As I continue to clean out my old drafts on this here blog, I come across this post from 2017, which only has a title. Nothing in it, just the title. WTF? Great work, 2017 me.
I am completely uncertain what it was about. And now I’m allowing for that. So I guess, if it was a message to 2020 me, it worked. Sorta.
Speaking of 2020 me and uncertainty, I recently had a synchronicity that amounts to nothing. I mean they’re supposed to be about something, right? But not this one, not that I can see. Perhaps it is for 2025 me. Maybe it will all make sense then. In the interest of filling space, I shall give it to you now….
Back when I was a wee lad in high school, my friends and I made a short film called, “Madge The Usual.” It was a sendup of quirky arthouse films, starring yours truly. A lot happens in a little time in the film, but you wouldn’t have known it the way one shot stole the show and ruined my life for at least a year: I lit a cigarette before putting it to my lips.
Yes, like a fly on the scalp of Mike Pence, all that hard work and acting was out the window. All anyone remembered was the fact that I couldn’t light a cigarette to save my scene. What sucks is, we did at least one more take where I got it right and the director didn’t use it.
It’s high school. Far better to humiliate me than get the scene right.
This little film went on to win a WGBH TV38 award of some kind. I remember getting a certificate that seemed to have everyone’s name on it but mine. So, like Trump faking a hurricane track, I magic markered it in. Just like magic, I was now a producer.
Whelp, I hadn’t thought about that flick in years. But then my mom sent me the boxes of crap I left at her place when I moved to Hawaii in 2012–just before the Mayan Calendar ended and the apocalypse came. In one of those boxes was and remains a VHS tape of Madge. I know my high school friends would love to see it again. And then take a piss on me for not knowing how to light a cigarette. Again. And I’m a giving kinda guy who wouldn’t dream of letting myself off the hook by not showing the film. They deserve a good laugh. They’re dying.
Anyone else have a record number of classmates passing away or just my high school? Again, WTF?!
So, I look up on Amazon the best el cheapo way to transfer VHS to computer so that I may post it online. The next morning, as I’m checking my email, I do something I rarely do and for no known reason at all: I check my message requests folder on Facebook. This is where people you don’t know, usually spammers and sex bots, get sent when they try to contact you. Why would anyone check that?
But I’m glad I did, for awaiting me there, top of the list, written just that morning, was a message from a stranger. A stranger who got my name through Google Books. He never said why he was searching my name through Google Books, just that he found a piece in my book, I Know Why The Alien’s Don’t Land!, about Madge The Usual.
Or maybe it was Into The End he had read. Or could it have been Free Space: The Real Life Story of A Bingo Queen? My memory is hazy. It was definitely Urgency. because God forbid anyone read I Am To Tell You This And I Am To Tell You It Is Fiction.
No, it was I Know Why The Aliens Don’t Land! I remember now. I also remember him saying he never read the fucking book, just found my name and Madge together in it. Turns out, he had also made a short film that was in the same Channel 38 contest. (“I saw yours, and yours is the only one I remember. Ours was about a volkswagen van. Hasn’t this made the whole internet worthwhile?” he wrote.)
He noted that, while he still lives in Massachusetts, he had been in Kona, on the island where I live, in January. And the reason he was writing was that he wanted to know if I had put Madge online because he wanted to show it to his friends. He thought it would blow their minds. I think he meant that it exists at all would blow their minds; the film itself is not mind-blowing.
To sum up: My mom kicks my stuff out of her house. She’s had enough. A flick I made as a kid is in with that stuff. I try to get it online just as some dude who has been bugging all of his friends for the past 30 years to believe him that he made a short film he no longer possesses, which he had entered in a contest hosted by a UHF station that likely no longer exists, decides he wants a total stranger to convince them for him by giving a link to another movie in that contest. A better movie. A winner. That has my name all over it. In magic marker. But he doesn’t know that stranger is me yet because he doesn’t remember my name. How could he?
UHF, by the way, is the dial on the TV that… Oh, fucking never mind.
To further sum up: So then this guy travels to The Big Island of Hawaii where Pele puts my name in his sweaty head. He cannot get me out of his mind. The way I lit a cigarette before putting it to my lips was just unforgettable. I must exist–I must! And so he looks me up, finds I write books he would never read, yet inside one of them… there it is. Proof. Madge The Usual existed. I am the Jeremy Vaeni he has been looking for. Therefore his film must have existed. Therefore he is vindicated. Therefore his friends can go to hell.
If only I would juuuust put it online.
I mean, that’s the only way the synchronicity makes any meaningful sense, right? Without the Pele embellishment, it’s just a huge, huge coincidence.
Could it be just that? Is this what happens with one-in-a-million coincidences in a state that has outlawed the lottery?