Thursday was my 25th birthday and I spent it depressed, I think because I'm in mourning for the birthdays of my youth that granted me with the feeling, upon waking on every October 28th, that the world had rearranged its molecules to suit me. I don't really give a fuck if that was a blindly egotistical approach to take to the day. It felt holy. I don't know what I expected this year besides God to reach his pointer finger down from the clouds and touch it to mine, then say in a booming yet calm tone, "On this day you were released upon the word like sweet, sweet molasses," but on the night before my birthday I started to realize that the momentum wasn't there. I had been talking about my birthday for over a month, how excited I was to feel it approaching, but I think that as you get older and don't have the party favors (or even the party) to hand out to those asked to celebrate your birthday with you, you can't expect to feel the "It's your birthday!" aura echoed back to you by their vibrating bloodstreams. Maybe I should have bought some scratch-and-sniff orange notepads, the party favor of my childhood that haunts me forever (it was a McDonald's birthday, too. It's about feeling, not extent of the celebration) and is featured in my first novel because of its indelible print on my soul. Maybe I could have gotten friends and family properly riled up with these fantastic citrus pads. It's not like the people in my life didn't express good wishes for my birthday, but just that no one was vibrating. But maybe, after all, that was my responsibility, to just get myself a-quaking, and maybe the bigger issue is that the sadness of getting older isn't the body aging but the timbre of joy.
Anyway, for my birthday, Brett and I went to see a preview screening of Saw, featuring a Q and A afterward with the twenty-seven year old writer and twenty-seven year old director. Cary Elwes, who had such deft comic timing in The Princess Bride, showed me that the latter performance was probably a lot of thesbianic serendipity because it turns out that Cary's big performance limitatation is that he turns comic whenever he's trying to portray seriousness. Which is helpful and charming in Bride, but in Saw, Brett insists that this isn't supposed to be the effect. I started cracking up when Cary (vague spoilers) starts crying over the imagined fate of his family and makes the decision to try to saw off his foot, and I thought, for awhile, that I was supposed to be laughing. This is because Cary's character is portrayed as somewhat of a dick, and the dramatic irony of the cuts during this scene (I won't give away anymore) gave me the impression that the filmmakers were attempting to sock it to him through storytelling in order to highlight Cary's amusing descent into total pussydom. I said to Brett, "I think maybe it's supposed to be funny here." But Brett insisted, "No," while wearing a grimace because I think he was scared that the filmmakers were in the screening room, gauging reactions. I'm pretty sure they showed up afterward.
During the interview session, the screenwriter, who also cast himself as the other lead in the film, wouldn't shut up. He loved being on the microphone. He loved answering questions intended for the director. And I disliked him for all of it because he is the worst kind of writer- the kind that wants to act. In fact, he was so insistent on starring in the movie that he was part of the package all along as the filmmakers moved through Hollywood studios and production companies, trying to secure funding. His presence in the film was non-negotiable, and he actually sounded proud when he mentioned that repeatedly. I wanted the moderator to ask the screenwriter what he thought his acting brought to the film that no one else could (because really, Cary Elwes and him together were a total trainwreck), and also to tell him that he should never, ever stick lines in his scripts like, "I'll start at the beginning," when setting up a flashback.
The better "spooky" Halloween offering was VH1's most recent episode of The Surreal Life, which sent the D-list celebrity gang to an abandoned and formerly abusive hospital to see if they could contact any ghosts. One of the frightening things for me has been the recent discovery that I am very attracted to Dave Coulier, formerly the Popeye-imitating lamest uncle on Full House. It's already been widely documented that I've had a longtime thing for Bob Saget, so this recent televisual crush leaves me wondering- Is Uncle Jesse next? And what is it about these men?
The best part of the episode was lovebirds Flavor Flav and Brigitte Nielsen hovering over a Ouija board together in the pitch black former file room of the hospital, trying to contact a dead orderly who felt he'd never been appreciated. Together (Flav's gold teeth shining every time the ray from the flashlight passed them) they asked the spirits in the room, "Are you angry that we're here in the hospital disturbing you?" Unbelievably, something knocked a "yes" on a nearby metal door, leading me to believe that those hospital ghosts are total fucking idiots. Who could ever be mad about Flavor Flav and Brigitte Nielsen right in front of your face, doing their bizarrely smitten passion play? If I was a ghost, I'd want those endlessly fascinating two to stay so I could watch them flirt and profess undying love and feed each other bananas forever and ever. Which goes back to the ways that things suffer as we get older- maybe by the time we're beyond dead, we've lost the joyful appreciation of every single amazing thing.