures - and I saw the streets I recognized from so many field trips and college dates covered in blood. Juxtaposed with the beautiful Los Angeles Spring, the whole thing seemed like a nightmare. The next six hours were spent frantically calling, texting, Facebook messaging my friends and family who were almost all in Boston at the time. The scariest part of it for me was being so far away from home. I felt helpless. I still kinda do.

I'm a person who lives a life full of fear and anxiety, but never about real things like terrorism or plane crashes. I'm afraid of snakes and the possibility that my obituary will mention the fact that I produce a history podcast but I still can't spell "Libya." When those fears begin to pile up and weigh heavily in my brain, I close my eyes and think of Boston and suddenly I'm home.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hello, my name is Miki Kinomoto. This is what I look like :3

I moved to Los Angeles six years ago, and I have never owned a car the entire time I've lived here. I generally don't mind – the Metro system isn't nearly as bad as everyone would lead you to believe. Plus, I get to ride a mobile people-watching station to work every day. I'm a huge fan of despair, misshapen people, poor decisions and odors of every stripe. The bus is a natural place for someone like me. It's a veritable Carnival of the Damned. Oh, and me. I'm not one of the bus people. I'm above the fray, right? I couldn't possibly be one of them. (I am totally one of them.)

When I get on the bus, I usually put on my headphones and zone out. It's me and my podcast. I make it a point to never interact with the people around me. If I do, I could change the outcomes of their lives. I need to remain neutral and observant. I am Uatu the Watcher, everyone around me is the Fantastic Four. This all changed on September 17, 2011, when I found a note from Miki Kinomoto.



Hello, my name is Miki Kinomoto. Thank you for reading this. I hope you will agree to my task. There are five element stones that has (sic) been scattered around the Land of Treasury. The fire stone, the ice stone, the water stone, the poisin (sic) stone, and the grass stone. Meet me at Lankershim Magnolia to learn more about the task.

This is what I look like. :3

So as I'm sure you could guess, this is just a drawing and a note that was probably left on the bus by a lonely teenager. Maybe even younger. I mean, the poor penmanship and spelling are a dead giveaway. I had fun making fun of “Miki Kinomoto” on Facebook, with her permanent blush and weirdly segmented legs. I think the biggest giveaway was on the back of the note, which was a drawing of a grid with the caption “Golden wafflez!!!” I went home and went on with my life.

((Hey.))
((Yeah?))
((What if Miki Kinomoto is real?))
((That's ludicrous.))
((I know, but come on. She's probably not real, but you live like, a mile away from Lankershim and Magnolia. You should at least check it out.))
((Ugh. I don't want to walk that far.))
((That's a terrible excuse. What about the adventure you could be having?))
((Adventure? What adventure? The adventure where I walk down there and there's no Asian girl and no Element Stones and just a Carl's Jr. and a Radio Shack? That adventure? I could have that adventure any day, thanks.))
((Yeah, but it could be real.))
((You are such an asshole. I'm going to bed.))

Like I said, I went on with my life. More or less. I thought about it every once in a while, but come on. It's not real. It's a page out of some idiot kid's notebook.

((Or is it?))
((Seriously, shut up.))

I was out just a few days later, walking down to the grocery store when I came across-

((The one at Lankershim and Magnolia?))
((Yes, and I'd thank you to stop interrupting me. I'm trying to tell the story here.))

Okay so I came across a pizza box with some writing on it, just discarded on the sidewalk. A note. For me.



I can't wait to see you.
I'm around
Carl's Jr.

((Oh, Carl's Jr? Like the one over on Lankershim and Magnolia?))
((Okay, okay. You win. I'm going there anyhow, what's the worst that could happen?))
((Fun and adventure!))
((Ugh.))

20 minutes later.

((Okay, I'm here. Look, there's nobody here. No Miki Kinomoto, no Element Stones, nothing. Just a Carl's Jr. and a Radio Shack, like I said.))
((Wait, what's that over there? It's a tiny Asian girl. Ask her if she's Miki!))
((Are you kidding? That's the world's worst idea.))
((Just do it.))
((Fine.))

- Uh, hi. Miki?
- Yes?
- (!!!) I found your note, I think.
- You did? Oh thank God. You're the last hope of my people. The Land of Treasury needs you.
- Really?
- Take my hand. We're going on an adventure.

((I told you so.))
((Okay, you win. Here we go.))



