Freudian Slips: August 2009

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

August 30, 2009

Beasts of Burden

I stood at the copy machine multiplying duplicates of her dysfunctional upbringing on super white paper. This churnng background history would be for the psychiatrist I arranged for her to see.
Her birth was without complication and her parents took her home to their cattle ranch in lonesome Nevada. By the time she was seven years old her biological father was vaginally raping her with atrocious regularity. Her own mother conspired in the silence of denial and cover-up. Nobody lived in earshot to hear her cries. By the time she was a pre-pubescent eleven year old, her body had been sold to many of her father’s so called friends in what she referred to as sleepovers.
She had been sexually abused so many times that when I got her on my caseload as a disturbed adult, this mildly mentally retarded woman still suffering from the sexual shockwaves of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, tried to put her childhood into words that a social worker might understand.
“Growing up, the moo cows were at least slaughtered. I have to live with this pain.”
My moist eyes twittered at the notion. I fought to catch my client’s name off the top of each document that I copied. The name that I read coming off the clanking turnstiles of the copier appeared like a children’s picture book hand-flipped.
What I read literally sickened my stomach because I had never made the absurd connection before. You see, when it was time to give the hospital of her birth an official name, the parents decided on Promise. While everyone hopes his or her child turns out right, these parents gave their daughter promise in name only and they took like beasts almost everything else.


August 25, 2009

Fire...Come and Get It

The 9-volt battery that recently died in my smoke detector triggered a repressed social work memory.
A long time ago in a rural area of Salem County, New Jersey lived a hard-of-hearing uneducated elderly caretaker and a mildly retarded deaf mute named Little Jeanie. Upon completing an inspection of this quaint and tidy 1950’s built home, I found the caretaker to be almost as limited as the client. If not for the communication deficits of my client, Little Jeanie might be mistaken for Head of Household.
Long before I purchased smoke detectors with a red strobe visual alarm, I questioned their procedure for conducting mandatory fire drills on a monthly basis.
The elderly caretaker, who would die of cancer two years later, expected my question so much that she admitted to formulating a prepared statement for me ahead of my initial arrival.
“I know what you’re gonna say. Little Jeanie can’t hear no smoke detector signal on account of her deafness. What do you think I do? I do the only natural thing left to do. I turn on the oven.” She pointed. “When I open that oven door, bake or broil, Little Jeanie runs for the hills. We got it all worked out.”
“Humm…well that must create another problem when you cook dinner. I’m going to look into assistive device technology for the hearing impaired but in the meantime Little Jeanie has got to be confused big time.”
She agreed, “You got a point. Sometimes I find her standing out by the country road waiting to come in after I put a pot roast in the oven.”


August 20, 2009

The Spice of Autumn

An unempirical definition of mental retardation is the inability to pick up on social clues that form the basis of and thereby bridge learning experiences.

Outside the looking glass of our meeting room one October day in 1999, a gentle breeze carried the first wave of crisp falling autumn leaves across the chilly sky. For some reason, their fall to Earth reminded me of the feather floating down in the opening scene of the movie Forrest Gump. I looked over at my mildly mentally retarded client who was still dressed as if it were rabid summer. She sat anxiously waiting for others to lead the meeting.

I invited her gaze out the window. “Charmine, look at those leaves falling.”

Not knowing where I was headed with the leading conversation, an esteemed co-worker commented with a frown. “The summer is over. It’s definitely autumn.”

In an attempt to better understand Charmine's wardrobe selection, I asked my client her favorite season.

Charmine raised and pointed a finger at me. “That’s an easy one, Mr. Joe. Give me a harder question next time. My favorite season is paprika.”
During the same meeting, I learned that Charmine suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder. That's when I felt like I needed a spice rack to further discussion.


August 16, 2009

The Lovely Bones In Deed and Misdeed

In December 11, 2007, I stood dumbfounded in a drab convenience store in Holmes, Pennsylvania staring at the front page of The Daily News. The innocent headshot of a murdered teenage girl headlined the cover. Its starkness struck me as profoundly odd. Ebony Dorsey’s magnetic smile seemed to jump off the pages at me like a haunting poster child to the violent society in which we live. It also spoke to me in an unexpected way because I was en route to work as an actor on the production of The Lovely Bones.
An elderly black woman grabbed a copy from the newsstand and literally shook its pages trying to make sense out of it all. “You can never be too cautious. You just never know from one minute to the next!”
The stranger’s words rang true. Flipping through my own copy now for somewhat different reasons, I turned to the interior pages to check the victim’s age. Ebony Dorsey was a spry fourteen years old when she was tragically murdered by someone she knew. That meant Ebony was the same age as Susie Salmon, the girl snuffed out by a serial killer who lived as her bone-chilling next-door neighbor in The Lovely Bones.
Like a portable tomb, I took my all too real newspaper hardcopy with me in my travels. Not one mile down the road, I walked on to the make-believe set of The Lovely Bones, a mall refurbished and time date stamped as a 1973 movie backdrop. I heard light-footed heel clicks. The young bubbly starlet actress Saoirse Ronan walked by me in white hose around tall boots below an outdated tight purple skirt.
Indeed, Susie Salmon was alive and well but you just never know from one minute to the next. The Lovely Bones will be released on...December 11, 2009.

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August 10, 2009

Deadliest Catchy TV Show

I have never owned a boat.

I have never been deep-sea fishing.

I am disinterested in the subject matter.

With those disclaimers being said, the television show Deadliest Catch has such superb camera lines and top shelf post-production work by way of editing and sound mixing...well it caught me too. I now watch this show whenever I can. It is no wonder this show won an Emmy hook, line and sinker.

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August 06, 2009

A Showcase for Sportswomanship

"Sportsmanship, next to the church,
is the greatest teacher of morals."
-Herbert Hoover
Sportmanship can be defined in many intangible ways but this video may be the purest display of it on film. It won a 2008 ESPY Award for Sportsmanship although I dare say that it seems a misnomer to interject the word "man" in the middle of the word sportsmanship if one of its greatest examples does not involve a single man but two teams compromising females.
This sports moment is about teamwork but not in the known sense of the clanish word. It is about two teams suspending competition against each other to come together at a single pivitol moment on a baseball diamond where exalted compassion conquers to blur the lines between winners and losers. Although the play ended a season and a player's career, the thrill of victory got erased by the agony of injury until the opposition decided that the outcome of the game itself mattered secondary.
Without further adieu, I take you to women's collegiete softball where the losing team eliminated itself from the playoffs by carrying out an uncommon act. After Sara Tucholsky of Western Oregon hits her first career homerun, she tears a ligament in her right leg rounding first base. She is unable to move on her own accord to finish her requisite homerun trot around the bases. If her teammates come to her aid and merely touch her she will be declared out by umpire rules. If a pinchrunner is used, the scorekeeper records the three-run homer as a two-run single. Members of Central Washington, the opposing team, swiftly decide to carry Sara around the bases touching each bag with the non-injured leg thereby completing the homerun.
While this may not be the fastest two minutes in sports, the timeout here from the mechanistic avarice of sports is so refreshing that it celebrates the human spirit with punch-drunk tears and ovation.

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