The Unbearable Banishment: Ask me! Ask me! Ask me! I won't say no. How could I?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ask me! Ask me! Ask me! I won't say no. How could I?

I got memed! I suppose that’s better than being maimed. Is that even a word? Memed? It’s a verb, right? Mrs. Savannah pinged me to answer the following questions and I am happy to oblige. Anyone who’s been here a long time will find these answers somewhat redundant.

1. If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?

I’d have gone to college and gotten a degree. Who knows how far I could've gone? I wouldn't have wasted all those years wracked with low self-esteem. I also would have tried to get something published. I was so certain that I’d fail as a writer that I never even tried. I never gave myself a fighting chance. I’ll have to warn The Daughters about such self-defeating tendencies.

That was two things. Tough shit.

2. If you could repeat any age which would it be?

One early Sunday morning in the springtime of my 26th year, I was sitting alone in my apartment in Brooklyn. I was reading the Sunday New York Times, a cup of coffee next to me. One of my cats, a sliver Siamese named Mr. Chow, was sitting in my lap. I lived in the top-floor apartment of a brownstone that had two tall bay windows. It was Sunday-morning quiet. The sunlight poured in and spilled onto my hardwood floor. Lying in the center of a sunbeam was my other Siamese cat, Lucy. She looked at me, blinked slowly, contentedly, and raise her chin a bit. She swished her tail.

I was seeing a pretty girl at the time. We were both quite fond of one other but we weren’t in love. There was no jealousy or need. I liked the work I was doing. I was in excellent health. I was still acclimating myself to New York, which was exciting. I was kind of broke but didn't care. I felt free. Something washed over me and I thought, “This is as happy as anyone can ever hope to be.”

I’d repeat that year.

3. What really scares you?

Losing my family. I’ve lost jobs. Lost money. Lost love. You think you’ll never get over it, but you do. What would I be if I lost my family? I'd be nothing.

4. If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be?

I'd be Jesus Christ. No joke. Because then I’d know if I really was the Son of God. Then I’d finally know the truth to one of the greatest mysteries. I am wracked with doubt and I’d like to know, once and for all. Wouldn't you?

*     *     *

Do you have any friends who are actors? Ask them and they'll tell you: when inside a theater, you're never supposed to say "Macbeth." It's bad luck. Amongst the acting community, the play is referred to as "The Scottish Play." It's silly but fun. That's what this planet needs. More silly but fun.

I just saw creepy, excellent Alan Cumming perform a one-man Macbeth on Broadway. I wouldn't say it's got universal appeal, but I enjoyed it. I got lost trying to follow along a few times. I find Shakespearian plots complicated to navigate normally. Trying to hold on with ONE GUY playing all the parts (including evil queen Lady Macbeth) was a challenge. But worth it.

Patrons entering the Barrymore Theater are met with this advisory:

That's a first. What do you think? Is that pretentious? Before the show my friend bought a round of drinks. One Jack Daniels (a double) and one Maker's Mark. $45. $45! (Albeit, including tip.) It's the most I've ever seen anyone pay for two drinks.


Blogger dinahmow said...

An actor friend scoffed at such superstitions. One night, during "Macbeth" rehearsals, he was whistling, backstage. Fell down the steps and broke an ankle.

But the Barrymore's admonishment? A publicity stunt?

April 25, 2013 at 8:58 PM  
Blogger MommyHeadache said...

One other fact about Alan Cumming is that he has a perfume called 'Cumming.' It is hard to imagine a less attractive name for a perfume apart from maybe 'Sweaty Crotch' Enjoy

April 25, 2013 at 9:23 PM  
Blogger Gorilla Bananas said...

Well, since you mentioned the Scottish play, I've got to link this clip from Blackadder. The problem with being Jesus is that he might have thought he was the son of God without it being true. Quite a few people are suffering from that syndrome today, I should imagine.

April 26, 2013 at 2:38 AM  
Blogger OldLady Of The Hills said...

The superstition about The Scottish Play has so a lot of bad happenings to it---Personally, I don't think the Barrymore's request is out of line--Plus there may be a teeny tiny bit of tongue-in-cheek to it, too, but mostly, I think it is quite serious.. Whistling in the Dressing Room is a BIG BIG no-no, too.
Bad things happen. So, for me, I never refer to that play as anything but The Scottish Play. I believe in all these things connected to the Theatre.

April 26, 2013 at 4:30 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I had never heard of the whistling superstition until these comments. I thought I was pretty clued in. I wonder if the admonishment was by Cumming's request?

April 26, 2013 at 6:29 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

If you hadn't included the URL I probably wouldn't have believed you. I would have thought it a gullibility test. What can it possibly smell like?! And why didn't he call it Alan?

April 26, 2013 at 6:31 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

My lord that was funny! Sat in my coffee shop laughing like an idiot. I had never heard of Blackadder. Wasn't that a young Hugh Laurie of House fame? Thanks for that!

April 26, 2013 at 6:37 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

As I mentioned above, I knew nothing at all about whistling backstage. Where do these things come from?! They seem too preposterous to persist but persist they do. I agree that the "warning" is in the spirit of a fun night out and not to be taken too seriously.

April 26, 2013 at 6:39 AM  
Blogger savannah said...

why, thank yew, sugar! i just knew you'd play! ;)

long ago in a land far away, i stood on the stage and thought i'd never leave, but i did and never looked back. later, it was fun to watch super nana on stage and film, so all the theater traditions are sacred in our house still! xoxoxo

April 26, 2013 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Religion is a crutch for the weak, it is far more intelligent to look to science rather than rely on ancient befuddled gossip. In my own opinion of course, but then who am I to opine?

