Archive for the ‘The Confessions’ Category

“Worlds are colliding!”
November 2, 2010

A striking confession to those around you when who you are (e.g., the job you work in) and who you want to be (e.g., the band you play in) suddenly attempt to occupy the same space…and you’re a little spaced out.

When “Relationship George,” the lovey-dovey life he lived with fiancée Susan Ross, unexpectedly met “Independent George,” the hang-out life he lived among friends Kramer, Jerry, and Elaine–it was like two cars passing too closely going in opposite directions. Some good eventually came of it–Susan independently retreated from George’s independent world–but at the moment of the collision it was sparks flying…a sound heard in every syllable of George’s reaction at the scene.

For most of us, who we are and who we want to be are so different that we live a double life. If we could just merge the two–the band becomes the job–that would be the best. Instead, the worlds remain separate, and we try to make the best of both.

The rub comes in the inevitable collision between the two worlds. And it is inevitable. Even the most well-funded, superbly-directed double life is bound to run into itself, as Schwarzenegger illustrated in True Lies. The question is what you do when you see your lives crash before your eyes.

And here, thanks to George, is what you do–taking his cry not as existential (Why me?!) but triumphal (Why, yes!) as you anticipate some good to come.

From “The Pool Guy”
Episode 8, Season 7
Seinfeld Volume 6, Disc 2
Timecode for the scene: 11:12 (for more on the “worlds colliding” theory, see 2:28 for Kramer’s original explanation, 5:15 for Jerry’s and George’s explanations, and 11:24 for George’s explosive summary)

Dedicated to TI

“…there’s not enough voltage in this world to electroshock me back into coherence!”
September 6, 2010

A rare confession for those times when circumstances leave you speechless–and you’d like the same to happen to anyone who asks you about it.

George’s parents, Frank and Estelle, had argued themselves into a seemingly irreconcilable difference of opinion and separated. Discussing her newfound singlehood with George over coffee, Estelle talked of getting an eye job because she was now “out there.” She was out there alright, came George’s reply in so many words: out of her mind. And if she didn’t get back into it, well…

None of us lives in some emotionally-impervious bubble, keeping to ourselves within it and others outside of it. If we fashion a “bubble” of time and space, the unexpected soon occurs and emotions strike—lighting us up like one of those see-through orbs with the lightning-y bolts. The effect is no mere salty discharge from the eyes, but a stunned state of mind from electrical charges in the heart. You can’t talk about it, except maybe to zap a line like this—introducing it either conditionally (“If I lose my job…”) or declaratively (“And now that I’ve lost my job…”).

An “Oh, let me guess…” right into someone else’s delicate situation works as well. The stark image of this line—and your determination to stick it to them—should be enough to pop their bubble.

From “The Fusilli Jerry”
Episode 21, Season 6
Seinfeld Volume 5, Disc 4
Timecode for the scene: 1:47

“I’m an old man. I’m confused!”
August 27, 2010

A proud confession–for young and old alike–for those times when you do something wrong and, at that moment, “I screwed up!” doesn’t sound as compelling as “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

Jerry’s Uncle Leo swiped a few books at a bookstore and Jerry happened to see him do it. When Jerry alerted the store security, who promptly swarmed, Uncle Leo promptly requested the “senior citizen discount.”

We grow old to find some of the latitude we had when we were young–latitude for forgetfulness, for miscommunication, for errors in judgment. Even for wrongdoing: the spray paint on high school property because you’re “just goofing off” becomes your backing into a bad driver in a parking lot because you’re older and have more insurance. In these two periods of life we get a break, some slack–because we’ll get it eventually, the straightening up and flying right.

Problem is, all the times of our life in between being old and being young could use some of that slack too.

So a toast…to Uncle Leo: not for the petit larceny he thought he could get away with, but for the uplifting remark we’re happy to make off with.