Josh Grimmer, last known photograph.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Literacy --> Mortality --> Dieting

[NB: This essay was written a few nights ago. It's a little disjointed. My wife told me to edit and rearrange things so that they make more sense, but I'm having trouble with that. It all makes sense when I read it because, well, I wrote it.

About two years ago I posted something on Facebook about how I was sad that I wasn't a very good reader. I got a few suggestions, most of which sounded absolutely wretched as soon as I researched them. The one author that stood out was Joan Didion, some of whose essays I had read and enjoyed. Two years later, about a week ago, I found a couple of her books at a used book store on Franklin in Hollywood. Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The Year of Magical Thinking. Seeing as these were the two most consistently praised Joan Didion books, and they were pretty cheap and both in great condition, I bought them. My wife works at a library and suggested that she could have just picked them up from work. She tells me that she is usually more likely to read a book from the library than one she has purchased; it has a deadline. I'm far more likely to read a book that I've bought because while I buy very few books, I feel like I must read them cover-to-cover to justify the expense.

My plan worked. I flew through Slouching Towards Bethlehem which, along with the last Harry Potter book, is now one of two books I have read in the past five years. I'm not particularly proud of the shallowness of my literary knowledge. Apparently if you want to write, the best thing to do is read. I'm not a great reader and, as you can see, I'm not a very prolific writer. Having finished Slouching Towards Bethlehem, I figured I should try to keep my reading momentum and start reading The Year of Magical Thinking. While Slouching Towards Bethlehem is a collection of essays, mostly about California in the 1960's, The Year of Magical Thinking is presented as more of a diary, detailing the year-long period of extended grief surrounding the death of Joan Didion's husband, John Gregory Dunne. He died of a sudden and (relatively) unexpected heart attack at dinner, sending his wife into a very understandable grief spiral. The Year of Magical Thinking won the National Book Award, as well as getting nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. I'm a little more than halfway through and it's already the best-written book I have ever read, topping an admittedly short list.

The problem with reading a book like this is that now I am convinced that I will drop dead at any moment.

My wife will be left alone. We are currently childless, but that will, I'm sure, change. I'm not afraid to die because it might hurt or because I have a million regrets or because maybe there isn't a Heaven and maybe I won't get there if there is. I'm afraid to die because I love my wife so much. I love the children we don't have. The idea of them dealing with my death ruins me. I remember a few years ago my wife told me that she always wished I would die of something sudden, but not instantaneous. Something that would allow her time to mourn while I was alive, but not for too long. I feel like this is reasonable.

I still don't want to die.

I'm not old. I'll be 26 in 10 days. Everyone always tells me that I'm not old, that they're old. I understand that you're whatever age you are, and that's great. I've never been 26 before, so that's still scary for me. I'm not in great shape. My wife tells me she thinks I'm attractive, which is certainly possible. The problem is I can't really run anymore without nearly having a seizure. I don't play sports anymore. Frankly I was probably healthier when I was 20 and I smoked a pack and a half of Camels a day. At least I rode a bike. My wife and I don't own a car, and occasionally she makes waves about how we need to get one. While I agree on principle, I'm afraid that I'd gain 40 pounds in a month if I didn't have to walk everywhere. One day I'd park a little to far from the entrance to the supermarket and collapse during the walk up to the door.

John Gregory Dunne was 71 when he died. 71 is a pretty good time to go, if such a thing exists. That's a full life for most people. That's enough time to go to school, fall in love, have a career, accomplish a lot. I'd be happy to make it to 71. Still, a heart attack can happen to anyone, they say, at any time. My work pants are fitting a little tighter than they used to. I'm just getting older, right? With age comes expansion. No, I'm gaining weight. I eat like shit. The only “restaurant” within a mile of my apartment is a Taco Bell. The only delivery options are pizza and Chinese food. Not a lot of places are willing to deliver a Cobb salad. (My love of Cobb salads will probably also kill me. So what if it's got bacon and a hard-boiled egg? It's a salad, right? I'll live forever.) I need to get used to cooking my own meals, but if I'm in charge of what I eat, it'll probably just end up being a lifetime of pasta and microwaveable dinners and home-made Egg McMuffins. Those are the three things I'm good at making.

