Can You See Me Now?
You know those cell phone commercials where the guy keeps asking if the person on the other end of the line can hear him? You ever have those days where you think others can't see you? Where you feel invisible? Shop clerks don't seem to notice you, deli counter people, waiters ditto, and co-workers [unless they want something from you, then you are tres, tres visible] same thing. You wonder if instead of your raincoat you've donned your cloak of invisibility. But wait, that's still in the cleaner's. I've determined it's not that we sometimes seem invisible to others, it's just that to each of us we are the star of the show; others may either have bit parts, walk-ons, cameos, or are simply silent extras or 'background'. So, next time you feel you are less than visible, just find your key light and turn your better side to the camera.
PREQUELS, SEQUELS, REMAKES
Latest newsflash from Hollywood: A sequel to Beetlejuice is being discussed/planned - whatever the hip jargon is for this sort of thing that, of course, I am not privy to, not being a hip Hollywood insider.
My first question was WHY?! For the love of God, WHY?! There are warehouses full - I repeat, FULL - of optioned screenplays just pining away and yellowing from years of inactivity and shameful neglect (and a sporadic if not lazy cleaning crew). When I hear news like this I either fly off the handle (as in NOW), or freeze as though playing Statues and silently panic thinking, Good Lord! All the writers on the planet have died! What an appalling, cataclysmic event! There will NEVER be another NEW idea again.
Then I get a grip, realizing I am still alive and I AM A WRITER! And so the torture continues.
We writers of the new thinking, we writers of the fresh ideas, we writers who put a quirky, clever spin on things giving an old story a new twist, suck it up. Apply a little ice to the bruised jaw (and ego) where we took this latest slam and with an attempt at a semi dignified toss of the head, we march onward. On to our legal pads, PCs, laptops, micro-cassette recorders - whatever and whichever tool(s) we prefer to put down for all time our NEW, FRESH, INVENTIVE ideas for stories that would make audiences laugh, weep, gasp, cling to their seat mate in terror, or maybe just spend 120 minutes knocking back some über priced Jujubes and a watered down soft drink to try and forget about the crappy day they had with some entertainment.
AND, many, many of these scripts are devoid of expensive explosions, costly car chases requiring all kinds of payouts for permits to close down highways and neighborhoods in order to capture the carnage, and not a speck of computer generated images in the bunch. Now, while I feel sorry for the actors who will lose wages for not having to don the lime green skin tight technical suits with ping pong balls attached in various locations to enable the CGI folk to make the magic happen, I can get over this.
Some days I feel like Martin Short's character Nathan Thurm (he of slicked down hair, greasy face and endless cigarette ash) who was wont to say, "Is it ME or is it HIM? It's HIM, isn't it?" Some days I feel like Colin Clive as the original Dr. Frankenstein crying, "It's alive! It's alive!" in that way of warning others of something potentially scary and dangerous about to happen. And yet, [spoiler alert if you haven't seen this 1973 film] other days I feel like Charleton Heston shouting, "Soylent Green is PEOPLE!" My point being I feel the need to spread the word, not unlike Peter Finch in Paddy Chayefsky's brilliant Network. C'mon, you know the line. That's right, now I want you to go to your window and open it and shout out, 'I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!' [Ah, Paddy we hardly knew ye.] Of course, other days I feel like Billie Jenkins who so aptly put it in her genteel way, 'Guess I gotta find a new liquor store.
P.S. The big scuttlebutt is: Who will take over the Michael Keaton role of Beetlejuice? The answer is: Michael Keaton IS Beetlejuice and don't nobody think otherwise.
P.P.S. OK, now I'm really getting PO'd. I realize I may be the last to know in many things, but I just learned that they are REMAKING Superman! For the love of God, WHY?! I don't even want to know what the budget is for this idiocy. I'm sure it is an obscenely inflated amount. An amount that could turn all 10 of my novels into screenplays, produce them in a very tasteful way, and still have money left over.
P.P.P.S. What's the deal with Johnny Depp and his people asking Disney to cough up $250M to make The Lone Ranger with Johnny as Tonto. Now, sure Johnny made 87 of those Pirate movies for Disney and they raked in many billions, but how much do those silver bullets cost? Seriously.
P.P.P.S. And when the Hollywood geniuses decide to make a Gone With the Wind prequel, sequel, or remake - and they will - the answer will be the same. Nobody can replace Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, so just quit it. No, I mean it. Stop it already.
My Life as a Cat
Maybe it’s the narcotics. Generic, but still….The notion occurred to me that emulating my cat would be a good thing to do while recuperating from knee surgery. So far, Addie, my lovely gray over green one-year-old cat, is winning the sleeping portion of the contest. She’s pushing four hours straight and I’ve done about 45 minutes with a ten minute interruption due to shooting pain. Despite the fact that she is lithe and limber and I am neither of those things (even pre-surgery), I do not wish to invoke the handicap system used for under par golfers. Fair is fair. Unless I lose. Then the rules will be summarily resorted.
While my children are most caring and attentive, and though I lie here prostrate, a ridiculously high pile of pillows supporting the operative knee, none of them has rubbed my belly, or scratched behind my ears, or offered a brusque yet loving chuck beneath the chin.
Addie gives me a knowing glance, flicks a paw and begins the ceaseless licking that rocks the bed as though the mattress were filled with water. Not to be outdone, I too flick my paw, er, wrist and study my hand, marveling at how little bruising I have where the IV was inserted. Rather than lick the back of my hand directly, I lick the tip of my right index finger and gently rub at a bit of particularly stubborn adhesive. When her seemingly inexorable cleansing ceased, her purplish pads land her silently on the floor and she scarpers off to the kitty box. I draw the line. My orange-stained leg stumps along, swollen and stiff with puckered sutures erupting in tufts in an isosceles triangle shape and blue marker lines giving the knee the look of a hurried football game maneuver.
She descends the stairs with the poise and elegance of a ballerina. I grip the banister with one hand and palm the wall with the other, taking it one slow step at a time, not unlike a toddler and am relieved to have made it to terra firma without a humiliating and painful prat fall.
With an alacrity only attributable to felines and Olympic hurdle jumpers, Addie leaps from a standing position to the kitchen counter, landing silently and flicks her tail at me in a, there, now you try it. Even with a running start of twenty feet, I couldn’t land atop the counter – well, perhaps head first, and certainly not with the grace that Addie showed. And, I remind her, I am under doctor’s orders not to run.
She knocks back a few ounces from her water bowl and I slug from a bottle of water. She swats at her catnip toy and I down another pain killer. Together, we slowly mount the stairs for the sanctuary of my room where, presumably, we’ll have some groovy dreams.
I write, therefore, I am.