Friday, October 08, 2010

In Finer Fashion - The Fall of Autumn


-If you’re a Chilean miner who has been trapped beneath the Earth’s surface in a cramped mineshaft for the last two months, for how long after your liberation will you think of every day as divine? Remember that woman who missed the ill-fated flight from Brazil to France, the one that plunged into the ocean, only to die in an automobile accident two weeks later?

-Lobster Bisque from a can is never going to be as good as you hope, even if it says “Gourmet” on the label.

After the improv class finished, I immediately began a freelance job doing administrative work for the website Howcast. It provided structured 10-6 hours, a cushy office with free cereal and coffee, coworkers who choose to communicate over gchat even when sitting directly next to each other, and no questions asked when I headed home for two weeks in August. My college friend Luke was getting married in the Upper Peninsula. Watching him tear up at the altar while he watched his bride descend the aisle was like witnessing a redwood cry. It caused me to well up before I could detect what was happening.
“Who rubbed horseradish under my nose?” I asked aloud, searching for the culprit amongst my friends.


Man, do I like the band Frightened Rabbit. All three albums = stellar. After hearing an interview with the lead singer I found myself mimicking his Scottish accent in the shower last night. Once when I was drunk I thought about penning them a fan letter before quickly coming to my senses. There was in fact nothing quick about it, rather I was too drunk upon returning home and passed out right away. The last and only fan letter I've written (excluding pornstars) was inexplicably sent to MMA fighter George St. Pierre following his shocking upset loss to Matt Serra back in 2007. He seemed like such a classy guy...and that French-Canadian accent.


Though it seems like a distant dream of a different person nowadays, I attended Interlochen Arts Camp as a youth, from ages 10-13. My subjects of focus were piano and acting, the former of which is a non-entity in my present, whereas the latter persists as but a fantasy unsubstantiated by action - the kind where I star in the film I write and direct that becomes a hit at Cannes and propels me into the annals of greatness and onto the cover of Vanity Fair, the masses and fashionistas hailing me as the next iconic sex symbol who will single-handedly end the reigns of Taylor Lautner and Angelina Jolie.
I bring up Interlochen because today at work I used google and Facebook to track down one of my closest friends from that period, David M., grandson of the camp's founder. We were both scrawny little late-bloomers, though he bloomed earlier than I. One summer he showed up and was so proud of his development that he pranced about the cabin showcasing his mangina. I laughed nervously, praying to God I wasn't next on the chopping block. My pubes wouldn't come for several more years, a fact my brother never lived down. Once in a fit of desperation I glued hair from a fake beard to my underarms, and as I kissed my father goodnight, lifted my arm in exaggeration so he could glimpse at my manhood. He didn't care. My brother on-the-other-hand made me pay with ruthless insults and slapping, not fooled for a second by the foolish ruse.
David continued right along in pursuing the talent he began cultivating during those early summers. He's currently getting an MFA in painting at Indiana University. We laughed (via LOL's) about how our first counselor stood us shoulder to shoulder, examining our backs and telling David he would be scrawny as an adult while I would be muscular due to my v-shaped back; this same counselor who transformed into a rageful tyrant after his hero, Jerry Garcia, died that summer. Who knew Deadheads could be so mean? I believe this was the same summer David fell out of the top bunk and his leg caught in the metal frame. He writhed in pain while dangling upside down as I looked on from the bottom bunk. We reminisced about another boy, Elias from Mexico, who always had a pack of chili candies and perpetually stained red lips (probably from popsicles). And then there was the older Aquinas who was extraordinary at ping-pong and chess. Aquinas once had me stand between him and another boy as he screamed into my ear as the other boy attempted to hear the scream pass through my head and out my other ear. The tinnitus lasted for days.
I always wonder if the people I remember from long ago will remember me, for many of the people who remember me I fail to recall. As a boy, all the kids at Interlochen seemed as they might as well have been from faraway lands. When you're 9, there's no difference between living an hour away and residing in China - they're both insurmountable distances.
Two of my best friends from Interlochen similarly attended the University of Michigan. We were unsuccessful in refurbishing our bond. I always remembered the fact that Jens had been bitten by a brown recluse spider and nearly died an infant. He had struck me as fearless, much like my schoolboy pal Danny Demay who taught me to do standing front flips as an 8 year old, shaking off failed attempts of landing on the head like a gossamer on the shoulder. I can only assume the quality of genuine fearlessness, reckless abandon, is one that resonates with me for it is so far from my natural state. At Michigan, Jens joined a frat and we ran in different social circles.
And then there was Marc R. Marc had been my hero at Interlochen. He was a Mexican-American of European descent, tall, swarthy, good-looking, and with a freckle in his eye. As an 11 year old, he drove the girls wild before we even knew what girls were. No idea what he attended Interlochen for, but at Michigan he would captain the crew team, and while we never reunited in person, he was material enough for lore transferred by way of friends. As campers, the only spat we ever got into was over taking turns at playing a cabinmate's violin. We had to catch the bus and one of us didn't get a fair turn. I called him a 'big bitch.' He didn't much care for the insult. I impulsively issued it again. That's when he cracked the handle of a broomstick against my elbow. And then what did I do? I called him a 'big bitch' one final time before taking off in a sprint. As we reached the bus, being that he was taller and drastically more athletic, he caught me with one final shove that sent me careening into the vehicle's side. I'm sure we reconciled, but that's my most definitive memory of Marc R.
Interlochen. I don't want to say I was a poseur, because at that time I was talented in regards to piano and acting, but what became of them?


And now for some Fitzgerald quotes:

"By her three minutes of utter unwavering indifference the girl had lifted herself from a high but somehow casual position in his mind, to be instead his complete preoccupation. However much his wild thoughts varied between a passionate desire for her kisses and an equally passionate craving to hurt and mar her, the residue of his mind craved in finer fashion to possess the triumphant soul that had shone through those three minutes. She was beautiful - but especially she was without mercy."
"The growth of intimacy is like that. First one gives off his best picture, the bright and finished product mended with bluff and falsehood and humor. Then more details are required and one paints a second portrait, and a third - before long the best lines cancel out - and the secret is exposed at last; the planes of the pictures have intermingled and given us away, and though we paint and paint we can no longer sell a picture."
"There was one of his lonelinesses coming, one of those times when he walked the streets or sat, aimless and depressed, biting a pencil at his desk. It was self-absorption with no comfort, a demand for expression with no outlet, a sense of time rushing by, ceaselessly and wastefully - assuaged only by that conviction that there was nothing to waste, because all efforts and attainments were equally valueless."
"With a stray boyishness he saw himself a power upon the earth; with his grandfather's money he might build his own pedestal and be a Talleyrand, a Lord Verulam. The clarity of his mind, its sophistication, its versatile intelligence, all at their maturity and dominated by some purpose yet to be born would find him work to do... With no record of achievement, without courage, without strength to be satisfied with truth when it was given him. Oh, he was a pretentious fool, making careers out of cocktails and meanwhile regretting, weakly and secretly, the collapse of an insufficient and wretched idealism."