Friday, January 30, 2009
Today is a better day.
In fact, things are better overall than they were a year ago.
For I have seen The Other Side.
I used to think there was only one side. Life was very two-dimensional. And even when life appeared three-dimensional, it still wasn’t enough. I wanted one more dimension.
I have seen The Fourth Dimension.
I haven’t spent a long amount of time in either of these places; The Other Side or The Fourth Dimension. But at least I now know they exist.
So there are two worlds for me now, whereas before there was only one; one that became increasingly smaller day by day. Moreover, I know that one world out of the two is better than the other. When I am in the new world, I apprehend its superiority with both mind and heart. When I am in the old world, I can only apprehend the superiority of the new world with my mind alone.
For when I’m not in The Other Side or The Fourth Dimension--even though I will have visited them just hours (or minutes!) before--I am convinced that I shall never see them again.
Or if I convince myself that I shall see them again, my desire to visit them is gradually snuffed out like a dying ember. You may say to me, “But why don’t you go visit The Other Side or The Fourth Dimension if you are so much more at peace there?” and I will say to you from the gurgling blackness of a heart strangled by material desires, “Why would I want to see those landscapes that are so beautiful when I know they are only temporary? Would that not just compound the misery I now feel? To apprehend such beauty only to have it snatched away when I least expect it?”
Plus, I don’t know how to get to the new world of my own volition. I possess no key to The Other Side. I paid no fare to see The Fourth Dimension. I arrived at them accidentally. Or perhaps some formless grace that emanates far beyond even that which we call the event horizon became as a giant cosmic hand and stretched itself forth to pluck me up from the prison of myself and grant unto me a spiritual parole.
What is this new world? Well, empirically, it looks and sounds the same as the old world. Which is a relief. For there are too many beautiful sounds and sights I would hate to lose in the abandonment of the old world. Physically, I function in the same fashion in the new world as I do in the old.
I think there’s only one difference, really. And that one difference makes a world of difference. A world of difference between the old world and the new world.
The direction of my concerns, my cares, my emotions and my thoughts is inverted. In my soul, I replace a mirror with a window.
One afternoon, about three or four months ago, I was walking in Chinatown (the one in New York). As the sun set, I found myself troubled by manifold desires such as I have never been before. It really doesn’t matter what the desires were, for having now glimpsed (albeit briefly) this new world, I know that (in the end) all desires are essentially one and the same. Specificity in regard to desires is mere window dressing (or mirror dressing!)
Just that morning, I found myself actually enjoying those desires. That is, anticipating their fulfillment at some point in the linear future. Do you know what I mean? Like the feeling of wanting to fall in love? Or the belief that if you just persist at something, eventually you’ll receive riches and fame? These aren’t bad feelings. If, that is, one can control them; to prevent them from growing gargantuan in one's mind--eating away all other concerns; not only for others, but also for one’s own psychological well-being.
But by the end of the day, those same desires that I had flirtatiously enjoyed that morning had indeed grown gargantuan! In fact, I thought, as night fell on lower Manhattan, that I would rather take my own life than go on desiring! I couldn’t imagine living another hour with the noise of want that was SCREAMING IN THE ECHO CHAMBER BETWEEN MY EARS!!!!!!!!!!!!
Suddenly, I found myself, by choice or by accident I still know not, at the doors to the Buddhist Temple near the Manhattan Bridge. I had been there many times before, but never in a state of spiritual despair.
I flung the red doors open and, in front of the massive golden Buddha that sits peacefully at the center of the temple on a flowered dais, I fell to my knees on the padded prayer pad beneath his mystical and idolatrous presence.
I clasped my hands as if I were in a church. And I said in front of this renowned Eastern image what essentially was a Western-styled prayer; hands clasped and head bowed, thus I whispered:
God, help me. . .help me. . .my desires are going to kill me. . .help me. . .save me from my desires. . .
