Went over to dinner at some friends' last night and had the best time. Spent 4 hours eating, laughing, storytelling and getting everyone's take on the state of the world. Getting our coats and boots at the end of the evening, cat stretched out in front of the blazing woodstove, us about to plunge out into a -22 degree night, I couldn't help but think how it's these small moments that permeate a life, imbue one's memory, and in the end add up to all there is, or was.
February 2, 2017
At the comedy club, a sign above the entrance to the stage said,
Please do not mock those with physical frailties.
That means don't offend the blind, the deaf, those with less than four limbs and the wheelchair bound.
Fatties, uglies and the deformed are also off the acceptable list.
Comedy does not have to be at the expense of anybody.
Unless your Bill Cosby.
February 3, 2017
Angelo and Mickey were like the worst couple ever. Their relationship was built on a master-slave foundation; willing abuse. She went out of her way to belittle him in front of family and friends and he loved the humiliation. Angelo was submissive and did whatever Mickey asked. And she asked a lot. You know the old saw about how if someone told you to jump off a bridge, would you? Well he would, if she said do it, and judging by how abusive they were with each other, she will tell him to do it, and he will.
February 6, 2017
Overheard at the wharf.
-- She won't listen to a word I say. What am I gonna do with her?
-- What did she do now?
-- She's dating a black guy.
-- So? You're black. Your daughter's black. What's the problem?
-- Look, I'm the first person that wants her out of my hair, but I also want something long term and stable for her.
-- You're saying black guys aren't stable?
-- I'm saying that a white nerdy accountant is much more to my liking.
-- Is there such a thing as reverse racism?
February 7, 2017
An 80 year old lady is walking the treadmill at the gym. But she is getting more tired as her steps have slowed and she is barely keeping up with the belt. That's soon followed by a bit of panic at the realization that she doesn't know how to turn off the machine and any moment now she's going to ride that belt right off the back of the treadmill and onto the gym floor in what will undoubtedly be a spectacular geriatric accident. She thought it ironic that she came to the gym to get healthy and it might end up killing her.
February 8, 2017
I brake with my left foot. Always have. I was even a driving ed instructor for AAA back in the day and I would tell newbie drivers to brake with whatever foot they felt more comfortable using. I just read an article that said today's driving instructors teach students to never use your left foot to brake. What?! If you have an automatic transmission with no clutch pedal, then what are you supposed to do with your left foot?! Just let it...sit there?! My god!
February 10, 2017
There were three half brothers. One was whip smart, one was a handsome devil but not too bright, and one was a bad seed; same mother, different fathers. Years later, when their mother died, they got together for her funeral and marvelled at how things had turned out. The smart one spent almost half his life behind bars for masterminding a white collar crime, the handsome, dim one became a college professor, fathering three different children with three different students before he too got thrown in jail for statutory rape, and strangest of all, the bad seed managed to avoid prison, find a good woman, went straight, married, and became a successful businessman with dry cleaning outlets in three states. What's that line about judging books and their covers?
February 11, 2017
Walk into my office this morning, look out the window and see three deer sleeping in our yard under a fir tree. Normally I would put the bird feeders out now, but I don't want to disturb the deer. This, of course, means no food for the songbirds. They are not silent. Pissed and glaring at me from their perches, it's a real life version of Angry Birds, and I'm the pig.
February 12, 2017
Got a call from a radio station producer asking me whether I would be willing to talk with their jock about being a screenwriter. No. Writing's an art form. The only way to understand this art form is to become the artist. And when you do, you'll see that talking about writing is sort of silly. Why? Because it's pedantic and it's subjective. How is my process in any way relevant to yours? It's different for every person who does it. It's unique to you. But before I could decline the invitation he yelped, That's great! That's exactly the kind of stuff we want to hear! So, will you do it?
February 13, 2017
Since February is the shortest month and we're already half way through it, I'm going to go the entire month without posting any pictures. A month of straight talk. I've been doing KeithSpeak for almost 18 years and have never done that. Can you feel the new?
February 14, 2017
Look at an elephant or a whale. We don't have a clue about what's going on inside their heads. Human brains weigh about 3 pounds. Elephants, 12. Whales, 17 - that's almost six times the capacity of the human brain. And what do we suppose is taking up all that big space and filling that large mass? Fewer brain cells? Lesser intelligence? Empty space? Har. And yet we, with our measly 3 pound brains, continue to arrogantly insist that we are the most superior animal on the planet. Har.
February 15, 2017
Overheard two older women at the post office.
-- It costs a buck and a half just to send a letter to the States! That's robbery. I'm on a pension.
-- That's why I have the e-mail.
-- Oh, that fancy computer stuff isn't for me. I'm too old for that stuff. I grew up riding a horse to school for god sakes.
-- With the e-mail, you can write to your daughter any time of the day or night and she gets it instantly. I write mine and say, Call me. Then usually she calls me on the phone.
-- I can't afford long distance! You know how much it is to make a daytime call to the States? A bloody fortune! I'm on a pension.
-- But if you had the e-mail, you wouldn't need to spend anything. It's free.
-- Really? How hard was it to learn the computer?
-- I won't lie Carol Ann, it was hard. There's a lot of things you have to remember.
-- Well that does it.
-- Ok, but the price of stamps will never go back down, you know.
-- Yeah, I know.
