“Because I was goood.”
July 30, 2010

A smiling comeback–or observation, if you like–to use on those so dumbfounded by your talented performance, you can’t help but draw even more attention to it.

Jerry thought he knew one particular thing about Elaine from their dating times of yesteryears. At one admission from Elaine, however–in a conversation with Jerry and George about that “thing”–Jerry realized that all he’d known was jack. “How could a guy not know that?” was Jerry’s unwitting introduction to Elaine’s revelation. 

Waiting for the How could _____? from, say, a co-worker is fine, if being pulled onstage at a concert is analogous to how you like your opportunity to brag. If, however, you prefer your own show–the constant touring, the waiting crowds, the “ooo”-“ahh” pyrotechnics–then set the stage by putting up your own rhetorical question: You know why I _____?

The wide-eyed smile on your face when you play the funky muuusic of this line should make your audience fear that you’re about to start dancing too.

From “The Mango”
Episode 1, Season 5
Seinfeld Volume 4, Disc 1
Timecode for the scene: 3:05

“What is this salty discharge?”
July 29, 2010

A befuddled observation to make when life forces are compelling you to be an Emoticon–but you will remain a Vulcan.

Jerry’s girlfriend goaded him to get really mad, because she hadn’t seen Jerry show such emotion. When Jerry finally did—ranting something about having had enough flan—Jerry’s girlfriend decided she’d had enough. She departed, and Jerry started wiping his eyes. “Oh my God, you’re crying,” Elaine chimed in. “This is horrible,” Jerry replied–and discovered the context for this phenomenon: “I care.”

You may be otherworldly in your ability to hide your feelings, but even you, like Jerry, have to keep a thing or two in that glass-faced box marked “Break in Case of Emotion”–just like the rest of humankind. That bumper sticker on your vehicle that says People say I don’t care…but I don’t care is no better than the polish on that vehicle: it’s rubbish, ultimately, in the face of time and circumstance. So when those teary moments come up, rare as they may be, reach for this observation.

The sterile wording will override whatever your tears are communicating, leaving those around you with this context: OMG…he doesn’t care!

From “The Serenity Now”
Episode 3, Season 9
Seinfeld Volume 8, Disc 1
Timecode for the scene: 11:05

“I must be at the nexus of the universe.”
July 28, 2010

An awestruck observation for those times when you don’t know where you are, but you’re not lost. Nooo. Because that’s not how you see it.

Kramer ventured beyond his little world in New York City to maintain his “long-distance relationship” with a girlfriend who lived downtown. Eventually losing his way, he called Jerry, who told him to look for a street sign. And there it was: 1st and 1st. His epiphany at the sight sounded less like he’d found his place and more like he’d found spacethe final frontier.

Watching the voyage of the Starship Kramerica Enterprise from I’m walkin’ here! to I need a little help here! should bring an encouraging signpost into view: we’ve all been here. It’s what you do when you get there, though–that makes all the difference. You might resign yourself to being lost and ask for help. Or you might say “Get lost” to those who tell you to ask for help.

But if you really want to get your bearings–and keep them–look at all the world around you as your little world. By taking such a Kosmo-politan view, you’ll never be lost because you’re always at the center of things…always seeing signs, not stars. Your every wrong turn will be a revelation; every misstep a chance to map that site and move on.

From “The Maid”
Episode 19, Season 9
Seinfeld Volume 8, Disc 4
Timecode for the scene: 18:05

“And the heat—my God, the heat!”
July 27, 2010

An upbeat observation to make when someone makes you feel like it’s the end of your world as you know it…but no, you feel fine.

When Elaine confronted boyfriend David Puddy about his religiosity, he waved it in her face like a giant foam finger that said “John 3:16” and “We’re #1!” Taking a line from Puddy’s canon (“Don’t boss me! This is why you’re going to hell”), Elaine went finger-for-a-finger and poked him right back: “You should care that I’m going to hell even though I am not.” She even finger-painted a picture of how rough it was going to be (devils, ragged clothing, etc.)…just to be sure her enlightened man saw her light.

Use Elaine’s frantically silly comment when the heat is on—from the abyss of your job, the purgatory of a relationship, the living hell of that family reunion, etc.—and you will paint this picture: of course you can take it. Yours may be the only laughter here, but since laughter does good like a medicine, that means you’re saving your soul—and they should be losing their religion.

From “The Burning”
Episode 16, Season 9
Seinfeld Volume 8, Disc 3
Timecode for the scene: 17:36

“Do you ever just get down on your knees and thank God that you know me and have access to my dementia?”
July 26, 2010

A giddy yet humble question to ask of those who went with your crazy idea—and it actually worked.

George had an idea to solve Jerry’s dating problem involving a stoic-seeming woman and her comic-loving roommate. The idea was so inspired, so devious, so simple…Jerry ran with it. The play wasn’t just successful–it was historical (in George’s eyes, anyway). The win was Jerry’s, the wide receiver now holding the ball in the end zone, but judging by quarterback George’s dance…you would’ve thought he was the one who scored.

George’s confessed craziness in the face of confirmed brilliance (for one shining moment, anyway) is the real genius here. If the line between genius and crazy is as fine as gossamer—and, as you know, one doesn’t dissect gossamer—George straddled that line, triumphant, like he’d just won the Super Bowl and pulled a quarterback switch to do it. The microphones came his way…and he belted his dementia to the back row.

This is not something most people do. We’re quick to point it out (You’re crazy) but even quicker to deny it (What do you think I am, crazy?)—never mind that we’re all a little bit crazy. You could cure cancer someday and someone, somewhere, will be thinking while applauding, See that guy? Cuckooo. Genius is indeed rare, but rarer still is the person who admits their craziness, which is why people like Jerry couldn’t help but love George. People will love you too if you’re not afraid to get out there and belt your dementia to the back row.

Or someone, somewhere, will applaud you, anyway.

From “The Switch”
Episode 10, Season 6
Seinfeld Volume 5, Disc 2
Timecode for the scene: 20:35

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