I was afraid to finish the plea, yet I didn’t know what else to ask for. All I knew was that it was too early to return to the outside. I remained indoors lest I return to the despair that I knew lie beyond them. So I just kept asking the same thing over and over.
Help me. . .please, help me. . .don’t let my desires kill me. . .help me. . .
Then my refrain eventually condensed into only: Help me. . .help me. . .help me. . .
I must have been there two or three minutes when suddenly the two words escaping my lips were altered dramatically.
Thank you. . .thank you. . .thank you. . .
????????????? thank you ??????????????????
I didn’t know why I was saying “thank you” at first. Nevertheless, I couldn’t stop saying it.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I didn’t mean it at all. Not one iota. Gratitude was the furthest thing from my mind. I even said it through clenched teeth, with venom and bitterness in my heart.
Thank you! Thank you! Goddamnit, thank you!
I remained on my knees for at least another five minutes as a feeling of contentment slowly--and I do mean slowly!--washed over me. Eventually, I stopped saying “thank you” and started whispering it. Then I stopped whispering it and started thinking it. I got up from my knees and looked toward the ceiling and then at the golden Buddha whose shining head almost touched it--all the while with this new and strange loop playing in my mind: thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. . .
I left the temple thinking only: thank you.
And I went to where I was going thinking only: thank you.
As I went to where I was going, I saw people differently from how I had viewed them only minutes before. No longer were they a nameless, faceless mass conspiring to be in my way. Instead, they were The Way. A gorgeous sea of individuals each precious in their singularity. I stopped to talk with strangers. And as I talked and listened to them, thank you were still the only two words evident in my consciousness. How utterly different the world appeared! Everything seemed so indescribably beautiful! I felt so. . .innocent.
That was my first visit to the new world. It lasted about four days. I’ve been back about three or four times since then. The longest I’ve been there is about five days. More interestingly, the shortest duration I’ve been away from the new world, since discovering it, has been less than twenty-four hours. This new record was set yesterday evening when I left the old world yet again and returned unto the new.
Wish you were here!
You ask me why I believe in God.
I ask if you know the cadenza to Beethoven’s Violin Concerto.
You ask me why I believe in Angels.
I ask if you have heard The Beatles sing.
You ask me why I believe in Miracles.
I ask if you have read of the pilot who landed on the Hudson.
You ask me why I believe in Good and Evil.
I ask you which side won World War II.
You ask me why I believe in Providence.
Because I went looking for help and found gratitude instead.
You ask me why I believe in Salvation.
Because I said Thank you. . . with my lips,
while screaming Fuck you! with my soul.
Posted by Will Franken at 3:11 PM
Thursday, January 29, 2009
I'm sorry. I may have come across a little positive in my latest blogs; conveying a sense that things were going to be okay after all and I might finally be achieving something that had always eluded me: happiness.
I was wrong. I spoke too early. I'm embarrassed now. There is no happiness for me.
This contemptible organ, the brain, what is its purpose but to kill me? How I wish it were a tooth in my mouth that might be extracted.
My heart is heavy and nothing can lift it. It is a stone thrown into its own lake of blood. . .sinking fast. . .
I cannot swallow, the lump is too large.
I cannot breath for apathy prevents me from inhaling.
It seems as if I can only exhale. An infinite release of air that starts once, but ends never.
This body has seen enough. . .
Once I told a psychiatrist who wanted to put me on bipolar medication:
"Look, man. I just want an anti-depressant. I want to keep the mania. Take out the bottom part and keep the top. Cut the string, that's all. Let the balloon float."
"Let the balloon float. . ."
"L et t h e ba ll oo n f l o a t
l e t t he ba l l o o n f l o a t
l e t t h e b a
l l o o
t . . .
Posted by Will Franken at 3:07 PM
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I believe in God. I always have. I don’t know how to define that God. But I do call it God and not "Higher Power". "Higher Power" is just a new age way to say God. I’m not new age. So I just say God. It’s easier to say God.
