Sunday, January 22, 2006

As seen on TV

Every once in a while I have a moment when I turn and look at something in my life and exclaim-thankfully with one of the voices that remains inside my head-"Wow, that looks just like a commercial!" Then I sink into a momentary depression about the wafer thin depth of my character. Because I was, at that brief moment of discovery, overjoyed that my life had indeed, if for only an instant, achieved parity with The Life I Should Be Living. Which is, of course, The Life Inside the TV. That world of surprisingly well lit bars full of goodlooking people-full but never crowded-where the best looking woman in the place sits absolutely alone, waiting for your beer order so she can stare, really, stare at you, letting you know with her eyes she's been waiting all night for someone to order that magic slipper of beers, and you, Mister, apparently the first person to order a Budwieser all night, are about to go on the Ride of Your Life.

And it will work out. Oh sure, you'll have fights. These will all involve you standing underneath a cascade of your belongings as they vomit from the third floor window of your probably-San Fransisco-but-could-kind-of-be-anywhere apartment. She's yelling, but she's really more a model than an actress, so it will be mostly you, looking up, folorn as she hurls your stuff.

But not all of it. Rest easy, because somewhere in that apartment is a product so special, so valuable, such an icon of all that brought you together, all you Were, she will not be able to part with it, and as a function of that, you. So you will indeed get older together. For a while. You'll spend your youth eating snacks at parties in the surprisignly well-lit apartments of your friends. You'll drive compact, sporty sedans in bright colors along miles of coastal highway, stopping now and then to marvel at glorious views, always surprised you are always the only people there. Occasionally you'll camp. You'll do this because yor vehicle can, at any moment, do this. Transport you there. What stories you'll have! For even though your campsite is always immaculate, darnit all if a wandering bear or a couple of talking vermin don't always seem to wander by!

And you will get older together. At least you will. Your beer bride will age at only around 2/3rds the speed you do. When you met, you were both in your early twenties. Now you're around 40, she's 32. Sometimes your kid or two gets grumpy and makes an adorable "grumpy face" but usually they just sit on the porch and speak to each other as adults, albiet with adorable speech impedimentsBecause they are adorable. By this time of year you have usually, finally, got around to taking the christmas lights down from that fir tree you put them on as it stood alone up in the sublime, snow covered meadow a short hike out the back of your house. What was it doing all by itself there? How did the lights light up without a noisy, stinky generator? You shake your head in wonder at the Magic of the Holidays.

There are other errands. No matter how many times you tell her you don't need one, that sweetheart just can't help herself and yep, sure enough, at the bottom of your stocking this car keys. That girl... So, there's swinging the old car by the dealer, and of course, stopping by the bank to put last year's diamond jewelry in the safe deposit box. No, you just couldn't help yourself either. You... Besides, that look of absolute love when she opened the box; it let you know you had been on the Ride of Your Life.

Yep. Thats the life. The Life in the TV. And this morning, just before I sat down here, I walked to the kitchen for the coffee I left there and saw the mug, backlit by the kitchen window, steam curling up off the contents, and my life and TV life were the same. Is that so wrong?


  1. You, sir, are brilliant. This is a postmodern masterpiece. Thanks for entertaining me as I sit in a casually lit, jazz playing in the background, indie coffee shop just full of devastatingly attractive twentysomething urban hipsters. It couldn't be more perfect. Thank you. Really.

  2. I trust the coffee in the cup was Folgers? Because the best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup.
    Life does have its moments, even if they are manufactured, scripted, backlit and in soft focus. Still, it's a moment.

  3. Hey, you wanna know what's funny about this to me. At Thanksgiving my family and I went to England and caught the train from Bath to London. My sweet husband had gotten me a nice mocha latte at the train station, and I too watched as the steam rose steadily in the crisp morning air of the train platform. And as I too contemplated my special coffee/commercial moment I actually noticed I was actually standing next to Tony Head (he said his name later as he auditioned over his cell, script in hand) the English Maxwell House coffee guy from the late early 90s (?). So I mentioned this (subtly) to my husband. He looked at Tony and Tony nodded at him and then my husband looked at me and said, "who?".

  4. What kind of vitamins have you been taking?