I'm almost done reading Evan Handler's book Time on Fire. (If the name doesn't ring a bell, maybe the face will; Evan Handler played Harry Goldenblatt, the bald Jewish lawyer who married Charlotte, on Sex and the City.) I've been reading the book one chapter at a time because I'm a hypochondriac and there's only so much I can read about someone's harrowing bout with cancer before I start to freak out.
(I can hear you now: why's it always gotta be about you, Erik? Just read the man's damn book and let it be about him fer cryin' out loud.)
Anyway, to go back to making it about me for a minute, reading this book makes me thank my lucky stars I do not have a-certain-thing-that-I-won't-even-name-because-I-don't-want-to-jinx-myself. It also makes me question the whole hypochondria thing. Why do I put myself through all of this worry? Honestly. Why does every headache--every toothache--every muscle spasm--have to portend something else?
Why can't a pimple just be a pimple?
It's pointless to worry about all of the bad things that I (probably, most likely) don't have. Instead, I should just focus on enjoying all of the wonderful things I do have. Like my family. And my friends. And my Garbage Pail Kids collection. (Which is 100 percent complete--I still have all 1,240 of them--in mint condition, thank you very much! And I do not care that after all of these years, they have zero monetary value. They are the last remaining vestiges of my childhood and I will never sell them. All I have to do is look at one of the cards and suddenly I am a twelve-year-old again, sitting at the back of the bus on the way to school, trading "Tooth Les" for "Greta Garbage," and feeling so much cooler than all of the kids on the bus because I understand all of the titular Garbage Pail Kid puns and they probably only understand some of them.) You know, I should be happy for things like that.
Queen Latifah knows a thing or two about appreciating your blessings, at least she does in her new movie Last Holiday, in which she plays a woman named Georgia Byrd who spends her whole life waiting for something good to happen and then finds out she only has three weeks to live and then finally decides to have some frigging fun.
I like movies where the moral of the story is to buck up and have some frigging fun. These movies make me think about my hypochondria and how frigging stupid it is. I mean, frig.
So, last night, while having dinner with my friend Jesse, I decided I wanted to go see this new Queen Latifah flick. When I told Jesse of my desire, he quickly jumped on board the "let's see a movie" train, but he poo-pooed the Last Holiday suggestion. He wanted to see something else. And then we spent literally an hour trying to decide what movie to see. (I swear to God.) (We fought over what movie to see for an hour.) (An hour!) (Yeah, I know.)
The problem was that Jesse had already seen all of the "good" movies I wanted to see. Good Night and Good Luck? Jesse had already seen it. Syriana? Jesse had already seen that one, too. Walk the Line? Jesse thinks I should see it, but he won't go again. Squid and the Whale? Jesse thinks I should see that one too, and he would probably see it again, but not tonight.
Okay, fine, if we can't see a "good" movie, then I want to see a "bad" movie. You know, trash. Last Holiday.
No, says Jesse. Nuh-uh. Not gonna do it.
But you've seen everything else, I try to tell him. Let's see Last Holiday.
Give me five valid reasons you don't want to see it.
And on and on and on, etc., etc., etc.
This argument then went on for practically literally another three hours.
(I know, Jesse, you think I'm taking this too far, but it's MY blog for crying out loud, let me wax rhapsodic if I want to.)
(I accidentally typed "rhypsodic" and then I had to mention it because doesn't the word "rhypsodic" look cool? I mean, look at it. Really look at it. There's something psychadellically dyslexic about it. Like the word itself is on shrooms or something.)
Anyway, blah blah blah, the point is, Jesse totally under-no-circumstances-ever, completely and utterly did not want to see Last Holiday. No matter how much I tried to convince him it would be mindless fun. No matter that he was not suggesting any alternatives. No matter that we were running out of time to see a movie before the night ended. No matter nothing.
So I pulled out the big guns. I told Jesse he was ruining my fun. No, worse than that: he was being a cockblock. Wait, no, even worse: HE WAS DESTROYING MY LIFE.
(Which is maybe an eensy bit melodramatic, but Jesse is one of my oldest, dearest friends--we've known each other since the onset of puberty, or thereabouts--and even when I'm a complete and total drama queen, I know that, no matter what, he will take my call the next day.)
Finally, he agreed to go to the movie, but only if I bought him a coke. Done. Deal.
