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My body is 90% mucus. When I cough, I cough up bloody mucus. When I puke, itís mostly mucus, mixed with whatever it was I tried to eat five minutes ago. I haven't taken a proper shit in weeks. Iíve got mucus running down the back of my throat. Filling up my head, where the thoughts should be. I tried to blow my nose, and nothing but air came out. As long as you can blow your nose, you know youíre eliminating some of the Rebel Forces from your body. Iíve had no such luck. Iím still full of mucus.
Hereís an idea. We have acres and acres of forest, all over the world, thatís getting cut faster than it can grow itself. Weíve got millions and millions of stray cats and dogs, orphans, unwanted, that will probably never get off the streets or out of the shelters. (Scratch ďprobably.Ē) Why not turn them loose in the woods? Because what asshole would want to cut down a forest that was home to a bunch of puppies and kittens? Not all of them would make it. There would be a weeding-out period. Someone could drop Alpo and Meow Mix from helicopters.
I will not lose. Goddamn it. Itís better to be born smart than it is to be born well-off. I will have success AND the thrill of coming from behind. I will win this motherfucker. I will not eat out alone. I will not spend money on frivolous bullshit to cheer myself up, when I could be cheering myself up with WORK. I will save my money. I will invest. I wonít drink unless itís in the interest of my WORK. Always Maximize Utility. AMU. Pull the Trigger. PtT. Those are my fucking tattoos, on the backs of my hands.
Itís the failure that inspires me. Itís the memories of drinks spilled, minor fuckups apologized for, the sudden smell of shit when ďRoses,Ē by OutKast, pops on the jukebox. Itís the bad dates. The time I pulled the necktie on the Cheesecake Factory uniform, and she responded, uh, appropriately, for once, like, sit the fuck down and let me play darts. Itís the free time I was granted from such failed overtures. Itís the decay I feel in my body, and resist in my mind, by kicking up the stink of futility. Congratulations, Barack. May it be a long honeymoon.
Nope. Never got any useful advice. [Respectfully.] Donít talk to me. Youíre not enough of a badass. Have you ever been on Death Row? Have you ever busted your way out? Death Row is a rest home for badasses. Bust out of there, and with that bust, youíve earned the trust. Whatever trust you want. But you havenít. So back up off me. I wish things were different. But Iíve got no choice but to love the shit out of the way things are. Bring on the shit. As long as itís there, you might as well love it out.
ALL MY HEROES ARE HUCKSTERS. Inconsistency is realistic. I admire a well-executed con. I appreciate the effort that goes into being a phony. If youíre a good person, and you want to be my friend, then being nice ainít a thing for you. For a decent person, being decent is like shitting or fucking. Nothing special. If youíre only treating me like a human because youíre trying to get something, that takes some work. I respect that. When youíre honest, youíre terrifying. When you give yourself headaches and ulcers just so we can get along, I can only thank you.
I was walking with my mom, on a stretch of pavement near the woods. Aside from pavement and the occasional house, the woods were everywhere. Through the trees, I spotted a fox. It was sitting still, alone, panting. I walked toward it. (I thought foxes were cool.) My mom pulled me back. She told me that, if a fox doesnít run away when you walk up to it, it means the fox is sick, and it can make you sick, too. I felt bad for the fox. And I remembered to stay away from any animal thatís not protecting itself.
DONíT DO CARD TRICKS IN FRONT OF YOUR POKER BUDDIES. Dropping the keys in a mailbox. Carpooling to events whereat alcohol is served, so as to render it impossible that youíll attempt to drive self home. Spending only cash, never in excess of $100 weekly. Clearing internet settings to cut down on impulse buys. Cooking at home. Hauling sockfulls of change to nearest grocery store. Taking the bus, at least in theory. Selling off old books and CDs. Finding coupons on the internet. Showing up early. Putting out bucket when sprinklers snap on at 3:00 AM. Hiding credit cards. Oversleeping.
You convinced me. You raged against all of the same conniving fuckups that disillusioned me. You sold slightly altered goods in striking day-glo packaging. You struck me as a bit more down-to-earth, since you took the trouble to call them out on some of their specific bullshit claims that I once enjoyed believing. You seemed to have cool friends. I enjoyed your wit. You made no apologies. You never made any apologies. You proved yourself a deceitful scam artist. All your claims fell apart. All your pals deserted. But I can see how we liked you before we hated you.
EVERYTHING THAT HURTS IS HERE TO HELP. Let go of your end of this. See it fall to the floor. Because I let go of mine a long time ago. Havenít even thought about it lately. Not until now. Not until I flashed back to one of the good times we had, and looked across the room, and saw you supporting this, alone, moaning, tearing your muscles apart. I put all your toiletries in a big Ziploc bag. I left the door not only unlocked, but wide the fuck open. I remember your dignity. Youíve still got it. Go away.
If you canít find something to love about living here, you have no sense of humor. This city is 24 hours a day of free laughter. Itís a human circus. People invest hundreds of thousands of dollars, hours and hours a day, just to look like clowns. Guys with fuzzy hats and big boots with flames on them. Women whose heels are so high, their toes point straight at the sidewalk, and when they walk, they look like little baby giraffes. A lot of effort goes into this. The least you can do, out of basic decency, is to laugh.
When you spread straight-up falsehoods, youíre taking out a loan against the future, at a high interest rate. However, if you have some fresh way to ďframeĒ something that is basically true, if you can phrase it in a way that makes the sun shine on your side, go right ahead. Thereís some artistry in that. ďDo you have Dramamine, or anything for motion sickness?Ē No. As Iím walking away, the guy leans out the door, yells at me. The Dramamine was ďhiding.Ē Itís the chewable kind. Seems weird, but Iíll take it. We bullshit about traffic on the PCH.
A black and white cat escapes my apartment. I chase him, but canít capture him. Iím right behind him, but I canít scoop him up. He runs across the road, Frogger-like, dodging vehicles. I see him running around in circles on the opposite side, puffed out, his bottom teeth showing. A snap my fingers a few times. He darts back across the road, through traffic, like an awkward, traumatized dart might dart. I bend my knees and open my hands. He jumps into my arms. He is now a blue-eyed orange tabby. Heís very still. He doesnít break eye contact.
DO YOU HAVE A COMPASS? ĎCAUSE IíD LIKE TO FUCK YOU NINE WAYS FROM SUNDAY. Every time I come here, the same dark-haired bartender is working. Everyone looks about twice as sexy on a stage or behind a bar. But Iím not sure how much help this girl needs. Every time I see her, Iím afraid my cock is going to rip through my jeans and destroy the city. Short. Big boobs. Soft-looking legs. Dark, haunting eyes. Sustained, flirty eye contact. The math works out beautifully. Figured I may as well tell you, since you happen to be standing here.
I rarely think about it, in those terms, unless Iím at the grocery store. I see rows of packages. Products trying to out-cute each other. Cactus Cooler. Things that would have delighted us, when we were shopping for beer and potluck fodder in a post-coital daze. I hear sappy, neurotic love songs, songs I assume are big hits but havenít heard before. The rage of the rejected. The agonized, pathetic confession and plea for forgiveness. Sometimes, I sense a tightening in my throat and chest. As though Iím about to feel something thatís not guilt, not regret, but actual sadness.
2,000 miles away, something is happening. 2,000 miles in the other direction, something is happening. I mean, maybe itís just whales eating krill or some shit, but something is happening. Do you understand that? The implications? Does it make any sense to you? All right. At 5:00 on October the first, 2000, I was doing something. I was probably almost drunk. Happy hour started at four then. Drinks were cheaper then. I rarely saw the sunset sober. Fuck you. I donít judge your acne, motherfucker. Anyway, that record is stored somewhere in my memory bank. And itís fucking affecting me.
IíM DEFINITELY GOING TO DIE. No doubt about it. And so you are you. All these centuries, and we still havenít cured death. You rarely hear about anyone trying. Youíd think the best minds in science would be on the job. But no. You just have to accept that youíre going to be daffodil chow. And if youíre past 30, youíre not going to leave a sexy corpse. So you may as well plan on living for awhile. Me, Iím being more selective in the shit that I worry about. I walk more slowly. I donít need to alphabetize everything.
I donít know, man. Thereís not really a lot I can tell you. If I donít write it down right away, man, itís gone. It probably had cheerleaders in it, if I had to guess. I donít know, man. Iím ready to bring this shit back down to earth right about now. I got some weird shit running through my system, man. Maybe I need to drink some water or something. (A single tear roles down his cheek. He does not react in any other visible way.) Filter out some of this shit. I remember when shit was better, man.
Iíve said it previously. Iíll say it again. Anger is a fine wine, Itís a gift to be savored. If you chug it, youíll end up rolling around on your neighborís grass, wondering aloud why none of these slightly overweight bitches wonít suck your dick. Trust me. You think it canít happen? Iíve been that guy. Figure out how to roll with it. Savor it. Hear the cork pop, like the dawn of a new era. Whatever smell your nose can get a hold on, savor it. Rage, in its natural state, is exquisite. It was put here for appreciation.
CHARISMA: Hey! Whatís up? LLOYD: In kind of a weird mood today. Donít know why. But thatís cool. When Iím in a good mood for no reason, I donít go around looking for whoís responsible. I just ride it. CHARISMA: WellÖ whatís going on? LLOYD: I donít know. You know how it goes. Whatís new with you? CHARISMA: I got a really in-depth letter from someone I havenít seen or talked to in four years. The paper smelled weird. LLOYD: Big excitement. CHARISMA: Totally! It was strange. Just not something I expected. The letter didnít make a lot of sense.
