Saturday, March 3, 2012

I'm Mikey The Clown!

Hey everybody! Get ready for an afternoon of magic and fun. I have a whole bag of balloon animals and tricks, and after that I want you to meet my puppet family from the Magical Land of Glee. It's just going to be sooooper-dooper! I just... wait. What? What's that look for? Tell me. C'mon, tell me.

Okay, let me explain something. I'm not a scary clown. I'm not a psycho clown. I won't grow fangs or claws or spurt blood over anything. Got it? I'm just. A happy. Clown. I took four years of dance and two years of physical comedy at Juilliard so I could make people laugh and enjoy themselves and forget about what a crap world we live in for a little while. Is that dishonorable? Is that something you should mock? No. No, it isn't. But every time I show up with my bag and and my big shoes I get jokes about Pennywise and John Wayne Gacy. Just last week I finished a solid hour of close magic and intense pratfalls. I won over two dozen kids and made them just bust up with laughter -- even the little guy who was actually afraid of me when I showed up. I really reached them. Then they filed out of the room, and one of the suburban dads got that stupid smirk on his face I know so well.

"So," he said. "Where the dead hookers at?" All the adults laughed in those harsh adult laughs, because they think everything's funny and nothing is good. Almost popped him right in the face. He's going to spend the next ten years poisoning that boy of his, and the kid'll give up acting or writing or whatever it is, and he'll become some goddamn plumbing supply executive. And I know this, because that's what my dad tried to do. It's hard being a clown. You people get that? You spend your life struggling with bills and bad gigs and getting made fun of. And you do it, because you still remember the time you put on a play when you were five, and everybody clapped, and you just knew you wanted to spend your life bringing that kind of joy into every room you could. And then some asshat asks you if you've seen Batman.

My ex-girlfriend told me I should quit clowning. She was into stand-up and improv -- she was dealing with her own issues -- and she just cut me down mercilessly. It's why we broke up. "You'll never make it," was really, literally the last thing she ever said to me. You know what her name was? Amy Poehler. Yes, that one. Now I see her on TV or on magazines, or sitting at an awards show with whatserface, and it cuts my insides into ribbons.

I'm 41, and I don't have any other skills. I've tried secretarial work. I became a blogger for awhile, but that's even more depressing. I am at a point in my life, where I can do only a few things very well, and no one takes any of those things seriously. My other clown friends have all left to take bit parts in horror films, or work in amusement park haunted houses. One of them got a part in a reenactment on one of those Discovery crime shows. I am the only one left, the only one who still wants to be a real clown. I am trapped by the very thing that I always loved. Do you know what that's like?

I guess you could say I'm bitter. You won, you horrible, cynical people. You turned me into another one of them. I'm an angry clown.

I hope you fuckers are proud of yourselves.

(Note: Above is a photo of Smilie the Clown by Steve Smilie Norman. The information is here. It is a public domain picture, and Smilie has nothing to do with my essay. I'm sure he's a very nice clown, and you shouldn't judge him. Also I've never had a relationship with Amy Poehler. I don't know if she's nice, but I'm sure people who meet her on the street say she's "really down to earth.")

A Message To Rush Limbaugh From An Intestinal Parasite

That was low. That was really, really low. I can understand that you might disagree with what Sandra Fluke has to say about contraception; it's a free country, and you're entitled to your opinion. But there's no need to attack the woman in such a hateful manner. I cause nausea, cramps, and occasionally-fatal cases of dysentery. But you sir, have gone too far.

I certainly appreciate the pressure that you face, and the sometimes controversial nature of your job. After all, we work in very similar industries -- I'm a nematode who infests the small intestines of most mammals, and you host your radio program. But I also know that there is a line you don't cross, a code of behavior. There are some things a guy like me just won't do. Don't you understand that? You're making a disgrace of yourself. Really. What you said was disgusting. Sometimes I cause pica, which is a compulsion to eat dirt, so I know what I'm talking about. But this is worse.

You've hit bottom, man. You need to use this experience to make a change in your life and in your work. My advice is: Don't fight it! It could be a real opportunity for you to grow. After I killed off a litter of Labrador puppies last year, I sank into a deep depression for a long time. I lost hope, you know? And then one day I woke up, looked in the mirror, and said to myself, "Hey, I'm still here. I still have a chance to be the kind of intestinal parasite I know I can be."

So can you, Rush. So can you.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Message To PETA From A Dead Gazelle On A Nature Show

You people annoy the crap out of me. These cheetahs are chomping down on my haunches, so clearly I have bigger problems than you. But still, I want to say this.

