[come on stage in bathrobe and slippers and drinking a beer]
Good evening Moonwork! Do you like my outfit? I call this look “Forever September 12th”. It’s an easy look to pull off. All you need is a bathrobe, slippers, and beer number nine. I am dressed this way, and I shall remain dressed this way, forever more. Because I have given up. At life.
[drink entire beer, place empty on stool, then pull a fresh beer from pocket]
I hereby say “uncle” to the powers that be, whether it’s Jesus or Allah or Zeus or Mother Nature or Gamera, that giant spinning fire-spewing Japanese turtle monster. I don’t know who’s in charge, do you? I don’t. But whoever or whatever it is, I have a letter of resignation for them.
Now, I’m not saying I want to die. I’m not giving up ON life, I’m just giving up AT life. I want to remain alive. But I’m just not going to try AT it anymore. And here’s why:
I am going to be a guy in a robe standing around drinking a beer from now on – because my whole life I’ve had this feeling inside of me that only standing around wearing a robe and drinking a beer can quell. A persistent, endless, bottomless feeling. And that feeling is composed of two equal parts. Some might call it anxiety mixed with depression but that is like calling a Toblerone just a chocolate bar. A Toblerone is much more intense and complicated than a chocolate bar, and the feeling that has always been inside of me is far more intense and complicated than anxiety mixed with depression. It’s equal parts “Oh Fuck!” and “What the fuck???” inside of me.
The best way to describe the “Oh Fuck!!!” feeling is to set up a little imaginary scenario. For the longest time I couldn’t describe the feeling, but now I know. The “Oh Fuck!” feeling is like I’ve become a huge rockstar. Andres du Bouchet, ROCK STAR. Right? And one day I’m sitting in my suite at the Beverly Wilshire hotel, you know, I’m there in L.A. for a screentest or whatever, to audition for a film or something, maybe even to audition to play myself in my life story, right? ‘Insatiable’, The Andres du Bouchet story. Whatever. And I’m just waking up at like three in the afternoon, and I can’t use the bathroom yet because my ex-wife is in there arguing with her wife about the threesome we just had the night before and how she thought my ex was paying a little too much attention to Mr. Microphone down there, you know what I mean aw yeah so I’m sitting there waiting for the bathroom and I turn on the tv, and it’s a special breaking news story about some kid in Wisconsin who brought a shotgun and a bunch of grenades to school with him and massacred like 20 students before being gunned down by cops and the news anchor says “The perpetrator was wearing a concert T-shirt. And like, there’s one piece of video of the kid that was captured by a news crew right before he blew himself up and it looks sort of familiar and I’m saying “no no no no no” the kid turns with the grenade in his hand just before the cops shoot him and it’s just really clear across his chest – “Andres du Bouchet – ‘Insatiable’ Tour 2007″. And I get up from the bed and yell “Oh FUCK!” just as my ex-wife’s wife’s bra falls out of my butt. That’s the “Oh FUCK!” feeling.
Now, the “What the fuck???” feeling is much simpler to describe and is perfectly summed up by this story. The other day I was in a public restroom, I went to the urinal to take a leak, and someone burst OUT of one of the stalls behind me and ran…to another urinal. And he proceeded to take a leak too. He burst out of the stall, to go to the urinal. That feeling haunts me to this day, and after that incident I realized that I’ve always had that feeling in me, and it was just waiting for a moment to give it shape. “What the…what the fuck?” He was already next to a toilet. Why…run out? Hmm.
Now I’ve been carrying those dual feelings inside me forever, so why decide NOW to give up at life? The straw that broke the camel’s back was an audio book I’ve been listening to on my iPod: it’s called “The Measure of a Man” a spiritual autobiography. By Sidney Poitier.
It was one of the Oprah Book Club selections.
And not only is it by Sidney Poitier, it is read by Sidney Poitier, so it’s like a fucking Oscar-worthy performance echoing in my brain as I walk along. And damn it is inspiring. It’s too inspiring. It’s so inspirationally inspiring that it made me want to give up. Because basically the refrain of the book is (Sidney’s voice) “Looking back, have I measured up to the ideals instilled in me by the trails and tribulations of my youth?” And always, the answer is yes, yes, I have continually measured up and then some, “Yet again I failed at not being awesome”. This guy had a solid, unbreakable integrity to him – he wasn’t constantly feeling “Oh fuck and what the fuck”, he was feeling “Fuck yes.” And I never had that in me. And as I listened to this audio book I started hearing his voice even when I was reading other things:
“Dear Penthouse magazine, I never thought something like this could happen to me, but it is my privelege and honor to relate to you the following tale of fucking, sucking, and triumph over racism.” Get out of my head Sidney!
