The Seinfeld Chronicles

When the Seinfeld sitcom first aired I became hooked. Back in the early 1990’s I remember going to work and talking around the water cooler about the latest episode. Being master of your domain took on a whole other meaning. My television watching changed when I started dating Rene’. We were a movie family but they were a TV family. He liked evening Drama’s but anything over half an hour was too much for me. I get bored easily. Commercials are my nemesis. When one comes on I get antsy and leave the room. Maybe for a snack, fold some laundry, sort the mail. Eventually an hour has passed and I realize I missed the show. I would go to bed wondering how it ended. In a movie theatre I am not only trapped, there are no commercials. I am able to stay somewhat focussed.

I was raised on movies. Saturday matinee’s. I saw Gone With The Wind when I was 5 years old. That is a four hour movie with an intermission. It was only natural our children were raised on movies. Friday night at the movie rental store was a treat, then off to the grocery store for snacks. John Hughes was a hit with our kids. Recently while spending time with my niece, it was revealed she had never heard of him. We were all very sad for her and it was decided we would have to have a movie night to educate her on movies of the eighties. Christmas isn’t Christmas without National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. 27 times. We start watching it in November. Even if we aren’t all together, we all watch it. And then we text about it. One year on Groundhog Day, a local station played the movie Groundhog Day over and over and over. The family texts were flying as the humour was not lost on us all. Dinner time was always interesting as often innocent comments, would set off an entire movie scene dialogue. As adults, my children often throw movie lines into everyday conversation. Just to see who gets it.

Rene’ also likes award shows. I just can’t do it. Again, bored. He loves the comedy from the hosts as well as the presenters. I will come into the room if there is a musical presentation from an Artist I like but that’s about it. Rene did get me hooked on violent, car chase, blow stuff up movies. I love Bruce Willis, Arnold, Mel. We don’t favour the love story type movies usually. I am a fan of anything violent or funny. Mix the two and I love it. Romancing the stone is a love story and yet it is a long time favourite. It has all of my loves. The hero is a writer. Odd and quirky and living in New York. I want to be a writer living in New York. There is adventure as she gets lost in South America. I’ve been lost in a foreign country. (Maybe a blog on Amsterdam circa 1979) There are guns and drug dealers and treasure. A reference to the Doobie Brothers. All favourites. What is not to love. In the end a love story. Dancing with my sweetie in a courtyard in Mexico to the music of street musicians, I felt I was in that movie. When it comes to television though I am a sit com junky. At the end of the day only some survived to the home collection phase of my life.

As my son grew older, he discovered Seinfeld. Eventually we owned the entire collection as it was an easy gift to buy him. I find I watch re-runs almost every day. That has to be some sort of an illness. There is something about the writing and the overall pointlessness to it all. Touching on ideas of the day in an outlandish but also almost wholesome way. Masturbation, birth control, homosexuality and even murder. These are some pretty heavy concepts. Aside from that an entire episode is dedicated to waiting for a table in a restaurant, or meeting friends for a movie. Being lost in a mall parkade. It is touted as a show about nothing. It truly is a show about nothing. There is even a sequence of episodes dedicated to creating a show about nothing for NBC. The subtle ironies and subtext mixed with humour never fails to entertain no matter how often I have seen an episode. I had tickets for the play “Waiting for Godot” and asked my son if he wanted to come with me. It isn’t Rene’s sort of thing. When Sam asked what it was about I told him it was the ultimate play about nothing. He loved it.

The show was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld. Their humour and creativity completely astound me but it wasn’t until I watched the show “Curb Your Enthusiasm” that I truly appreciated Larry David. After leaving Seinfeld he created the “Curb” series in which he plays himself after the success of Seinfeld. Again the show is about nothing but highlights events in his life which everyone but Larry David would deal with in a boring uneventful way. His inability to just let things go is what creates awkward story lines episode after episode. Some people play themselves as they come into contact with Larry in his everyday world and other actors play roles. Although he initially wrote and created the first few years, much of the dialogue is ad-libbed as the characters go through the scenes. Larry is shown as a socially awkward guy who is often like a dog with a bone in his need to reach satisfactory conclusions or prove he is right. It verges very closely to that uncomfortable line we have all felt at some time in our life when placed in awkward circumstances. Whether we are the instigator or innocent bystander there is always a part of us who wants to slink away and hide under a table. Throughout his show it is obvious a part of Larry wishes to be that guy. Walk away. Let it go. And then… he just can’t do it. Larry upsets the apple cart almost always. The funny thing is in almost every instance I completely understand his point of view.

