Dagger in hand

A man of prodigious fortune, coming to add his opinion to some light discussion that was going on casually at his table, began precisely thus: "It can only be a liar or an ignoramus who will say otherwise than," and so on. Pursue that philosophical point, dagger in hand.

--Michel de Montaigne, Of the art of discussion.

Stab back: cmnewman99-at-yahoo.com


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Sunday, July 13, 2003
A few more freebies like that and I'll be broke…

Well, I'm stag for a fortnight. The loves of my life are in Italy visiting the family. Fain would I be with them, but this was a spur of the moment trip at a moment when the wheels of justice simply can't turn without me. So here I am, spending what free time I have doing guy stuff like working out, renting all the war movies I know Paola would never watch with me, and reading the proofs of Randy Barnett's new book on con law, something I had been anticipating in a manner usually associated with scar-browed pubescent magic-users. Yea verily, I am a party animal. Actually, tonight I was.

It was quite an interesting evening. It started with this film, which a friend wanted to go see. This is a disturbing film. How disturbing? Remember Silence of the Lambs? Se7en? This one is similar, except that it makes those look like Disney flicks by comparison. I think it could only have been made by Germans. And I think the review in the link gets it wrong. They're not trying to set up a sequel, they just don't have that American law which says movies are required to have tidy happy conclusions. That would be so banal, so bourgeois. Now ees ze time on Sprockets ven ve dance. Don't get me wrong; the movie is very well done. But don't go see it if you're remotely squeamish. I spent half the time averting my eyes, and it's gonna be real interesting trying to continue my fling with Atkins induction now that I'm not sure I can face red meat for a while. Nuff said.

Right after the movie I sped off up the 10 to attend the Justice Ball. My firm had bought a number of tickets, one of which I obtained after someone else cancelled. That's one of the perks of working for an L.A. firm—if you work with the right people occasionally you get to go to stuff like this. For free. Of course, these private benefit performances are never as good as going to a regular concert, even though you get to be closer to the performers than you'd normally be able to get without camping out for a week to buy your tickets. Why? Because benefits are fundraisers, and the tickets are sold to people with lots of funds. Who generally aren't the kind of people that do a lot of roof raising, if you know what I mean. I'll bet artists hate playing these gigs, even when they think it's for a good cause. In fact I'm sure they do.

Anyway, I got there about ten, and my timing was perfect. I had just time to grab a drink and breeze into the concert hall where Camryn Manheim was just getting ready to introduce Macy. There weren't any seats in the Wiltern, just various tiers of open space. I made a beeline for the floor right in front of the stage, and was surprised to find the crowd there sparse enough that I could get quite close with no problem. I kind of suspect that only people with VIP tix were supposed to be down there, cause I can't explain the lameness of the crowd any other way. But if that was the case no-one ever challenged me, and there I was, like five feet from the stage. I haven't been up that close since slamdancing to the Violent Femmes at the Aragon Ballroom during my misspent youth.

But as I've already intimated, this was no mosh pit worthy of the name. It was rather annoying, actually. I went there fully intending to make this a calorie burning event. I mean, come on—this is Macy Gray we're talking about. Ms. Sex-O-Matic Venus Freak herself. Why on earth would you go to see Macy Gray and plant yourself on the dance floor within brushing distance of her afro if you have no intention of getting your freak on? Yet there was this whole row of stiffs standing there, some even talking to each other during the performance. One guy was resting his head on his elbow on the edge of the stage with a bored-looking smirk on his face the whole time. I kept wishing Macy would come up and kick him in the teeth or something. It just struck me as rude. She's up there putting out (and yes, this is an appropriate term), the least you can do is give her some energy back. Or go stand in the lobby and collect business cards if you want. But how the hell is she supposed to funkify with some piece of front and center deadwood flaunting the level of excitement lawyers usually reserve for document production?

Well, she did. And I didn't let it stop me any more than it stopped her. I was into it. I don't know why I wasn't more self-conscious given the zombies between me and her, but apparently I've progressed beyond the stage where I need to be drunk to dance. And mind you, I'm by no means anything to brag about on the dance floor. I'm your basic white guy, the kind black comedians like to make fun of. Only in a mosh pit full of Jewish lawyers could I wind up feeling pretty motherfucking fly. I just let loose, and had a great time. When Macy wanted me to jump, I jumped. When she wanted me to shake my ass, I didn't ask how wide. When she demanded increasing numerical sets of pelvic thrusts (yes, she really did), I made sure the air would wake up sore tomorrow. I tried to say goodbye, but I choked.

When it was all over, I was drenched, I was forming a blister on my right heel, and I was very happy. Until. On my way into the lobby I reached into my shirt pocket to retrieve my glasses, which I had put in there just before the show. That's how close I was to Macy—I didn't even need them to see her clearly. When I put the glasses in my pocket, I remember noticing that my sunglasses were also in there. since I had unfortunately forgotten to remove and leave them in the car. Now in the lobby I found to my dismay that my pocket was empty. I never felt them come out. It's not at all surprising that they would have, given all the jumping I was doing, but I had completely forgotten about them. I went back to the dance floor and made an effort to look. Strangely enough, now the dance floor was much more active even though they were only playing records. Where were all these ambulatory people when we needed them during the show? I peered around, trying to make use of the intermittent blasts of house light that were punctuating the dance beat, expecting with dread that I would find mangled bits of plastic and metal in worse shape than the poor schmucks who'd been mutilated in that movie I'd watched earlier.

I found nothing, of course. I checked twice at the lost and found, but no luck. I left them my number and a description of the lost items. My hopes are not high, but I had to try. Between the two pairs we're talking about 500 dollars of eyegear here. Like I said, a few more freebies like that and I'll be broke.

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