May 25, 2013
Posted on Nov 16, 2012
By Mr. Fish
“In life there are no winners, only assholes with Swiss bank accounts.” — Matthew Lotti
I had deliberately arrived early to the Beverly Hills Hotel, hoping to get there before the room filled up completely with boozy little cliques that I’d find impossible to penetrate later, my pockets bulging with business cards that advertised both my mad artistic abilities and my enthusiasm to overwork the First Amendment to near exhaustion. It was, after all, my secret ambition to, in the words of Pablo Picasso, “live like a poor man with plenty of money.” I was certain that the room would eventually be jampacked with likeminded supporters of free speech, many of them publishers and editors with budgets and payroll departments, each and every one of us inexorably linked by a common disdain for George W. Bush and his international witch hunt for those guilty of anti-Americanism, a thought crime punishable, apparently, by doomsday.
“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people and neither do we.” — George W. Bush
Kulash looked to me like the grandson of one of the doddering attendees as he loitered shyly around the open bar with his hands in his pockets. I didn’t recognize him. He was with a girl and I was with my wife, and, being the only youngsters invited to the event, we eventually ended up chatting with each other outside on an adjacent patio like children seeking camaraderie at a wedding.
“I have to say,” I said, “that those trousers might be about the best I’ve seen on anybody since the cancellation of the ‘Brady Kids’ cartoon series. I mean it.” And I did. The material was a pinstriped rusty orange, like something Johnny Bravo might’ve had upholstered onto an ottoman in his attic bedroom—something you could easily imagine being heavily Marcia-stained and endlessly caressed by the goopy light of lava lamps and multicolored candles that had been thrust dripping into the wanting mouths of empty, wicker-sheathed muscatel bottles.
“Thanks,” he said, looking down at himself. “That’s the best thing about being in a band and moving to Los Angeles. I get to have my own tailor.”
“Well, the tapering is divine,” I said, resentfully, thinking about the shitty tapering job that my older brother always used to do on my pants before we had a show. It was always the same. Three hours before we hit the stage he would be hunched over our grandmother’s 40-year-old Singer, machine-gunning away at a brand new pair of jeans, guessing at the girth of my legs, his bobbin a whirling dervish of evaporating thread. Sometimes, according to the garment produced by his labor, he assumed that my left leg was footless and only as thick as a soda can. At other times he seemed to be operating under the misconception that irregularly pleated calves were precisely what getting laid in Philadelphia in the early ’90s was all about. “What’s the name of your band?” I asked Kulash.
He told me. He then asked me the name of my band. As it turned out, his tailor and my tailor didn’t know each other. Luckily, though, I guessed that there would always be heroes like Robert Scheer and assholes like George W. Bush around to inspire impossible meetings and to give complete strangers a reason to embrace each other’s company despite the mismatched fabric of a society so often separated by naked rage.
“Liberals can understand everything but people who don’t understand them.” — Lenny Bruce
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