But it offends more people than "Higher Power". Good.
I’ve never been an atheist, even though I wasn’t raised in a religious family. But neither was my family composed of secular humanists. We weren’t intellectuals. We were blue-collar. We didn’t make enough money to be secular humanists. When times got tough, we called on God. True, it wasn’t often. Grit and self-determination carried us as far as it could. But once in a blue moon, we’d have to fall on our knees and turn our eyes toward heaven.
There isn’t much to be smug about in a blue-collar household. Secular humanism cannot exist without smugness.
True, I was agnostic for many years. Until my early twenties, I thought I’d play it safe and straddle the fence. Then I discovered Pascal and Blake and Aquinas and Augustine. Then I opened my eyes and I realized how daft I had been! Miracles were everywhere! How incredulous it was to conceive of existence as mere accident! What smugness, indeed!
So I believe in God. That’s probably why I have such a problem with Islam. We have two different conceptions of God, the Islamic world and myself. I don’t like theirs. My God creates and does not destroy. My God advances and does not retard. My God unshackles and does not imprison. My God is art and not censorship. My God is God and not allah.
Am I saying that the Christian God is better than the Muslim God? No. In fact, I haven’t even said that I was a Christian. For I am not. But I bet that's what you thought I was talking about, didn’t you?
That’s because I use the term God. And not "Higher Power". Or "Mother Earth". Or allah.
All I am saying is that My God is better than theirs.
Monday night, I was at a dinner in San Francisco following a show. I was having an argument with an atheist friend of mine.
I really enjoyed the argument. He didn’t believe in God and I did. I thought I was making some great points. He didn’t. Still, it was fun. Like I imagine a tennis match is for people who don’t smoke.
Then a girl came in and sat at our table. The discussion stopped there. I have learned that when it comes to women, it’s best not to talk about religion or politics until after you have taken them to bed.
The girl began talking about roller coasters and how much she enjoyed them.
I told her that I also loved roller coasters.
She said that she liked wooden roller coasters.
I told her that I preferred steel roller coasters. Then I asked her where she had come from.
She told me that she had been having a discussion with some friends at another bar and had become bored.
I asked her what the argument had been about. She said that it hadn’t been an argument. It had been a polite discussion.
I told her that I preferred arguments. That it was fun to draw a line in the sand and engage in ideological fisticuffs. She told me that she preferred polite discussions. I disagreed and said that arguments were better.
“Okay,” she said, “Well, you and I can have an argument about wood versus steel roller coasters.”
“No,” I said, “That’s boring. How about this one: My friend over here doesn’t believe in God and I do. Let’s get into that.”
“Well,” she said, “I’m an agnostic, so it doesn’t really matter to me.”
“Oh, I know what it’s like to be on the fence, too. But let me see if I can get you to fall down from it.”
Then I tried to use an experiment I picked up from C.S. Lewis to convince her of the existence of an underlying moral code to the universe (separate entry to follow). She began to panic and motioned frantically for my atheist friend to come and help her out.
She began talking about right-wing Christian extremists, even though nobody had mentioned the name of Jesus Christ. The Spanish Inquisition was alluded to, even though nobody had brought up Catholicism. Sexual repression was decried, even though nobody had mentioned Puritanism.
The panic was solely about God.
Not "Higher Power", not "Mother Earth", not the "Wise Buddha", not "Ganesh". . .
My atheist friend and the girl teamed up against me. At one point, the girl threw up her hands in disgust and said, “Why should we even have this conversation? You’re never going to convince me and I’m never going to convince you, so what’s the point?”
“Because,” I said, “my beliefs wouldn’t be worth anything--even to me--if I didn’t try to convince anybody of their truth. The same goes for any philosophical belief, scientific proof, or political platform. That’s the essence of progress. If you’re convinced of the truth of something, what’s the point of keeping it to yourself? What if Edison had refused to share his discoveries for fear of being impolite?”
