(Note: The Lobster Bible is a part of this journal that is partly fictionalizing my location, pretending to be in Portland, Maine—but otherwise, everything else is pretty much the same.)
I just picked up my coffee mug—I'm at work—on which is printed "Tony" and then "Luck of the Irish" and a bunch of green shamrocks or four leaf clovers or what have you. I'm not Tony—I'm at work and I got the mug out of the cupboard where it sat with hundreds of discarded coffee mugs from past employees. Every time one of them gets fired they leave their personalized coffee mug. So the coffee mug cupboard is like a cemetery of labor—little commemorative monuments to past lives wasted at this hellhole. But to get to the point, I thought my mug was empty and it was not, and coffee flew all over the front of my white shirt. This, I think, proves to myself, and the world, that I'm mentally—what?—disturbed, disabled, nonexistent?—what I'm trying to say isn't that I profess to be hindered by some clinically recognized mental disorder. I mean, maybe I am, but who am I to say? What I'm saying is that I'm completely incapacitated in the mental department—I mean, why didn't I know there was coffee in that cup, or at least assume there might be? You don't see normal people walking around with big coffee stains on their shirts. Why me, and what happened? I figure this is what this journal is all about—I'm going to write down every last thing I think and then submit it to some experts somewhere—hopefully to a research hospital so I won't have to pay anything—and then I'm hoping they can put all this data in the big computer, and maybe DR. FREUD can take a look at the readouts—if he's not too busy being dead—HA! And maybe they can give me a clue as to what's wrong with me—maybe prescribe some sedative or drug or Prozac or rat poison, whatever. Then I can get on with the everyday tasks like boot licking and shit—okay, I'll tell you what I do.
So I'm not Tony, like I said, but I'm not going to tell you my real name because anonymity is important to this project—I have to feel comfortable not holding anything back—no information that might be crucial—no feelings that might be otherwise too excruciating to admit. So let's see—I'll call myself... Norman, you know, after Norman Bates. No, that's too goofy—okay, how about Travis, after one of my all-time heroes, Travis Bickle. Okay, me, Travis, I work at this downtown architectural firm called "The Sky's No Limit." Actually, that's a joke—but it should be the name of this place, because they specialize not only in big (towering, skyline ruining) skyscrapers, but also in big everything—big hair, tall food, and microbrews with the big head. Oh, and that band, Big Head Stud. Entertainment, restaurants, fashion—they have their greedy fingers in everything (and I won't even get into politics right now). But no—these kinds of respectable firms are always named after the owners or partners or whatever they call themselves—skylords—how's that? Like, I read in the Wall Street Journal about this successful company that picks up dog shit for a fee—called "Shit to Gold." Excellent handle. So I call my employer "The Sky's No Limit" when in actuality it's officially: "Leigh Marvin Albert Speer and Simpson, Architects." The "architects" is necessary so you don't think it's a damn law firm or something, or a goddamned talent agency for Christ God's sake. Just the thought of that riles me up because I worked in a talent agency—started in the mailroom, and I was going to work my way up like those guys like David Geffen and then be the most powerful man in Hollywood, etc., and someday have my own personal guru. Well, my plan didn't work out—I was working beside all these other guys who were trying to do exactly the same thing—and they were getting old there fast. Those kind of "work my way up from the mailroom" bullshit stories aren't really that useful to the world at large—and may actually be destructive if you ask me. Those powerful guys were all born into royalty, and those cute little myths are just fabricated to keep the slaves happy.