I'm trying to diet. I'm counting calories, a task made much easier by whatever law (municipal? state? federal?) requires restaurants to post caloric values. As it stands I only drink Diet Coke. When I do drink coffee or (increasingly often recently) tea, I never add milk or sugar. I've even started drinking more water. Apparently the healthiest weight for a man my height is about 80 pounds less than I weigh right now. I'd have to lose a limb, but if that's what it takes, I'm willing to give it a shot. I'd rather my wife be married to an amputee than become a widow before age 40. I'm trying really, really hard. It shouldn't be this difficult, though. I even like eating healthy foods. I was able to remain a fairly strict vegetarian for years. I just want my wife to have a healthy husband. I want my kids to have a healthy father. I would at least like to outlive my cat.

This endeavor is, at its base, vanity incarnate. I want to be attractive. I want to be healthy. I want women to find me desirable, even though I'm not available. I want to be a good looking, if venerable, corpse. I want to look better in five years than I do now. I want the second number on my gravestone to be as high as possible. I want to have to buy smaller clothing. I never want to be as fat as I was in my (hidden from view, tucked away in a closet, face down) wedding photos. I don't want to outlive my wife, though, because while I worry for her, I am ultimately selfish. I'm doing this for me. So that I can look in the mirror and at least see an attractive, if not particularly well-read person.

I have not even begun to discuss the health issues that their daughter, Quintana Roo Dunne, battled for that entire year.

I should know by now that I don't read for a reason.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

God, Science and Narcissism

Here's an actual conversation I've had with a co-worker.

--- So do you believe that possums are lucky?
--- No. What? No. Wait, what?
--- Y'know, possums. Do you think they're lucky? Because I saw a possum – the same possum, I think – in my yard three different times and my Chinese mailman tells me that possums are lucky.
--- I believe possums are gross and carry disease.
--- Well what animals do you believe are lucky?
--- Uh... none of them, I guess.
--- You... DON'T believe in Power Animals?

No, because that's ludicrous. I don't believe in ghosts or curses or luck or leprechauns or any of that dumb stuff. That's dumb stuff. For dummies. You idiots. Sheesh. I do, however, believe in God. Despite doing everything that people do that lead to atheism – being raised Catholic, majoring in physics, going to a state school in Massachusetts, I was even an altar boy for eight years in the molestiest area of Christendom – I'm still a believer. I'm no longer Catholic.

I'm terrible at meeting new people. My wife's solution is for me to start going to church. There are people at church, and we already have something in common. That'll serve as a nice starting point. Right? Yeah! I guess. Not really. No. Not even a little. I don't really like talking about my faith with other people. It's distasteful. It lies somewhere between “how much do you make?” at the dinner table and a dick-measuring contest at a funeral.

Sharing a common faith also seems like it's not exactly fertile ground for conversation, either.

--- So uh, how 'bout that Christ, huh?
--- Yeah. How cool was he?
--- Right!? Dying for our sins! Just for us!
--- I know! What a mensch!

*****

I resent being lumped in with other believers. I'm not one of those weirdos who things the Earth is only 5,000 years old and the Jews buried dinosaur bones in 1922. I think gay marriage should be legalized. I abhor the idea of prayer in schools. I hate – HATE – the Boy Scouts. I refuse to vote for somebody if their platform has anything to do with God.

I hate the constant shoving match between Religion and Science. Nothing gets my blood boiling quite like Kirk Cameron and company talking about bananas and how they're proof of God's endless love because they're the perfect food for humans. Aaaaaagh. The bananas we eat are engineered in a Godless laboratory by scientists. And they're delicious!

[Sidenote regarding engineered food: I love naturally engineered food. If you can plant a tree that naturally yields lemons and limes, I'm all for it. Although it'll be tough to figure out what's a lime and what's an unripe lemon. Or the other way around, I forget. It's the scary, creepy Monsanto genetic engineering that bothers me. It's evil and it's icky. My wife's mom's husband (you figure out the relation to me, I don't care to) once suggested I could move to Fresno and work for Monsanto. His heart was in the right place, I guess. I'm still not sure if I'm more repulsed by the idea of working for Monsanto or living in a city whose only major attraction is a bunch of underground trees. Which, to be fair, has a lot of naturally engineered miracles of science. There's a tree that bears like, six different kinds of fruit. Maybe there you've got a crossroads of God and Science. Kirk Cameron ought to look into that.]