The tennis match continued. Doubles against a single.
Then I lobbed what I thought was a really good one: “What I find telling is that you described yourself as an agnostic. But for some reason, the moment I mentioned God, you started clinging to my atheist friend like a life preserver. As an agnostic, couldn’t you just as easily have been pulled this way? You seem to have the jumped off the fence, all right. Without any struggle at all, you've landed in the pastures of non-belief.”
Later, my atheist friend and myself had a cigarette outside.
“You know,” he said, “I think that agnostic girl likes me.”
“She probably does,” I said, “after all, you’re the atheist.”
More than "Higher Power", more than "Vishnu", more than "Xenu", more than "Goddess". . .
How that one word still has the power to attract or to repulse.
You’ll find it standing just outside of Nature. For that is Its creation.
Posted by Will Franken at 2:15 PM
--for I knew that as soon as I got off the stage on Saturday night, that it wouldn’t be too long before that familiar Loneliness made its presence felt again. It was such a beautiful night. Actually, it was a very beautiful week overall. It seemed that each show got progressively better, culminating in one of my favorite performances ever on Saturday night. Hence, my reluctance not only to say goodbye for the evening, but to leave San Francisco and the Purple Onion yet again.
Thursday at the Eureka Theatre was a litmus test for myself as a writer. I had done so many podcasts and written so many blogs over the past months that I had, I felt, neglected my duties when it came to writing new live material. Adding to the drought was the emblematic struggle of making ends meet in New York City.
Writing for the internet had made me dependent on two things: technology and solitude. The stream of my ideas raged as torrential as ever. Yet having opened the Pandora’s box of studio creativity, every comedic idea thenceforth was seen as a potential recording project; replete with manifold layers and sound effects. A far cry from those days when I lived in my car at the Berkeley Marina and managed to write multi-character pieces without the aid of a computer.
And the solitude required by studio creativity made me in turn more afraid of my audiences, where I had not been before.
Moving to a new place in Jersey City last December seems to have unleashed something in me which I had often feared over the last few months had disappeared: the raw excitement of standing in front of a mirror and bellowing out comedic pieces in anticipation of performing them for a live audience.
My interpretation of the Geico Lizard as a cockney football hooligan met with success right off the bat. The laughter it received reinvigorated my confidence in my ability to write single character monologues reacting to an unseen second party. Not only that, he’s very fun and easy to perform, thanks to the primal rage I’ve infused in him. Anger is my favorite emotion, for it is so familiar to me.
Yet my favorite of all the new pieces I brought with me to San Francisco is undoubtedly "The Humility Award". Ever since seeing Eric Idle lampoon Richard Attenborough in the final episode of season three of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”, awards presenters have been among my favorite characters to play.
"The Humility Award" is a self-contained absurdity. What truly humble person would allow themselves to be the recipient of The Humility Award? The applause the bit received was worth more to me than the audience will ever know. I loved it so much that it was the only piece I repeated over three consecutive nights. I loved it so much, in fact, that on the DVD footage of the first night, you can actually see me stifling a smile once I apprehend that the audience and I are on the same page.
That’s right! It was all filmed! All three nights! That was the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae of my post-show afterglow. Everything was filmed. Preserved to be packaged and sold. A product I will proudly sell, despite my longstanding aversion to commerce.
But boy, how I dreaded to get off that stage Saturday night! The Purple Onion is my home, as Mario, the owner, is always so good to tell me. It’s moments like those that remind me of how far I’ve come and how far I have yet to go. From some socially-retarded bookworm in small-town Missouri to being embraced by the Italians of North Beach.
“Life,” says Bruce McCulloch in a little-known Kids In The Hall piece, “is a pretty sweet fruit.” Indeed.
Or as King David wrote in his psalmic glee, “My cup runneth over.”
Either sentiment is apt, although I find myself repeating the latter with greater frequency than ever.
My cup runneth over.
