“We Are A No Gun Family”

A while ago, I took the kids to Yoga.  When I say kids, I mean the two I babysit for (Pilot and Ever) and Pilot’s friend Frankie.  When I say Yoga, I mean that they have fucking Yoga for five-year-olds in New York.

Frankie is a feisty young lady who says “Please” and “Thank You” with a dimpled grin.  I’m not kidding here, she asks me how I am.  She asks me how my day has been which Pilot and Ever have never done one day in their greedy little lives.  I actually find myself wanting to please Frankie.  I’ll say things to her like  “I know I’m paying $1400 for a two bedroom in Queens…and before you say anything, I know I should make the jump to the East Village.  But when you advertise for a cozy loft, don’t show me a closet with used mouse traps.”

Frankie will look at me and appropriately respond “You’re such a nice lady.  I love you.”

I have to admit that sometimes I grow frustrated with Pilot and Ever.  They take me for granted.  They have grown tired of me.  Sure, once I was the hot new thing.  But 5 years later…I can see the glaze in their eyes when I walk into the room.  They even go as far as being emotionally abusive.  The other day, when I was a little slow getting Ever’s shoes on he says to me “You can’t do anything!”  I quickly retorted “YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW!?”  Pilot lets me know every time I gain weight and every time I choose the wrong block to catch a cab.  And then Frankie comes onto the scene and I bathe myself in the love and attention she effortlessly offers.  It’s intoxicating.

So after Yoga, I took the kids back to Pilot and Ever’s house to wait for Frankie’s mom.  Frankie was brushing my hair when the buzzer rang.  Frankie’s mom came up and the kids had a “show” they wanted her to preview.  Which they hadn’t even rehearsed or anything, but they set up two chairs as an “audience” so we could sit for 20 minutes and watch them talk about when the costume changes should happen.  Just when I’m about to blow my brains out,  Ever rushes into the room.  He’s holding a toy gun that shoots “lasers” by means of a laser-type sound.  Ever points his gun at Frankie’s mom and says “I’m going to shoot you!”  

Frankie’s mom very quickly stopped him.  “Ever, we are a no gun family.  So please do not point that gun at me or my daughter.”

Ummm…what the fuck did you just say to my kid?

Ever was immediately crushed.  He aimed at Frankie’s mom’s head but then seemed to lose his nerve.  He started crying and ran back into his bedroom.  I quickly followed him.  He was laying on his bed bawling.

“Hey pal.  What’s wrong?”

“My….my….my….gun didn’t work!”

“Oh sweetheart, it didn’t?”

“No!”

“You wanted to shoot Frankie’s mommy?”

“Ye…Ye…Yeah!”

“I know honey.  And then you couldn’t shoot her?”

“NO!!  My gun didn’t work!”

“Should we get you a new gun?”

“Yeah!  And then I can shoot people?”

“Okay.  Okay.  We can get you a new gun.”

“And then I’ll shoot all the people?”

“Of course you can!  You can shoot all the people.”

Ever looked up at me and wiped the tears from his 3-year old eyes.  I realized in that moment, for better or worse, this was the kid I was going to spend the rest of my life loving.  We have our problems, but we chose to go through these years together.  Frankie was cute.  And her mom was a reasonable lady – I actually hate guns myself.  But let me tell you something…when you make my kid cry with your psycho-liberal agenda that embarrasses a 3-year-old instead of just letting said 3-year-old assassinate you and then feigning your own prolonged death…you have bought yourself an enemy.

I looked at Ever’s wet face and I said to him…

“Sometimes people are bullshit.”

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Turning Dirty

I flipped a decade on Saturday which is actually a really exciting thing.  It brings me to my checklist:

Things I Did In My 20’s:

Went to Spain.

Learned the exact time my microwave takes to cook a Hot Pocket.  (To the second)

Slept with a woman.

Read The Odyssey.

Read a full issue of The New Yorker.

A bartender.

Drove across Texas.

Drove across the country.

Skinny dipped in the Atlantic.

Drank a Stella or two. (42,381)

Fell in love with a man from Uruguay. (A bartender)

Lived in my mom’s basement.

Lived in Ireland. (once)

Snorted Cocaine. (twice)

Went vegetarian – Went back.

Voted for the first black president.

Faked an orgasm. (81)

Ate an entire Papa John’s Large Sausage Pizza in one sitting.

