Daydreams and Fantasies

Everyone wants to be famous.  If anyone has ever looked you in eyes and said “You know, I don’t care for fame,” you were looking into the eyes of a liar. I think most people want that rush of having to make their way through a crowd of screaming adoring fans, to be invited to the most exclusive events, and to be asked their opinion on a multitude of topics while on camera for national broadcast.  What’s more, I don’t think such desires translate to an inflated ego or megalomania, rather it’s just a sign that you’re human.

Wanting to be famous is wanting to be valued more than your worth.  Don’t believe me? Okay, even if you despise Dane Cook (as you should) you know who he is, right? Now, without looking it up, can you tell me what Joseph Lister did? Give up? He discovered anti-septic surgery! Dude is the reason that millions upon millions of people were/are able to have lifesaving surgery without dying from infection, but instead of knowing that you know who Dane Cook is…Dane Cook.  Think about that. Honestly, let’s admit that there are very few famous people who deserve to be famous.  Oh, you disagree? Then how come more people can tell me who the hell “Snooky” is, but draw a blank when I ask them the same question about Abigail Adams…No, it’s not the little girl from Little Miss Sunshine.

Look, I’m not saying that being famous makes you overvalued scum.   I’m also not going to claim that I’m immune to craving fortune and glory.  I regularly have daydreams about being profiled on some TV news magazine for a variety of reasons—writing a literary bestseller, leading political/cultural movement, or foiling a terrorist plot in a Die Hard like scenario (It could happen!).  But in the past couple weeks certain events have made me think about what it means to be famous and I’m beginning to think that maybe it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Earlier this month, 80’s teen movie star Corey Haim died. Early reports seem to indicate that it was an accidental overdose of illegal prescription drugs. If anything Haim’s death illustrates the dark side of fame.  Money and notoriety can get you in the door of the most exclusive parties, but it can’t cure the addiction that may come with it.  Why is it that there is such a wealth of personal tales detailing drug and alcohol problems out of Hollywood that it’s practically become a cliché?  We applaud those that overcome it and empathize with those who don’t, yet we never question why it happens so readily.  Where does the idea that because you were in Lost Boys you can take half-bottle of oxycontin a day and not have a problem come from?

Meanwhile Lindsay Lohan filed a lawsuit against e-trade because one of the company’s commercial features a “milkaholic” talking baby named Lindsay.  Lohan’s lawsuit is a trifecta of fame-induced egomania.  Not only is she claiming she’s a first name star (she isn’t), but that people would recognize the commercial as referencing her (Uh…I don’t think anyone did until she suggested it), and thusly she’s entitled to $100 million (What the hell?!).   My friend Christine was actually excited at the news, because, as she says, “it pretty much gives me the green light to sue Stephen King for his book Christine. Aside from the obvious name similarity, I always thought that the characteristics of the character drew a clear parallel to my life.” Wait, wasn’t that the one about the car that came to life and killed people?   “Yep. That’s right. Clearly a rip off of my life,” she said, adding later: “Hello $100 Million!”

And most recently Sandra Bullock’s husband, apparently, cheated on her.  I’ll be honest here: I couldn’t care less about that fact.  But it seems most people do. And as much I can attest that Sandra Bullock staring in a film is the main reason I won’t go see it, even I don’t think she deserves to have all this played out in the media.  Hey, your husband cheated on you, that sucks. Oh, and EVERYONE in America knows about, mainly because of your recent career success.  I think that’s motivation enough for her to unleash Miss Congeniality 3 on the movie going public as payback.

This month alone we’ve seen that the excess of fame can last well past one’s success (Haim), the constant attention can lead to unbelievable heights of self-aggrandizing (Lohan), and that even your most embarrassing personal problem can’t stay private (Bullock).  And yet people will still resort to almost childish means for their 15-mintues of national attention, something I like to call “Balloon Boy Syndrome.  The most example of this: the guy in California who quite possibly faked his out of control Toyota Prius.

I think that, in the end, as much as I want to be famous, I just as badly want to have a life of substance. I want to be able to keep things in perspective, especially my own self-worth, and still have my privacy.  I still want fortune and glory, but if I never get it… well at least I have the consolation that it definitely has a downside.

