Monday, December 31, 2012

Best of 2012 - Narcissism

Sometime between the end of my preschool years and kindergarten, I decided that I hated my name. In my mind, Ian was girly, Paul was plagiarized from my dad and McGibboney was some weird last name that everybody seemed to have. “Why must I suffer from that triple-whammy of indignity?” I thought, using easier words I knew at that age. The answer was simple enough: I would come up with my own awesome name. AL LARD.

A coed group of teenagers was hanging out at the pool, horsing around and daring each other to take a dip in the unoccupied, chilly water. As I do to get it over with, I took off my shirt and slipped right in. One of the guys waded in, but on my suggestion plunged in the rest of the way. He then took several jaunts across the pool before asking me if I could swim (and if I could, if I wanted to race). I said no, because I can’t. Then several of his friends got in the water, either voluntarily or because they got thrown in. Pretty typical stuff around these pool parts. Until one of the boys pulled out a goddamn handgun.

I'm walkin' here!
We apparently long ago decided that work isn’t work unless we’re so harried from it that we can barely function afterward. Picture the on-the-go person with a phone jammed in their ear, with one hand full of papers and lunch in the other — we often consider that person to possess a strong work ethic, instead of being a horribly overworked and poorly prioritized quasi-cog who will burn out by 35.

Never give up (12/14)
If you ever find yourself in a dark place, I hope you find the strength to recall what makes you special and what role you play in the happiness of others' lives. Don't let the fire inside burn you — spark your optimism instead. I know it's hard; I hate when people think it's something you can flip with a switch. But if you believe in yourself, it's there. I believe in myself.

This seems less conceited when you consider I made it for my Facebook Timeline.  Fifteen percent less conceited.

(The Hot Flashes) — I spent the first several hours sitting at a table with several women who kept comparing themselves and each other to famous actresses. I've learned two things from this: 1) it's best as a guy not to get involved with this conversation, because they'll never like or agree with your answer, even if they seek your opinion, the actress is beautiful and the comparison is valid; and 2) that's it.

(Treme) — After the first few takes, the director said to us guys, “You’re acting like you’re studying for a math test! Feed off her energy,” he said, pointing to the woman next to me, who was trying to pinch our nipples.

(Heebie Jeebies) — When a girl asked me what I was, I told her I was a paramedic. She walked up, bared her neck and asked me to diagnose the red welts she had on her neck. I said, “No, I’m playing a paramedic.” She said, “Oh, I thought you were a real one.” To which replied, “Nope, sorry ... but I’d say those are bug bites.”

(Treme) — The director advised the crowd to act as if we were from Kalamazoo and other midwestern cities, happy to be out in the sun for the first time this year. He didn’t specifically mention Toledo, which brought down my whole self-drafted backstory. Also undermining the whole out-of-hibernation angle: my tan from two months of swimming in Louisiana.

(American Horror House) — Just being cast for the role was a shot to my self-esteem, because the call was for college-age kids (which another call for the same shoot specified as ages 19-26). One of the first people I met told me her husband didn’t make the cut because he was too old — 32.

(Pawnshop Chronicles - kinda) — This past weekend, I worked as an extra on a movie scene that takes place at a carnival. We were townspeople apparently in the present day, but locked in the 1950s. Our job was to be wowed by Brendan Fraser’s Elvis impersonator singing “Amazing Grace” (not difficult). It was a stereotypical slice of Americana. Also, the scene featured several women wrapped in American flags, and little else.

(2 Guns) — I didn't notice until the second take that Denzel walks out of the bank door right next to me. We were so close that I had to divert my path a little. As my mind scrambled to process this surprise, I heard him say, "No, no." At first I thought he was talking to me, but it was his dialogue as he talked on his phone on his way to meet Mark. Ever the consummate professional, I waited until I walked out of shot before making a face that read, "DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?"

I was also in several scenes in "Beautiful Creatures."  Which, for some reason, I didn't write about at all. Firearms are scary. Muttonchops are just badass.

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