*****

What it really comes down to, the more I think about it, is narcissism. What kind of narcissist are you? Are you the kind of narcissist who believes that there is a Benevolent Creator who watches over YOU and cares about YOU and every stupid thing that YOU do? Are you the kind of narcissist who believes that YOU are able to say with absolute certainty that YOU are able to say that there's nothing?

Truly, scientifically, intellectually, the place to start is agnosticism. I started off as an agnostic, then started leaning towards believing, then I became a believer. [Note: I was always a narcissist.] I'm not sure how or when or why. A lot of it came from my love of science. The massive, expansive universe. The same cold, unloving, randomness that most atheists say is the absence of God is the reason for my faith.

There was a discussion a couple of years ago with theoretical physicist Brian Greene. His belief is that, given an infinite universe, using a finite number of unique atoms, there must be an infinite number of exact duplicates of everything. There are an infinite number of Josh Grimmers out there, and an infinite number of Brian Greenes, and an infinite number of everythings and everyones and all kinds of stuff. It's like a cosmic version of the monkeys and typewriters theory. In this talk, he allows for the possibility of something, somewhere, being able to create and control its own miniature infinite universe. (Fucking noodle on that phrase. Miniature infinite universe. Amazing.) He acknowledges the fact that we – our universe – may be controlled by such an entity. This, more than anything, affirmed my faith. Not bananas. Hard (theoretical) science. Maybe I'm tailoring the facts to fit my beliefs. That's what everyone does. We're all narcissists here, we're on the Internet.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A real imaginary conversation with an imaginary real person.

The Internet, as we all know, is now little more than porn, email and social networking. Well, guess what – those are the only three things I used it for anyhow. Recently Prince declared the Internet dead. Over. Passe. Yesterday's news. Old hat. Six boats – whatever your preferred expression might be. I disagree, if for no other reason than Twitter. Twitter has given me so much over the past few months. Firstly, foremostly, and mostly importantly, Twitter has given me htwoshop.

Three or four months ago, htwoshop started following me. I'm not sure where he came from. I mean, Japan. He came from Japan, and he's probably still there. I'm just not wholly sure how he came to find me. He speaks – at best – horribly broken English. Maybe he's just reading my posts in order to work on his English? He's always tweeting about language. Anyhow – here's what's important: I love htwoshop, and I'm pretty sure he loves me, too. Whenever I'm sad, I like to read his tweets. They keep me sane and grounded.

---

@htwoshop Good morning! My name is htwoshop!,,How are you?

@JoshGrimmer Not great, htwoshop. Not great. I just feel... I dunno – empty. You know how sometimes you're eating something super hot and you burn your tongue, and for the next few days you have trouble tasting things? I've had that feeling for a few weeks now, off and on. I know I should be happy – things are going well. I'm just feeling sort of dead, you know?

@htwoshop Rebarezzi is teko~~! On fx! I want to bictoriy.Becouse happy?

@JoshGrimmer Exactly! Happy. I want to be happy. Speaking of “Rebarezzi is teko~~!,” FX has some pretty solid shows right now. Big fan of “Damages” and “It's Always Sunny,” and “Louie” is really coming into its own. *sigh* I don't even really feel like I have time for TV anymore, htwoshop. If I don't have to go to work, I seldom get out of bed before noon, and if I do it's only to eat or go to the bathroom. I just feel like I've hit my nadir, man. I'm about 90 percent miserable.

@htwoshop 10pa-sent! no no no.

@JoshGrimmer I suppose you could look at it that way. I'm 10 percent happy. You've got a point. I think maybe I should write more – writing usually makes me pretty happy.

@htwoshop Today blog title is 「every day 芋」

@JoshGrimmer Every day seems like a bit much. Maybe a couple times a week?

@htwoshop End result is 30 pa-sent plus!!

@JoshGrimmer Exactly! I'd be well on my way at that point.

@htwoshop Net cafe now! I am hangry.But but but sleepy~~~&buzy!...

@JoshGrimmer Well, I won't keep you, htwoshop. Thanks for being so friendly.

@htwoshop Tomorrow is mode change! dedede~~.But no change's good action! ok?

@JoshGrimmer Right! Starting tomorrow, I'll write more. Hey, htwoshop? Uh, I don't know how to say this, but... Uh... I love you.

@htwoshop..........なう。and I love you 弾き終わった

Monday, August 2, 2010

You'd think I'd love a play about hanging yourself to get an erection. Hm.

