Saturday, April 15, 2000

April Fool's Errand



After 10 years as a temp, I have reluctantly accepted a "permanent" position with the law firm I have been working for this past year. That's 10 years without health insurance, 10 years without sick leave or paid vacation. When my boss found out that I don't have health coverage she was stunned. 'What do you do when you get sick?' 'I sleep.' Nearly all of our clients are insurance companies and it is incomprehensible to anyone there that I don't believe in insurance. Look at it this way: If someone said to you, "I'll bet you five thousand dollars that in the next year you won't suffer a debilitating illness and end up in the hospital. If I win, you stay healthy and I keep the five thousand dollars. If you win, you suffer from a debilitating illness and end up in the hospital and I refuse to pay for half of your costs." Would you take that bet? Of course most of you already have. And as of this past monday, so have I.

I'll be taking a week of paid vacation next week, my first paid vacation since 1987, to spend some time with Kevin, Susie, Megan, Ian, Molly and Casey Kiley-Osborn, et al. They were all here a couple of weeks ago to see Susie's father, who has been very ill and won't likely live out this year. Tim Kiley has been a television director since the early sixties when he did The Ed Sullivan Show -- where he worked with Elvis and The Beatles among countless others. He also did several variety shows, including The Smothers Brothers and Sonny and Cher and eventually graduated to The Miss America Pageant and the Bob Hope specials. Susie has a picture of Tim hanging out with Bob and George Bush, but my favorite is the one on Tim's wall of him sitting on a Husquavarna motorcycle out in the desert with Steve McQueen standing next to him. The one with Sinatra is pretty cool too.

I finished the first draft of my screenplay, BEFORE THE FLOOD, and am getting ready to dive back in for a rewrite. I also wrote a couple of songs that appear at the beginning and the end of the movie, including the title song, "Before the Flood," which as many of you may know comes from a line in Bob Dylan song and was also the title of his live album with The Band.

I watched the Oscars with Jon and Ivana and some of their neighbors. Ivana could not understand what the big deal was with American Beauty. I said it's kind of an American thing. Hell, there must be thousands of French and Italian films that I don't get. Ivana has written a screenplay which Jon has translated that they want to give to their good buddy Harvey Keitel, the famous television star. They claimed to have finished a month ago, but every time I call they are busy rewriting it.

Brian Nesin ran off to Vegas last weekend with his girlfriend, Allison. I have not heard from him since then. You do the math.

I am having my car worked on today, I figured I have pushed my luck as far as I should by driving around for a year with bald tires and no brakes.

I have determined that there are two kinds of drivers in L.A.: The Heartless and the Brainless.

The Heartless prefer to drive large black SUVs with tinted windows and they like to merge into your lane without notice, completely unconcerned with the sound of your honking horn, the screech of your brakes and the torrent of obscenities you shout at their taillights. In order to qualify for the large black SUV (with tinted windows) you must first submit to an electrocardiograph test. If they determine that there is even the remotest possibility that you do in fact have a heart, you are not permitted to purchase the vehicle. Studio Executives need not take the test.

The Brainless, on the other hand, drive white mini-vans and enjoy such antics as making right turns from the middle lane without using their signal and pulling into fast-moving traffic and then driving at least 15 mph below the speed limit (which means at least 30 mph slower than traffic). In order to purchase the white mini-van, applicants must undergo a screening procedure involving an electroencephalogram and a CAT scan. If even the faintest trace of brain activity is indicated, the application is denied.

Until next time,

Love, HWD

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