Saturday, September 23, 2006

Deja view

"Stuckinna." That's a Marshall-ism. As in TV sitcom producer Garry Marshall, who started out as a writer for The Odd Couple series and went on to mega-success as creator/producer of Happy Days, The Odd Couple, Perfect Strangers and other shows.

He used to say that when he was low on ideas for Oscar and Felix, he'd do a storyline called a "stuckinna." Oscar and Felix stuck in a busted subway car. Later, Laverne and Shirley stuck in a weight-loss camp with nothing to eat. Balki and "Cousin" stuck in a sleeping bag. Every time he needed it, Marshall said, the "stuckinna" device was a goldmine for laughs.

Lately, I feel like I'm living in a stuckinna. Stuckinna rut. See some theater, write about it all weekend. (And here's the latest column, if you're interested.)

Get up Monday and rush around before teaching the film class. Drive, drive, drive. Try to carve out some hours at Starbucks to work on book chapters. Try not to get depressed about looking at old chapters and thinking they're not funny/sexy/provocative enough.

Same faces at the gym. Same roll of fat not going away around my midsection. Same intentions to eat steamed veggies for dinner and somehow grabbing the bag of fishsticks out of the freezer instead.

For diversion, Professor Lunch Guy when he's in town, which isn't much these days. MySpace, looking up people I used to know (how did every liberal hippie I went to school with in the 1970s turn into an O'Reilly-loving Republican?). BBC America's Shipwrecked series (supermodel-pretty boys and girl do Survivor without the dumb "challenges"). Laundry on Tuesdays. Grocery store on Wednesdays. Lunch at Celebrity Cafe in Highland Park Village on Thursdays.

I see the same people in the same places all the time. At the gym, the schizophrenic lady who wears the headscarf to keep out the voices, keeps coming up to me in the dressing room and shouting "Don't let the monkeys jump on the bed!" I assure her I won't. But the next day, there she is again. Damn monkeys! Damn it, lady, tell those monkeys to fuck off or just let them jump on the damn bed!

My baristas at the Starbucks in Old Town know me so well I don't even have to speak the order anymore. It's ready before I get to the counter.

Bored much.

Which is why a great night at the theater can work like such a tonic. Kitchen Dog's production of Fat Pig by Neil Labute is freakin' phenomenal. More about it in my Observer writings this week, but here's a brief plot synopsis: A good-looking guy falls in love with a chubby woman. She's everything and the bag of chips (and not the baked kind), as far as he's concerned. But his friends rag him for dating a "beast." He crumbles under peer pressure and dumps the sweet, supersized gal.

On the way out of the theater, I heard another critic opine that "nothing like that would ever happen if he really thought he loved her." Oh, really? Oh, REALLY? Honey, I've lived it. More than once.

But that was a rut I refused to get stuck in. Now it's love me, love my "squishiness," as the Lunch Guy once dubbed it. And if you don't love it, you can just stick it.

What was it Auntie Mame said? Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.

I won't starve myself for a man, but late I seem to be starved for excitement fer sher. Got to get unbored and take me a big bite of life. But how? (Don't say skydiving--did that one already.)

Any other suggestions? Post them in comments. Best one, as judged by yours truly, gets a thrilling goody from the prize closet. Creativity will be rewarded, y'all!


Blogger Matt Dowling said...

As a fellow "squishy" with a boredom issue (too much grad school, SO little time), I decided to train for a marathon next spring. Sound boring and 'so-been-done-before'? Yep, it is. But for a fella like me, it's amazing what starts changing when an overweight lab-jockey gets some fresh air and exercise under threat of having to run 26 mile STRAIGHT. Good times, good times...

Oh, and also buying myself a new Macbook...that helped.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

One of the best ways to get over a spell of boredom is to eschew "pedestrian" movement altogether. I just started taking a salsa dance class, and it's good exercise, fun and sexy without being too difficult or strenuous. It's an easy way to meet new people, too.

5:48 PM  
Blogger Miranda said...

