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Grapevine / Ellen

Twenty minutes into Matchstick Men and it’s already getting too meta. I’ve been trying real hard not to notice, but it always seems to creep up. I mean, even Community after five seasons has finally managed to be fun, and this time it’s not just because I see us as everyone. Who would’ve thunk? I’ve broken away from most of the things that once held me back, with the exception of Thursdays, those pesky nights especially, where nothing ever went my way, even when they seemingly did. Gone are the boardrooms, empty hallways, and elevators, replaced by board games, full couches, and open beers. Oddly enough, we still use a pair of dice, only when it rolls now, I no longer hope for alternate timelines. Well, that’s not entirely true. They’ll never take that hope away, but so long as you’re sitting across from me, that urge will always stay at bay. I guess I still write the same way, much to the dismay of anyone reading this. I imagine writers get the same kind of hate that singers do, because they’re afraid names and/or stories might be made public, but you don’t have to worry about that with me, seeing as I don’t have the viewership, and I certainly don’t have the influence. Consider that the benefit of my grapevine being strictly one-way. Everyone hears through mine, but I never get to hear what you have to say.

***

There’s an exchange in The Cosby Show that has always stuck with me, I think it’s late in season three, it might be episode twenty. It’s Cliff’s fiftieth birthday, and he has some friends over, and one of them brings their daughter, who he tries to stick with Theo, only Theo has already made plans, and he doesn’t want to take her, because he thinks she’s too young, and people will think he’s robbing the cradle, so this is where it hits me: There’s a certain age, where you said to me, Dad, I’m going to party, party, party, and then when I’m burned out, I’m going to look around for a woman to settle down with. Remember? What age was that? [Twenty-four.] When you’re twenty-four, she will be around twenty, or twenty-one, and you’re going to be looking around for somebody. Now wouldn’t it be nice to lay a little track, and be nice to her, so she would remember you when you’re twenty-four? He’s asking a biased question, thinking that she’d even see his son as worthy over a singular time in her life that he happened to take her rollerskating, when the reality is that what was supposed to be an indiscernible difference in the future will instead later become an infuriating burden, where I think she was the one who got away a.k.a. the one that I could’ve had if I hadn’t been so caught up in my own head a.k.a. the one that never saw me in that light because I was just a friend a.k.a. the one that’s currently [not] reading this.

I promise this wasn’t about you.*

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