Also, I talked with Michael Ian Black (Viva Variety, The State, Stella) a good deal in the hotel lobby this past weekend. That was a major turning point . You see, I have always been afraid of people who appear to be more succesful than me. Because, I suppose, I am afraid of myself and my own defects. I am afraid of my jealousy. I am afraid of my competitiveness. I am afraid of my pride.
So I went down to the lobby two or three times to get some coffee and each time I saw Michael Ian Black at the far end of the lounge. It’s hard to describe it, but his presence at first bothered me. I knew there was somebody in this hotel who was more successful than me. So each time, I would get my coffee and turn back to the elevators to go up to my room--troubled, depressed, and feeling like a failure after having seen a success.
But the third time, I decided to do something different. As I turned towards the elevator bank with my coffee in my hand, I instead turned around and went and introduced myself to Michael Ian Black.
My approach to things has failed me in a lot of ways. I called myself an artist as a defense mechanism, not as a statement of confidence. I let others call me a genius and privately relished it with an unending megalomania. I told people that I kept to myself because that’s just how I create; failing to mention that solitude and misanthropy were the blinders I wore against having to witness the success of others.
Michael Ian Black shook my hand and invited me to sit down. We were joined by other members of The State who were rehearsing for their reunion show as part of Sketchfest. He told me he had enjoyed my show on Thursday which surprised me because I wasn’t aware he had even been in the audience. It also relaxed me because I felt like an equal, which is, I hate to admit it, one of the most relaxing things to feel like.
On Sunday, before heading to the airport, I had another conversation with Michael Ian Black. We talked about the “business” of comedy and the psychological effects it can have on a performer. I won’t reveal any specifics of the conversation out of respect for confidentiality. But it certainly was illuminating inasmuch as I can say that I am not alone in my neuroses.
God bless you, Michael Ian Black.
One must separate one’s psychological well-being from the roller coaster of one’s occupation. Not only comedy, but any vocation. It’s all the same. I see it now. The realm of the spirit cannot be shackled to the contingencies of the material. Spirits can only live unfettered.
When I think about how I’ve often looked at the world and my place in it, I’m surprised that I’m still alive.
There was a new bartender working Saturday night at the Purple Onion. Usually, it’s A.J. This time, it was a new guy, Luka. As I was rehearsing my set on the sstage, Luka was singing very loudly in Italian behind the bar.
It sounded like the chorus to the early Bee Gees song “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You”--about a man on death row about to be executed. I asked Luka if he was singing the Bee Gees in Italian. He said that he wasn’t. The he continued singing the same Italian passage.
So for five days, I’ve had the chorus to that Bee Gees song in my head:
I’ve just gotta get a message to you!
Hold on! Hold on!
One more hour and my life will be through!
Hold on! Hold on!
I was waiting for the NJ transit the other day. I was the only one in the waiting area. The reverb was beautiful. So I sang at the top of my lungs:
I’ve just gotta get a message to you!
Hold on! Hold on!
One more hour and my life will be through!
Hold on! Hold on!
I didn’t want to leave the stage Saturday night. The people were so beautiful. The night was so beautiful. The sound of their laughter was the sound of the host of heaven in divine orgasm.
I didn’t want to leave the stage Saturday night. Because I know that tomorrow follows today until today becomes a yesterday. How many yesterdays can one man’s past hold? Till the seams should burst and all yesterdays rain down upon his head until his very life itself should become an endless shower of yesterdays? No more todays? No more tomorrows?
No, this cannot be. I am looking at things with backward eyes. I must invert what I have inverted till the upside-down is right-side-up again.
Babies are not crazy. They have not had time nor resources to drive themselves insane.
The flight was nearly empty going back East. I am so tall, it was nice to stretch out across an entire row. I watched a Richard Gere movie called Nights In Rodanthe. It was predictably atrocious. I laughed when the leading lady cried. I laughed at all the sad parts. I am not completely cured of my cynicism. Nor would I desire to be. I must maintain a little schism; a little cognitive/emotional split between what I do and what is expected of me by the "good society". Just enough of a crack in the Spirit to allow Freewill to exist. Automatons do not get to heaven.