[Pic via]


A couple days ago, I was having a rough day at work.  Without going into too much boring detail about what it is I specifically do to keep a roof over my head, I was filling in for a sick co-worker and had to deal all the other office drones (something I loathe).  To vent my frustration, I quickly jumped on Facebook and let loose via my status message.   It was short. It was succinct.  I referred to my co-workers as “mutants.”  I felt so much better afterwards.  Did you just shutter?  Do you think you know where this going?  Want to know what happened next? Nothing. Why? Cause I’m not a moron.

It seems that when the first adopters of Facebook, college kids, brought the social networking site with them to the workforce, older co-workers, bosses, and supervisors joined as well and a new era in office politics was born.  The internet is strewn with tales of Facebook causing workplace conflict, some even resulting in people losing their jobs, as in this rather infamous status update of one young lady with a reply from her boss:

So it’s understandable that people are apprehensive with commenting about their work on Facebook and whenever I post a rant about work I receive several comments that I should watch what I say about my employer.  One friend even suggested that it may cost me possible future positions elsewhere. A sentiment my mother also made a while back when I was being considered for a position with a rather prominent publishing company and she called to remind me to “clear off your Facebook anything offensive.” It made me imagine how that would play out in an interview:

Potential Employer: Well, we think you’re perfect for the job. It’s just that I’m a little concerned about something you wrote on your Facebook status a while back.
Me: Oh, was it the one from college where I said I was going to get so drunk that I was going to “take advantage of myself”?
Potential Employer: No.
Me: The one where I admit to also sleeping with Tiger Woods?
Potential Employer: Er, No…
Me: I know. It was when I called John Meyer “His Royal Doucheness, the King of Douchetania, land of the douche bags.” Wasn’t it?
Potential employer:

As hokey as it sounds, Facebook is supposed to be an outlet and I shouldn’t have to censure myself.  Everything I post on there is exactly what I say to my family and friends.  Yes, maybe I would never say it to the people I work for, but that’s why I’m not friends with them and keep my profile private (I’m only connected with two people I work with and they would never rat me out to management, mainly because they say the same things on their profiles).  The day I watch what I write on Facebook is the day I quit.

[Okay, I admit it: I’m copping out with a cheap “listicle” for this post. Give me a break, it’s Monday and I had a rough weekend. So, enjoy…]

I’m a man of many talents. I can pontificate on the symbolism found in 80’s action movies, hold my own in drinking a surprising large amount of whiskey in one sitting, and make a fairly decent omelet. But alas, there are some skills which I simply do not possess though wish I did. With the New Year coming up soon, it could be my chance to finally pick these seemingly effortless abilities. Unfortunately, I suspect they will remain gaping holes in my repertoire. Without further ado:

  • Carrying an umbrella
    I don’t know what the hell I’m doing wrong here, but I can’t properly carry an umbrella. I’m either getting soaked down my back or its getting caught in the wind and turning inside out. Then, I’m sure to pass to some suave impeccably dressed ass holding his umbrella perfectly balanced over his well entrenched area of dry space. And he’s always sure to give me a pitying look. Motherfucker.
  • Closing roller window shades
    I recently got a new apartment. And the windows to my new bedroom feature those rather inexpensive vinyl shades, I immediately wanted to move again. Here’s how these things work: you pull them down to cover the window and block out light (or hide your hideously pale nude body from your neighbors when changing) then have to tug them to activate some apparatus that rolls the shades back up. For some reason, I can’t do this and it takes more than a dozen attempts to get the thing to retract EVERY SINGLE TIME. But there’s the rub, those who can get the damn thing to pull up in one try cannot comprehend not being able to use such a simple mechanism and thus are unable to describe how to do it. It’s like one of those test that kung fu monks give children they suspect of being the reincarnated soul of their master—they either intuitively know how to do it or they don’t.
  • Remember to brush my teeth
    This one isn’t entirely my fault. I think my parents should share part of the blame. For some reason, they used to let me slide on going to bed without brushing my teeth and then totally left to my own devices in regards to my oral hygiene. So I never got into the habit of doing it twice a day, everyday. But I’m sure as hell going to make my kids do it. And when I’m pointing a shotgun at them from the bathroom doorway and they’re shaking with fear as they squeeze Crest onto their toothbrushes, I’ll say, “You’ll thank me when you’re in your twenties.”
  • Fly a kite It’s ironic that in describing the first skill on my list I admitted that whenever I’m holding an umbrella it gets caught in the wind, because I can’t do that with a kite.  Flying a kite looks like one of the most satisfying and fulfilling experiences one can have in this world. But when I try, it simply crashes to the ground and lays there… much like my soul.

