Thursday, May 19, 2011

Benedict Arnold

Hi Arnold -

Got your message late last night and by then it was way too late to call you back. Of course, you and Arnold Jr can crash on our sofas next weekend on your way to Hyannisport to apologize to your inlaws.  They always enjoyed your puckish, Teutonic wit, and I'm sure they will see their way clear to giving you just one more chance.  One example of your wit was the time you said... oh never mind.  Someone wrote that for you.    

You know, Arnie, I've always been a fan of the Kennedys, because they so believe in justice and opportunity for all, so when you married into that family, I was willing to give you a pass, figuring they saw something in you that I hadn't.  Your over-the-top portrayals of musclebound goons in film after film, your arrogant strut with a plume of disgusting cigar smoke trailing behind you, and your idiotic statements about the nature of mankind ("My relationship to power and authority is that I'm all for it. People need somebody to watch over them. Ninety-five percent of the people in the world need to be told what to do and how to behave" is how you described humanity in 1990 to U.S. News magazine) all make you tend to look like a petty Neanderthal, unwilling to see things through modern enlightened eyes.

But, I kept thinking, Maria loves him, must be something good.

There's one thing you seem unable to process, and that is that Americans will line up to pay money at the MallPlex17 to see movies, or rent them for dollar from a red box, or even purchase the DVD if they really love the picture.  But we see this as entertainment, diversion from the lives we lead.  You take a guy and his wife and kids.  Let's say the guy works as a history teacher, his wife works part time selling real estate, and the kids go to middle school and high school.  Unless they attend school with that kid from 2 1/2 Men, there's not a lot of excitement there, and Dad spends his week going on about the Smoot-Hawley Tariff to kids who, if they are named Michelle Bachmann, will somehow get elected to Congress and think that the bill was called the Hoot-Smalley Tariff and blame it on Franklin Roosevelt, when Willis Hawley and Reed Smoot  were not only a couple of Republican congressmen from out west somewhere but were also the shortstop and second basemen on the Brooklyn Dodgers in the early 30s.  Just kidding. About the last part. Anyhow, by the time the weekend rolls around, the entire family needs a little lift, and just in case it's that odd week with no new Amy Adams movie coming out, they can always rent something like "Commando."  You were great in that one, Schwarzie.  The bad guys grabbed your daughter Alyssa Milano, and the one bad guy dressed like Freddie Mercury, and there was a guy named Sully, and you got to say that line:

You're a funny guy, Sully.
I like you.
That's why I'll kill you laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaast. 
But, Arn, remember when we all got together at the Dodger game and I was trying to 
tell you that "three strikes, you're out" is not a valid part of American Labor Law? 
And we talked about how the movies are not real life, because in real life, bad guys 
shoot with real bullets, and they don't take numbers and wait their turn to be beaten
by the hero.  And we said that movie audiences might forgive a man some 
indiscretions because they're not invested in the guy for real, and fiction is not fact, 
people with four kids and a loving wife should not run around impregnating the 
household help.  Because that hurts your wife and your children, AS.  Your one son 
Patrick now signs his tweets with his mother's surname, so ashamed is he of your 
This - for what it's worth, for what we all make of it - this is our REAL LIFE and we
owe it to ourselves and to those who love us - even more than we deserve - to try 
at least to live in a decent, honorable fashion.  The next time you go to insert a
part of yourself into somewhere where it should not be, why not say, is this what I
ought to be doing right now?  If the people who love me were here right now, would
they approve of this unsanctified insertion?
And yes, Arnold palm-er, you said something in the message about "Bill Clinton did
it and John Edwards did it and even Teddy, John and maybe Bobby did it" and yes,
that's sad but true. The rest of us didn't exactly turn cartwheels of joy upon reading
that of them, but at least none of those men went around claiming the moral 
superiority that you and your fellows do.  You align yourself with the "family values"
and "bedrock core decency Middle America" faction, and you can't even keep lil'
Arnie zipped up?  Yes, lots of men have been caught with their hands in the nookie
jar, but even in the New Math, two wrongs still don't make one right. 
And, Arn, listen, when you touch down here in BMore, check your calendar.  It's 2011
and we don't say things like this: "She's either Puerto Rican, or the same thing 
as Cuban, I mean they are all very hot. They have the, you know, part of the black blood in them 
and part of the Latino blood in them that together makes it," which is what you said about 
Bonnie Garcia, a Latina Assemblywoman back there in Cali who was just trying to
to her job and not pose for your wandering eyes.   
So, call us when you get to town, and we'll run down to the Airport and pick you
guys up.  We have some extra throws you can put on the Barca-lounger, and we'll
have a great weekend before you head for the Cape.  This is not your proudest
moment, Eggy, but you know a really great thing about your adopted homeland? 
We forgive, we move on, but we need to know that you realize that life is not a 
Because, if you do realize that, that's As Good As It Gets. 



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