The flight attendants brought me four pre-packaged dinners when I called for them. I am not a regular comedian. I love airplane food. It was a feast fit for a king such as myself who reigned at 36,000 feet above the earth’s surface.
Oh, I hope we never land. . .I said over and over to myself. . .let us go higher still. . .
The flight attendants brought me as much coffee and Dr. Pepper and orange juice as I could drink.
My cup runneth over.
I hope we never land. I don’t want the show to end--
Posted by Will Franken at 2:02 PM
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Well, I'm in San Francisco to do some shows, but I came in early to do another show last night. So my hotel isn't ready until Thursday. But this nice family, a friend of a friend, is putting me up until then. So when I got here from the airport, I was all jet-lagged and sad. Then I go to this really nice house and there's a husband and a wife and a son and a beautiful greyhound dog and they were all so nice and look so happy and content with their lives that sometimes I wonder about the choices I've made in this life. Maybe things could have gone differently, I suppose. Maybe I could have had a nice family and a nice house and a nice dog if I had just followed some other path.
This was my state of mind a few hours after arriving.
Also, I tend to get very horny up in the air. Especially when I'm sitting next to a cute chick. If she's curled up in a blanket and sleeping and turns off the light above, I fantasize that we're in bed together and she's going to sleep and I'm staying up to read.
When she wakes up, usually around landing time, I have to resist the urge to say, "good morning, honey!". So on Sunday, this girl next to me on the plane wakes up as we begin our initial descent--she had been sleeping throughout the entire flight. She even had on one of those fancy eye covering things. (What are those things called, by the way?)
As soon as the plane heads in for final approach, she scrambles through her purse and starts furiously putting on makeup. I swear, it was like she was two different people! For five hours, she was snuggling under a blanket while I watched some shitty pre-selected Richard Gere movie and wondered what her name was and if she was dreaming about how cute I am. Then the moment we touch down, she's ready to hit the town with somebody else! The nerve!
By the time I made it out of the terminal to grab a cigarette, I had forgotten all about her. And then--wham!--she walks right past me and embraces this gelled blonde guy and they drive off together in his Porsche.
So I get the snoozing girl in the Continental Airlines blanket and he gets the rouged Renoir. Didn't she know we had a relationship in my head?
Also, I got a haircut Saturday in Jersey City. It was at one of those annoyingly trendy places called Balance. A sign outside read:
OUR HAIRCUTS WILL GET YOU LAID!
So I went in and talked to a group of very beautiful girls and asked them how valid the offer was and if they could absolutely guarantee that I was going to get laid via one of their haircuts.
"Oh, yes!" they said with girlish glee.
"Should I cut it all off? Will that get me laid? I ask, because the last time I remember getting laid with any frequency, my hair was a bit shorter."
"Hmm," said Christina, the girl at the appointments desk, "I don't think you should cut it short."
"No," said Sasha, one of the stylists, "definitely keep the length. You just need to give it some shape."
"Yeah? And you think if you girls give it some shape, that'll get me laid?"
"Oh, definitely," said Sasha. "Long hair is sexy. You just need to give it shape. Right now you've just got a big triangle."
"Well, a triangle's a shape, isn't it?" I asked.
"It is, but it's not a good one."
"How much is it for a haircut?"
"45 dollars," said Sasha
Jesus Christ, I thought as I took the Lord's name in vain. "And I'll really get laid if I do this?"
"Definitely!" they all squealed in unison.
I asked for some time to think it over. The price was steep, but the idea was stimulating. I could pay a girl forty-five dollars to play with my hair while I talked to her about wanting sex. Cheaper than a prostitute and virtually no risk of disease. Two minutes after leaving, I pulled out my cell phone and called the number on the card they had given me.
