What I Would Do If I Were Bret Easton Ellis

Surprisingly, I am not a big Bret Easton Ellis Fan. This is not to say that I don’t admire his writing, or the specific cultural sentiment of the Reagan era his novels encapsulate (excluding, of course, those that don’t — but they’re good, too!) — I just don’t necessarily remind myself when I walk into my neighborhood bookstore that, “I NEED A COPY OF GLAMORAMA FOR REASONS!” But despite a pleasant lassitude toward Ellis’ canon, I may or may not have the appearance of being a huge fan. I have read a number of his books: Less Than Zero, The Rules of Attraction, American Psycho, Lunar Park, and Imperial Bedrooms. In accordance to the books he has written, this renders my score of Ellisian well-readedness at around seventy-two percent. My percentage is entirely coincidental. Some of these novels were given to me as birthday or Hanukkah gifts (I actually have two copies of The Rules of Attraction – any takers?), and others were on display in the homes of friends while I was visiting from out of town, or extremely hung-over, or both, and seemed like a good idea at the time to read. So, in one form or another, I can perceivably consider myself familiar with the transgressive, deceptively laconic, fictive way of B.E.E. (I apologize for any obnoxious acronyms… now.)

This asseveration lead me to the undeserved conceit of imagining life as Ellis (“…after all, who am I compared to him?” says the Woody Allen sequitir in my head), and thus, to imagining what I would do if I were B.E.E. for a day. The following is what I concocted.

  1. Wake up at around noon to my alarm, which plays my deepest, darkest, guilty pleasure: “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha (the money sign in her atrociously-spelled name speaks to my upbringing and the spearhead of Reaganomics, after all). Sing along to the pop hit, substituting the line “Wakin’ up in the morning feeling like P.Diddy” with, “Wakin’ up in the morning feeling like B.E.E.” Proceed to interpret a number of lyrics as directives: grab my Ray-bans (for I will hit this city), brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack, drop-top to my favorite CDs (Huey Lewis and the News, Joy Division, that new band that is made up of half of the members from an old band I once pretended to like), note to self to kick dudes to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger, and so forth.
  2. Apply a clear facial mask to keep my skin intact, redolent of my years at an elite, (very) liberal Northeastern college, despite my roots in California. Wash off with a pricey, top-notch facial cleanser. Everything is minty-fresh.
  3. Push-ups.  So many push-ups.
  4. Call up my bro Jay McInerney, the other half of “The Toxic Twins;” argue that we should have formed a band. Proceed to speak to each other entirely in the second person, though we are, in actuality, referring to ourselves. End our amiable conversation with, “BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY, BITCHES!”
  5. Recall the time during my formative teenage years that I ran over a coyote with my red convertible. Moments of existentialism ensue.
  6. Look up clips from the movie version of Less Than Zero, but only those featuring Robert Downey, Jr. (Kiss my ass, Andrew McCarthy. Don’t get me started on Jami Gertz. James Spader, you’re okay.) Curse the compelling, dew-ridden nature of his brown puppy-dog eyes, and the similarity of his lips to the handsome statuary of Greek antiquity. Maniacally laugh when I remember that he starred in Gothika and The Shaggy Dog.
  7. Tweet to my thousands upon thousands of followers that, “Yeah… everything sucks.”
  8. Ponder if my next book should be a pseudo-memoir or a sequel to one of my early semi-autobiographical works. Maybe a screenplay — it worked for Michael Chabon.
  9. Venture out into the annals of the chic Manhattan neighborhood I reside in. Forego my ‘hood and trek to the restaurant Hubert’s. Realize it has been replaced by another restaurateur. Damn that bastard. Walk a few blocks to Le Cirque. Discover that the owners have switched locations. Damn those bastards. Repeat three times. Frustrated and flustered, walk to Au Bon Pain. At least they have free Wi-Fi.
  10. Prank call Tama Janowitz from the last working payphone in the Upper East Side. In a cool, pithy tone reminiscent of my writing style, I tell her that it was sad that she wasn’t an upper-middle class white male, or else she’d be wrangling the big bucks. I hang up.
  11. And now… drugs. So many drugs.
  12. Tweet this. TC mark
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Thought Catalog

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Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • Oliver Miller

    My friend had B.E.E.’s number on her phone.  We called him one night because we had a bottle of wine and no bottle-opener and we thought maybe he could tell us how to get it open, being experienced in the ways of drinking and drugging and such.  He couldn’t.  #coolstorybro

    • http://www.facebook.com/jesperdahl Jesper Dahl

      Push the cork in instead, and to minimize the effect on the wine pour it into a decanter or such.

      • Oliver Miller

         We pushed the cork in with a knife.  The wine semi-imploded, like it does, and spilled everywhere; we were hoping for a better way.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jesperdahl Jesper Dahl

        you have to do it slowly :)

    • http://kylelamar.com/ Kyle LaMar

      Shove the cork into the bottle with something skinny and blunt. LMGTFU.

    • Guestropod

      Bash the neck in against a wall.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Timberman/922794 Steven Timberman

    Got a great laugh at this story, especially love the “existentialism ensues” one liner. The best definition of B.E.E. I ever read was that “He doesn’t look like a writer. He looks like an actor playing a writer.” 

    Which pretty much sums up why I’d argue that Less Than Zero is one of the most BIG DAMN IMPORTANT books of the last few decades. The obsession with authenticity, with trying to derive meaning from artifice, with a deadened pleasure source – Ellis was writing more than a few years ahead of his time. 

  • Joshgondelman

    This is pretty terrific!

  • http://twitter.com/katsaysbark Kat Urice

    You forgot “Fuck hot 24-year-old house boy.”

    • JEReich

      Darn it, I knew I forgot one!  (But seriously, I should have put that one down.)

  • http://twitter.com/gavinjamesbower gavin james bower

    I’ll take a copy of Rules of Attraction. Wait – were you BEEing ironic? Or just ‘being’ ironic? Or neither?

    Um.

    • JEReich

      Just offering the book.  I have two copies of the Rules of Attraction, and I figured I might as well give one away.

      • http://twitter.com/gavinjamesbower gavin james bower

        How can we make this happen? I will of course send you a book I have two copies of: Ulysses. (Hang on – I didn’t consider the postage…)

      • JEReich

        Sure, I’m down to send!

  • http://nonegenuine.blogspot.com/ Scott

    whats the cigarette count by the end of this day?

  • http://www.nicholeexplainsitall.com EarthToNichole

    This is so post-empire.

  • Richer

    ACCURATE. Except he lives in Los Angeles. You also forgot “goes to movie screening to then tweet about in 5 parts.”

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