This is certainly not to trivialize a very serious topic, but it is indeed an actual account of my experience.
Narrator: September 11, 2001. Tragedy strikes the United States. In this hour of immense grief, France comes to comfort her old friend.
Marianne: Hey, kid, I’m so sorry about what happened. We’re here for you, whatever you need.
Uncle Sam: Thank you. I want to make them pay!
Marianne: I know, I know. Let’s not think about that now.
Narrator: Pretty soon America was ready to even the score.
Uncle Sam: I’m going for them! And you’re coming with me!
Marianne: Sure. Where we going?
Uncle Sam: We’re going for Iraq!
Marianne: Beg pardon?
Uncle Sam: You heard me!
Marianne: I hate to nit-pick, but …… they didn’t do this to you. Why don’t you go after those who did it?
Uncle Sam: Nah, I want to beat up Iraq.
Marianne: I…. don’t think …. we should be involved in that.
Uncle Sam: Excuse you?!
Marianne: I don’t want to join that fight.
Uncle Sam: Typical! You’ve never done anything to help us. You just surrendered in World War 2! We saved you! You owe us everything!
Marianne: EXCUSE ME?! You wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for us! No matter how proud you are of being a scrappy, backwoods redneck, the fact of the matter is that we saved your ass! You don’t really think you beat the highly trained British Army with pitchforks do you?
Uncle Sam: That’s a lie!
(Marianne coyly looks up at the statue of Lafyette.)
Marianne: And look we didn’t just “surrender” and run the other way. German is, at best, a horrible neighbor. You live next to countries who don’t start things every few years. I don’t want to hear it!
Uncle Sam: We’re changing the name of French fries.
Marianne: You sound like a child.
Narrator: The United States went forward without France. Years later, they made up.
Uncle Sam: Hey, there ….. I uh…… sorry about all that. We’ve been through a lot together. Let’s be pals again.
Marianne: Yeah, I’m sorry too.
(France and America walk off into the sunset together, like always.)
Narrator: War breaks out! France and America are embroiled in The Great War. America sends resources to aid France’s efforts until joining the war themselves. Victory is achieved. Then there is peace.
Narrator: AND THEN WAR BREAKS OUT AGAIN! The Germans are at it again! They’ve attacked and destroyed Paris! Vichy France is in control!
Marianne: Pssst. Sam! Sam! Over here!
Uncle Sam: Is that you, Marianne?
(Marianne steps from the shadows wearing a T-Shirt that reads “Free France”)
Uncle Sam: Are you ok?
Marianne: Well……. not really. And I need your help.
Uncle Sam: Anything, old pally!
Marianne: I need you to help me take down my evil twin and the Nazis.
Uncle Sam: You got it.
Narrator: The Allies pour onto Normandy beach on D-Day and fight back the Axis powers, sending them on the run and securing victory for good over evil.
Uncle Sam: We did it!
Uncle Sam: There’s nothing we can’t do together!
Marianne: And nothing will ever come between us!
Uncle Sam: Except for that weird not-quite-a-war and the time you took over Mexico.
Marianne: Pshaw, that was ages ago and they barely count.
Uncle Sam: Right! Nothing can stop us now!
(The two friends high five, then putt heir arms around each other and walk into the sunset)
Narrator: Stay tuned for part 4, entitled “The Iraq Blues” or “What have you done for me lately?”
Narrator: France and America have had rough patches. The Napoleon years for example …
Uncle Sam: Break up with him! He’s not good for you!
Marianne: You don’t know him like I do! He just has a temper!
Uncle Sam: He’s bad news! He’s started a fight with every single one of your neighbors! It’s all we can do to stay out of it!
Marianne: If you hate him so much, why’d you buy the Louisiana Territory? That’s just giving him money to fight the neighbors. You’re an enabler!
Uncle Sam: ………… That’s different.
Narrator: But after Napoleon, and a quasi-war that made no sense, and America’s problems at home, a new day is dawning for the old friends.
Uncle Sam: Yeah?
Marianne: I just wanted to say……. We’re really proud of you. You wanted to be a free country, and it took some doing, but you did it. You’ve come a long way from when you were a scruffy bunch of farmers. We… we got you something. We got you this statue to represent your liberty. We call it …. the Statue of Liberty.
Uncle Sam: Aw, gee, you didn’t have to do that. Thank you very much.
Marianne: Now help us put it together.
Uncle Sam: Beg pardon?
Narrator: It was a long and bitter battle, but alas the colonists emerge victorious in the fight for independence! Standing by their side in this fight was France, an ally to whom they owe a great deal. Admittedly, they were initially drawn to the fight because they were angry with England. (The enemy of my enemy is my friend) Through the efforts of the Marquis de Lafayette, a man totally devoted to the American dream, the colonists were supplied with guns and money (starting a life long love affair with both) which greatly aided the victory of the Americans.
(Marianne, the physical embodiment of France, and Uncle Sam, the physical embodiment of America stand alone in a field. Gun smoke is wafting in the air around them and just barely beginning to clear.)
Uncle Sam: WE DID IT! FREEDOM!
Marianne: We did! This is indeed a great day! I am so honored to have been your partner in this fight.
Uncle Sam: The colonists have single handedly beaten all the redcoats! Did you see them run? No one can ever stop us. We did it all on our own!
