Grandaddy of Them All

Dear X

     So I’ve been praying.

     I’m praying over things because my HVAC guy suggested the value in doing so. I’m referring X, to the HVAC guy who charged me 125 dollars for both putting in the toxic ozone-making special 250 dollar filter which is redundant to the existing filter, and 125 dollars for removing the 250 dollar toxic ozone making shitfuck a day later, for a total of what seemed to me a whopping 500 dollars, after Eli and I were paralyzed with blinding headaches due to the toxic ozone, which the HVAC guy admitted he thought was “well, crazy, to tell you the truth”, but then he talked to another HVAC guy, real experienced, on his mobile on the way to my house who said: "actually, not crazy” or maybe “yes, crazy, but all my customers say the same crazy thing when I (he/real experienced) put in the toxic ozone-making special 250 dollar filter which is redundant to their existing filters and they fall over with migraines and assorted and sundry seizure-type crazy-like what-not medical issue” and so he, my HVAC guy, not the HVAC guy who he called on the phone on the way to my house “prayed over it", and decided, "well heck, the customer is always right even if they’re heh, crazy and oh, by the way have you read Dan Brown’s new book?, because usually I would be skeptical about a guy who says he’s a new Jesus, I mean, really,  normally, I would just say: no, and what the heck is Dan Brown even talking about?  But then you read it and you go, whoa, I don’t know, I mean ... there’s ALOT of evidence, I mean, I believe in the apocalypse and stuff like that, but a second Jesus?, but honestly, honest to God, there’s just SO much research behind it, and sure, it’s weird to think some guy could be Jesus, I mean a new one, and  I’m really religious, but ... still -- another Jesus? But: the evidence. You can’t really argue with it. So, if you’re not busy, you should definitely read it, and let me know what you think, call me and let me know, you’ll love it if you’re anything like me -- are you very very religious? No? Oh. I am though.  And I just want to say, I’m really glad you called me out here today cuz I really needed the money, I didn’t know how I was going to pay the rent, so you wash me, I wash you (huh? ed.) but seriously, read that book, I’m not kidding, whoa, he’s the guy who wrote ‘Da Vinci’, maybe pray over it, praying over it works even if you’re not religious, it just does. 

Your friend,


December 31, 2013

Dear Y

     Toxic Ozone is the New Jesus.  He's a character in a Spike Jonze joint.  (Or is it the other Spike?)  T Bone Burnett writes the music.  Or finds it, I can't really tell the difference.

Folk Songs.  That's what you need playin' in your crib, bro.  Folk songs.  Soulful.  And a lot of people standing outside, on the deck, looking in and describing the genius involved.  Sheer genius of it.  

     I haven't read the Dan Brown, no.  I kinda, well, lost my interest in Dan Brown with the big alien meteorite novel before the Albino-Illuminati-shower-sex-and-towels-Code one to which your repair specialist was referring.

     But I am religious.  Yes.  And I know that God works in mysterious ways, for example, Breaking Bad, and Nike shoes.  Is there a God app for the iPhone?  Can we write one?  Oh oh oh oh c’mon please why can't we write one?  A Christian iPhone.  You ask the phone questions and it gives you all the answers.  Like who you can smote and who you can begat and how old the earth is and whether women should have the right to vote.

     And every week spews out a script like The Butler.

     But then, I really want to like The Butler.  Because is it really any different from Forest Gump?  Except that Forest Gump was about an idiot and The Butler is about the son of a slave whose whole world was defined by racism and oppression -- but really, Tom Hanks, so, you know, right?  When Robin Williams shows up as Eisenhower my wife (who says God is a misogynist) literally leapt out of her seat.  Jumped up, screamed: "What????"  And Snape was Reagan, which I thought was kinda genius casting, personally.  

