A friend is sometimes described as the person who holds your hair back when you’re sick at the toilet. That way the friend can get a clear shot with her iPhone of you hurling chunks. And then sell the photos to Vice.
I count my former co-workers as such friends. There isn’t one of them that I would not like to take a picture of vomiting. For my scrapbook.
Last night, the soon-to-be-former Fairfax Business Group staff gathered for a farewell drink at Beresford Square Wine Bar, near K Road.
Speaking for everyone without actually verifying it, we all had a great time. Last night presented something for everyone. There was drunken candor. There was vomiting and unabashedly tearful hysterics. And prosciutto. Usually all at once.
Last night made me realize that working alone is going to be a lonely experience. I’m going to miss the intelligent conversations I used to have at Fairfax with myself. And it was a bonus to have people around to talk to, also. People need people, as social beings, which means that people who need people are the luckiest people in the world. At work, when I wanted to hear a different opinion, I was lucky that I could go to any number of smart, funny people, hear their side of the story, then explain to them why they are wrong and I am better than they are.
Isn’t that what friendship is all about? Important people like me need to be surrounded by a cadre of mindless yes-men who don’t mind being condescended to. Or who want to have their picture taken whilst vomiting. Those are the two classes of friendship.
Sadly, I was not able to take photos of anyone vomiting last night. Nor could I convince everyone to pose for a group shot of the gang vomiting simultaneously. The thought of me working without these people makes me a bit anxious.
To answer that question, I’ve been watching The Shining on an endless loop. Which is what the HR person said I should do to prepare myself for the coming months.
She also says I should watch Woody Allen movies.
Manhattan has struck a chord. Woody Allen plays a 42-year-old television comedy writer facing a career crisis, among other things. I saw it the other day and I was like, “Shit, I’m 42. I face a new crisis every 14 minutes. I’m from New York city, I’m something like a Jew, with the schnoz, neuroses and chutzpah to back it up. Now how do I cash in?” It’s quite possible that possessing all the necessary ingredients of a stereotype could be a gold mine. There could be thousands, if not three thousand dollars to be made here in New Zealand, where I am as rare as Apteryx australis itself.
I’m thinking “Jewish petting zoo”. Just a thought. I’m not married to the idea.
The question is, do I model myself after Isaac Davis, the character Woody Allen plays in the movie? He and I share many characteristics: ethnic profile, questionable masculinity, perpetual bad hair days, and on and on and on.
There are a couple minor, but remarkable differences. Isaac is trying to get out of a successful television comedy writing career. I, on the other hand, am trying to get used to the fact that I have no marketable skills. The only option for people like me is a career in comedy writing.
Oh, and Isaac is sexually involved with a 17-year old girl.
Now, it is fair to say that any number of teenagers would be thrilled if I were hanging off their arms. Nothing spells “sophisticated woman” better than being seen with a man of wisdom and accomplishment. Or in my case, a receding hairline. These days my forehead takes up about 90 percent of my face. It’s alarming to look at pictures of myself over the years. Like time-lapse satellite images showing the desertification of a once fertile farming region in north Africa. It’s big. I can’t lie down in the park because I’m afraid a helicopter might try landing on it. And forget about my nose. That shit has its own weather system. There are as yet undiscovered mammals living in the rainforest that is my left nostril. Not to gild the lily or anything, but I’m hot.
But, sorry girls, I’ll have to pass. I’m a happily married man, wed to a woman of ample years. But, more importantly, let’s face it. What the hell are we going to talk about? How unfair it is that your parents won’t buy you an iPhone so you can take pictures of your friends vomiting? I know how you feel, but I don’t think it would be appropriate for us to be seen in public discussing such intimate topics. I mean, what if an adult caught us making out on the street, and made a comment about our age difference? Do you really think, “It’s ok, she’s my daughter,” will stand the smell test?
It’s all good, though. I can still model myself on Isaac Davis. I don’t need a 17-year-old girlfriend to get my career going. All I need is a schnoz and a dream and an entourage and a nice car, and an office in Los Angeles, and the ability to write something funny. Then I’ll be set. Just like Isaac Davis.