I feel like I should begin by saying that I love my wife. I love my wife, she's a great actress, and she's not the problem here.

I spent my Saturday night watching the worst play I've ever seen in my entire life. Ever, ever, bar none.

My wife is the type of person who acts. This is fine. I mean, without actors, movies would be, you know, boring and stuff. And I mean, who'd be on TV? I guess there'd still be sports and stuff, but I need my Two Point Five Men (I believe that is the name of the show.) My wife is a pretty good actor. I feel like the more I say it, the less true it sounds, but she really is great.

My wife is so good at acting, she was just in two plays at once. Both at the same theatre, and with the same director. Good for her, right? She likes acting, and she gets to act. A lot. She also doesn't have to see her husband, which is a nice little side effect. It was nice for me, too. Not having my wife around really gave me a lot of time to sit down at the computer and get writing, you know? Just be really fucking prolific. Wait, what? I've only written two things in the past couple months? What the fuck have I been doing then? Oh, right. Work and Twitter. Well, you know, those 140 characters add up.

Anyhow, back to the play. Waiting for Godot. For weeks and weeks, my wife would come home from rehearsal and shout something along the lines of “I HATE MY DIRECTOR AND THE OTHER ACTORS ARE TERRIBLE AND THIS PLAY IS FUCKING AAAAGRHARHARHRHGH.” Pretty much every night. She would eventually regain her composure and ask me when I was planning on coming to see the play. The answer is never.

Some fun facts about this particular production of Waiting for Godot.

--- Waiting for Godot was written for a cast of five men. Apparently Samuel Beckett so loathed the idea of women being cast in this play that he attempted to make it illegal to do so. Since my wife is a woman, it can be safely assumed that he failed in this particular legal endeavor. This did not, however, stop the Beckett Estate from contacting the director and trying to put a stop to the production. Didn't work. Too bad. According to my wife, there was one night where only two people showed up. Apparently the director and Vladimir (using character names because I don't know anybody's real name) decided that somehow the Beckett people went around and started a whisper campaign against this particular production, scaring crowds away. Or, it got no publicity and sucked. Either way.

--- The young lady who played Pozzo is a vegetarian. There's a pretty important part in Act One where Pozzo eats some chicken and Estragon eats the bones. After days of jerking the cast around, deciding whether or not she could even do the play at all, Pozzo finally found out that she'd have to eat chicken. She flipped out and almost quit the play. Now, I was a vegetarian for eight years. I totally get where she's coming from. She doesn't want to even handle the meat or the bones or whatever. I'm back to eating meat, but I still don't like handling meat or bones or whatever. I'm not going to crucify her for having convictions. She's still an idiot for not reading the play before auditioning. Or, you know, being familiar with a famous play. More on Pozzo later.

--- I have a feeling nobody went to the show because of the flier. The image they use is atrocious:
Photobucket

It looks like an ad for the discount Pink Floyd laser light show over at the Hollywood Laserium Cybertheater. The other major problem I have with the flier is the horrible selection of quotes. “The greatest play of the 20th Century ignites the 21th!!!” and “A mind-expanding experience!” Sorry guys, but Inception was easily the most mind-expanding experience of the Twenty-Oneth Century.

I really, really didn't want to go see this play. At least my wife knew it. My only hope was to work every Friday and Saturday night for five straight weeks, that way I'd have an excuse. Things were cruising along nicely until Saturday night. I had the night off, and it was closing night for the play. I couldn't not go. My wife gave me directions from work to the theatre, and even pre-bought me a ticket. No escape.

By the time I got to the theatre, I was exhausted. Waking up at 6am, working nearly nine hours at the Dream Factory, never, ever sleeping – all of these things add up to a very tired Josh Grimmer. By the time I made it into the theatre, found my seat and began to wait for the play to start, I had fallen asleep. My hope was I'd be the only person to show up, and they'd cancel. Sadly not the case. I was startled awake by the director, Ross, making the pre-show announcement. He comes out, tells everyone they're there to see Waiting for Godot. Good start. Then he tells everyone where the bathroom is. It's behind the stage, and to the left. More on the bathroom – and Pozzo – later. Instead of telling everyone to hold their pee until intermission, he said “If you need to go during the show, that means you'll have to walk through the stage! Maybe our actors will interact with you! The magic of theatre in Los Angeles!” This, apparently, was not what he was told to say. Luckily nobody got up during the show to pee. He had to be reminded from backstage to tell everyone to turn off their phones. It was like a visit from Arclight Petey, but somehow even less funny.

