Monday, January 24, 2011

WHAT WOULD LARRY DAVID DO?

"SEINFELD," the number one sit-com of all-time? I think so. Yes, I loved the "HONEYMOONERS," "THE ODD COUPLE," "CHEERS," "MASH" and "ALL IN THE FAMILY" but the show about nothing, is still my favorite.THE COMMERCIAL AND CULTURAL PHENOMENA KNOWN A "SEINFELD" RAN FOR 180 EPISODES DURING ITS NINE SEASON RUN, (1989-1998).

The show featured stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld playing a fictional version of himself. While using his uptown Manhattan apartment as a focal point, his best friend George Costanza (Jason Alexander), ex-girl friend Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and wacky neighbor Cosmo Kramer, (Michael Richards) provided a steady flow of "welcome" interruptions to his superficial lifestyle.

Years later, the casual "Seinfeld" viewer learns that the show has a wild card. Lurking behind the scenes is Larry David. David, together with Jerry Seinfeld were the co-creators of the show. David was also the executive producer and head writer. Even more interesting than that, the George Costanza character was molded after the pre-mega successful Larry David. In addition to being an insecure loser as well as cheap, dishonest, petty and envious, Jason Alexander a short, fat, bald man with glasses was cast to complete David's negative self-image.

Larry David then parlayed the George Costanza role into another smash comedy on HBO, "CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM." In it, Larry plays a contemporary version of himself which means, he is Costanza as a success.
Like "Seinfeld" on steroids, cable TV allows "Curb's" themes, language and sexuality to be far less restricted. Even though we all know Larry is going to be a jerk, this freedom of expression gives him the latitude for the outrageous while continuously achieving higher plateaus of depraved indifference. Just like as a kid when I watched Soupy Sales...I knew Soupy was going to get hit with a pie but it was still funny when he did.

"Curb Your Enthusiasm," has many actors play themselves. So it is a recurring theme that Larry will produce a "Seinfeld" reunion show. It is especially funny when Jason Alexander insults Larry by analyzing George and calling him stupid, selfish, self-centered, etc. That's one reason why "Curb" has the potential to become my all-time favorite sit-com.

"CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM," HAS AIRED FOR SEVEN SEASONS SINCE 2000. THERE ARE 70 EPISODES AND MORE ARE BEING PRODUCED FOR 2011.

Larry was born in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn on July 2, 1947. We love watching him make an ass of himself as he battles social conventions and their expectations, other people and the mundane aspects of life. The truth is, we all have or wished we had a bit of his antics in us...I know, I do.

When I look back at the most embarrassing moment of my life, I wish I had had a, "What Would Larry David Do," bracelet.

POPULAR IN 1990's, THE "WHAT WOULD JESUS DO," INITIALS APPEARED ON VARIOUS ITEMS. IN PRACTICE, THIS MOTTO SERVED AS A REMINDER FOR INDIVIDUALS TO UPHOLD THE MORAL IMPERATIVE AND ACT IN A MANNER THAT WOULD DEMONSTRATE THEIR LOVE FOR GOD.

In March 1981, I could have used the guidance of a "What Would Larry David Do," bracelet. My wife Sue's, sister-like BFF and my friend too (Sabrina), flew into Las Vegas to visit. Sue was grossing $300.00/week as a keno writer at the Maxim Casino and couldn't take the night off to meet Sabrina's flight. If I had a "WWLDD" bracelet I would have told her to risk losing that shit job so she could have the added thrill of meeting her friend at the airport.

Sabrina and I had five hours to kill. Larry David would have gone out of his way to bring the girls together...to at least have them see each other for a minute while Sue worked...I didn't. Instead, I drove forty miles out of town towards Mount Charleston.

IN THE MOUNTAINS NORTH OF LAS VEGAS THERE IS A SKI AREA ON MOUNT CHARLESTON. BECAUSE SABRINA WASN'T A GAMBLER, I THOUGHT THE GOURMET RESTAURANT UP THERE WOULD BE A TREAT.

We turned off the desolate highway onto the far more remote, two-lane, Kyle Canyon Road. Within a mile we saw a giant sign: NO GAS ON MOUNTAIN. I instinctively checked my Chevy Monte Carlo's fuel level, it was scraping EMPTY. If I had a Larry David bracelet, I would have played it safe and retraced my steps for five miles. Instead, I internally cited the incline of the pavement and assured myself that the gauge was being skewed by the angle of the car.

On that the dark, winding road, we encountered almost no traffic going in the opposite direction. Fifteen minutes later, we crossed the snow line and soon ran out of gas. This was way before the cell phone-era so I was stuck on a dangerous blind curve with no help in sight. You can see why I panicked. That's when I hatched an idea that was so ridiculous that even an entire staff of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" writers would have thought it too unbelievable and idiotic. I tried to make a reverse, K-Turn with the idea of rolling down the mountain.

I backed up and as luck would have it, my car's rear tires rolled into a ditch along the shoulder. My under-carriage was scraping the asphalt and my tires couldn't get traction in the gravel. Even worse, my car was perpendicular to the roadway and its front-end was sticking out, about ten percent into the lane. I turned on my hazard lights but at the odd angle, I couldn't be sure that they could warn a speeder in time.

