Monday, November 28, 2005

Chocolate Lies and Other Stories


My parents are without a doubt the most disobedient people. The most notable element of my Thanksgiving was when the terrorists won, via taking advantage of my parents' weakness- disobedience- doing things their own way- not following directions terribly well. I am no dumb cookie. I know a terrorist act when I see one. So the woolens were not pulled over my eyes as my family tried to enjoy an innocent new purchase this holiday weekend. The chocolate fountain. I know what you are thinking-
"oh nice! happy fountain of chocolate! yay I am looking forward to sticking things in there!"

And while my office hasn't attempted to make use of this tempting invention, my parents innocently purchased the chocolate fountain in a well meaning attempt at filling all of our lives with more animated liquid chocolate than was previously in our lives. Perhaps my parents, disobedient as they are, did not follow the proper recipe for making fountain worthy chocolate, but I suspect otherwise. The machine did not warm the chocolate enough to make it very liquidy. It was much more like plops. The unpleasantness of it all- what with such grand expectations and excitement for what was supposed to be a pleasant evening of dipping and coating, was surrounded by bitter remarks and general grumpiness. There were also excited, very messy children.

Now my family handled this with general disappointment and some "ew, gross' and a little bit of "you're doing it wrong!" But I couldn't help but think about all of the other families out there with less fortunate attitudes. The ones undoubtedly screaming, children crying, with chocolate all over treasured carpets and party dresses. It's unfortunate, but obvious, yes yes, the terrorists tried their damnedest to mess things up again. But we are wise to it, and we Finks don't let anyone drag us down. When recognizing that you have been foiled, it's best to keep in the best spirits possible, and meet adversity with a smile. But by all means, do not let this evil invention into your home.
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No one is immune from the joys of posing with the famous.

So I was at this party on Wednesday night that had a high per capita concentration of celebrities. And I see Heather Graham, and I am kinda drunk, and I ask her if I can take a picture with her. And she's kinda like falling over drunk and says "nah". I always feel so stupid asking celebrities if I can take a picture with them. But I've got quite a cool collection of pictures with the famous from the past few years, and though I've always felt so stupid asking, I've always been pretty happy with the results.

Why? Why do I care about these kinds of things? I've had friends tell me, "eh, I don't care much about celebrities or hangin with them." Because in places like New York City, it's not all that odd to see or spend time with some reknown individual. It is actually something that we city folk have grown accustomed to. Now I don't know if they are being snobby, pretending that they don't care and are cooler than the famous people. Or maybe I am the snobby one with occasional bragging rights. But I know why I like it. It's that Forest Gump effect. The story of a life woven in with so many universally interesting moments. Celebrities, historical figures, icons of pop culture- these people shape our society. They make history. They impact and influence our daily lives. And many of them got there for being really great or outstanding in some way. We watch shows about them and our sense of fashion is changed by them. And historical figures, well, they're colossal in their own sense. To be able to look at my life and say, hey, I had this moment with this great person- just makes me smile. To share the earth with great and talented people. Or just newsworthy. I've got a pretty funny picture with the nasty Donald Trump.

I respect the best of the best. But more than that, and above all else- these silly encounters and pictures make great stories. Stories are great. Stories last. I get excited at the thought of having kids and telling them some day about that time that mommy shared a plane ride with President Clinton, a man who'll just be in their history books. When my dad tells me his stories of when he used to know Jackie Kennedy as a kid, or Steve Forbes in the army, or Harley Davidson Jr in college, it's just mesmerizing. Pop culture is just great. It's like- look at what we people have come up with! Great stories. Stories are something we all treasure, what's got me thinking about that is this great play I saw last night
"Walking in Memphis, The Life of a Southern Jew" written and starring Jonathan Adam Ross, or JAR.
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The greatest thing I got from JAR's play was a renewed sense of just how wonderful our stories are. Everybody has theirs. Every family has their stories that have been told over and over again. And he has made a play about his. Now at first I asked myself, is this guy really doing something any of us could do? Just telling our great stories we treasure- the ones shared at dinner tables over and over again? Yes, he is- but in "Walking in Memphis" he actually pays the stories the careful attention they so rarely receive. Our stories are glorious, and here he is, sharing them with his obviously well instructed gestures and intonations. Every time he imitates another person in a story, he really acts them- becomes the character, effectively taking you to his moment and his memory in his mind far more vividly than your dinner table fare. It was disconcerting to learn that some of his stories weren't entirely true- but he addresses this to the audience saying that he's aware of it and he "doesn't give a shit". Good stories are embellished and changed over time, and I guess it's what makes fairy tales magic. Though for the gullible folk like me, it always makes me sad to find out things aren't true.

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Performing Stand-up at Variety Underground again-
www.varietyunderground.com
This Thursday.

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