Saturday, March 31, 2007

Twilight Zone

Someone told me a joke last night which I’m sure I’ve heard before. Sometimes I wonder if we don’t laugh loudest at the ones we keep in sub-conscious memory. Like they sound new, but somehow they resonate.

Anyway it was the one where the big corporate boss is interviewing 3 applicants for a job and he gives each one $10,000, tells them to spend wisely and come back in a week and report. First one has bought some really great clothing, a great watch and a car, to look appropriately classy as an employee. Second donated the money to the boss’s favorite educational charity. Third takes the $10,000, buys stock, turns it into $20,000. Who gets the job? The one with the big boobs.

Of course that joke was funnier 20 years ago because in this day and time, everyone, including the guys, if they want them, can get the boobs. Put it on their credit card. I wonder if anyone has analyzed what percentage of outstanding consumer credit is for plastic surgery procedures…cosmetic dentistry. I bet it comes second to mortgage debt.
Maybe first.

I was fortunate enough to catch the last episode of that Orange County Housewives series and my very favorite scene was when maybe the oldest of them all, (hard to distinguish with all the ‘work’), takes her turn at chugging a shot, no hands.. .and can’t get her pathetic botoxed mouth around a shot glass of maybe 2 inches in diameter or less. Whines like the pumped-up dramaqueen she is off-camera, that ‘it HURTS!’. Of course we are all feeling sorry for her husband, because he is unfortunately not getting his uxorious oral right, or—No, we are all thinking—it can’t be that small!

On Saturday nights at 5 Am they replay old Twilight Zone episodes in black and white—half-hour movies featuring some great acting talent of the 50’s or 60’s, and presenting futuristic nightmares, some of which have actually come true. Like one last week where this kind of pretty young girl is being coerced into receiving plastic surgery in order to resemble the status-quo human population whose faces are all morphing into a pig-mask. So have you ever noticed, these middle-aged woman—Ivanas, Charos, tons of middle-aged women on the Latin channels, the plastic surgery addict Oprah just interviewed… their pulled-up faces and little poky nostrils are beginning to resemble kind of a cute baby pig?

I had a pet pig once. It was smart; smarter than some of the roommates I’ve had. And cleaner. It did begin to get enormous, and I had to drop it off at this custodial farm in Vermont where it learned how to ice skate. They had a frozen pond and for some reason it was like addicted to running across. People actually filmed this. But it didn’t seem like fun for the pig, it was like compulsive. It was driven. Maybe it was fucked up because I abandoned it. It was trying to drown itself and failing, because of the ice. Who knows? Pigs are smart. Maybe it was a frustrated, suicidal hedge fund manager, punished to return in his next life as a future non-kosher dinner. Anyway, I came up to visit it at about the 850 pound point and it was smart enough to ignore me. That weekend my friends slaughtered it on ice and stowed several pounds of pork in my trunk as a sort of joke which I didn’t get until maggots had moved in, as well.

Okay-- on to the third of the three little pigs: the investment banker pig. Three years ago I had a tip about some biotech stock which I asked the nice man who keeps my pathetic retirement account to buy for me. For my cute little IRA which will guarantee that I have enough for 3 daily bottles of Ensure for exactly 2 years after I surrender to social security. That is, assuming inflation keeps pace with my extremely slow-growth IRA. So anyway, I ask this guy, my ‘portfolio manager’ to buy 1,000 shares and he asks me if I want my head-examined, if I am such a moron that I think he has nothing better to do than answer crank calls from people who cause him more paperwork than income every year, tells me to keep my mind on music or welfare or whatever it is I do, and not ever to call him unless I think I am dead.
He sounds exactly like my father.
Today I hear the stock has not just tripled but like sextupled. Another Imclone story.
Do I call him? No. But do I feel jealous of these people who own big pieces of the 32 million shares, who paid three bucks and will sell for fifty and will pay more tax on that one deal than I will earn in my entire life? I do. I am an artist. I COULD have been an investment banker. I CHOSE this life. Well, not THIS one, but something similar. Oink.

I admit it. I don’t feel pure and unsullied by greed and filthy lucre. I feel jealous. I feel cursed. Broke. I admit it. I look in the mirror, simultaneously guilty of at least 3 of the Deadly Sins, expect to see my nose flattening and my chin receding. But just like the girl in the Twilight Zone episode who awakens, much to the audience’s relief, to the frail human face she began with, and cries at her failure to be transformed into these human pigfaces… well….

Some days, like today, I look in the mirror and see the face of failure. Some days it’s my face. Some days failure is a pigface. And today it was the failure to see the pigface. At least no one blew my house down today. Tomorrow is another can of worms altogether.
It’s near-dawn and I can smell bacon frying in the kitchen below me. Oink-oink.

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