I had to think fast. I told Sabrina that I would push the car and that she would use the brake when we were out of the hole. That's when she said, "No! I never drove a car in my life."

After Sabrina took a light jacket from her suitcase and I put on a sweat-shirt, plan-B included us positioned to flag down passersby. The occasional car coming down from the mountain safely zoomed by in the other lane but didn't stop. After a long while, the first car at risk, stopped.

The forty-ish man was sloppy drunk and driving a two-seat, MG Midget. This jet-setter ogled Sabrina like Glen Quagmire from "FAMILY GUY," before identifying himself as Slade, a gaming supervisor at the Dunes Casino. After we failed to liberate my car by brute force, he announced that he had access to gas because he was a Mount Charleston volunteer fireman. I needed to consult a Larry David bracelet when he said, "I'll take the girl with me and come back with the gas." Nobody in their right mind would have agreed to that...but I did. It wasn't until this delicate flower disappeared around the first bend that I realized that even if I ever saw her again...that her virtue would never be the same.

DIGGITY, DIGGITY, DIGGITY. HOW MANY INDICATORS DID I NEED TO STOP THIS INSANITY. SLADE WAS WASTED, DRIVING A SEXY CAR AND HEADING TO A ROMANTIC RESORT. PLUS, I DIDN'T HAVE THE WHEREWITHAL TO WRITE DOWN HIS LICENSE PLATE NUMBER OR VERIFY HIS NAME.

For the next thirty minutes, my stomach was in knots as I imagined this man's eighty-woman conga-line of conquests dancing in, "I GOT LAID BY SLADE," tee-shirts. The whole torturous time, I was praying to see that little sports car and Sabrina again. Inexplicably during this whole ordeal, no cars stopped to help even the two that swerved to avoid hitting my Chevy.

My last embers of hope were as frosted as my body when Sabrina finally returned intact with Slade. We emptied nearly his whole gas can into my tank. But the car wouldn't start. The front end was elevated and because of gravity, the gas couldn't travel to the engine. That's when Slade said he'd put a little directly in the carburetor to get the motor going at its source. After the thimble-full dose didn't work, I watched the drunk douse the engine. Gas was all over the place when suddenly, BAM! The engine caught on fire.

I dashed out of the car. Slade and I ran to avoid the expected explosion. But Sabrina took a few steps away and returned with slushy snow in her bare hands. I told her to forget it but she kept tossing snow on the flames. She was making progress. When I joined her, I was able to smother the last of the blaze with my sweat-shirt.

We were enjoying a short-lived sigh of relief when a motorcycle gang roared to a stop. When I caught a glimpse of these six, filthy toughs, I was sure that Sabrina, Slade and I were all getting robbed, raped, murdered and raped. I mentioned rape twice because the leader was wearing a black leather vest with no jacket, coat or even a polo-shirt...and menaces like that...like rape.

MY MIND DRIFTED TO BEING HANDCUFFED TO A TREE AND THE OLD JOKE WITH THE PUNCHLINE, "THIS JUST AIN'T YOUR DAY."

I cringed when the leader combined laughing with a growl, "You stuck?" I think Larry David would have thrown the gas can at him and run away. I didn't. I'm positive the first smart thing I did during this escapade was to not insult this devil and just stammer, "R-r-ran out of gas..." His scary crew crept closer as he interrupted, "And you set your car on fire." I knew we were dead so I only nodded. He pointed to the back of my car, signaled his friends and said, "Don't worry, we'll push you out."

Seconds after they got me out of the gully, my car started right up. Larry David would have brought them back to my condo and insisted that they stay as long as they wanted. But I invited them all out to dinner. Being the true humanitarians that they were, the bikers and Slade only accepted my sincere thanks.

Sabrina and I didn't continue up the mountain. We went back to town, stopped at a roadside bar and drank our dinner. We were still reeking of gasoline by the time I re-united the girls at the Maxim.

If you tally-up the score, I think a "What Would Larry David Do," bracelet would have only proven that my poor decisions made every step of that impossible situation worse than anything Larry would have done. Because the only thing that he and I would have have agreed on was...when I told Sue...you're not going to believe the funny thing that happened to us.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Funny! If its true, I can see why you kept this embarrassment tucked away for 30 years.

Does Sabrina still talk to you?

A great visual....but I'm guessing the "I GOT LAID BY SLADE" tee-shirts were poetic license. --- FARNSWORTH

Anonymous said...

HYSTERICAL !

I had to re-read parts of this blog 5 times because I was laughing.

Your comedy of errors was impressive. Running out of gas, the car getting stuck in a hole, letting the poor girl go off with some drunken lecher, seeing your car catch on fire...not to mention the threat of the motorcycle gang.

This was your best and funniest work EVER ! --- M of M&T

Anonymous said...

I don't care whether this story was true or not...it was hilarious. Thanks. ---
DC-PAULY-V

Anonymous said...

I GOT LAID BY SLADE...GENIUS!

Its hard to make this sort of thing funny but you carried it off well.

I can just image the look on your face when the lightbulb turned on and you realized she probably would never come back in one piece. --- THE DONALD