(Oh! And One Last THING: If you do not follow the links, well, do not come back to me crying: “Lance! I don’t get it!”–Please don’t force me to be an asshole–I really hate that.)
I’ve been around the world (twice). Seen two white whales fuck. Seen the sun come up over many exotic venues. Been drunk at sunup looking at Kilimanjaro. Been sober at sunset watching Jews at the Wailing Wall, mostly wailing, them Jew (sic). Seen monkeys steal golf balls off the course at Subic Bay Naval Base. (A “gimme-drop” or a ‘mulligan’ in the local rule book) Heard the call-to-prayer while on my early a.m. runs in many Arab lands. Seen incomprehensible acts of bravery and also of coward-ness. Seen inspiring acts of kindness. Seen unbelievable acts of selfishness and cruelty. Seen some things that oh so briefly, made me want to believe in (a) God (those passed—quickly—trust me on this one folks).
Seen men die.
And seen men live.
Have made countless great friends. Friended them. Been friended. Been De-Friended. Cannot say I can even know where any one of them are today, or if they are even still alive. Such has been my way in life… Suppose a selfish life (my take). Most who really know me would never say that. I have been called ‘Generous to a fault.’ I have also been called ‘conceited’ ‘arrogant’ ‘self-important’, ‘pompous’, ‘asshole’ et cetera, but one thing I have never been called is ‘cheap.’
I am proud of that.
In brief: “I have heard the chimes at midnight” with many good friends, however much I always seemed to cast them away, sorely by neglect. Friendship, I now know, requires tending, not unlike an aquarium or a garden. Next life… maybe.
I need not go on. Hell, most of us who attain some bit of longevity can attest to these experiences, or at least, reasonable facsimiles. Nothing unique about me here, but I have traveled a bit more than most and generally, I have taken some good mental notes.
Which kind of brings me to my point:
Jobs I Have Had: Weird Version (not in any particularly chronological order)
Walmart: I took a job at Walmart long after I had quit my regular job of almost ten years. My money had run out and I was living (by the good graces of my landlady—a friend) rent-free in Commerce, Amerika. My intent was to attain gainful employment in Iraq, so I had quit my regular job, just SOOO certain, given my previous ‘Overseas War-Zone Experience’ that I would be beating the HeadHunter’s offers away with a very large stick. Alas. No one seemed interested in hiring me to go to Iraq and risk my neck, (Even though I had made it abundantly clear in my cover letters that, ‘Beheading’ to me, is just a ‘scare word.’ No dice. No sale. No Job.
Strangest Aspect of working at Walmart:
Pajama Day. Yes Friends: on Pajama Day (Fridays as I do recall) a Walmart Associate could, if so desirous, wear pj’s work. Many did.
I did not.
UPS: I currently work (seasonal) for UPS. As far as I know, there are no pajama days, but there seem to be ‘incoherent days.’ I have been showing up for now two weeks and I am as clueless today as I was on day one. If I were kind, I’d call it ‘organized chaos.’ Most of you who read me know I am not really one to spout euphemisms. No. Just ‘chaos’ will do for now. And gee! I really do hope all y’all get your parcels on-time. I truly do. Merry Christmas
Some of you may know of my history in the Mideast. Most of you may not. Some of you may know I get emotional about issues.
Some of you may not.
Some of you may give a shit.
Some of you may not.
No matter: I don’t have a dog in this fight: The current Fight between Hamas and the IDF (Israel)… Actually, I did, once upon a time, have a dog. He died. But that was many moons ago.
And we did/didn’t call in the dogs back then: the ‘Fight Between the PLO and Israel’… “Let ’em duke it out!”
–Ronald Reagan, “et them all, et tu, Brutus?”
And about who could wrap some arms about Yasser Arafat? No one. Not even Ronnie. Then he (Arafat) became ‘Rocky Balboa’ to some of rest of the world. Yes! Fast forward… but who among the thinking of us and the remembering of us, can ever forget
Munich in ’72?
And I was on the ‘good’ side.
I was for the ‘Home’ Team: Israel! Nineteen Sixty Seven! The shining moment of the IDF! Just like the Lord: ‘Fought for Six Days and Rested on the Seventh.”
“Didn’t them Jews kick the ever-lovin’ shit outta them A-Rabs?! Fought for Six Days…”
Biblical! (Yay God! and Madison Ave…)
Then I learned to read (and listen)
I, as most of us (I hope) want the killing to STOP. It hit ‘Home’ today when I went to buy a beer. There were Palestinians in the road… In Memphis America! They were not happy. Unhappy Palestinians. Goddamn Right! They were unhappy! In Memphis!
I do not blame them. I am not happy either, but that said, Israel has some right to defend… don’t they? If you would like to argue, I welcome that, as I, more than some of you out there, have lived on both sides of that pond. And on both sides of that issue.
I have driven through Gaza. Too many times. I have seen the refugee camps. The poverty.
And I had intimate sex (is there any other kind?) with an Israeli Sabra, of Yemenite ‘distraction’ (i.e., she was Arab: Arab Jew) More than twice… Yet that sex did not prejudice me… (Well, maybe it did… just a little)
Putting sex aside, I know some politic, especially when it comes to Israel and Islam.
I have been on both sides.
Call me out, yet consider that I am foremost and always just a simple Texan.
The subject matter of this post may well be somewhat dated and esoteric, but I do submit that it is ‘spot on’ for all my fellow writers out there… well if you are of a science fiction bent, or just want to write screenplays (The terms are not always mutually exclusive).
I am a fan of Dan O’Bannon. Some of you will not recognize the name. Here is a clue: “In Space No One Can Hear You Scream.”
Yep. The original “Alien” masterpiece. I have to drill down into the old memory cells to download my first experience watching “Alien.” I was still in the Sinai (SFM). It was 1979 and I was driving the R&R vehicle to Tel Aviv. My lone passenger that day was my good friend Bill Brown (and he was in fact, brown—i.e., he was a black gentleman. We had a leisurely four hours to kill, so I asked him, “Hey Brown,” (we had a propensity back then to use ‘last names’, just like one would expect in the Military,) “seen any good movies in TA lately?” (Bill Brown was married to a Filipina, not that that is relevant, but I often throw in some irrelevant shit)
“As a matter of fact,” he said. “I have.”
“I saw this movie, ‘Alien.’ Dude! You havta see it. It’s still playing. Check it out.”
“Yeah, but more than that.”
He then proceeded to tell me the entire story of the film (complete with ‘spoilers’—And thanks for that Bill Brown!)
His main interest was the black dude Parker. Whom he always referred to as ‘My Man.’ Understandably so, given the fact that back in the Seventies, not many black men had important roles, unless one is speaking of Blaxploitation Film.
Once we got to TA and I had checked my vehicle, I went out on the town determined to see this film. In Tel Aviv back then, one could actually smoke cigarettes in a movie theater and good thing that, as I do think I smoked an entire pack of Marlboros while glued to the screen.
My point in all of this is that I have, ever since, been fascinated with this movie. More fascinating now is how it was ‘birth’d’ and the writing process that got it to where it now resides in the annals of one of the greatest movies of all time.
Thanks to Dan O’Bannon.
Below is a link to his original screenplay. For all writers out here, it is worth a read, but only if you know the movie and how it changed the genre.
And of course if you are curious about how great, actually mediocre, (The dialog was too corny, much like mine) writing hits the stage. More important though, I do think, was the ‘idea’–revolutionary (almost) at the time.
Point is: It worked.
Who can say what will or will not go ‘viral’ anyhow…
Vid Link below that; do not confuse the two. (Some things are important to me, if you have bothered to come this far…)