Everything gets on my nerves some days like today which is one of them. The guy in front of me at lunch with a shirt that says: "Grateful Deaf Homebrew Society." Am I supposed to decipher that? Anyway, what really gets on my nerves is the thought of homebrew societies and microbrew clubs, etc.—and this really brings me full circle in life, since at one time, if I had a religion, that religion was beer. Now it's my worst enemy. I can't eat (or drink) wheat anymore, and that includes barley, oats, and probably goddamned alfalfa. More on that later, along with alcoholism, etc.—right now I'm trying to enjoy my lunch at my favorite Thai restaurant. (I can only eat Thai food anymore—rice noodles, fish sauce, no soy sauce [which is made of wheat, believe it or else]—but that's okay—it's my favorite!) And my favorite Thai restaurant for lunch is a little place called Thai and Randy (it had once been called Thai a Yellow Ribbon 'round the Old Oak Tree, but business really picked up after the name was changed to honor Randy Russell, the place's best customer before he succumbed to a tragic identity crisis).
Just finished my delicious lunch, followed by a Thai iced coffee which I don't really need, and now for my fortune cookie (which I can't eat, but I observe the fortunes religiously). Oh, that's interesting—here's the fortune: "A liar is not believed even though he tell the truth."
Damn! Does that apply to the subject at hand or what? I think it's prophetic—the mystical fortune—on this day, day one of my new journal, and this new life—it's kind of about, you know, changing the truth to fiction—or telling the truth even with the particulars changed. It's kind of the nature of fiction, and gossip, etc.—I decided that gossip is what is the greatest literature—you know, like The Bible—all gossip. Hey, the newspaper headline this afternoon—something about the "Court"—whatever court that happens to be—decided that it was okay for the Boy Scouts to keep out gays and atheists. As if there's some common thread between gays and atheists. The average guy might not get too up in arms about this because who needs the Boy Scouts anyway—but I guess it is an issue, or precedent, or whatever. What I want to know is what is a gay and what is an atheist? If I am only involved in a sexual relationship with myself, and the past and future aren't taken into account, which they never should be when you're dealing with ideology (i.e. "someday he might become a Nazi!"—not exactly an indictment)—does that make me gay, since I am a man? (Me, myself, and I are all men, all in love with each other—is that some kind of a three-way? Sorry, I know I'm taking this a little far.) On a lighter note, if I believe in God, but I also believe that I am God, does that make me an atheist or not?
Back at work, and I feel better now. Full, and also, I saw a fat man in small shorts on the street, and that always cheers me up (it did at the time, but now it hardly seems worth mentioning, but I made a mental note that I would.)
I'm at home, finally—it was a long day. (Home being a rather complex subject, which I'll touch on later.) I'm watching the Academy Awards, which were on last night—I videotaped it so I can prolong this nausea inducing guilty pleasure, but also to protect myself from the depression danger immediacy of the live broadcast, and also to be able to replay any worthwhile real moments, which they've done their best to iron out over the years, but you never know. Well, it starts right out with jokes about how the Titanic is going to win everything—cynical, but we aren't supposed to care. Why are we not supposed to care? Smarmy host Billy Crystal enters on a set designed to look like the sinking ship. I mean, can it be any more blatant?
I really would like to be watching this with Woody Allen, who cast Billy Crystal in his last movie as Satan—I think W.A. might be nominated as screenwriter. He's not there—it might be fun to be at his house watching it—if he is. It's an interesting idea—you imagine he might make it bearable... Well, anyway—I guess everyone just decided the Titanic will win everything, like I care—but you know—I used to believe someone voted on this stuff. Oh my, this show is just... Why am I watching it? I used to have a designated Masochist Night, about once a week, back in my youth. Why?—just to be silly, I guess—but now—it's like a bad joke gone wrong—it's not even funny anymore—it's any time you turn on the TV, or go to a movie, pick up a newspaper—walk down the street... Well, this just goes to show that Hollywood is just... Hollywood—to clarify things, is what I refer to the popular American motion picture industry as. It is also the name of the suburb where I live—hope this doesn't get confusing—this just goes to show you—Oh, it's sick! James Cameron's acceptance speech for best director—he says: "I'm king of the world!" (It must be a line from the movie, since everyone laughed instead of being horrified.) So much for... whatever...
But I still love movies. All you need to do is think about Robert Mitchum for a second and it brings you right back to why you cared at all in the first place.