I would hear his voice on the GPS while driving a rental car “Remember, the choices that you make here and now will have a profound effect on where this road takes you. In twenty, or even fifty years, will you be able to look back on this moment and say to yourself ‘yes, I am proud of the person I have become?’ If so, then MAKE THE NEXT LEFT!”
I would even hear his voice when buying soda from a vending machine – “They call me Mr. Pibb!”
And finally, just in my head, narrating what I was doing. I just could never compare:
“As Andres completed Level Three of Gears of War on his X-box 360, he could not help but think “damn, In order to go buy another six pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale I would have to put on pants. And not just any pants. Pants with a working zipper.” Dammit Sidney!
“The RUGburn Andres felt on his knees as he kneeled down and reached under the couch for the last cool ranch dorito was nothing compared to the HEPburn with whom I co-starred in the acclaimed motion picture Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner!” Stop mocking me Poitier!
So enough. If standing around in a bathrobe drinking a beer is the only thing that can quell these feelings then so be it. I give up. Knowing I can never measure up to impossible ideals in a world that doesn’t give a crap about those ideals anyway, I have decided to give up. At life.
Now, there aren’t many occupations suitable for someone who has decided to completely give up at life, but I’ve come up with one. My new job title is:
“Guy in a robe drinking a beer”. As you can see, I’m working right now. And even though I’m always working, i.e. always wearing a robe and drinking a beer, I am also always available. It’s magic.
So, hire me. Hire the GIARDAB. I have a very reasonable rate: BEER. If you can make sure that that I’m in a room comfortable enough to lounge about in a robe…in. And you can make sure that I am indeed drinking a beer, and you can make sure that there are resources available to help me dispose of the beer after it’s passed through my body, then I will gladly provide the services of a guy in a robe. With a beer. That’s he’s drinking.
Having a hard time figuring out what you could hire me for. Well, I’ve done some thinking about that:
I could be a conversation piece. Sure, if you’re terrible at conversation, bring me along.
“Hey, what’s up with the dude in the robe drinking a beer?”
“Who? Oh him! Funny story about that guy, he’s given up at life!”
I could be a relationship aide. Sure, are you having problems with your spouse or significant other, but would rather not confront them head on?
“Honey, I’d rather not discuss this while there’s a man in a robe drinking a beer in here.”
“Why is he here?”
“I hired him!”
“See this is the kind of stuff I’m talking about…(crying)”
Are you a modern artiste struggling to come up with an idea for your next installation? Incidentally, the installation is a magnificently accommodating art form. If you can’t paint, draw, sculpt, compose, or perform something, at least you can INSTALL something. So here’s your installation – Picture this: a large white room, somewhere in the depths or reaches or echoing corridors of the MetMOMApolitan Museum of A Few Awesome Things Plus Lots of Crap Of Art. And in that large, white room – me. In a robe. Drinking a beer. Standing in the corner, sort of staring off into space. Across the room on the opposite wall is a scuff mark and several feet below that scuff mark at the base of the wall and scattered on the nearby floor are the fragments of a recently thrown cell phone. A plaque on the wall reads: “Just found out.” or maybe “Just got the news” or “two minutes after getting the news”. I don’t know — that’s the name of the installation. Pretty good right? What news did the guy in the robe just get that made him want to smash his cell phone against the wall and then crack open an ice cold bottle of preferably some sort of India Pale Ale? Or maybe a pilsner? Let’s say it’s a bottle of Saranac Black Forest beer – dark and rich like a Guinness but with a sweeter tone, no bitterness and a cleaner finish. mmmmmmmm. An installation that really makes you think! Or maybe the installation could just be called “Oh fuck slash what the fuck”.
So there you go. I’m available anytime – if you want to hire me to stand around in a robe while I’m drinking a beer, see me after the show. Thanks.