I remember turning to Sam one day and saying I wanted to be Larry David. More to the point I admire his take on the world and his reaction to what life throws his way. We are all raised with a certain healthy respect for the rules of polite society. My inability to filter between my brain and my mouth has certainly caused me a few issues. I often don’t realize how far I have gone until I feel, rather than see or hear the reaction of someone I am speaking with. There is a subtle change in the air. I can’t describe it but I know when it happens. What goes through my mind at the time is usually a jumble of thoughts as I struggle with the replay of the scene in my mind. This takes a millisecond as I seem to be someone who relies heavily on the subconscious mind as I read the clues. Rene’ on the other hand over rides his subconscious all the time as he weighs pro’s and cons and eventually choses what is acceptable. There is a yin and yang in our relationship for sure. I am a chatterbox due to the ADD brain. I can’t get the thoughts out fast enough. This is mainly where I offend people. When I think about it though, whether I verbalize my thoughts or not it is my viewpoint that offends. After the last provincial election I had neighbours on my street comment on the NDP sign on my front lawn. These people almost whispering were happy to see it. They were closet supporters. Unfortunately they are too afraid of the backlash to show their support in an outward manner. The people on the street who do not share my political views were silent on my sign. Probably in large part because I will argue to the death and that upsets people. I also have a history of walking away from people I don’t feel add value to the calmness of my life. I love to argue and debate. If your go to argument in any way suggests I am stupid or confused, I will destroy you. Debating political or religious or any other emotion charged ideology can be fun, entertaining and ultimately enlightening. I have found that those who are least prepared for the debate will eventually become frustrated and resort to name calling. I don’t care what side of the fence you are on. Don’t call me stupid. Larry David stands by his views. He questions things. He debates it sometimes in his small group and often just within himself. Then he goes against society and speaks out. Trivial or important. The subject matter means nothing.

When we were younger, I would often complain to Rene’ that people never questioned him but the world thinks I am a ditzy moron. He is taken seriously whereas I am often dismissed in my passion for the subject matter. He would always tell me that is because it is all in the delivery. Which is true. Rene’ is very quiet. He tends to keep his opinions to himself and never puts himself in situations which can get volatile or erupt into pure nastiness. So when he does speak people take him seriously because he truly is likeable and comes across as wise. He is also what I refer to as a fence sitter. Rene’ has a certain way of speaking that through the years I have labelled as non-committal. If I ask what he thinks he will reply “I don’t know.” I am not asking if he knows, I am asking, given the information at hand, what his opinion is regarding a particular topic. It is very hard for him to take a side. He is the very epitome of a devils advocate. He points out the other side of an argument without taking ownership. He won’t even commit to the words yes and no. He uses words like maybe, could be, sure, probably, don’t know. Very frustrating. It is only when pushed, in private that he will completely open up on any given idea. Usually he is trying to expand my view even when we agree on something.

On the other hand I not only blather on sometimes in a boring nonsensical fashion, I often say the very wrong thing in situations. I am very reactive. My reactivity escalates as the subject matter intensifies. Someone once told me riding a motorbike was stupid and injuries from accidents put undue pressure on the medical system. I responded that it was the helmet laws that create those situations. If I crash going 120 km/hour while wearing a helmet I may survive but it won’t be pretty. Without a helmet chances are I will die. Societies need to save me from stupidity is the problem. That being said, I would wear a helmet whether there were laws or not. You see? I offended that person. Now lets look at it from a Larry David perspective. The initial statement about riding motorbikes was made by someone who knew I rode a motorbike. Now polite society would say they have a right to their opinion and I over react with emotion sometimes. Perhaps that is true. Yep It is true. No perhaps about it. No one likes to be criticized. Yet in the Larry David world my response is perfectly adequate.

Rene’ thinks I have no remorse which is quite a strong statement for someone who likes to fence sit. There have been times in our life when I have been criticized or my ideas were ridiculed. Sometimes I go a little too far though often I use the same argument and throw it back. While I was pregnant my brother in law joked repeatedly about my choice of a middle name should we have a son. Finally I made fun of his middle name. He was offended as he was named after his uncle. Rene’ wasn’t happy with me. More for my attack. The name I chose was my fathers middle name, all of my brothers middle name, and most of my nephews middle name. The point was lost on them both. Did I feel bad? No. I was pissed off. He is correct though I do often react poorly and I hardly ever feel bad. I am the person who points out to line cutters where the back of the line starts. I am the person who doesn’t laugh nervously at racial jokes. My polite face is one of disgust and I turn away. My go to response is often sarcastic and mean. And yes there is no remorse. When Canadian politics come up and someone says how great it will be to get rid of the liberals I respond that I voted for the liberals. In that respect I feel people should understand not everyone shares their views. Plus if I say something early on, the conversation might not go down a path I find uncomfortable. I was once at an outing with friends and due to a sign on a bathroom door there were many laughing comments about transgender people. I hesitated briefly and then Larry David took over. I said that before the evening progressed I felt I needed to explain that I have a great niece who is now my great nephew. There was some discomfort and an awkward silence but the comments stopped and we all knew where we stood I know these people don’t share my views and ideas in so many ways and how they feel about me after the fact is not important. Awkward or not I have to make sure I don’t compromise my values or integrity. Someone I love very much once said our word is all we have. No one can take it away. We can throw our integrity out the window with one meaningless act. Rene’ can be so smart…

I guess Larry David taught me something important in a funny way. Just because society has a certain social construct doesn’t mean you have to keep trying to stuff your actions in to that box. I am not now nor have I ever been, leadership material. I am too lazy and self absorbed for that. Yet I will never be a follower just because. Life is awkward and trying to fit in to the 85% looks like more trouble than choosing the Larry David way. I believe he is part of the 15% club. That is where I belong. That is the club I am in. Its nice to fit somewhere. I must admit when I meet someone quoting Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm, it warms my heart. Here is a kindred spirit I think to myself. It seems funny that it took a sitcom to teach me so much about myself. Larry David? Now that guy is a writer!

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