So then we went to the Grove. Now, I totally have a hate/love relationship with the Grove. (Notice how I put the word "hate" before the word "love"?)
Let me break it down:
I hate the Grove because it's annoying, but I love the Grove because it feels like "magic" (and I put the word "magic" in quotes because it feels like manufactured magic, like the back lot of Universal Studios or Main Street at Disneyland).
I hate the Grove because there are always so many people there, but I love the Grove because every time I go there I see someone from The Real World. (Cast in point: last night I saw Norman from season one! O.G. in the house!)
I hate the Grove because there's never any parking, but I love the Grove because...
Last night at the Grove I got to evesdrop on Michael Patrick King, Executive Producer (and God) of Sex and the City. True story. Now, if you didn't already know, I love Sex and the City. One of the best shows ever. And seeing Michael Patrick King at the Grove was like seeing Santa Clause--someone who is responsible for bringing you so many great gifts that he's too good to be true and you're certain the naysayers must be right--he can't really exist--but you still believe, and then, when you see him, it's like magic without the quotation marks.
This was my second encounter with someone from the Sex and the City universe. The first one was with the aforementioned Evan Handler, who played Harry Goldenblatt, the bald Jewish lawyer who married Charlotte, and who wrote Time on Fire, the book I'm reading right now. (Evan Handler, not Harry Goldenblatt.) I have this writing group that I go to on Tuesday nights, which Evan Handler also sometimes goes to. The first time he was there, I totally flipped out. I had a new scene that was being read, but instead of paying attention to my scene, all I could think while they read it was: "Oh my god, Harry, the fictional love of my life, is here. He's really here. He's here--right there. Look at him! That's him. And he's listening to my scene. Right now. Oh my god, Harry, the bald Jewish man that I love, is listening to something I wrote, holy crap I can't breathe."
Afterwards, as I was leaving, I walked past Evan Handler, and he nodded in my direction and said, "nice scene."
My reply? "I'm in love with you and I want to have your Chinese baby."
Okay, actually, no--I wish I said that--but my real reply was something along the lines of "thanks" or gurgle.
Maybe I like him so much because I'm a Charlotte. Do you know what I mean? Do you play that game? Where you decide which character you and your friends are on your favorite shows? It's super easy to do with Sex and the City because the four main characters are so easily broken down into types--you're either a Charlotte (a romantic), a Samantha (a slut), a Miranda (a cynic), or a Carrie (a realist, romantic, cynical slut). The one unifying trait of all four types is that everyone is searching for love. That's the thing that ties us all together.
You can play this game with other shows, too. (For example, I'm also a Phoebe, a Brian Krakow, a Sam Weir, and a Kramer/Jerry.) But Sex and the City is the best, and in the Sex and the City scenario, I'm a Charlotte.
But that's not the point. (What is the point?) Ah, yes, the point is that last night at the Grove, Michael Patrick King, Executive Producer (and God) of Sex and the City, sat right in front of us at Last Holiday, and I got to evesdrop on him.
I have to admit, I didn't really hear much, but here are the highlights:
During the preview for Failure to Launch starring Sarah Jessica Parker, he said "That's my girl!" (This is a lie, he didn't actually say anything during the preview, but he did smile and nod his head several times, and I know that because my head was about to explode when I realized I was sitting behind the creator of Sex and the City while he watched a preview of a movie starring the star of Sex and the City. My head was like, too...much...sugar.)
About ten minutes into the movie, he leaned over to one of his friends and said, incredulously: "A department store with a cat scan machine?" (He actually did say this, and Jesse and I were both like, our thoughts exactly!)
And then, then he said...um, okay, that's actually the only thing I heard him say with any clarity.
But he seemed to enjoy the movie, and after about twenty minutes I forgot he was even there because I enjoyed the movie as well. I learned that it's never too late to count your blessings. It's never too late to make your life good. It's never too late to stop worrying about things like whether or not a bloody nose means you have brain cancer and to start having fun.
I also learned that if you're ever told you only have three weeks to live, then you should liquidate all of your assets and get as far away from your real life as possible and eat deliciously-filmed food with Gerard Depardieu. Unfortunately, if I liquidated all of my assets, I think I'd only be able to get as far as the Beverly Center, but I hear there are a lot of nice Jewish men in that neighborhood, and maybe I'd find my own Harry Goldenblatt, a nice Jewish lawyer who's proud of his back hair and who wants to make Chinese babies with me until the day that I die.