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Snarky’s Machine Never Comes Whack on an Old School Track (Pt 2)

April 29, 2010

What's my mantra? Yes, yes, yes?

Previously on: Snarky’s Machine Never Comes Whack on an Old School Track (Pt 1)

  • Snarky reads 70s YA fiction which concerns itself with the business of deconstructing Redford.
  • Snarky gets a copy of the feel good event – Native Son.
  • Snarky resists cultural messaging re: her place in the world, without feeling compelled to sing Somewhere. (Natalie – I mean Maria’s – song to Tony in West Side Story) Though it would certainly be apropos.

Random Snarky thoughts, ideas…

  • I think a lot about John Larroquette playing a college president in the vein of Govenor Gatling – albeit more seemingly oblivious, but less actually oblivious – who for some inexplicable reason is tasked with performing This is How We Do It with my own “Kilgore Trout” – named Agnes Marcy – in some kind of end of the semester pre-“dead week” (final’s week) Midnight Karaoke breakfast, which is based on my own real life experiences with all of those things. We’re not talking, “wouldn’t this be funny if old white guy sing rap!” but rather he’d actually “flip the track and bring the old school back.” And seriously, tell me it wouldn’t be cool to hear Larroquette throw down on If you were from where I’m from than you would know/I gotta get mine in a big black truck, you can get yours in a 64 or whatever the lyric is. Still. In my mind it’s pretty fucking bad ass.
  • Walking home from the opening day of The Lost World: Jurassic Park – I was too amped to be driven home – A dialog, in an accent sounding not unlike Elizabeth Hurley (according to my friend), I found myself creating a character who would never see the inside of the JP:III set. A character who was oddly enough, also based on me, except with a British accent and what I believed was a righteous Angela Davis (who I’m named after) fro (flower tucked in the side) and impeccable credentials who said things (things that would be heard in the film trailer right before a dinosaur chases me into Dr. Malcolm’s arms) like, “We’re not trying to build an amusement park, Dr. Malcolm (cause we’re cohorts) we’re doing honest-to-god research (accent on the second syllable) and I for one am highly insulted (because being British means often finding oneself highly insulted, if Faulty Towers is to believed) you would think otherwise!” My friend Gia said, “Damn, you sound like Elizabeth Hurley. Do it again!”
  • In the never planned Ocean’s 14, again a character either based on me, played by me or both is along for the ride as Dr. Edith Hemphill-Tarr – yes, it’s an homage to poet Essex Hemphill – the long suffering estranged wife of Cheadle’s Basher Tarr. A peacekeeping envoy (Rusty, Sal and Terry Benedict) is sent to persuade me to join on the fun, which of course I would want NO part of. Meanwhile they’ve ambushed me while I’m presenting my well regarded “You Wash, I Dry: Sexual Divisions of Labor in the Gaming Industry” paper at a prestigious, stuffy academic conference and probably have a boyfriend not unlike that uptight fifth “girlfriend” on Girlfriends, William. Even after presenting, what the audience will feel is a very persuasive argument, I will not be moved. Channeling Arliss Howard a la Jurassic Park, “I’m sure it’s all very thrilling, gentlemen.” and then channeling Nicholson Baker’s Vox I would add, “But I’m talking about my own needs.” and have security – who are now standing behind them – bounce them out on their well dress asses. Oh yeah, at some point during all of that, Sal (Carl Reiner) would like pose as some foreign academic such and such that only I would know was a fugazi.

In my very first stab at seriously “crafting” fiction (circa 1995ish) I wrote a story called “Patience”. It is a love letter to unsung champions of the 2nd person narrative – I’m talking of course about those classics of the genre – Choose Your Own Adventure. Oh yeah and Bright Lights Big City by Jay McInerney. Though it’s most definitely inspired by a Janowitz story, which has her name checking the famous and the infamous in her collection Slaves of New York.

While my fictional alter ego – cause like Vonnegut, I believe writers should have one – is never named, she is of course, Agnes Marcy as she always is. Now remember this was written like 15 years ago and has largely remained unpolished and therefore very rough.

Here’s a snippet of the story:

Standing near the bar you see a guy. Not just any guy. He’s famous. Mostly known for playing oddball characters, and guys that turn into insects. His deep tan skin and cover girl smile is legendary. He puffs on a cigar and nods as a woman chats with him. Continue to stare, recalling things often said about him. Offbeat…Engaging…Enigmatic…

Just when you think your eyeballs might dry up from not blinking, he gazes at you. God, you think, I’m not a star fucker. He walks up to you. I’m not, you think again, but he’s awfully cute.
“Shoestring or steak.” You say after he introduces himself.
“Excuse me.” He says in that lush voice he has. One that rattles chaos theories and sells cutting edge computers with ease.
“So, do you like shoestring or steak French fries?”
“Shoestring.”
“Why.” You ask, sipping your drink.
“Because you get more of them?” He answers as more of a question. Decide this is a sufficient answer and tell him your name.
He says your name like it is a rare wine that you should store and never drink. You and he talk for a while. Actually it’s more him than you. He doesn’t talk much about work. He talks about art and sex and ex wives and ex-girlfriends.
“Can I call you sometime?” He asks. You are completely enthralled.
“Sure.” Give him a cocktail napkin and recite your number twice. He folds it into a perfect tiny square. Resist the urge to wonder about the other possible perfectly folded tiny squares in his pocket.

