Five Dudes I Don’t Want To Become

I spend a lot of my time in Los Angeles daydreaming about the kind of person I don’t want to become. I exhaust a lot of mental energy cataloguing traits I see in people I don’t like and filing them away in a mental folder labeled “No.” If that sounds like a particularly negative or nasty practice, it probably is. I know I should be thinking positively and finding inspiration from the people I admire, but I guess my brain doesn’t really work that way. I don’t consider myself a negative person, but I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t acknowledge that there’s a hysterical paranoia somewhere inside me that’s telling me that if I’m not careful, I’m going to absorb via osmosis the worst parts of the people who inhabit this ridiculous, horrific, wonderful city. Here are five kinds of men I’ve met in my seven plus years in Los Angeles who I hope I never accidentally become.

Cocaine Blaine. I see this guy about twice a month. His jeans look like they came from Marshalls, Loehmann’s, TJ Maxx, or Ross Dress For Less. There is a minimum of one dragon on his clothing at all times. He’s between 42 and 51, has other single male friends that will hit the bars with him any day of the week, and he prefers to roll 2-3 deep. He loves drugs and can afford them, not because he worked very hard in his chosen field, but rather because his parents died and he collected their life insurance policies and lives in their house. He has a very sweaty face and doesn’t know why it’s funny to order a Vodka and Red Bull. See also: hair plugs and/or jet black hair dye, 19 year old girlfriends, claiming to be friends with celebrities like David Spade -or- actually being David Spade.

Josh Of All Trades. This guy has held every job imaginable in Los Angeles: dog walker, a server, a bouncer, hot yoga teacher, and then potential owner a vegan food truck at one point. What unites all of these positions is the fact that he was never really good at any of them. But that doesn’t really matter, because they’re all in service of a greater goal, which can also shift at any given moment. Sometimes it’s becoming screenwriter, or an agent, or a lawyer, or— let’s face it, it’s usually a screenwriter. Even if he’s had any success, it has long since faded, and he has burned all available bridges. All roads lead to Wednesdaynight karaoke, yelling at anyone who will listen about the new project he’s starting that you’d should help him with, and also can he borrow $1000?

Bitter Bro. This guy wanted something and never got it. What was it? Whatever it was, he spent years doing it while watching the people he knew get more and more successful around him. Most stories devolve into tales of an opportunity that almost happened, were it not for insert-name-of-someone-more-successful-you-might-recognize-here, who is actually not the nice guy people say he is because of that thing that happened in Aspen in 1996. You can find him sweatily wandering around a party at 3:30 AM, looking around for much younger girls who might be able to give him a ride home, usually to a friend’s couch, but if they want to come in, it pulls out into a bed.

Two Assistant Tony. This dude works hard and came from humble beginnings, although at some point he became so busy and “big” that he needed someone to answer his phones. Oh, also he needed more than one phone at some point. After that, he lost the ability to get his own groceries, so he got someone else to do that. Now he has two assistants and sometimes he yells at them. If a messenger bypasses both of them and tries to get them to sign for something, he’ll throw his pen. Two Assistant Tony has a luxurious pen collection, and he’s not afraid to throw them at you if you’re delivering something to him. Avoid eye contact at all costs.

Me In Twenty Years. How many times have you seen an old dude with a young haircut and a schlubby face working next to you at a coffee shop? He’s wearing pretty cool sneakers and a hoodie, but his jeans have gotten a little more relaxed along with his waistline. He’s looking at Facebook, but every now and then he’ll fire up Final Draft and peck away at a line or two of his script. It’s probably kind of autobiographical, about a neurotic but charming dude who can’t really get it together and maybe there’s a girl or something. At a certain point, he was going to play this character himself, but this is probably the first year that he suspects he might have aged out of it. He’s been freelancing for a while, and he’s got a pretty cool studio apartment. He doesn’t hike or exercise as much as he likes, and he almost got married when he was forty three, but then he didn’t. He’s still trying to stop drinking soda, but Coca-Cola just tastes so good with a cheeseburger. He had to borrow money from his younger brother once, and he still can’t pay him back. It’s cool though, they’ve got an understanding. He’s good for it. Right after his pilot sells. TC Mark

image – Shutterstock

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