April 26, 2013 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I'll always play. It's in my nature.

This makes me wonder what other traditions exist that I'm unaware of. The more I learn, the less I know.

April 26, 2013 at 1:33 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Were I Jeebus for a day, I'm afraid that I'd fine the bible to be an elaborate game of telephone, with the stories being re-written and bent throughout the ages to accommodate whoever happens to be in power at the time. Henry VIII did it and I'm sure that's just the tip of the iceberg.

April 26, 2013 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger dinahmow said...

Actors, like sailors, are a terribly superstitious lot. Many have their own peculiarities and they(we) all respect the whistling and the Macbeth tradition.I was told that it was the mention of witchcraft that occasioned it. In the 16th century most folk were scared of witches, or , more probably, being accused by a witch-finder!Wiki has more

April 26, 2013 at 3:59 PM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

why do we say "break a leg"? same reason... and strangely enough, if some EEEEEJIT has the bad form to say that other thing (the wishing of positive fortune) inside a theater? you have to leave the theatre, spin around 3 times, spit, curse, and then knock to be re-admitted to the theatre. ballet people, being far more pretentious, say "merde" instead of "break a leg". if you suggest that the bad thing is going to happen (shit, and broken appendages) the theory is that it will be a good night.

bottom line: theatre people are nuts.

and your reflection on that year? i get it. totally get it. kurt vonnegut implied that THESE are the moments we (as creatures) are ROTTEN about noting. we don't realize it when we are truly happy. "If this isn't nice, i don't know what is". it is cool that you have such a vivid memory of such a moment...

April 26, 2013 at 11:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The happiness that you described so well, that one moment when all about you is serene. That one simple moment is what we all search for to recreate it for the rest of our lives. And you are correct sir, Henry Vlll did it and history was rewritten.

April 27, 2013 at 1:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shyness is nice and shyness can stop you...
From enjoying college years, yup. I wish I could have been my more self-assured 25 all through college, that would have been much more entertaining.
I got a little chill reading the paragraph about the happy time. It's rare when we are able to recognize our contentedness in a moment. Usually comes later when things are crappy.

April 27, 2013 at 3:12 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

God bless the internet. One-stop-shopping for all acting peculiarities. I was a sailor! We didn't have all that many superstitions. We'd throw a penny at the dock as we left.

April 27, 2013 at 7:32 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I had you in mind as I posted this. I knew you'd have first-hand knowledge. I knew you weren't supposed to wish good fortune, but I was unaware there was an antidote. Is that true or were you testing your improvisational skills?

I really did have this moment when everything was perfect and I realized it. I knew it wouldn't last (it didn't) but I was glad to take notice. Usually I'm too self absorbed to seize the moment.

April 27, 2013 at 7:39 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Yay! Someone noticed! Did you get an earworm? That's what I was aiming for.

Are you back? Is your move complete?

You can never sustain those moments of perfect bliss but you have to recognize them when they arrive. I always wait patiently for the next one.

April 27, 2013 at 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have moved, but unfortunately opening a restaurant is hard work. I'm on my computer the entire day, and it's not blogging :p Wine list is wrapped up as of yesterday, now I have to muster the strength to train 20 people this week.
It might be a couple weeks before I'm back but I'll be checking in. I miss writing and hanging out on my favorite blogs.
And you can always quote the Smiths, love it!

April 28, 2013 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

I think the warning is fun and sets the scene.
I would happily spend an evening watching Alan Cunmmings do anything.

April 29, 2013 at 6:41 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

It's not your typical Thursday night, that's for sure. You've got to know your Macbeth to fully appreciate the performance.

I recently read that next fall Cumming will reprise his role as the MC in Cabaret with the possibility of Anne Hathaway as Sally Bowles. I saw him in that role with the late, great Natasha Richardson and it was one of the best evenings of theater ever. I hope it happens.

April 29, 2013 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger Ms Scarlet said...

I don't think it's youth we're hankering after, I think it's freedom and lack of responsibility... just for a day.
Anyhow, like Pat, I think the sign is fun.

April 29, 2013 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

Ah, the Smiths! :¬)

April 29, 2013 at 7:31 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Youth = freedom. It's the oldest equation in the book.

I have come to believe that the "warning" is all in good fun. I can't imagine anyone would actually be offended. I should have tried just to check.

April 29, 2013 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Get yourself a copy of Louder Than Bombs. It's a great compilation and the only Smiths you'll ever need.

April 29, 2013 at 9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Number 2 sounds lovely. I remember a day like that I had with Kim. It was very still.

45 dollars for two drinks? I'd have left them on the bar and walked away had I been the one to pay.

April 30, 2013 at 6:41 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Re: #2. I wake up every day in anticipation of reliving those quiet, satisfied moments. They come along every once in a while. Not often enough.

That Maker's Mark tasted exactly the same as a Maker's Mark I had the other day that cost a FRACTION of what my friend paid. It's all about the location, I suppose.

April 30, 2013 at 7:00 AM  
Blogger Gorilla Bananas said...

Hugh Laurie was the tall Prince Regent who appeared last. The butler was Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean). I suggest you get the Blackadder DVDs. The clip you saw came from Blackadder the Third.

May 1, 2013 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I know all about Atkinson. He's a pretty big deal, right? The Bean movies get a theatrical release over here. I've also seen Laurie play Bertie Wooster, which he was excellent at. But...I know nothing about this Blackadder business. I'm on the case!

May 1, 2013 at 12:50 PM  

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