Now, I did in fact see the subject of this story on several different occasion which caused him to assume he knew me. This is one of the few nice things about being black. If famous people see you a lot – in my experience – they believe somehow this must mean you’re in fact either famous or – you know – related Sidney Poitier.

For the record I am neither.

I’ve often thought of crafting a parody song chronicling my celeb run-ins set to Lee Major’s The Unknown Stuntman

I might drive past Sally Field feeding the meter
Or help Julianne Moore pick out towels
Get my ass grabbed by Todd Rundgren
Or give Ed Asner the time
I’m the lonely fangirl who held Danny Cooksey’s hair while he barfed

Anyway, I mistakenly blurted out, “Wow. T-t-tall.” Which is what you say when you walk right into someone’s well clad chest and then like a video game character you just keep trying to walk – thus walking in place and not getting anywhere. Now in my own defense, I had been dragged up and down sunset blvd in six inch heels because someone didn’t want wish to pay three dollars for PARKING at the Sunset Five, where we were going. So I was not my best self. One could ask why I was wearing six inch stick up heels to a 10:30pm showing of some crappy art house flick. One could certainly ask, though I wouldn’t advise it.

To his credit he laughed. He regarded me with a half smile and eyed my shoes, which only put me right about sternum height.

“Those are some tricky shoes. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anyone wear such high heels and not make it to 5’4.” or something along those lines. Only Libras can get away with such chow chowery.

No, he did not ask me for the digits.

More from that story:

Like Wally, he is punctual. He smiles and takes your hand. This makes you feel deliciously girlish. The restaurant is kitsch and you love this. After dinner and over coffee tell him that you are a writer. He says he’s read your book, Untitled Communist Bedtime Stories and begins to recite passages of obsolete computer files masquerading as publishable fiction.
“Nylons and broken glass…ribs in the crock-pot. A girl grown up in Van Nuys and becomes a leading figure in a plot to overthrown the Los Angeles County School System…” he says like any of it makes sense. He could read the ingredients on the side of a cereal box and make it sound like Shakespeare. Then he asks the question that every writer dodging his or her editor fears.
“So what are you working on now?” Wrinkle your nose. Zutella and Rovemnanti have come to a rough patch in the road of romance.
“Well…sort of.” Clear your throat. “I’m writing Untitled Intergalactic Space Opera.” Then tell him about the problem you’re having with characterization. He says the story sounds like best seller, but Rovemnanti needs a flaw.
“The inability to smell noxious chemical or stuttering problem might be helpful.” He suggests. Consider this idea. He asks about your life and only tell him the parts that make you sound really witty, really intelligent or really beautiful, which leaves out most of your childhood.

When I managed to get my speech back, I was able to have a decent two minutes with the subject in the story and then wandered away shell shocked to find my friends who were chatting up some club kids wearing bigger heels than me.

They saw me walk up. They saw who I had just been talking to. They looked at him. They looked at me.

After another game of “The scene that celebrates itself” in the form of outfit propers – “Peaches, you are rocking them glitter heels, girl! You better getchie getchie, mami!” and the likes, we headed towards the concession stand.

My friend Jason was like, “Wait, I’m sorry. Were you just talking to Jeff Goldblum?”

“Uh huh.”

“He goes to my gym.” Jason paused for moment. “Or someone who looks just like him.” Living in LA for a long time does this to people. You just get over seeing actors. I mean you see them everywhere. Usually, I found myself thinking something like that dude looks like Billy Bob as the elevator took us to the top level of the AMC theater in Century City. Maybe he’s a jerk 80% of the time, but he politely made sure the elevator doors did not crush my seven tier Jody Watley skirt.

Ahh, yeah back then I used to wear me some outfits. Don’t hate me cause I’m running around dressed like Gothy Spice.

“Uh huh.”

“What did he say?” Jason asked.

“He called me short.” I shrugged. “Popcorn and a soda?” I glanced around. “Who’s got me?”

In Part III this will all make sense. In the meantime here’s music from the era:

Okay not really, but I think of this song too. And it’s my favorite Elliot Smith song

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2010 7:09 am

    I love the way your younger self was so cool she could shrug off running into (literally) and chatting up Jeff Goldblum. And dress like “Gothy Spice.” I would definitely pay cash money to read about (or see on video) the adventures of Agnes Marcy.

  2. April 29, 2010 7:49 am

    I don’t know if it was cool so much as stunned into non reaction. Like I guess since I’m still talking about his work and this event it has had lasting impact.

    cash money!

  3. IrishUp permalink
    April 29, 2010 9:20 am

    Snarky, I am still marinating in Pt 1, so I can’t quite get to tight and pithy commentary,
    but I am loving these posts, and wanted to thank you for writing them.

  4. Claire permalink
    April 29, 2010 8:37 pm

    Arghhh! Part 3 soon, pretty please?

    Way to get a reader hooked, then leave her hanging.

  5. April 30, 2010 7:14 am

    I don’t know if it was cool so much as stunned into non reaction.

    Understood. Do you still have those tricky shoes? I’d have had them bronzed!

  6. April 30, 2010 10:41 am

    I think I do, though they are probably at my parents’s house in the garage. Their dancing days long behind them.

  7. bumerry permalink
    May 2, 2010 1:52 pm

    I literally CANNOT stop bursting into laughter here. I gaspingly asked my husband if he’d read it yet but could not read it aloud as is my wont because I just dissolved into giggles upon re-reading.

    And I want to read “You Wash, I Dry: Sexual Divisions of Labor in the Gaming Industry” – I know it would be well received by me. 🙂

    Long live your fictional alter ego.

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