1:30 pm - Monday, Nov. 29, 2004
Mon 11/29/04 (9:53 a.m.)
Not long after I wrote about wanting to "never complain/never explain", I thought to myself, "That would make for some pretty short Diaryland entries...!":
Dear Diary: Today I got up. I had some breakfast. I surfed the web and read a little bit. Then I went to work. Then I came home. I watched some tv, and went to bed.
And even though I fear mine will not be the longest of lives anyway (According to actuarial tables, I should have died this past Wednesday), it struck me that the stoic, manly-man "never complain/never explain" type-of-guy I sometimes wish I were is much more likely to spontaneously combust than his more "expressive" bretheren.
But that said, I think there are some areas in my life that would benefit from a little "never complain/never explain" philosophy.
I'm watching Boston Legal, and the actor playing a prosecutor is someone I recognize from a commercial for Washington Mutual.
It's the second time I've seen an actor from one of those commercials on a tv show; the actor playing the loser-ish friend on Joey is in one of the commercials that's still running (And yet another actor from one of those commercials�one I auditioned for and was called back on--is a series lead for some show on Bravo).
It could be just coincidence, but I think not; the Washington Mutual spots are well-done, funny, air here in L.A. (Where casting directors can see them), and are a pretty effective comedic "audition tape".
It makes me wish I'd booked that W.M. spot, to be sure, but it also gives me hope that the right commercial really could be a springboard to bigger and better things.
In one of his books, George Carlin writes, "Did you ever notice how when you're driving, anyone who drives slower than you is an idiot and anyone who drives faster than you is a maniac?".
I've been thinking about that, not so much in terms in terms of driving, but in how our judgement of other people's behavior comes from our own personal "frame-of-reference", how much what a person does "matches up" to what we would (or wouldn't) do in the same situation.
I think about that every night at the bookstore, when I try to keep ahead of, or even keep up with, the piles of crap people feel free to leave in their wake. I've said it in here before: "I'm a real slob in my personal life, but I would never think of leaving this kind of mess at a store."
Back in the days when I was a customer/browser of bookstores�A time I'm starting to think of as "The Golden Years"-- I would pull a book off a shelf, look at it, put it back, pull out another one, look at it, put it back...and so on.
It was kind of a system I had.
Since I've always been, to some degree, one of "The Nation's Poor", sometimes I'd buy something, but more often than not, I'd pretty much read a given book-or-magazine right there at the store. And I'd actually feel a little guilty about it, because I knew I was at a store, and not a library.
But nevertheless, I would stay close to where I'd gotten the item in question, and always put what I'd read back where I'd found it (In part, out of that sense of guilt I was feeling�"I just read that whole Time magazine, and now I'm walking out without buying anything, so the least I can do is not make any extra work for anyone...").
I was thinking all that last night, and feeling pretty darned good about myself.
But while I was feeling all morally superior to the lazy, selfish pigs that pass as bookstore customers nowadays, it hit me that the bookstore experience they're having, and have been invited to have, is very different from my own "formative experiences" at bookstores.
The first bookstores I experienced didn't have tables and chairs for "browsing". They didn't have cafes. They weren't "multimedia centers". They didn't have little ampitheatres and playgrounds for children. They weren't set up to be a quasi-library, or study hall, or "singles bar" (I don't think they even validated your parking, though since I didn't drive in those days, I can't be sure of that).
They were just bookstores. If you wanted to buy a book or magazine, you would go in, maybe look around for a bit, then buy a book or magazine. No muss, no fuss.
I get mad when I'm left cleaning up what I deem to be an unreasonable amount of mess at Borders Books and Music and Caf� and Bowling Alley and Laundromat, but really, how could it be any other way? We've trained customers to treat the bookstore as their "home away from home", where the best part of all is they don't have to pick up after themselves.
In this sense, and many others I won't get into right now, retail has created...Frankencustomer.
Julia Roberts recently had her twins, a girl and a boy, naming them "Hazel" and "Phinnaus" (sp?).
I think those are some pretty hideous names, though at least the boy can be nicknamed "Finn", which is pretty cool.
And at least she gave them actual human names, and didn't just call them the first nouns that came to mind (ex, "Apple" Paltrow), or give them names more appropriate for a french poodle (ex. "Coco" Cox-Arquette).
But it really doesn't matter what she's named them�When Julia and I get married, and she's Julia Roberts-Hoffmaster, I will love little Hazel and "Finn" as if they were my very own.
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