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Dreaming of George Clooney

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Let’s get something straight. I’m straight. It just so happens I can’t get George out of my mind. Why? Because I’m a romantic, an adventurer, a bit of a scoundrel, a scriptwriter, and a raconteur, if you will – and I’m in love with George.

Not really in love with George, actually. Not really.

You see, I had a dream about him the other night, but I’m certain this doesn’t indicate certain tendencies. I’ve been around for some time and nothing like that has ever come up, in a matter of speaking. I certainly didn’t dream of George in that way, either.

It was George and Brad actually — in the dream — and myself. We three, we band of brotherly hell-raisers.

George has made Hollywood fun again. This might come as a shock to many. Hollywood = not fun? It might be that you’d mistaken the oft cited frolicking, which does go on, 24 hours a day, (as mandated by city charter) with “fun.” That’s understandable. The media has completely clouded the fine distinction between fun and frolicking.

The former is achieved by people who know what life is really all about. The latter is attempted by an unending stream of idiots – many with their heads stuck so far up their a** they’re catching glimpses of daylight out the other side as they mumble incoherently in the glare of camera lights on how they’re victims of some sort. I’m certain I don’t need to name names here. We can all chant them by rote.

George has shown everyone how to be mature, engaged in the world, and still manage to get Danny DeVito stinking drunk in the wee hours of the morning before his appearance on The View.

Real men can pull that off. Metrosexuals need not attempt.

The dream was innocent enough, or so I think. Some of my boys are dubious about its possible meaning. I’ve noted a significant decrease in guy hugs, guy pats-on-the-back, or guy fake tackles either of the a) standing-around-waiting-for-something-to-happen variety or b) passing-one-another-in-the-hallway kind. This is understandable.

On the Serengeti Plain that is a man’s psyche when the breezes suddenly seem to shift, one stands still and scents the air. You’ll see the same reaction in us if the cable company suddenly mixes up the channel order. It can be tense times when the order of things even suggests a certain askew-ness.

I’m a scriptwriter on the edge – as in just on the edge of success. As in A-list actors/producers looking at one or more of my scripts as I write this. As in, “We like what we’re reading here… It’s not for us but what else has he got?” As in, “We loved it but the network says yada, yada… Let’s see that other script, though.”

This can (and has) gone on for what seems like an eternity. For a time it was annoying but not painful. Now it’s the latter. Why? Because George has made Hollywood fun again and I am missing out on it! It seems there are adults — cool adults — back on the scene. Cool as in back in the day cool with the likes of Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Katherine Hepburn, Bing and Bob, Jimmy Stewart, Carole Lombard-Gable along with William Powell and Harold Arlen, and let’s not forget Julius and Phil Epstein.

In the dream Brad and I, along with George, were on the set of some movie. We were running flat out, past grips, around big fans (machines, not gargantuan corporeal types), and over piles of cable.

George has made it cool to be an adult again. I remember my kids commenting during various movies I’d be watching on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) how all the “kids” looked so grown up back then – mature even when they obviously had some more growing up to do.

I explained to them that back then — before Madison Avenue found it necessary to change the psychic landscape of America into a never-ending nightmarish quagmire of fear and loathing that sucks at our self-worth, whispering at every turn that I don’t look young anymore, in order to sell ever more crap — kids didn’t want to be kids after a certain age.

If you were twelve, you wanted to be thirteen. If you were fourteen, you wanted to be sixteen or seventeen, and if you were sixteen or seventeen you wanted to be twenty-one! You wanted to show the world you weren’t a kid anymore, that you could shoulder your responsibilities like an adult, and that you could go out and have fun like an adult. That you’d finally reached that point Nature had been pushing you toward every damn day of your life!

I don’t know, maybe I’m afraid George is going to let those idiots convince him to actually enter politics. That’ll leave Brad (and really, he’s got his hand’s full doesn’t he?) and Matt. Then who? Yah, sure there are others out there, but George is the ringleader! The man instigates fun.

So we’re running like hell, and it’s tough, see, because we’re laughing so hard. My stomach hurt, I was laughing so hard. I don’t think George and Brad’s stomachs hurt as much, mainly because they have personal trainers. Me? I count my own crunches and it goes without saying I cheat – and don’t talk to me about that damn ball.

