For years I’d heard that, in the privacy of their own mansions, our famous hosts — famous for creating and becoming popular mainstream entertainment products — were just as sleazy, arrogant and moronic as they‘d been depicted in popular mainstream newspapers owned by the same corporations that make their (and them) products. So when, within moments of my arrival, I observed them condescending into action — sociopathically pacifying as necessary to fuck anything remotely animate — my reaction was easily contained by a shrug and a sigh.
No so with Hector Schechner. Schechner’d been talking my ears off for 45 minutes straight. Entire left ear gone, right lobe beginning to sizzle. Schechner‘d spent the first 15 minutes spewing ersatz statistics, absurd mythological miscorrelations, misquotes from Einstein’s “Relativistic Theory of the Non-Symmetric Field,” Dylan‘s “All Along the Watchtower” and Steely Dan’s “Show Biz Kids”; for the last half-hour, he‘d been on a roll about arrogant famous morons this, arrogant famous morons that, and how the most arrogant and moronic tend to develop what he calls AFMFS, or Arrogant Famous Moronic Fuck Syndrome.
“And what, exactly, is Arrogant Famous Moronic Fuck Syndrome, Schechner?” I asked.
“Just eat their food,” said Schechner. “It makes them feel useful. Arrogant moronic fucks.”
(Perhaps you remember Schechner from the early ’90s, when he was a standup comedian best known for not being very funny and not knowing when to shut up.)
We followed a group of putains dorees out the back door and up the low, broad hill to the Olympic-size hot tub. “Stop your scribbling,” said Schechner, running full speed ahead. Calling back, “Come up here and watch the master of ceremonies.”
Moments later I arrived tubside to find Schechner, replete with shiny clip-on mustache and vaguely reptilian toupee, giggling with the billionaire boys and ripe young rent-a-babes, a-drinkin‘ and a-splashin’ in the tub. “You arrogant moronic fucks!” Schechner shouted, and everyone laughed.
Dawn approached. The house went on forever, filled with toys and games. One of the other not-famous guests — fellow by the name of Scooter, I believe — was identified as an important religious figure.
“You should talk with Scooter. He‘ll kick your ass,” said host one. “He’s powerful.”
“Those guys haven‘t met Scooter? Oh, man. You gotta talk with him. He’s been to Nepal. The dude‘s seriously powerful.”
We’d gathered in kitchen three, eight or 10 of us. Scooter‘d finished an hourlong sermon and excused himself to search for the hookah.
“Yeah, Scooter spent time in Nepal,” said host two, bringing his fingertips and thumbs together in a gesture halfway between prayer and vulva. “He climbed a mountain there. And now his mind’s powerful. He‘ll kick your ass.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Schechner balked. “Spiritual enlightenment’s only available in places where you can‘t drink the water . . . ” (Rim shot.)
But: “Nepal’s cool,” host one insisted. “Seriously, Schechner. You should go check it out. Talk with people. Climb a mountain. I bet it‘d help you figure out what you’re doing with your mustache-toupee thing.”
As the sun rose good and bright, I wandered around the plaza level drinking coffee, waiting for the Zoloft to kick in, trying out different pieces of furniture. Tried to organize the night‘s events. Wondered how I’d fare on Schechner‘s AFMFS charts, if ever I became a rich and famous product. Was Schechner reasonable? Or right? About anything? Fashioned my fingers into the powerful vulva-prayer hand formation and waited for the power . . .
Around the corner and into the atrium: There, freshly abandoned at the bottom of a spiral staircase, fingertips touching just so, Reverend Scooter sat sadly as a pale, apparently angry red-haired woman stormed out and slammed the door behind her.
“Arrogant fucking moron!” she yelled back through the door.
I didn’t know whether to sneak out quietly or clear my throat to let the reverend know he wasn‘t alone. Before I could decide, he turned to me and, lifting the mystical construct contained in the nothing between his fingertips, explained the situation:
“It’s all right,” said Reverend Scooter. “I forgive you.”
Drinking Water, Sanitation and Health Education in Rural Nepal
Buddhist Hand Gestures (www.tibet.comBuddhismhands.html)
Gamma Epsilon Chapter of Beta Theta Pi (www.ksu.edubetarush.htm)