Today has been like a rusty old knife sitting in the drawer upside down and when you open the drawer to pull out the melon baller you never use, the knife cuts your finger right on the tip and makes you scream like a horror movie actress and cry for the second time in twenty minutes. At this point, you don’t even want little circular pieces of Honeydew or Cantaloupe. You will settle for a stiff drink and a waterproof band-aid.
I had an audition today that screwed up my schedule of a little writing time or a cool hang with Otto outside of my cluttered, toy strewn living room where I feel suffocated by the shag carpet and the smell of wet dog. I had to put on camera make-up while Otto cried from the hallway because he wanted to hug the toilet as I applied eye liner and cover up to hide the circles of this eighty year old I saw before me. I have serious germ issues when it comes to the bathroom and I am sure Otto could sense my fear as he slowly crept toward the john where his father so lovingly urinates in the middle of the night, sometimes missing and leaving a little yellow friend for me to clean up. That friend is my worst enemy but someone I have been forced to cohabitate with, like a kleptomaniac roommate you are assigned in the college dorms and can do nothing about as she pilfers through your underwear drawer stealing your emergency Twinkie supply and the panties you reserve for first dates and frat parties.
I then had to think nine steps ahead and grab a purse for myself, make a list for Target, fill Otto’s diaper bag with stuff, stuff, stuff, walk the dog, find Otto’s socks, change his poopy diaper, not weep and drop him off with his dad for an hour in front of the library where Dave is feverishly trying to finish a rewrite in two days. Then I bitterly drove to a casting office in Hollywood that is run like a Turkish bizarre and has never hired me. Knowing this was a complete waste of my time but hoping against hope that I might have a chance to pay for Otto’s first year of Platinum coated pre-school I entered a dingy, depressing casting room similar to the great palaces of Van Nuys, California that birth many a fledgling, underage porn actress who wants nothing more than to be filmed eating more wieners than the Japanese dude who won the 2008 Hot Dog Eating Contest.
As I angrily stood next to my competition, two MIDDLE AGED ladies who wore front pleated cardigans and longingly spoke about the sixties, the casting douche handed all three of us authentic, bright red ACE Hardware employee vests and instructed us to put them on and greet him in a friendly and polite manner. He then rolled camera, pointed to me and asked me where the batteries were. In my best ACE Hardware way, I explained to him that the batteries were really hard to find so maybe he should follow me and I would show him.
For those of you who are not actors, have never taking an acting or improv lesson or have never worn a name tag in pursuit of mediocrity, implying that something is hard to find and could not be done without the help of an underpaid monkey who was dressed like a prisoner on the side of the highway removing trash with a pointy stick, is a bad acting choice. Seeing that ACE Hardware is the parent company producing the spot, it would be advisable not to imply that their stores are confusing, cluttered spaces that customers could not possibly navigate on their own and might just get lost in, wandering around aimlessly until they are found lying unconscious next to an open can of paint thinner.
I already had a strike against me as I had to convince the powers that be that I was indeed in my fifties and still in love with Buddy Holly, as were my compatriots standing to my left. Knowing I would not be named ACE employee of the month and would not be receiving a plaque or a better parking space, I knew I had only seconds to charm the casting guy as we were removing our uniforms. With his and paunchy middle, his swishy walk, his lovingly tight polyester shirt that showed nipples and ripples and his black, skinny jeans I knew immediately how to woo this Hollywood causality into giving me a call back. I handed him my vest and coquettishly asked him, “How great was American Idol last night?”
It was almost too easy, like taking candy from a large, star struck, gay baby. We laughed like girlfriends at a sleepover, compared American Idol trivia and then I pulled out the big guns and told them all that I had been to four live tapings in eight years. Casting dude wanted to know how lil’ old me could have gotten tickets so many times but all Bette Davis and Joan Crawford could do was hang their gray heads in shame for never having seen the best TV show ever. They left looking their age and I told the casting guy that he might just get lucky this year and see the show live. “If you think positively anything, could happen,” I said as I sauntered out of the room and back to my car, parked near a pile of trash and an abandoned shopping cart filled with feces and an old sleeping bag. Hollywood, where dreams really can come true and a rusty knife can cut both ways.