"Hi, this is Will. We met about two minutes ago. I don't know if you remember me or not. I was the guy that wanted to get laid."
"Yes, I remember," said Christina.
"Well, I think I want to do this. Can I have a five o' clock appointment?"
"And, uh. . ." I cleared my throat and said in a hushed tone, "will Sasha be the one cutting my hair?"
"Yes," said Christina.
"Good. . .I like Sasha. And. . .uh. . .how does it work? I just bring the money when I come in?"
"Yes, that'll be fine."
I had three hours to kill before my date with Sasha, so I went home and did the laundry, had a nice shower and a shave, put on some deodorant and some nice clean clothes. I wanted to look good for my haircut.
When I arrived at five o' clock on the dot, I was really nervous. That's how I always am with women. When I first meet them, I'm okay. I can tell jokes, flirt, be confident, the whole ball of wax. It's just when I have to see them a second time that things get all fucked up.
That's when I start to worry about whether or not I'm repeating jokes or if she's had enough time to think about what a repulsive human being I am.
So I was much more subdued when I saw Sasha the second time. I stood sheepishly at the counter, waiting for her to appear.
"Hey!" she said, springing up behind me on those bouncy girl's feet.
"Oh, hi Sasha. . .(gulp!). . .h-h-how are you?"
"Are you ready for your shampoo?"
"You bet!" I said, my pulse starting to quicken, my throat starting to dry, "let's do it. W-W-Where should we go? How does this work?"
"Jason's going to take care of you right over here."
I furrowed my brow. "Jason? What do you mean, Jason?"
She led me to a chair that was being manned by a slender mulatto man with a very large afro and a purple keffiyah. "Hi, I'm Jason!" he said in a well-honed camp.
I turned to Sasha with a fierce whisper, "What's all this about?"
"Jason's going to do your shampoo."
"But you're cutting it, right?"
There was a look of fear in her eyes. "Yes. . .I am."
"I mean, that was the deal, right? I give you the money and you cut my hair?"
"Yes, I'll cut your hair. Don't worry. . .I'll cut your hair."
"Cause I don't want a haircut that's going to get me laid by men. That wasn't the arrangement. I want women, you understand? Lots of 'em. Young, supple. Lithe. . .slippery. . .drippy. . .bendable. . ."
She started to slowly back away. "Yes. . .I'm. . .j-j-just going to get my station ready. . ."
"Keep the chair warm."
Jason took forever shampooing my hair. Honestly, it seemed it would never end. I started to think he was taking delight in torturing me--in keeping me away from Sasha as long as he could. I've washed my hair before and it's never taken that fucking long. It was almost like he was shampooing each hair individually.
When Jason finally released me and sent me over to Sasha, I felt completely emasculated. Here I was, approaching this extremely attractive woman whilst wearing a long plastic miu-miu with a towel for a scarf and a head of wet hair on a scalp that had just been recently massaged by a flaming mulatto Palestinian sympathizer.
I'm sure that was all part of the Sasha's little plan. Take a big strong man like me and try to humiliate him with a queer shampooing. She's probably a goddamn dominatrix in her off-hours. Cooze.
Yeah, I had a grudge, all right. So much so that when I finally sat down at Sasha's chair, I didn't even know where to begin with the small talk. I was downright fuming. So I just picked up from where I had left off earlier.
"So you really think you can get me laid with this haircut?"
"Definitely," said Sasha. Snip. Snip.
"And that's all it will take? Just a haircut? I won't need to change my personality or make tons of money or listen to horrible music in some fuckin' dance club?"
"Definitely," said Sasha. Snip. Snip.
"I'll just. . .get laid? Just like that, huh? Pretty nifty. So about how long do you think it'll take?"
"For the haircut?"asked Sasha. Snip. Snip.
"No, to get laid."
"I don't know. I guess it all depends," said Sasha. Snip. Snip.