Marianne: I beg your pardon?
Uncle Sam: USA! USA! USA!
Marianne: Well, uh, that’s not quite true, is it?
Uncle Sam: Hmm?
Marianne: You didn’t do it all on your own…
Uncle Sam: (Dejected) What do you mean?
Marianne: Well, you know, you didn’t have a lot going and …
Uncle Sam: (Tears filling eyes)
Marianne: …… And…. you did it all on your own…. Congratulations!
(Uncle Sam continues dancing around the field screaming, “USA! USA!”)
Narrator: Why didn’t you set them straight?
Marianne: They’re just a kid. A little confidence will be good for them, if they don’t take it too seriously. Look how happy they are.
Uncle Sam: Hey, Marianne, if France ever needs a hand, we’ll be glad to help. We are unstoppable.
Marianne: Well, now that you mention it….. there’s a revolution brewing and we’d be very grateful if you …….
Uncle Sam: Sorry, no, we’ve got a government to set up. Good luck though!
1.) Invest — Now is a good time to diversify your portfolio, maybe even take a risk or two since you don’t have to worry about anyone but yourself. Might I suggest diapers. If my own bundle of joy is any indication, this will have incredible returns. In fact it feels like it’s “yielding dividends” right now. Put your money in diapers, I know I have.
2. ) Buy some new sheets — Since you’ll be spending all this time in bed, you will really get your money’s worth out of buying sheets that cost like a month’s worth of formula. You can luxuriate as long as you want, undisturbed by the sounds of what I can only describe as “banshees watching C-Span.” Now would be a great time to finally spring for that stupid Egyptian Cotton and 5 million thread count or whatever.
3.) Buy new furniture — You could put some money into getting brand new things for your home, maybe even some new carpet. You’ll really be able to appreciate the craftsmanship and comfort of fine furniture. Cushions that do not crunch. Carpet that doesn’t have a grain to it. Table legs that do not look like they were abandoned by a beaver unable to obtain permits.
4.) Charity — We all know the childless are selfish. (Kidding!) While I have my hands full with the ultimate act of altruism involved in creating a group of people that look like me, you can take this time to give back. You could write generous checks to Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, The Humane Society, Planned Parenthood, The Innocence Project, or even, Planned Parenthood.
5.) Go on a vacation — You could go unencumbered to anywhere in the world! Enjoy time with your partner or spouse! Stay in a nice hotel! Where you can probably actually sleep! Someone else has to worry about breakfast! You could go to Fiji, or Paris, or my personal recommendation: straight to hell. Michigan. Hell, Michigan, that is.
6.) Buy like 4 cars or something stupid — You could go ahead and build a fleet of Kia Souls for zero reasons. Or maybe a house, maybe a second house. Subscribe to 78 magazines. Build a moat, build a drawbridge for your moat. Buy a first edition set of Proust’s ‘The Remembrance of Things Past’, and a second for the bathroom.
7.) Start saving for that nursing home — It may be quiet now, but one day you’ll be old(er)! You won’t have any children to come over and take you to the doctor or mow the grass! You won’t have to make up excuses like those to get them to come visit because they won’t otherwise! You can take all that money in your diaper portfolio, sell off the Kia Souls, and move yourself into a really nice active retirement community!
8.) Burn it — It’s the same thing we’re doing except you’ll be warm.
When the pandemic is over, I’m becoming a Parrothead. Fuck it. They look like they have a lot of fun. I want to have a lot of fun. I’ll run the streets of Key West, in particular my family’s namesake: Duval Street. Spelled with one L because, I assume, we had to sell one to pay for drinks.
My time on the mainland and my workaday existence are at an end. And with the changes in latitudes shall come my changes in attitudes. I have, frankly, had enough.
I’m going to Margaritaville and toss my mask overboard.
Watch it float to the bottom and rest gently on my lost shaker of salt.
Every comic personage worth their weight in funny bones needs a friend like Fran Lebowitz has in Martin Scorsese. Martin, the brilliant, wildly successful director who has given us many classics. A man who has achieved that level of American fame where their name is synonymous with excellence (Jordan, Spielberg, The Beatles, Chris Duvall, folks like that).
But none of that matters where Fran is concerned. His function is solely to sit in her presence and listen. That’s what I want, someone (doesn’t necessarily have to be a great director, we won’t be talking about them anyway) to sit their life and accomplishments and concerns aside and hang on every stream of consciousness word that pours from my mouth. Mozart humming. God speaking the world to life.
Like talking heads in a documentary, accomplished people, we know this because their name and occupation is listed right there in the corner of the screen. The ego is gone. Their only value on this mortal coil is the fact that they stood in proximity to someone great. Greater than themselves, greater than anyone (for this particular moment).
Perhaps that’s what God wants as well. If there is a heaven and we all go, we will find that heaven is a a darkened bar, where we can smoke. I mentioned it was heaven right? And we will sit in the presence of the almighty and he will regale us with stories and observations on this world he made. He will tell us why he hasn’t made anything new in millions of years. We will sit and bask in the genius. We will laugh uproariously at all his bits. It is for this that we were created. The type of worship that people are meant for. An egoless adoration.
Hell is for people who are great directors and want to talk about themselves.