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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Improvisation Strongly Discouraged

I call myself a writer often enough, though my I.D. badge from work says "Psych Tech & Allied Therapist." Then again, it could be wrong. My driver's license says, "5'11" and we all know that I'm 6 feet of pent-up aggression, charming mania, social awkwardness, and limb fur.

Calling yourself a writer is rather a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it's one of those respectable things to call yourself, that makes people say, "Oh!" instead of "Oh." Of course, I don't get paid for writing, at least not regularly, and so that begs the question, "Are you only a thing if you get paid for the thing?" I mean, when I'm acting, I don't get paid, but I'm still probably acting.

Probably-- although, when I informed a former coworker of mine that I frequently appear in G&S operettas, he asked, quite innocently, "Oh, and do you also, like, do you act, too?" The unbearable seconds of silence that followed this question were most likely harder for him than for me.

The main thing that's troublesome about calling yourself a writer is that it sort of increases the expectation in most people that you will, you know, write. I suppose I have brought the "I will post something on here everyday" thing on myself, but I don't regret it, not for a second, and I certainly wouldn't ever be so crass as to blame you for it. Just because you may have been conditioned to expect something doesn't necessarily obligate me to deliver on it. I mean, look at "Dear Apron." For a while, it was a sporadic thing, whenever I felt like it, then it became an every Friday thing for maybe nine months or so, and now it's sporadic again. I mean-- whatever.

I did feel guilty about not blogging for six weeks or whatever it was-- but, I needed to find a job. And, now that I hate my job and realized I'm working with psychopaths-- some on the payroll, some not-- I need to find another one. Don't worry, though, as long as there's money rolling in, I won't leave you again.

There's another troublesome aspect to calling yourself a writer, or maybe in just believing yourself to be a writer. You want to write-- you want to write... for everyone. I don't know if this is true for all writers, or some, or just me and Dave Eggers, but I have this irritating little habit of wanting to write little scriptlettes for most of the people in my life. I find myself saying, "Gee, wouldn't it be really great if she said this right now?" and, "Oh, I just know my rotten outlook would do a 180 if he responded to me with this, instead of that." and what about the awesome, unanswerable and quite frankly dangerous, "Why couldn't she have just said this!?"

Well, because she didn't, a-hole. And because there's no answer to why questions. That's why.

I failed the bench-press portion of the police physical agility test I took on Saturday. I blew the doors off the 300M sprint, and even the mile-and-a-half run. I squeezed the trigger of an inoperable gun into a four-inch barrel nineteen times with my right hand in 10 seconds, and eighteen times with my left hand in 10 seconds-- you had to do it twelve times. But lifting 120 pounds up over my head-- could not be done.

Just like in 2003. Instant. Replay. Just add a few lines under my eyes, a few white hairs on my head, and more dark ones on my ears.

When I called my wife to break the bad news to her, her responses were clipped, brief, short, and depressed. She was "very disappointed," as was I. I, of course, had set her up for failure by expecting she would say certain things that, in my heart-of-heart, after knowing her for seven years now, knew she would not say, because it simply isn't her.

"I'm sure you gave it your best shot!"

"You'll get 'em next time, buddy!"

"I'll bet you were really close."

"Hey, I'm sure you did better than a lot of other people."

"You will do this one day, I believe in you."

"I'm sorry you're disappointed, but I support you."

People usually do not react the way you want them to, in most, if not all, situations. I can't tell you how many times back in high school I was in a bedroom alone with an attractive female friend and wished that she would have walked over to the door and pushed in the doorknob lock after deciding today was the day she was going to model every item in her underwear drawer for me.

How many times I wanted a mentor to say, "I'll take care of you-- you're a genius and will be an asset to my business-- here's a job. And health insurance. You and your wife can go have a baby now. Hope it's triplets."

How many times I wanted my father to say something to me that wasn't mispronounced, broken English, obscenity-laced and simple.

Well, just like preconceived reactions and verbalizations from peers, family, friends, those things just don't happen. People deviate from the script all the time, because they don't know there's a script to begin with, because it's inside the writer's head, blocked from their view by cerebrospinal fluid, a myelin sheath, and a thick, truculent fuck-of-a-skull. And a lot of brown hair.

And a few white ones, to fool you into thinking that I'm no longer a little boy with unreasonable, unrealistic, uncompromising expectations-- of people, and of self.

1 comment:

  1. Unlucky!

    Oh no, sorry that's not right...

    Get 'em next time tiger.

    I am the worst person for this.


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