From “The Bookstore”
Episode 17, Season 9
Seinfeld Volume 8, Disc 3
Timecode for the scene: 10:43

“Up here…I’m already gone.”
August 5, 2010

A delightful confession for those stressful times when you drift, those closest to you ask “Where are you, exactly?” and so you tell them: nowhere near them.

Bitten by the acting bug after a failed stint in a Woody Allen movie, Kramer decided to move to the L.A.nd of opportunity on the West Coast. When he confided in George about the plan, George doubted aloud: “You’re not really gonna go to California, are you?” Leaning in close, Kramer showed him the x that marked the spot.

An upcoming vacation, Friday night lights, or that car-battery-sized block of cheese you can’t wait to nosh–whatever x marks your hoped-for spot, you’ll leave your listener in uncharted territory about it if the right body language doesn’t accompany the line. Point to your head as you say the words Up here, then at the words I’m already gone shimmy that hand toward the horizon.

Now freeze that mental image and Photoshop yourself into a better background: sun-struck sand beneath your feet, for example, a Corona in the other hand, and nothing in the world to distract you. You could see a beached whale with something in its blowhole and you couldn’t care less (let someone else call for a marine biologist) because you’re just…there.

With that postcard in mind, plus Kramer’s line, to keep you from the edge, you’ll always be going somewhere. Just don’t forget Kramer’s moves and their timing to the line: there’s a reason it begins with elevating that one hand to your head as if gesticulating “I’ve had it up to here….”

From “The Keys”
Episode 22, Season 3
Seinfeld Volume 2, Disc 4
Timecode for the scene: 8:35

“When they pull that needle out, I let the ex-ple-tives fly.”
August 2, 2010

A colorful confession to share with those who know you to talk like a saint (but there’s a sailor in you too).

Jawline sagging from a little novocaine hangover, Kramer met Jerry and George at the gym after a visit to the dentist. When Jerry brought up their dentist’s new “adults only” policy, Kramer lauded his freedom to let his language go. “You find the need to use a lot of obscenities at the dentist’s?” Jerry asked. 

Life tees up many opportunities to tee off with a lot of obscenities. Yet we watch our mouths most of the time because, while we may think in phrases reminiscent of an R-rated Martin Scorsese movie, we must talk more like a PG-rated Steve Martin flick. Because that shows maturity, courtesy…all that crap. The problem with that dichotomy is, censoring yourself is sometimes a real pain in the *ss.

Catharsis is here, thanks to 1) studies showing that profanity enables people to better deal with pain, and 2) the ease of making Kramer’s confession yours, as you adapt it to any curse-worthy situation (paying the bills, etc.).

Don’t forget to pronounce each syllable of the key word (“ex-ple-tives”). It’s not a flourish–it’s a must. You’re telling those around you that, not only will you not bleep yourself, you’ll frickin’ spell it out for them too if need be.

From “The Jimmy”
Episode 19, Season 6
Seinfeld Volume 5, Disc 4
Timecode for the scene: 9:40

“Please, a little respect…for I am Costanza, Lord of the Idiots.”
July 8, 2010

A confident confession to make when you blunder so colossally that what you really want to say of yourself, as George once did, is “People this stupid shouldn’t be allowed to live.”

George wore a wedding ring to cultivate the interest of any single woman who came near him at a party. What he reaped for it was the disinterest of every woman around him—a pathetic harvest he recounted to Jerry, leading to this line (and a melodramatic bite into a potato chip, like an actor bum-rushing the after-party hors d’oeuvres after Oscar passed him by).

George didn’t say this to just anybody; he said it to Jerry—a match of comment to audience worth remembering here. Only your friends would care to hear you make this kind of pithy-ful observation about yourself. If they are decent friends, they will listen quietly while you wallow momentarily. If they are the best kind of friend though, they will laugh.

From “The Apartment”
Episode 8, Season 2
Seinfeld Volume 1, Disc 3
Timecode for the scene: 19:10

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