Kept a Beta Fish alive for 4 years. (After a very public suicide attempt)

Learned the exact time it took to fake an orgasm.  (To the second)

Things I Did Not Do In My 20’s

Jon Stewart.

How Fucking Loud Do You Need To Clap??

Okay, I wrote a post a few weeks ago about the fact that on this blog site that I write on…you can see what google searches land people on your blog.  For the past three weeks, the number 1 search that has led people to astoriachick.com has been “How To Make a Really Loud Clap.”  Over 100 people have come across my blog this way.

I have one post entitled “I Can Clap Really Loud” that has nothing to do with the actual geometry of how to clap really loud.  It’s not a science-y piece.  And so I feel bad for all of these people who really want to clap loud and think somehow that my shitty blog will help them.  But also – why the fuck would you really need to clap really loud?  Loud enough that you would have to google pointers on the subject?

Are you an explorer?  Do you go into caves where there are jumpy scorpions and the distance your clapping sound travels is in direct proportion to your chances of coming out alive?  Are you an avid theater-goer who is afraid that the performers and crew of any given production will not hear your enthusiasm for pithy dialogue?  Are you a white guy in a movie where a black guy makes a speech at the end of the movie and you want to be the guy who claps first – causing all of the other white guys to clap at the black guy?

Jesus people, take a look at your lives.  There are better things to do.  I’m not even kidding, Kate Middleton went to the grocery store today.  I just saw the pictures on TMZ.

Ever and I

he’s not my kid…but sometimes we hang out on the couch in robot shirts…

Couch: Episode 2

Ever used to effing steal my cheese…

Kendra’s First Audition

Kendra is my dear friend from NYU who moved out to LA right after graduation.  I chose to stay in New York because…you know…I’m not insane. (Whoa…relax with the hip-hop coast battle Miller)

Kendra

Kendra is one of these ridiculous people with fuckin’ sick good looks and the sense of humor to back it up.  She excelled in her martial arts training and is currently a successful stunt double in the movie biz.  She’s got abs Jennifer Anniston would pay money for.  But that is of no interest to me.  What is of interest to me is this particular anecdote which occurred during Kendra’s first few months in the City of Angels:

Upon her move to LA, Kendra found a job almost immediately working in Craft Services on the movie sets.  It paid her enough for rent and gave her some time for auditioning.  She was struggling, of course, going out on a few auditions here and there but nothing promising.  One day her boss at Craft Services walks up to her and says that she should really meet with her agent.

“You’ve got a certain look, a type that my agent really goes for, she said.

A foot in the door.  The thing that all actors dream of.  She gave this agent a call the very next day.  Within a few hours, she had sides for an upcoming audition.  Wow…fast…

The Prep

From what she could tell, she was auditioning for a film where she would play a young, “outdoorsy” woman imprisoned by the elements in a post-apocalyptic tent city occupied by post-apocalyptic camp folk.  Gritty – but she was up for the challenge.  If there is one thing that NYU teaches you it’s how to fucking work a script – and work the script she did.  She rehearsed the scene over and over again with various friends and mirrors.  She broke the lines down into objectives and actions, came up with a character history.  What was it really like to not know where your next meal was coming from?  To have lost everyone you have ever loved in a single moment?  To be born into a world of eternal night?

The day of the audition comes and she dresses herself in her most “outdoorsy” outfit. Ripped jeans and an oversized flannel shirt.  Construction boots.  Before she goes into the building she stops by a planter and smears her face and arms with dirt.  She goes into the waiting room to find…she might be a bit overprepared.  The room was full of potential “camp folk ladies” dressed in high heels, mini-skirts and bust-enhancing halter tops.  Kendra sits her skinny, 22-year old ass right down in the midst of them, closes her eyes, and starts in on her sense memory prep work.  Finally they call her name.

The Audition

She walks into a room with three men sitting behind a table and a camera on her.  They all get really quiet and start looking at each other.  She hands them her resume, which they literally don’t know what to do with.  She sits down and reads her sides, oh no I’m sorry, KILLS her sides.  By the end of the 10 lines, tears are making tracks down her dirty cheeks.  There is a long pause before one of the producers speaks.

“Wow, you can…act!”

“Well…ummm…yeah…”

“Are you free for a shoot on Thursday?”

“Tomorrow?”

“Yeah.”