It would be a hoot to do a movie with George. George seems to be mysteriously drawn to movies that employ dialogue – a fast-fading form of communication here in the 21st Century.

The effect of such communication on certain segments of the viewing population is both interesting and distressing. These complex strings of multi-syllabic words, twisting and turning even beyond their oft-times subtle hues of definitions to form double entendres, word plays, and nuances that dazzle the mind seem to leave this population at best gawking about like a band of Australopithecus watching F-22 Raptors taking off.

More often though they just stare, glass-eyed and slightly drooling, as their parietal lobes struggle to engage beyond the level of a well-trained dog. There is a whole population that seems to have suffered self-induced aphasia – and these are the ones Hollywood too often panders to.

We were running from some prank we’d just pulled and it was brilliant. Whoever was chasing us, I can’t remember if it was the director or another actor, was intent on severe bodily harm. That much was for certain. We scooted through a big studio bay door and out onto the lot. There we tried catching our breath between final gasps of laughter. Then we heard a voice barking our names!

Yah, I’m getting older, and I miss the free and easy days of my youth in the California sun. I miss the last rays of that tainted innocence there in the ’70s – when “just say no” meant, “no dude, I’m not s****** ya, I can’t find the lighter…” When the day could be spent laying back by the swimming hole listening to the eerie, unearthly, and haunting voice of Stevie Nicks singing “Gold Dust Woman” and Bob Seger with “Night Moves.”

We knew the times we were living in. I remember having one of those profound discussions one day at Gray’s Camp up on Indian Creek just after our graduation. There were a bunch of us. Somehow, even though we were caught up in girls, money worries, trying to get to college, thankful to God ‘Nam was finally over, despite all the bullshit with Tricky Dick and laughing about this new guy Chevy Chase and his Gerald Ford bit on some late night show on Saturdays, and despite all that we knew that the last rays of whatever innocence America might have had were nearly gone like the sunlight up above us up on mile-high Slater Butte, we knew it was almost over, and it wouldn’t be this way ever again. We knew.

Somehow, in someway, George has brought back that fun – at least a glimmer of it.

George and Brad both suddenly jumped into the back of an old Ford pickup truck! It looked a lot like the one Larry used to own back in the day. The guy at the wheel looks a little like him, too. The booming voice calling after us got closer as the Ford began to pull away. George and Brad were laughing their asses off – at me. George said something about my being “stuck” having to stay behind and “write.”

I was both pissed and laughing as they teased me. All I could think to do — what any guy would do — was grab a handful of change from my pocket and I begin flinging quarters, nickels, and dimes at them. They ducked, Brad catching a coin and tossing it back at me while George looked around the bed of the truck for something to chuck back at me.

I miss that fun. Somehow, even though I promised myself over the decades I wouldn’t lose the sense of it, I did. It wasn’t the fault of my kids. Even though I’ve been a single parent for the past fourteen years, I tell everyone they kept me young while I raised them – and they did. We did everything together and they and their friends still think I’m the coolest dad on the planet. Somehow, though, that day-to-day grind of trying to survive, trying to tend to their needs, worrying always about their future, it drained away that ability of mine to find the fun.

Like a lot of Americans I really don’t fit that near chimerical image on those damn TV commercials. The ones where the late middle-aged couple, puttering around their little six bedroom multi-million dollar cottage decide life’s been just too tough on them and they immediately call their bevy of investors and find a way, somehow, (God only knows how) to scrape together just enough money to buy that quaint little island down in the Caribbean. Poor bastards – and to think it wouldn’t have been possible at all for them if he hadn’t repeatedly sacked hundreds if not thousands of employees in those multiple iterations of “needing to look after the concerns of the shareholders.”

Back to George’s fun. It isn’t because he never had kids. The man’s a man. He’s stepped up when many haven’t and has taken on a monumental task there in the Darfur region – and God bless him for it.

Maybe the scripts will sell. Things are close, ut it’s been there before. I just want to be able to go outside and play again — one last time, once more — before life pushes me on ahead again like it did decades ago.

Next time I’ll have to run faster.

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  • bliffle

    Good article.