February 17, 2017
So this dim couple buys a house and not long after they move in the front porch collapses due to carpenter ants. While cleaning up the debris, they find a locked strongbox that was buried underneath the porch. They can't get it open so the dim husband says to the dim wife, "Hell, the damn thing's wood. We pour some gasoline on it and burn the wood off, we got our treasure." She agrees, both of them sure there were jewels or gold in the box, but what if it was paper money, priceless papers, manuscripts, stocks, bonds, artwork, letters, ledgers, tapes, pictures or any other flammable material... They set fire to it. Burned the damn thing to a crisp. There was nothing left but the metal staves and the lock they couldn't open. Whatever was in the box was gone. For the rest of their lives, as the ants slowly ate their way through their house, they argued about what might have been and whose fault it was they didn't have it.
February 18, 2017
FIRST LINES WE'D LIKE TO SEE
Margo forgot that she was carrying stolen art works, a technique she had pioneered to allow her to walk through airport security without a care in the world and throw off any suspicion that she was smuggling stolen priceless works looted from some unsuspecting museum by her nefarious boyfriend, Chet, a thief with an eye for the good stuff, but too ADHD to actually pull off the heist, thus his partnership with Benny "the brains" Choo Choo, a foreign national with enough savvy to use Chet's girlfriend as a mule after the theft, which obviously worked like a charm as Margo skated through security with the pilfered art and met Chet and Benny Choo Choo by the stolen car Chet had ripped off to pick Margo up in at the airport, impulsively deciding on the way over that he liked the BMW so much he was going keep it, an idea quickly nixed by The Brains as stupid, thoughtless and typical of his ADHDness which was the main reason why Chet needed Benny Choo Choo now and forever, the two of them sealing it with a pinky swear.
February 19, 2017
This tourist stops me for directions. But the guy's accent was impenetrably thick and I couldn't understand a word of the English he was attempting to speak or where in the world he was from. He gets exasperated, turns to his wife, and speaking in their native language, I clearly hear him say the word schmuck. That's cold.
February 20, 2017
A newly married couple were on their honeymoon in the Everglades. They joyfully paddled their canoe into the great swamp. They saw alligators and crocodiles and cranes before they realized they were 100% lost. The swamp is confusing, the reeds are tall, and dry land can have alligators, deadly spiders and poisonous snakes on it. The mosquitoes are relentless and there are very few people sharing the 1.5 million acres of wilderness at any one time. Soon, the couple completely broke down and resorted to cannibalism. Nah, I made that last part up because after a night spent in misery and terror in a canoe in the middle of the largest swamp in America, they were found by park rangers and rescued. It seems that PTSD was their final wedding gift. When anybody would ask how their honeymoon was, they would both burst into tears.
February 22, 2017
So this producer says that he wants an exposé movie about what a crapfest life is now. He wants to show the blatant hypocrisy, the manufactured prevarication, the stupidity of the people. I asked him who would want to watch that if they're already living it? Wasn't that just heat to the burn? Is this a documentary or a feature film? He got all excited and started raving about how lies and pretense must be exposed and extinguished, how the Internet is a cesspool, our politicians are worse than useless, etc. He gets all worked up, finally finishes, turns to me and says, You wanna write it? Me, spend the next 3-7 months exposing myself to the misery of the world, researching misery, cataloging misery, organizing misery, and then creating a misery laden screenplay to then make into a miserable movie about the misery of the world? The only thing left for me to do was decline his gracious but soul robbing enterprise and go have some ice cream.
February 23, 2017
In college this guy dates a girl for about 6 months and they break up. Years down the road, she goes on to fame and fortune as an actress in a popular television show. One day, old boyfriend shows up at her door hopelessly wanting to rekindle their college romance. She is incredulous - she now hobnobs with the rich and famous, travels the world and is adored by legions of fans - why would she want to pick up with him? The door slams. Now he wants revenge. He attacks her on social media. He makes her defend erroneous allegations, quash untrue rumours and repel swarms of bots dedicated to ruining her reputation. She starts to get migraines, gets an ulcer, eventually has a stress induced heart attack and dies young. At the funeral, he is asked by a family member if he knew her well. "I loved her. I would do anything for her," seriously said the man who ruined her life and put her into an early grave.
February 24, 2017
Why do you go to church? How many people actually come out of a Sunday service feeling any better about themselves (aside from assuaging their guilt because they actually went)? How many people, after decades of attendance, actually find spiritual salvation, God, hope for their future or a better life because of it? You're made to believe you need them. But you already think for yourself. Isn't that enough?
February 26, 2017
I have two friends that live in the American south. Though both were born, raised and educated in the north, they have been down there for 25 years. One has remained the same smart, self-aware man I knew back in college, but the other has turned into a bigoted xenophobe. It seems one allowed nature to co-opt nurture and the other one didn't.
February 27, 2017
Red means stop. But she didn't do that. She was busy texting. She was hit broadside by a police car. As the officer pulled himself together and staggered toward her mangled vehicle, he saw that she was still texting. She was arrested on the spot and her phone taken away. Suddenly, the real world beckoned. She had caused an accident, with a police car, totalled her car, was probably going to jail and most importantly, most incredibly, no longer had her precious phone, or Twitter, or Instagram, or all the likes, and the realness of the situation made her cry like a baby.