Secret Pop

Mar 8, 2004

The Sailor in Love with the Sea

Tonight, the spec script I wrote for Scrubs was performed at the Black Box Theatre of the Improv Olympic West. It was the culmination of eight long and grueling weeks of writing that felt more like self-performed surgery. As if I had to extract the dialogue from somewhere deep in my kidney and had only a fork and a pair of garden shears with which to perform the extraction. But, in the end, it was a wonderful experience and a minor triumph. Tonight in particular. I was bowled over by how many of my friends came out to see it, some driving all the way up from San Diego even. The place was full to standing room, and I was one more vodka tonic away from accidentally falling out the window. I needed it to take the edge off; I was fairly certain I was going to have a brain hemorrhage in the hours preceding the event. But after more than a day of not eating and more than an hour of only drinking and many hours of cursing the unseasonable heat, I was, shall we say, aglow.

I even managed to secure the generous participation of Neil Flynn, who plays The Janitor on the show and is really what I would call alarmingly -- even frighteningly -- funny. I owe a debt of thanks to all seven of my actors, and if it seems like I'm giving special recognition to Neil, it's because he's famous and therefore better than the rest of us. He also happened to be wonderful, and I felt thrilled and lucky. Hearing the words that I wrote being spoken and acted and responded to was first rate. Really. Especially when the laughs came in the right places.

What's interesting is that my inner hostess -- and this is another of the many stages on which I am known to perform -- was also thrilled tonight, because all of the refreshments I brought were consumed. All of them. When does that ever happen at a party I'm throwing? Never, that's when. Not because I serve gross things. But because I always, as a rule, have too much. This time, I did not suffer that same affliction, and it was a relief when I had to schlepp all of my accoutrements out to the car. Cheers for proper planning. Jeers for the parking regulations in this town.

I did put on a nice little reception, if I do say so. I had to run all over town yesterday to get the precise things I wanted. But I'm inclined to say it was worth it. If I don't get a job as a writer, maybe I'll find fortune as an event-planner. If I had brought those cream puffs I usually get, that audience would have been eating out of my hand. Especially if I filled my hand with cream puffs.

Beulah and my dad drove up from San Diego. My dad was sporting a scab from an injury he sustained last week when we went out to celebrate my mom's birthday. Something to do with the car door and getting his head caught in it. When I noticed it, I said, "Dad! What did you do? I can see the bone!" And he just laughed it off and dabbed at his head with a bloody napkin. Among the fam, we're going to start calling him Head Wound. Lovable nicknames go a long way. Poor Sam. I remember when he cut his hand with a chainsaw. I get a lot of my grace from him.

When I was walking on Hollywood Boulevard on my way to the theatre, I was averting my eyes from a transaction involving cash and illicit substances when I inadvertently -- what's the opposite of avert? vert? -- made eye contact with a bold fellow who looked right at me and said, "Now that's a woman. Beautiful." And I smiled out of embarrassment and kept walking, noting that he said it as if he was looking at a picture of me in a book. As if I couldn't hear it at all. Or maybe it was just that it didn't make any difference to him that I could hear it. Maybe that's what's meant by all this talk of the objectification of women. I don't know. I can't say I mind. On an iffy day, a good compliment goes a long way. Even if the bulk of my self-esteem-boosting comes by way of chatty hobos and sociable vagrants. Pretty is pretty, any way you slice it. Even if you slice it with a homeless knife.

I felt certain that at the end of this evening I would suffer a relief-induced stroke. But so far, so good. It's good to be done. Good to be going places. Good to be good at things from time to time. And if nothing else, it's sort of satisfying to have that stack of paper in your hand. A stack of paper too thick to secure with a regular staple. That's something for sure.

No comments: