Friday, May 11, 2007

Some Pet Peeves

So I've come to realize in the past few years that May is my favorite month of the year, followed closely be December. I love each season (as long as Summer doesn't get above 75 degrees), but if I had to choose one month it would be May. Violets, and lilacs, my first and second most favorite flowers, are in season, and I think this has a lot to do with it. I find it strangely comforting that they aren't available year-round, as so many other flowers are these days. I guess greenhouses haven't figured out a way (or bothered to try) to get them to bloom year-round, and given how fragile they both are, trying to ship them from Australia in the dead of Winter- assuming they even grow there- just wouldn't be worth it. Nope, to enjoy these blooms, one has to wait for them to bloom. I like that. I buy lilacs far more often than my budget allows, and in lieu of the woods near my parents' house, I've found some locations in Central Park where I go visit the violets when they show up. I've been to visit three times already. I've really been enjoying the season; it's nice enough to be outside during the day, then it cools down at night, so even though I have the window open (as I do year 'round), I still sleep like a log, and need a blanket. It's been great.

Then we have two days of 80 degree weather, and I'm back to being Mr. Cranky-Pants.

I've been actively working to see to that I'm not in the hell-hole that is NYC this Summer, but so far there are no concrete plans. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, auditioning when I can, sending headshots to all and sundry, trying to figure out how I can afford to go to my friend Mark's wedding in Seattle in August, while I try not to flay the hordes of stupid STUPID people who seem determined to walk in my way, ride the subway with me, and play their loud, stupid music.

So, while I look around for some serious therapy or maybe just some decent medication to help me with my misanthropy, I thought maybe I'd just let Mr. Cranky-Pants have free rein for a bit. So here are some of my pet peeves, in no particular order.

Cynics. By this I mean the smug, self-proclaimed cynics, the ones who act like it's some sort of goddam higher calling. I always want to hit them with a brick. It's such a cowardly, lazy attitude to adopt, and yet they get off on thinking they're smarter than everyone else. Hey, it's easy. You don't have to do any work to improve things in the world, hell, you don't even have to have any real opinions, you just sit back and tell other people who are actually DOING something with their lives that they're wasting their time, they're foolish, they're hopelessly naive, they're so cute and sweet, but they're never going to accomplish anything, because, hey, they're just up against too much. That's true, they are, and one of the worst things they're up against are self-satisfied, arrogant, lazy shits who have fooled themselves into thinking cynic equals genius. If all you can do is sit back and laugh at other people doing things, I really think you need to shut the hell up. Shut. The. Hell. Up.

Devil's Advocates. Here again I'm talking about the morons who adopt this as a stance, thinking it somehow accords them extra IQ points by default. If you disagree with me, let me know. If you think I'm full of shit, that's great, let me have it, punch holes in my logic, as long as you can back up your arguments with some actual substantiated facts. But if you just like playing around saying zig every time I say zag, red when I say green, then you need to be hit with a brick. You're clearly a close relative of the Cynic, because here again, you're not actually offering thoughts or opinions of your own. It's the easiest thing in the world to so no to someone else's yes, but it doesn't amount to ANYthing if you're not actually engaging in the discussion, letting your own emotions, opinions, and experiences be a part of thing and (yikes) possibly even get challenged and shot down. If you're a teacher mediating a discussion in class, then by all means, play the Devil's Advocate. If you're just some shmoe at a party thinking you're helping to liven things up a bit, then being a devil's advocate is obnoxious at best, at worst it's condescending bullshit. Worst of all, you people have convinced yourselves you're behaving in this ass-wipe way FOR OUR BENEFITS. Yes sir, you're challenging our perceptions, strengthening our arguments or showing us our folly, and it's all to HELP us. Or you think you're making the party more interesting. Funnily enough, the guys who like to do this (and for some reason it's almost always guys) are often prime examples of the 'can dish it out but can't take it' variety. You love being provocative; you hate being challenged. Bite me. Right before you take the next trolley car straight to hell, 'kay?

Wanna-Be Therapists. In my limited experience, this prick can often be found working as a director or acting teacher. If I'm not giving you what you want from the character, by all means, let me know. If you have an exercise you think might help get us where we need to be in rehearsal, please, let's give it a try. But do not, do NOT think you are qualified or remotely welcome to psycho-analyze me, or speculate about what deep-seated issues are preventing me from giving you what you're looking for. No actual therapist would DREAM of making a snap judgement about my past, my family or my emotional struggle based on one acting choice or a sludgy rehearsal. That's because actual training as a therapist tells you that doing so would be stupid. STUPID. I can safely say too that everytime a director or acting teacher has speculated about what was going on with me internally, he or she was always wrong. Always. Even if he or she had been correct however, that kind of approach has no business in a rehearsal setting. We're working to create art here, people. Yes of course when we're dealing with character-driven work, my psychological make-up becomes involved in the character's, and we're working to uncover his motives and drives. Often this takes us into very raw, vulnerable terrain for the character, and that can, in may cases, mean that I as an actor am also exploring raw, vulnerable terrain... but what I'm bringing back is choices for the art, not opportunities for you to feel like Mommy. For the record, I have two of the finest parents in the world. I do not need anymore mommies or daddies. If I need a hug, I'll let you know. If I want a therapist, I'm going to find one who is qualified, and you ain't it. So back the fuck off, and let me do my work. Which, let's be clear, is not making you feel better about your empty empty lives. Oops, have I said too much? Have I misread your responses? Have I brought up inaccurate and irrelevant speculations about your motives? Have I tried to be Freud with you? AM I MAKING MY POINT?

Don't make me get my brick.

That is all.

Mr. Cranky-Pants.


Jeff Wills said...

Get your brick! Get your brick! I'll get a bullwhip, and we can hide in the shadows at the base of subway stairs and mete out punishment to all those who dally atop them!

Patrick said...

Now for those folks, I think I'd need to crack out the tazer. The brick involves getting too close.

Melissa Riker said...

Nice to write a post that perfectly illustrates your blogging explanation of purpose.

If you guys are gonna go hang out in the subways I'll come help. My one request is that I can find a spot to swing down from to surprise people right before they get Bullwhipped and Bricked.

(um, as long as its not a stinky subway staircase...that is on my pet-peeve list)

Anonymous said...

WOW -- I love this blog. Um....Patrick -- when I annoy you you'll tell me ....right....

I think you found your way out of NY this summer anyway -- STAND UP COMEDY

Call yourself Mr. Cranky Pants and take your show on the road. Do this bit over and over and people will flock to see you and you get the fame you richly deserve.

We love you -- and any brick, chain, hand or foot of mine you need to kill the stupid people -- I'M IN


Patrick said...

Dear Sweet Joseph,
With this kind of loving support, it might be hard to maintain Mr. Cranky Pants at full mouth-foaming capacity... but thank you, and thanks M and J for agreeing to join me on what would probably prove to a brief but glorious episode in vigilantism, right before we all got carted off to jail. I almost think it would be worth it. Who's with me?!?!