Listen, I don't mind the veganism. I don't mind you trying to keep people from squirting cosmetics into little rabbit eyes. All that's fine. You want to try to make some top predators behave a little more kindly to everyone else in the pyramid? Great.

But then you start getting loopy. You start acting like animals have the same rights as people. Here's why that's stupid: Rights don't exist in my world. Rights are something you guys invented as a way of dealing with each other in the context of an advanced civilization. You can claim some kind of teleological source of natural law or some kind of idea of the balance of nature or the harmony of Mother Gaea with all her children. But you have no proof. Nothing.

Take me: Walking along, minding my own beeswax, munching some leaves with Steve and Sheila and the rest of the herd. BAM! Outta nowhere, a couple of cats jump us and everybody scatters. I have this sprained ankle... so guess who draws the fuct card that day? Now as a gazelle with a disability do I have a right to access ramps and a cheetah-free workplace? Do those sons of bitches who got me have a right to a nutritious, organic meal? No and no. No one has a right to anything here in what we call the real world. I get eaten today. Next week, the cheetahs who caught me starve to death or die from an accident or parasites. The whole world goes round.

I think you people are scared. You're scared to admit your little rule system of play-nice is just a tiny, fragile sand castle next to a rising ocean of nobody-gives-a-crap. You think if you expand your laws to include the whole world of living creatures then somehow you'll escape the inevitable. Which is, of course, death. But that's just silly. The whole history of this planet is billions upon billions of creatures dying in nasty ways, and then some of them with the right set of antlers survive just long enough to give the next generation a better chance. And you are part of that, whether you want to admit it or not. Human civilization is a maraschino cherry of morality on top of a giant double-fudge sundae of murder and privation.

So before I slide down this bastard's gullet let me give you some advice: Stop saying ridiculous stuff about animal rights and Orca slavery, and just try to make people better people. If I were better at being a gazelle, I'd be alive. But that's my burden. And anyway, the cheetah is coming for you too. So suck it, hippies.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Paris Hilton Proves Edgar Allan Poe Was Wrong

The above clip is the single "Drunk Text" by a group called Manufactured Superstars with vocals by Paris Hilton. Watching it is like the first time you saw Psycho when they spun Norman Bates's mom around in that chair in the fruit cellar. It has wrecked my world. It will destroy yours as well if you're not careful.

My life as a writer has been inspired and guided by my favorite quote from Edgar Allan Poe. I'm going to print the whole thing, because it's wonderful, and it will inspire you too, and then it will be really terrible when I ruin it for you:
If any ambitious man have a fancy a revolutionize, at one effort, the universal world of human thought, human opinion, and human sentiment, the opportunity is his own–the road to immortal renown lies straight, open, and unencumbered before him. All that he has to do is to write and publish a very little book. Its title should be simple–a few plain words–"My Heart Laid Bare." But–this little book must be true to its title.
Now, is it not very singular that, with the rabid thirst for notoriety which
distinguishes so many of mankind–so many, too, who care not a fig what is
thought of them after death, there should not be found one man having sufficient
hardihood to write this little book? To write, I say. There are ten thousand men
who, if the book were once written, would laugh at the notion of being disturbed
by its publication during their life, and who could not even conceive why they
should object to its being published after their death. But to write it–there is
the rub. No man dare write it. No man ever will dare write it. No man could
write it, even if he dared. The paper would shrivel and blaze at every touch of
the fiery pen.
It's good advice, right? You find the truth that scares you, and you get as close to it as you dare -- until you're actually thrilled and afraid of what you'll say next. And no matter who you are, you will be interesting. I always thought so anyway.

But what if someone could write something with complete emotional honesty, leaving nothing out at all, and what if that thing was so boring and stupid you couldn't bear it for longer than 30 seconds? It's possible I'm wrong, but I really think that's what this group has managed to do here. They have taken people like Paris Hilton, and really gotten into their innermost thoughts... and this clip that seems like it would give a gerbil seizures is the result. Staring into Paris Hilton's beady little eyes, you see it all. And that's why she's the human embodiment of what computer animators call "the uncanny valley."

Of course the group didn't just write the song about her. They're describing an entire world of people -- people you probably know. Dancing, drinking, texting, waking up foggy and slamming one of those 5-hour energy bottles so they can do it again. You've seen their hearts laid bare. This is who they really are.

And they're everywhere. If you're reading this you should know you're outnumbered.

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