Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Elijah Wood in plaid

I happened to walk past the IFC Center on Friday, and I saw a poster for the new Elijah Wood movie "Maniac," with a little sign on it saying that he would be at the 9:20 p.m. shows that day and the next. I immediately posted to Facebook asking if anyone wanted to accompany me to the Friday night showing. Mary said she would, if only to prevent a restraining order against me. She knows me too well.

I remember working at Lehman Brothers in San Francisco in 1997, in those heady days when I first discovered the Internet. I don't recall liking Elijah Wood at that point, but I do remember for some reason ending up on a ... ahem ... "fan site" for him run by apparent pedophiles, with the tag line "Would Elijah?"Reading those words, something awoke in me that I have been trying desperately to put to sleep ever since.

"Maniac" almost did it. Many people in the literary world whom I respect deeply otherwise have been scaring me of late with their Facebook posts advocating the censorship of supposed "violent" speech against women ... speech that merely appears jerky to me. The Vice magazine fashion of suicide spread, for example, or the human turd crowd-sourcing his overly fratboy-ish pick-up manual on Kickstarter. But as I watched the women in "Maniac" get stabbed, scalped, and drowned, I found myself thinking: Was Elissa Schappell right all along? Was Ed Champion?

But then Elijah Wood came out for the q&a and my own feminist beliefs flew out the window. I joined the mob afterwards for a picture with Elijah. He took many, many of these pictures. And eventually, patiently, I found myself at the front of the line, standing right next to him. I had lost the power of speech. Was my crush on Elijah Wood not really "ironic?" Was it for reals? How did I appear, a middle-aged gay man waiting for a picture with some little closeted boy from Hollywood? Why was I always alone in these situations, when I could have used a friend to tap Elijah on the shoulder and ask him to turn around and acknowledge me? (Mary had failed to materialize). Why did I find his sarcasm during the q&a so off-putting? Is there a difference between his sarcasm and my irony, the veil through which I view the world? Why did he choose to wear plaid, with a little white sling-like attachment, suggesting a recent injury? Should I offer to soothe his wound? All these questions and more plagued me as I stood next to him. Finally, there was just me in the lobby, with maybe two other photo-seekers. At that point, Elijah Wood just turned around, walked away and got into a black SUV.

In my prime, when I used to stalk celebrities for pleasure, I might have run after the SUV, even if it went over the Brooklyn Bridge. But my exercise obsession has literally hobbled me, and I had to limp away from the IFC, trying to keep my head held high. Such dark thoughts filled my head that evening, but I will spare you.

The next morning, I decided to purchase a ticket for that night's q&a, to get a second shot at a picture with Elijah. But when I arrived at the IFC, as the movie was just about to end, I was informed that Elijah Wood had chosen that evening to introduce the film, rather than do a q&a afterwards. He thwarted me somehow! He was long gone ... as was my dignity.

I won't spare you my thoughts this time. I thought: why has God cursed me so, to fill me with such desires my whole life long, but appease none of them? Once, when I was complaining to my sponsor in AA that no sober people ever called me back, he replied, "Maybe you're not the type of person that people call back." Is that why my life is filled with such frustration? Am I expected to feel all this desire but have no release other than through song, through the written word, through my outfit choices, through my crazy thoughts? If that's true, I would hope that my output would be better-received. Lauded, almost.

Get on it, life!