---Act One---

Lights off, curtain drawn, all of that. Lights up, and holy shit Vladimir is loud and bad at acting. He's shouting, mugging, prancing and gallivanting about. At one point he leans forward, into the first row and shouts in the face of the people right in front. Like, three inches away, if that. A few minutes later, they walked out. Then Pozzo and Lucky make their grand appearance. The most tragic kind of overacting is when the actor decides to go over the top in an attempt to disguise the fact that they don't quite understand the material. Pozzo was very, very guilty of this. Oh, and she was dressed like a Droog. That still wasn't the worst thing about her. I was sitting in the sixth of eight rows. I was tired and weary and glassy-eyed. I could still clearly see her nipple piercings beneath her shirt.
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Now, I'm not the mayor of Squaresville, Daddyo. I like a good nipple piercing. (Nothing bigger than a B, by the way. Looks kinda weird.) I like tattoos, weird hair, crazy make-up, whatever. If you alter your body in a way that makes you more interesting to look at, then I'm game. However, I assure you that your character doesn't call for pierced nipples. I'm not saying you should take them out, just, you know, wear a bra.

Side note: One of the problems with Ross telling the audience that the play might take a turn for the interactive if someone went to the potty was it gave me a nigh-irresistible urge to heckle. I didn't, but boy did I want to. “We could hang ourselves!” “PLEASE DO.”

In addition to Vladimir screaming at the people in the front, Lucky has a giant screaming monologue that he delivered to the last person in the front row. It was awful. Just awful. Nobody else walked out, but it was really fucking uncomfortable. Apparently Vladimir and Lucky were asked by the other actors to step back a few feet for their screaming, but they refused. THIS IS THEATRE, MAN. THEY JUST HAVE TO FUCKING DEAL WITH IT. Yeah, except they paid you money.

---Intermission---

Lights off, lights on, intermission. I made a bee-line for the bathroom. As I got there, Pozzo was leaving. She had the same look on her face that you get when you hit a seagull with your car. She had shit this bathroom up like nobody's business. After I had done my business, I made it a point to leave the seat up so that it was perfectly clear that I wasn't the source of that horrifying stink. Back to my seat. Back to sleep.

---Act Two---

I woke up about five minutes into Act Two, when Vladimir started screaming again. No rest for the patron of the arts, I guess. The thing that bothered me the most about this particular performance was the remaining audience member in the front row. He was laughing and guffawing with with an intensity normally reserved for Gallagher shows. He was loving this shit and snapping pictures with great joy. I spent much of Act Two drifting in and out of sleep, checking text messages (bad patron!), and sighing loudly. I have no idea how women fake orgasms – I can barely fake watching a play. As Pozzo and Lucky roll around blindly on the floor, Vladimir screams and Estragon makes snide remarks, I could do little to keep myself from screaming and running out.

Finally, the play ended. Turns out, the guy who loved the play was a repeat customer. He spent a lot of time talking to Pozzo after the show, looking at her nipples. To be fair, I'd do the same if given the chance. The people who walked out during Act One, right after Vladimir shouted in their faces? Personal friends of Vladimir, who came at his behest. My wife thanked everybody for a singularly awful experience, and we left. On the way home we talked about how bad the play was, how much she hated Pozzo's stench, how Vladimir spits when he talks, and how much of his spit landed on my wife's face. She was given a check in the amount of fifty dollars for her efforts. Whoooo.

---

I really do love my wife. I think she's just fantastic, at pretty much anything. Maybe not dancing. Okay, she's a terrible dancer. But she is – she really is – a great actress, and I'm willing to support her in any way I can. Unless it involves going hours out of my way to see a play that we both know is going to be awful. I don't know how many more plays I can take. I really do try to care, I just have such a hard time. When she did A Company of Wayward Saints, I saw that probably five or six times. It was a great play, she was great in it and – most importantly – it was six blocks away from our apartment. I just honestly can't remember the last time I went to one of my wife's plays and had a really good time. I want to be a good husband, I just don't think I have the energy to see another shitty play where some guy screams about his prostate.

At least it was revealed afterward that I had been snuck in, and my wife didn't have to give Ross eight dollars. Gotta feel good about that.