Sunday, September 22, 2002

Doug's Brush with Some Modicum of Semi-Greatishness

[email composed 22 September 2002]

Tuesday morning as I walked up the stairs exiting the train station in Downtown L.A., I encountered a row of director's chairs nearly blocking the stairway completely. Rather than being intrigued and curious, I was slightly irritated; Oh great, another film crew, I thought. I wormed my way around the chairs and the wires on the ground, hoping my path to the office wouldn't be blocked. I turned the corner, relieved I wasn't stopped, and proceeded down the sidewalk. In an alcove, I noticed some people seated in more chairs, presumably actors. I didn't turn to see who they were; I had places to go. A few paces farther down the street I spotted two actors I recognized from the TV show "Alias" (the ones who play Jack Bristow and Arman, the head of SD6), dressed in suits. They were standing around, ostensibly waiting to do a scene. I passed within inches of them as I continued along my usual path to the office. I made no eye contact, I said nothing; I kept walking, just like I do every other day.

As must be evident from my tone I've encountered film crews many times over the past three years I've worked in Downtown--they do shoots there with some frequency. This was one of the few times I'd actually spotted actors--usually I run into the crew during setup--but obviously it didn't phase me. They're just actors, not superheroes. I held no interest in engaging them in a moment's small talk. I didn't give them any obsequious acknowledgement (which they probably crave--you know how actors are). I didn't stop to watch--anyone who has ever witness filming knows how uninteresting it actually is, repetitive as hell. I do watch the show, and when the episode that features that shot airs I will no doubt think to myself, Oh yeah, I remember the day they were doing that, but I am content to wait for the edited version to appear on my television screen. At the corner of the block, a stage hand in Elvis sunglasses made some declaration

that the scene could proceed (I assume). For me, however, the street light turned green and I stepped off the curb without looking back.

Perhaps there's something wrong with me. In America our collective obsession is with fame, or whatever it is that being on television provides. Maybe I'm deluding myself into believing my life isn't so awful that I don't need to bolster my self-esteem by taking pride in coincidental proximity to something that will eventually appear on TV. I'm not so desperate for attention that being close to minor celebrities (notice I couldn't think of the actors' names) becomes the high point of my day. (No, that came later, on the ride home that evening, when a couple of obnoxious teenage girls who were taking up two seats each had to scoot over and shut up because two big guys got on the train and weren't about to stand for the whole trip. It's ever so satisfying when arrogant inconsideration meets its comeuppance.)

This whole incident is only interesting because it involves something that a lot of people have heard of, because my life, as a non-celebrity, bores others, but not because I have some vampiric need to feed off the semi-famous (even though that is what plagues our society).

I don't need to be a celebrity, or near to celebrities, to get a sense of self-worth; that's what writing to you all does for me (or at least my self-delusion affords me the belief that it does).

Besides, if they could not recognize my intrinsic talent as I passed by and see fit to write me into the show, who needs them anyway? (That's Hollywood for you.)


"The desire for fame is the last infirmity cast off even by the wise."
- Cornelius Tacitus, Roman historian, circa 97 CE

Not only is the new TV season here, so is an actual season.

Having noted the astronomical events that mark the passing of our seasons in the past, I have learned that some of you expect me to continue that. So, to appease your the Autumnal Equinox occurs Monday, September 23rd at 4:55 am GMT. However, since most of you aren't in England, in California (if I'm doing my calculations correctly) that's today (Sunday the 22nd) at 8:55 pm--just shortly before I sent this. Fall is here: Enjoy the roughly equal amounts of day and night today, as tomorrow there'll be a little more darkness.

Generally, it's celebrated by those who are/were apt to celebrate it as an end-of-the-harvest festival. In Japan, the 23rd is a national holiday, observing the beginning of autumn. If you get over there and get a job, next year you can get the day off. Maybe you'll see some celebrities.

Here's the word "orifice" for no reason other than someone requested I include it. Give the people what they want, that's what I say.

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