Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Daewoo Lives On. And On. And On. And On. And On.

It’s been a banner summer for the Daewoo. First Will Ferrell accepted the ESPY for Athlete of the Year for Tiger Woods and thanked his sponsor, Daewoo, adding “which I believe is some kind of car.” Then in Pineapple Express, Danny McBride’s character smashes his bright yellow Daewoo into one of the bad guys and taunts, “You just got killed by a Daewoo Lanos, motherfucker.” Daewoo pride is at an all time high right now, which is sort of like school spirit, but dorkier.

Yet, as I was pulled over to the side of road somewhere in Hollywood on Sunday night, my Daewoo’s engine billowing white smoke, I have to admit that I was hoping the engine would just catch on fire and that my car would go up in spectacular flames. I wasn’t sure if my insurance covered spontaneous combustion, but I was willing to risk it.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with my car. On the one hand, it’s small, easy on the gas, and ideal for city driving. On the other hand, Daewoo has stopped making cars, putting all of their production resources into cheap televisions and DVD players. Also, the CEO of the company is in Korean prison for a few more years. And then there’s the check-engine light that has been on since I got the damn thing. Oh yeah, and there is some sort of black engine fluid leaking into the carpet.

So as the cultural impact of the Daewoo continues to grow, so does the realization that my car could break down in Seoul, and I’d still have to wait three or four days for someone to track down the parts.

I’ve actually gotten some compliments about my car lately. A co-worker told me I was lucky to have a compact car during these days of expensive gas. I offered to trade her for her luxury SUV. She declined. Yesterday, I squeezed the Daewoo into a tight parking spot, and a neighbor told me that he had tried that same spot with his car but couldn’t fit. “Trust me,” I said, “That's the only thing that’s good about this car.”

Sunday night, after the engine smoke had dissipated, I opened the hood to assess the damage. The coolant had exploded all over the engine, symbolic of that fact that there was nothing on earth that could make my car cool. I was rescued by a tow truck driven by a completely humorless Russian man. In the five minutes it took to haul my car to the mechanic's, I learned that he disliked rich people, drank most nights when the shift was slow, and hated dogs and the people who owned them. When you drive a Daewoo these are the type of people you meet.

The next morning I learned that my thermostat exploded. It would only cost $150 to fix, and I would have my car back by the next morning. In the meantime I got to drive Camille’s Mini Cooper, which is like a Daewoo that doesn’t run on AA batteries. For one day I got to experience what it was like to have a real car. And it didn’t involve jamming my foot down on the brake just to stop.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Lifestyle

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have finally arrived. Fame is a funny thing like that. One day no one knows who you are, the next day you open the mailbox to find a letter addressed to you from the Beverly Hills Country Club asking if you would like to receive even more information about the Beverly Hills Country Club.

I'm not at liberty to reprint the entire letter, I wouldn't want to jeopardize the chances of my receiving further mailings from BHCC, but here is a little taste of the good life: "Beverly Hills Country Club is not for every one nor every family. If it were, it would not be a privilege to belong. Membership to our fine club is exclusive (their italics), but not exclusionary, and is by invitation. As you would expect, membership is limited. We invite you to get to know us and to allow us the same privilege."

Just a glance down the names on the Board of Governors on the left hand side of the letter gives an idea of the exclusiveness of the club I’ve been invited to inquire further details about-- Buzz Aldrin, Chris Carter, Barbara Eden, George Hamilton, Merv Griffin, Dr. Phil McGraw, Mathew Perry, Tom Selleck, and the list goes on. If you squint a little bit, chairman Gene Axelrod’s signature at the bottom of the letter almost looks like it was signed by hand.

I have to admit, my rise to fame took awhile. It started in fourth grade when I got my arm stuck in the back of my chair mid-class, a story oft repeated in Westville Elementary school lore. It culminated with my brief appearance in the background of a paparazzi video: (That’s me behind the desk. But, of course, you already knew that.)

Now that I’m famous, I’m going to have to make some changes. Camille and I are breaking up, both for the free tabloid publicity, and so that I can date someone a little more famousy. I’m moving to the new paparazzi-proof hi-rise apartments they are building in Westwood. I’m also getting a publicist and personal assistant for my dog, Henry.

By the way, Wolfgang Puck, I hope you’ve been practicing your backhand!

Of course fame isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. I’m very lonely in my ivory tower of privilege and power. I’ve become addicted to the idea of caviar and lobster. For like every meal. Do you know what that does to your digestive system? Of course you don’t. You aren’t receiving bulk correspondence from the 90210.

So be prepared for a phone call Ms. Doreen Nesher, unspecified employee of the Beverly Hills Country Club, because I’m going to be calling and discussing this letter I have received and brightening your day with the shiny, ever-glowing privilege of getting to know more about me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Oh, Henry!

My dog, Henry, is getting fixed in a couple of weeks. Before last night, I think he suspected. His bark has been more sarcastic lately. When I tell him to sit, he obeys, but he does so begrudgingly. It could be that Henry is now a teenager (in dog years), or it may just be that he knows his manhood is about to end before it even begins. Such is the tragedy of a dog’s life.

I think Henry always knew this time was coming. About a month after we brought him home, he made a break for it. I wasn’t home to witness the self-emancipation, but apparently he just shot out the door and ran for freedom. For five minutes he was chased around the neighborhood by my girlfriend and four others. He made it around the block before shooting back inside and straight into his crate, soiling himself somewhere along the way.

We never found a goodbye note, and when I got home he refused to explain himself. As to where he was going, I don’t think even he knows. My guess was one of his two favorite spots: the next-door parking lot that is populated by a colony of giant cockroaches or the corner of our apartment building, a place he’s been obsessed with ever since a homeless person took a crap there.

The procedure will be performed at a place on Sunset Boulevard in a hospital picked randomly off the Internet for its low price. Why pay premium dollar for something that Henry won’t even enjoy? We’re hoping that he doesn't have to wear a cone on his head (which would prevent him from inadvertently removing his stitches after the surgery), but by the way he chews up underwear, we’re not optimistic.

Last night, I decided to come clean and tell Henry about the operation. I explained that it would be a great opportunity to refocus his life’s work on treat retrieval. When discussing the possibility of a cone, I tried to explain to Henry that when I was young I had to wear corrective shoes and braces. Sometimes we must go through an awkward adolescence in order to become our beautiful selves. He just looked at me and farted.

If he could talk I’m sure he’d say, “Why are you doing this to me?” Of course if he could talk, I’d ask him, “Since you’re blessed with a sense of smell 100 times greater than my own, why do you spend most of your time smelling dog butts?”

So Henry, if you’re reading this, please accept my very public apology for what is about to happen to you. And Good Boy! for learning how to use a computer.