I used to write a zine (printed, not online) back in the mid-90s called Velocity NYC, and I recently re-discovered a bunch of the stuff I wrote back then on archive.org.
This is one of the editor notes that I liked from back then…
I woke up the other day freaking. The clock mocked me with that green 8:27. How was I going to take a shower, shave, get dressed, eat my Cookie Crisps, read the Daily News, and then walk clear across town to make it to the office before 9:00? My brain was buzzing, my eyes were burning.
Then it hit me. Once again, I was victimized by a local phenomenon known as Vicky Time, where the alarm clock is set at a random time in the future. Having survived that, I crawled out of bed, stumbled into the shower, dried off, then faced the mirror. And I smiled.
The Dead Milkmen once sang, “The secret of life is no secret at all / for secrets hold death and lies only build walls.” Well, that’s not strictly true. There is a sort of secret to life that’s easier than you would imagine. You’ve got to do stuff that makes you happy.
As I sit here today, no one can tell that a seemingly grown man is actually a little boy. What I’m trying to say is that every day, I direct, produce, and edit the sit-com that is my life. I hope it turns out to be a hit, and pray that it doesn’t land me in a Saturday night slot on the WB network.
The show starts out on a happy note. After fastening my daily Windsor knot, I pack away some sugar cereal and orange juice. A seemingly simple pleasure, but it lures me out of bed in the morning.
After the first commercial, we return to the show and I’m pouring over the Daily News. Sure, I could do the erudite pose of so many New York Times readers, but that’s not for me. I go for the candy news. Give me news about what bar Alec Baldwin is hanging out in or a scoop on Darryl Strawberry violating parole. That stuff entertains me, brings a laugh on days of snow and work deadlines.
Once in a while, I punch in a soundtrack for the show. This usually happens in the scenes when I’m strolling along the sidewalk. Today, the episode featured stirring versions of “Creep” by Radiohead and “You Are Not Alone” from Michael Jackson. No, these songs didn’t have anything to do with today, I just like the way it sounds when I sing them.
Sometimes, when I am extra self-conscious – talking to the guy next to me at the urinal, vying against a thug with a boombox for the last seat on the subway, riding the elevator with a curious stranger – I can feel the camera on my shoulder, panning the faces around me, catching every blink and sneeze.
In more relaxed moments, sitting in a pizza parlor booth, I think of how I’d like to paint the grey buildings in yellow, green and blue, or how much better a Rangers game would look in black and white.
I’m sure you do the same, you just don’t realize it. We all oversee our daily sit-com, and to a degree, we have the unyielding power of giving most of our shows a happy ending.
Too often, you needlessly screw up your own episode. Before the cameras begin to roll, you look out to the set and see that it is raining and you left your umbrella at work last night. So what, you get a little wet. Look on the bright side, maybe you’ll see some dope get splashed by a puddle, or you might see a puppy decked out in a slicker and boots.
The trick is to always come back from the commercial with a smile on your face. Yeah, the A/C isn’t working and you’re so poor that you had to break out the Visa to buy Oodles of Noodles. So what, there’s a new Melrose tonight!
Sure, once in a while, there will be a monkey wrench thrown into your plotline. Just remember the immortal words of the King of Stuntmen, Evel Knievel, “For every adversity, there’s an equivalency to benefit. Sometimes you just have to look for it.”
You’re writing the script to your life, so add a few more steamy sex scenes, give yourself plenty of treats, and smile a lot!