I could tell she was losing interest in talking about me getting laid. So I tried to liven up the conversation by sermonizing on the death of romance and culture amidst the ideological wreckage of postmodernism. Snip. Snip.
I discussed C.S. Lewis' notion of the preexistence of a moral code to the universe and how that correlated to Immanuel Kant's conception of an innate morality existing within each individual human. Snip. Snip.
I touched briefly on Baruch Spinoza's model of the universe as an infinite and undefined substance from which particulars emerge in recognizable empirical paradigms. Snip. Snip.
Then I looked in the mirror to see what she was doing to my hair.
"This is going to get me laid?"I gasped.
"Yeah. You look like Eddie Vedder!"Snip. Snip.
"I think I look like Princess Leia!"
"Trust me. It looks good."Snip. Snip.
"It's all bouncy on the sides!"
"That's cause you've got curly hair."Snip. Snip.
"I thought I had wavy hair."
"No. You've got curly hair. This brings out the curls." Snip. Snip.
"I didn't have any curls!"
"Yeah you did."Snip. Snip.
"Nuh-uh. I had waves."
"Those were curls."Brush. Brush.
"I beg to differ. They were waves. Like short, choppy waves. After a jet ski goes by."
"That's what curls are."Spray. Spray.
"Excuse me, but whose fucking hair is this anyway? They were waves!"
"I have a degree in cosmetology and you have curls!"Blowdry. Blowdry.
We argued for a little bit longer about the difference between waves and curls. Then, despite the fact that I didn't even orgasm, I paid her the money and felt ashamed for being one of those creepy guys that has to actually pay for a haircut.
I called a friend later and told him what I had done and how I had been seduced by the sirens at Balance hair studio.
"You surprise me sometimes," said my friend, "you're such a sucker to commercial culture."
"Look, man," I said, "I've done the artist thing. Now it's time to grow up and face the facts. We live in a shallow world and I just want to get in on the ground floor."
So that's probably why I'm sad right now. Sometimes I want to get in on the ground floor and I get mad at myself--
--cause I know I never will.
Posted by Will Franken at 10:48 PM
Monday, January 12, 2009
Where I live, I have no internet.
This is why I haven't been blogging.
I have moved into my own place in Jersey City, NJ.
Now I can be as loud as I want at the top of my lungs.
And so I am now writing live comedy again. (I WAS DYING CREATIVELY IN WOODHAVEN!)
But I have to check my internet at a cafe where they play horrible world music and twenty-year old women with taupe skin and Obama buttons serve me.
(I would fuck this one behind the counter now, though :))
It is harder to concentrate here.
When I first moved into my new place, I had perfect internet for four days. It was really fast! I used "linksys".
Then, all of a sudden, it wanted a password.
I have been all over my apartment and there is one spot, if I move my bed and almost close my computer and hold it flat against the wall two feet above the floor, where I can get internet for thirty seconds before it freezes up.
I have to type with one hand and hope that I do not jostle the computer in the process because I will lose my thirty-second connection and will have to keep clicking the airport thing at the top of the screen until "Fon-Fon Free-for-All" appears again.
I think people are stingy with their internet on the east coast.
The last time that I had a thirty second internet connection with my computer pressed against the wall and almost closed between the space where my bed and the wall is--I googled "How to hack into wi-fi"
I tried some of the tips, like typing "admin" for any WEP password.
But to no avail.
So, maybe it is for the best. As I say, I am writing live stuff again.
I miss blogging, to be sure. But I have big shows coming up in San Francisco in a few weeks
I thought that I would never write comedy again, but I am working on the following:
A bit about a lizard.
A bit about the Gaza Strip.
A bit about Facebook.
and many more.
Speaking of which, it bothers me when women on Facebook post pictures of themselves with their babies. Not that I have anything against babies. It's just that it makes Facebook less of a networking site and more of a wallet.
Posted by Will Franken at 4:03 PM