Let me begin by explaining how I “sort of” have a dog.  He’s not technically my dog, but rather my girlfriend’s. You see, Kate (my girlfriend) adopted Marshall a bichon/poodle/maltese mix (that’s him in the picture to the left), the same month that we started dating and he’s been a heavy presence throughout our relationship.  Whenever we make plans, we have to consider how it will fit in with giving the dog his evening walk.  When I come over, the dog flips out and demands attention from me as soon as I walk in the door.  During naps on the couch, he’ll wiggle his way between my legs and fall asleep.  So for all intents and purposes, I consider Marshall my dog too.

So when I found this picture of a little dog wearing a miniature scuba suit (see below), I know there was only one thing to do: get one for Marshall.  First off, let’s step back and think about this for a second. A dog in a scuba suit. Two things that you’d think would never combine in anyway, but do—like some sort of mythical beast.  I don’t know why that pairing works so well together, just like I don’t know why chocolate and peanut butter taste better mixed than separate—I just know that it’s awesome.   And as soon as I saw that picture, I knew what I was going to do it.   “I’m going to get this for my dog,” I said out loud to myself.

Now, here’s where I think I should explain a little bit about Marshall.  The dog had a rough life before Kate got him.  He was abused for years.  He’s missing several teeth and a chunk of his tongue (I suspect from being kicked repeatedly).  He also walks with a limp due to a broken leg that didn’t heal properly.  And despite an annoyance with other dogs that try to sniff him (especially bigger breeds), he’s very young at heart for his age of about nine (closer to ten) human years, which makes him a cantankerous fifty-something in dog years.  He’s a badass for a dog and I have the best way to explain his personality to people is to analogize him to Sean Connery.

I can already see him walking along by my side with his goggles pushed to the top of his head and his flippers smacking against the pavement, maybe a tiny speargun or diving knife holstered to his front paw.  Thus, I’m adding it to my list of life goals (AKA “a Bucket List”).  Right there, below “publish a novel,” “learn to surf,” and “solve a murder,” is “walk down the street with my dog while he’s dressed in a scuba suit.”  It’s going to be awesome.

This last weekend I moved into a new apartment.  The experience inspired me to create a new game.  I call it, “the couch moving challenge.”  Why don’t you try it with your friends and see how you do?

To play, you will need: Three players, a fifth floor New York City walkup apartment (that means all stairs and no elevator, for you country folk), a huge black leather couch, and an illegally parked U-Haul truck.

How to play: Player 1 exhausts himself before the game by moving all the possessions he owns in the world over two days into said apartment while Player 2 does the same by loading his belongings that morning into the U-Haul.  Player 3 gets back early from a trip and reluctantly calls Player 2 to ask if they need his help, to which Player 2 says “God, yes.  We’ll need your help with this huge couch.”  Player 3 halfheartedly makes his way to join the game, while Player 1 and 2 further stain themselves by unloading the rest of the truck.  Player 3 joins the other two participants and the game is ready to finally begin.

Player 1 and 2 show Player 3 the couch, the route from the U-Haul to the building, and the front doorway.  Player 3 balks and tells players 1 and 2 they’re crazy.  All three then lift the couch off the truck carry it down the street and to the delight of onlookers somehow manage to squeeze it through the front door of the building.  All three carry it down the front hall and cajole it up the first flight of stairs. On the second floor landing, the players can take a break and congratulate each other on how the first flight is cleared and there are only three more to go.  They then pick it up again and manage to get it to the third floor landing (literary, halfway there) when tragedy strikes- the couch becomes stuck and it is obvious to everyone involved that it will not make it any farther.

Player 2 cries and punches his beloved couch.  He calls it an “unfaithful whore.” Player 3 gives Player 1 an accusatory look that he isn’t lifting enough; Player 1 contemplates shoving Player 3 down the stairs.  Player 3 just wants to get the hell out of the game. Player 1 then tries taking off the one inch legs to se if that will give them just enough room to slide the offending sofa by…it doesn’t work.  Finally, the couch is carried back down to the street and left on the corner—because player 2 needs to get the U-Haul truck back by 4 PM or they’ll charge him an extra fee.  All three players end up feeling defeated and impotent.