     We went to the Rose Bowl game.  It was surreal.  Kinda fun, actually, even though my team lost and everything -- and Alice left at halftime because, Alice, my youngest, Kenyon College, hipster, meh football, plus all the obligatory existential ennui -- and all the old people I kept running into, old fat friends reminding me, shit, am I the same age? -- I am, I'm the same age as they are.  Stanford people reminding me why I really don't go back and hang out with Stanford people, but at the same time glad that my son survived it because these are all successful, idiosyncratic souls, and, yes, even kind of interesting, at the end of the day, though also annoying and pompous and self-centered and --

     -- oh, and tangentially my scandalously undivorced cousin showing up out of the blue with her new beau, Buster (we used to call him ‘Righteous Bud’) Foxworth, who does pro-bono death penalty appeals, causing a veritable X family breakdown because a) divorce, b) change, c) we are all, my kith and kin, fucking international spies with our secrets and our fierce resistance to detente --

     -- standing on West Drive after the game, waiting to hitch a ride back in the gigantic tailgating RV owned by a guy we don't really know and feeling, well, a little odd because we're hitching a ride and there's not a lot of room but nevertheless I'm standing there and out of the gloaming steps Wanda Bunney, like the Ghost of Christmas Past, her hair very henna, that red that doesn’t exist in nature, and lanky, and a little more stooped with age, and speaking in a soft dreamy way that makes you think more of dementia than, say, LSD or something -- Wanda Bunney who was in my freshman dorm, who dated Dean Yoevil, my ex-partner, remember him? for a while and he bought her a coffee table "so he had something to put his feet up on" and then broke her heart and went back to the bad girlfriend who cuckholded him with a Greek Orthodox mobster; literally left Dean hanging at the Maui airport wondering where the fuck she was when, in fact, she'd taken a different plane opposite direction to Cyprus to be with Aristotle, or whoever -- and Dean dutifully calling this girlfriend’s parents who, I think, pretended not to know where she was, but -- Wanda Bunney who never married, spent her forties dating twenty something NYC bartenders with, no doubt, good connections for bad drugs -- Wanda Bunney, who was a kick-ass investment banker but now, I think, life coach? or something, tragic and spacey and hands shaking as she reached for her business card, talking and moving like she was eighty years old, looking -- maybe it was just the darkness -- like she was ready to break into a ten year crying jag if given half a chance -- Wanda Bunney meeting my son and saying she had a picture of me and him from when he was six weeks old and I took him in one of those chest harnesses to a barbecue at Duncan Wilson’s where a blues band was playing ear-bleeding music and I had to cover my son’s ears with my hands, and he was enthralled -- eyes wide -- giggling --

     -- Wanda Bunney who mumbled goodbye and shuffled away into the darkness of the Arroyo Seco with her friend, another Stanford person, who has a husband who tried to kill himself and missed, a damaged spouse who got them deeply into debt and expected she’d get the insurance money but instead he’s just a long-term financial drain she keeps in a managed care home way up in Sonoma, and I'm sure now that I've met her and talked to her about it before ... but where?

     And the State fans giddy happy celebrating with Jello shots and echoing refrains of "Go White! Go Green! Go White!  Go Green!" (probably your HVAC guy has a cousin who goes there) and me, standing on the edge of the road, listening to chubby Gino Sorrento speak American French to Katie because he loves Paris and has been there hundreds of times consulting with construction people or whatever, and wondering why Stanford chose to run the ball up the middle on fourth and one when that hadn't worked all game and why the coach afterward would only say "that's Stanford Football, that's where we live" like, well, Japanese kamikaze pilots at the end of the war crashing to their deaths knowing that it was pointless, and, really, Snapchat is where we live, Evan Siegel with his model girlfriends at the $150 officially alumni tailgator with all the other captains of industry in their red polo shirts and chinos, gourmet box lunch, Fear The Tree buttons, just this side of Jamie Dimon, not really worried about the little people but slightly troubled by the Band and their halftime show sarcastically celebrating what they see to be the next great app: a cross between Twitter and Snapchat, ‘millimessaging,’ wherein you send a text that instantly fades away leaving your recipient with only a vague idea of what you were trying to say --

     -- standing on the edge of the road, waiting for our ride to leave, wondering how it all came to this.  

Pray for me.


January 3, 2014

Michael Convertino and Daniel Pyne are writers living in California.

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