Oh my god. I am a PIECE of SHIT. I just now REALIZED it. Look, I know I was awful to you. I was awful to A LOT of people. You had the rotten luck to be born perceptive enough to notice it and fucked up enough to take it at the same time. Themís the breaks, baby. But youíll always be smart and sweet. I just realized, after a LONG, LONG party, that Iím never going to get out of this fucking bag. Iíll live and die a narcissist. If Iím lucky, Iíll be awake enough to relish it.
Vomiting is like cumming. (Jeepers; this is going to be a classic.) There are plenty of ways to do it, but itís not always easy, and when itís not happening by itself, everything has to be perfect. I kneel, my kneecaps equidistant from the toiletís base. I drop the seat. I balance myself with my left hand. I jam my right index finger as far down my throat as I can reach, tearing up the back. I will have a sore throat tomorrow. Snot and liquid comes first, spraying over my hand. Sometimes thatís it. Thereís more, when Iím passionate.
Of course, you donít want to think of EVERYTHING in terms of money. Youíll get sick, flash back to a miserable life, and die. Not everything can be quantified. But thereís nothing wrong with thinking of MONEY in terms of money. Or time, if time is what youíre selling. Spend money on investments. Always get more out of an investment than you put in, even if it takes time. Donít hesitate out of fear. Hesitate out of wisdom, because you want to make the smartest investment whenever possible. When thereís inflation, saving means losing. Keep your money circulating if necessary.
I had to run an errand. Up the mountain. I had to drop something off. I could tell something was wrong with the car. Sputtering. Smoke. The dashboard lights up like fireworks. I pull over. I leave it there with the blinkers on and the hood up. I make my delivery. It starts. Thank god. Got to get to LAX. Rattle. Screech! Canít keep it moving. Smoke rises up from under the hood. I turn off the radio. I pull off the freeway, into Glendale. I put on the blinkers. The car dies. Smack in the middle of an intersection.
Look. I know it works. It works for me. I donít know what the science says. I donít give a fuck. Has there been a point in history when a mass of people believed in something that turned out to be wrong? Maybe thatís me, here and now. But Iím going with what I know, what Iíve tested, what gets me through. Iím not sure why itís any of your business. I canít remember whether you brought it up or I did. If I did, forget I said anything. Just acknowledge the power of whatever works, or it stops working.
I donít really want to know what comes next. I live upstairs from a casino. I like it this way. I have a feeling Iím going to fuck the whole thing up royally at some point, but Iíll deal with it. Iíve dealt with stuff before. Iíll take a chance on the big shit, even if it means I end up with the pig shit. I think Iíve talked too much. I guess thatís why yíall keep inviting me. Iíll take it. Thanks for buying my drinks. Thanks for buying my bullshit. (You snatch a furtive glance at each other.)
I have no idea. Iím throwing shit at the wall. Iím doing my best to make a case for everything I do. Thatís what you do, yes? So, yeah. I totally believed in that, back when it seemed relevant, and Iím behind all of the bad decisions I made in the past. Theyíre behind me. What the fuck ever. Used to be any of us could win any round of Apples To Apples with the ďKiller WhalesĒ card. Now itís ďBoy Scouts.Ē Guess we got jaded. You and me go together like hookers and blow. Iíll be glad to drive.
See those two girls with the glitter? They came out of the bathroom together, rubbing their noses. Watch them. Somethingís going to happen. See that dude, smoking a butt by the pool? Heís pretty sharp. You can tell from his in-demand posture that heís got the latest iPhone on his person. Maybe a few other gadgets, too. One girl approaches our hero and gives him a good shove. He keels into the chlorinated drink, taking his fortune in gizmos and tchotchkes with him. As he splashes and sputters, the girl jumps around, giggles, and screams ďNow somebody push me in!Ē
Really. Bathwater is supposed to be 140 degrees Fahrenheit. I didnít know that. Iíve taken a lot of baths at an unsatisfactory temperature. I come out shaking. I remember, when she wanted me to wrap it up, sheíd say, ďYouíre such a little SHIT,Ē and wrap her mouth around the ďSHITĒ like a smoke. Really savor it. She seems fine now. I hold no grudges. I have a feeling telling me thatís bullshit, that Iím still pissed about every little slight Iíve endured, everything Iíve resisted that persisted, but I canít find it. Canít triangulate it. Donít know the address.
Modern comedy doesnít usually spring from jokes. It usually starts and ends with a character. Which makes Andrew Daly one of the strangest success stories from the abundant comedy scene in Los Angeles. He doesnít just embody a comic persona, a deft self-caricature of a difficult personality. He conjures a sprawling cast of hapless dreamers, inept scam artists and charismatic sadists. His characters come and go like mayflies, but while theyíre alive, he never drops the character he brought. Daly himself remains impossible to triangulate, but his exaggerated league of losers serves as vehicles for some raucous, delightfully painful ideas.
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