My "stuckinna" solution was to go back to school. When that started going the way of "stuckinna," I transfered to a new school. Plus, I graduated from the first place and was overstaying my welcome.

Since you are already in school, in a manner of speaking, and I'm not sure where you want to be regarding any kind of new high impact physical fitness regimes, why not try....knitting.

Several of my friends are very much not the knitting types and they love to get together at local coffee shops to sip, stitch, and bitch. :) Heck, you can even make nice mufflers for all your friends in northern climes.

If that doesn't work, you could always become a secret agent. Since you are a critic, I think you already have most of the basic skills down cold.

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Verna Wilder said...

For some real fun, try quitting your job. I know it doesn't work for everyone, but it sure has given me a kick in my squishy butt. I'm much more fun now, and I have more fun, too.

Dave Rothacker mentiioned you, so I came out to see what you had to say and now I've got you bookmarked. Wanna have lunch sometime?

Wouldn't it be nice if bloggers could really do that? Hah!

Seriously (sorta), I like Amy's idea of taking salsa lessons. I also like her Alice quote on her web site: "The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."

Good luck moving out of your stuck place. Keep writing and we'll keep reading.

6:40 PM  
Blogger SuperHolmie said...

You can come moonlight as a 9th grade Spanish teacher at my school for a little while. You'll be so confounded and/or asswhipped that you'll happily welcome a case of the stuckinnas.

You can have lunch with me and then we can go estate saling. The Jews off Preston always have the best shit.

You can try to get invited to the Cattle Baron's Ball... I hear it is unrivaled in its snobbery and Ashleyness. You would have blog material for, like, YEARS.

You can introduce a new scent into your life. Seriously. A new candle or perfume always adds nuance and lilt to my otherwise banal existence.

Good luck!

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You schedule is too rigid — change it.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You, your, whatever, just change it.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Texandi02art said...

One Saturday morning, when rain is not in the forcast, park your car at Mockingbird Station. Buy a premium transit pass. Ride the red line or the blue line south to Union Station. Get on the TRE and ride it to Fort Worth ITC. Catch bus 7 or bus 2, and ride it to the Cultural District. Go to the museum(s) of your choice. When the museum closes, get on bus 7. Get off at the Water Gardens and explore if that chain-link fence isn't still up. (The Water Gardens will supposedly re-open some time this fall.) When you are ready, walk to one of the train stations (see maps on website.) Ride the TRE back to Union Station and the DART back home. Stop at West End Station or Mockingbird Station to eat dinner.

It is important that you use public transit for this trip instead of driving. By doing this, you are leaving your car and and lifestyle (to an extent) in Dallas. You will have go to new places, and see many new faces.

If that doesn't help you out of your rut, a new pet always will.

3:36 PM  
Anonymous YourTuhLeeDuhGalPal said...

Oh, honey. Boredom. Yeah... For starters, quit doing laundry on -- what, was that Tuesdays? Go crazy: Do a load of whites on Sunday, and get a jump on the week ahead.

For *real* thrills, all you'd need to do is c'mon back up here fer a spell. Labor unrest. Job uncertainty. Trust me: It ain't boring. Maddening, yes. Boring, no.

As for Prof. Save-the-World, tell him to take his goddamn clothes off -- or else.

Your post on this topic was scary to me; of all the people I've ever met, you're the least boring of the lot. And if *you're* growing weary, then what does that portend for the rest of us schlumps? Egads.

You're on the right track, of course, with reverence for theater. And the writing ( no matter how enervating at the moment). Honey, quit asking all of us loyal readers to get you out of your rut. You already KNOW what gets you out of ruts.

Now, go to the airport and hop a flight for Up Here. Hey, it's OK now -- you can bring gel products!

Miss you much, girlie....

8:07 AM  
Anonymous hozeho said...


was the point not to go to


4:34 PM  
Blogger OSUTuba said...

Need some excitement?

Two words ... ROAD TRIP!

2:40 PM  
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11:53 PM  

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