Who wins? “Is it like Risk or Monopoly where the only victors are frustration and boredom?” you may ask.  “No, there are winners in this game: the lower class family that Player 1 saw take the couch home later that night and Player 2 cursed to enjoy the comfortable leather cushions “and then die.”

[Pic via]

janetSo I don’t know if you heard, but the FCC is reopening its investigation into the Janet Jackson 2004 Superbowl Nipple slip.  This is how I imagined the assignment went down:

“It’s over five-years after the fact,” Malone said to Captain Meyers as he watched the beefy older man lean back from his desk, chomp down on a cigar, and light it.  Before he was his boss, Meyers used to be Malone’s partner.  Malone would even go so far as to say that when he was starting out,  Meyers had been his mentor…maybe even his friend.  But all that changed when Meyers took the promotion the Brass had been bugging him about.  “Kind of a cold case, no?” Malone continued. “Any forensic evidence is long gone.  Witnesses’ memories will be unreliable.  Are any of the original investigators still with the department?  Hell, are they even still alive?”

“Goddammit, Malone!” Meyers shouted, slamming his hand down.  “When I tell you to work a case, you work the case!  That boob is still out there walking the streets– waving its sunburst nipple ring around. Find out who’s responsible and bring ‘em in!”

“Fine,” Malone said with a grin. “But if I’m on this, I’m going to take it wherever it leads.  No matter how high up.  And whatever shit comes, you better back me up.”  He stormed out of Meyers’ office before the fat old has-been could get a word in edgewise.  He knew he had carte blanche to crack this sucker, as usually.  Malone went to his desk and picked up his two best friends in the world, a colt .45 and a flask of Jameson.  One was loaded; the other would do the same for him.  By the end of the day, both would be empty.  That’s how it is when you’re with the FCC.

DC[Editor’s note: The Wordy Ninja went to see Kevin Smith at Carnegie Hall last night and didn’t get home till very late and, because he’s like an old man/baby, is exhausted and in a cranky mood.  Also, he was NOT picked to ask his question.  So today’s post will be a list.  Deal with it. ]

I’ve been described as a cynic, an angry young man, and the “real life Dr. House.” Okay, no one ever called that last one, but I am contemptuous of rules…And save lives, damn it!  Once, just after meeting a friend’s girlfriend for the first time, she turned to him and asked “Oh, wait…is he the angry one that hates everything?” To which my friend smiled and nodded.  In keeping with that statement, I present a recently devised list of human beings that make me tremble with anger.  If you see yourself here take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.  Also, feel free to add your own entry in the comments section below.

  • People who walk slowly in the middle of the sidewalk AND are overweight.
    You can’t be one and the other. If you walk slowly in the middle of the sidewalk, you should be skinny so I can easily weave around you.  If you take up a large amount of space (Hey, I’m not judging.  I like pizza too.)  then either walk fast or stick to the sides cause I am tempted to shove you out of the way.
  • Women who find Dane Cook attractive/funny.
    Apparently, these ladies exist.  I guess when you have all the charm and wit of a college fraternity’s resident date rapist you can not only have a mediocre movie career—but also become some sort of lame sex symbol.
  • Guys who wear t-shirts while swimming.
    Look, I’m not exactly rocking six pack abs over here.  I’ve had my husky times and have gone to the beach, but come on guys, you’re not fooling anyone.  What do think will happen? Some girl will see you and say, “Mmmm…I bet he’s got a really hot body under there”?  No!  Everyone knows what you’re hiding.  Oh, and to the rocket scientists who wear white t-shirts: You do know they become translucent when soaking wet, right Chubs?  That kind of defeats the purpose, no?
  • People who wear sunglasses indoors.
    Sunglasses were created to block out blindingly bright sunlight.  And if you’re wearing them in the one place were there is no sunlight (like the subway) and you’re not playing poker, you’re basically letting everyone who sees you know that you wear sunglasses to look cool and are thus a shallow prick who only cares what people you don’t know and who don’t know you think of you.
  • People who respond to celebrities they follow on twitter.
    I feel this action is only acceptable if your actually friends with said famous people or calling them out on some bullshit.  But if you’ve ever tweeted something like “Hey @BradPitt, just say Fight Club on cable last night.  You were awesome!” then you’re a moron.
  • Writers who cop out and put together pieces that are just lists because they’re too lazy to actually create segues from one thought to another.
    I think I need to start going to therapy.

[Pic via]

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