Jun 1, 2004
Let me just start this out by saying that my face is tingling with anger at the fact that I had finished this post and was pleased with it and then went to post it and found that nearly everything I'd written had been cut off. I have tried to recreate it, but I am so tired of having to assure you that I am better at this than I appear. What I wrote the first time around will live on ghostlike in my memory, a taunting reminder that what you will now read is a mere shade -- ersatz.
But on with it.
I had lunch at the Hotel Bel-Air today with Adam and Scott, who wanted to thank me for designing his web site when he was running for elected office (he won). He really didn't owe me anything; I was happy to do it. But the lunch was nice just the same. Lovely company in a terribly beautiful setting. We walked by the little Swan Lake they have there. It was idyllic and sunny and tranquil. It hardly feels like Los Angeles. Until you see all the embarrassingly swanky cars in the lot. And Joe Millionaire was sitting at the table beside us. I have no patience for such things.
As a surefire means of eclipsing the tattered remnants of a month that might have ended without much glory, Martín and I went to see the Paul F. Tompkins Show, and -- like magic -- all that was wrong in the world was set right again. I cannot venture far enough into the depths of the superlative to craft a compliment that would do this man justice. He is the awesomest. He and Michael Penn did a rendition of the Talking Heads' Psycho Killer that you should kill yourself for having missed. Seriously. Right now. Get your affairs in order and get on with it. He even worked an homage to the Violent Femmes' Blister in the Sun into the opening number, and that, too, was several magnitudes more excellent than anything you could possibly have seen or done today. Why oh why did you go to that barbecue where at least three different people brought crockpots with some gross bean dish simmering in them? Why did you let your girlfriend talk you into shampooing the carpets on THIS NIGHT? Why did you waste the day memorializing our fallen soldiers? They can't hear you. And frankly they're not altogether impressed with the fact that you don't think about them at all during the other 364 days of the year. Sure, you have a static decal of the ol' stars and stripes stuck to the window in your Toyota truck's camper shell, but were you really "saluting" it by spending most of the day skirfing? Maybe you just hate yourself. I can't let that be my problem. And I don't actually have any power to compel you in this, but my strongly-worded suggestion stands. You cheated yourself tonight, and for that you deserve to be punished. By you, because the cruel irony will teach you a sterner lesson. I was going to play good cop-bad cop and tell you that you deserve better than the Paul F. Tompkins-free world you are living in, but the more I think about your behavior tonight, the more convinced I am that you don't. A foolish person might see the PFT and wish that everyone in the world could be that funny or that talented or that smart. And another foolish person might call that person a communist.
Martín also finally gave me my birthday present. He had left it in the trunk of his car all this time. We joked that it was a puppy. That reminds me of the time my cousin gave me a brown paper bag that was stapled shut and instructed me to give it to my younger sister. I stuck it in my car and forgot about it for weeks. When I finally remembered, we hesitated before opening the bag, thinking, "What if it's a bag of cheese?" But then we remembered that our cousin is Chinese and not likely to enjoy dairy products. It turned out to be a wetsuit. Which doesn't make for much of a story.
So that's how I spent the last day in May. My birthday month. The only month that doesn't require abbreviation. I also finished up some work, did a little tidying, and looked at hundreds of items on eBay. And while all of that was going on, I let Quiz Show play on the television. And it occurred to me that that film is an uncanny allegory for that whole scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison and the ensuing public relations nightmare. If you need me to explain myself, I will. But you will have to ask me to, and that will be embarrassing for you.
Labels: Adam, comedy, commercials, Paul F. Tompkins, photos
posted by Mary Forrest at 2:55 AM | Back to Monoblog