“Umm…maybe…”

“Great.  I’m assuming you are okay with nudity.”

“Oh.  Okay!  Well, yes I am if I believe that is artistically called for and, of course, not exploitative.  I’d have to read the script first, and come to an understanding with the director and my scene partner.  Create a “safe space” where I can work comfortably and efficiently expand in my role in terms of the overall story telling.”

“….right.”

“What is the nude scene?”

“…well, there’s actually a couple.”

“Hmm.  I see.  I see.  What is the context?”

“Umm, well.  A wolf or a zombie or like a postman or something, we haven’t come up with a final draft, like, tries to kill you or something and then a gang of survivors kills him.”

“Wow.  Intense.”

“But then they get so like riled up from the adrenaline that they…well they all fuck you.”

“Mmm-hmm.  Mmm-hmm”

“And you’re kind of not into it at first but then it’s like YOU TOTALLY ARE, you know?”

“Mmm-hmm.  Mmm-hmm”

“And then…well, they all blow loads on your face.”

“So…it’s not really a matter of…supplies for survival…”

“Like lack of food?  Oh no you’re good.”

“It’s just a matter of me…”

“Waiting to get penetrated from a gang of blood-hungry night warriors, yes.”

“Mmm-Hmm.  Mmm-Hmm….”

Kendra stopped talking, picked up her bag and made her way to the door discreetly.  As if she were somehow invisible and they could only perceive motion by sound.  Incidentally, this was an actual exercise that they made us do in NYU undergrad.

The Oprah Effect

I woke up in the middle of the night last night in a cold sweat.  It finally hit me.  I will never be an audience member at the Oprah Winfrey Show.  And then the bigger, much more disgusting truth slapped me in the face:

OH MY CHRIST I WILL NEVER BE ON OPRAH!

I can’t say it was necessarily an active fantasy of mine to be on Oprah.  I think it was a dream I cultivated when I was 12 – that magical age when the world owes you a favor.  And there it has lived and over the years, just grown into a part of my inevitable story line.

I would go on Oprah and do a color guard routine or play the bassoon.  The interview would end.  I would hug Oprah briefly and kiss her on the check while she said “Really good.  Really good.” over the applause.  Then I would go back to the green room and start gathering my things.

OPRAH: “Knock-Knock.”

ME: “Hi!  Listen that was great, thanks so much for letting me come on.”

OPRAH: “Yes.  That was amazing. I mean really….amazing!  I just feel like…there was Mandela and then there was you, you know what I’m saying?  BEST GUEST EVER!”

ME: “Don’t mention it.”

OPRAH: “So…what are you doing now?”

ME: “Probably going back to the hotel and then heading for the airport.”

OPRAH: “You’re leaving tonight!?”

ME: “Yeah, got to get back to New York.”

OPRAH: “Damn.  Okay, it’s just some people are coming over to my house later and…”

ME: “Ohhh…wow.  Wish I could.  Really, that sounds great…it’s just…”

Oprah’s phone rings.

OPRAH: “So sorry, just give me a second.”  (She picks up her phone)  “Gayle?  Yeah, I’m asking her now…She’s literally standing right in front of me.  I know!  I’m trying to convince her.” (She winks at me)  “I know!  Okay, okay.  I’ll ask her…just…Gayle, Gayle, GAYLE!!  I’M HANDLING IT!!”

She hangs up the phone.

OPRAH: “Listen, I’d be willing to lend you my jet tomorrow if you wanted to stay and hang out for a bit.  Or the next day even…let’s just see what happens, play it by ear you know?”

ME: “I just can’t.  I’m sorry.”

OPRAH: “Oh…okay.  Well here, I wrote down my number here so you can just call me or text me and then I’ll have your number and then you’ll have my number and I’ll have yours, blah blah blah.  And I wrote down my email and home address…”

ME: (heading for the door) “Fine.  Really, thanks so much.”

OPRAH: “So I’ll call you later?”

ME: “Great.”

OPRAH: “Or you call me.  Or I’ll call you.  What time’s your flight?  Hey, you know what would be great?  I’ll call you before you take off and we can make fun of the other people on the plane.”

ME: “That sounds like…fun.”

OPRAH: “Fantastic.  Love you so much!”

I know now, that this will never happen.  But, I also have this fantasy where Bono starts crying after I perform my slam poetry.