“I don’t see architecture coming from you.”
September 22, 2019

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I don’t see Seinfeld coming out of our lives. And not because Netflix just shelled out $425 million to be the one to continue airing the smash show 20 years past its prime-time end.

I say that because of the media-saturated 30th anniversary of TV’s greatest sitcom back in July.

Take that, Lofty Literary Agent in New York City.

Wait. Sorry. Here’s the back story to that…and a teaser from my forthcoming book, Seinfeld-ism: How the Wisdom, Philosophy, Yadda Yadda Yadda of TV’s Greatest Sitcom Can Help You Live Survive Life:

“I don’t think anyone outside of New York City cares that much about Seinfeld anymore,” a NYC literary agent emailed me a decade ago, rejecting my proposal of a book based on this blog (which the New York Times cited in 2015, tipping the hat to Seinfeld).

The 30th anniversary obviously proved her wrong, I’m delighted to say.

And it proved that Seinfeld has become, in our time and society, a sort of holy writ.

Not in the biblical sense, of course. But “utterances of unquestionable authority” nonetheless. Moreover, the show is, as one pop culture maven put it, an “iconic, culture-defining show.”

Consider its comic canon of 9 seasons comprising 172 episodes. Sure, some of the situations and references (and clothing and…) are antiquated. Some details are baffling, including unresolved plot points. Further, you can quote the simplest of the most famous lines…No soup for you!…and people who don’t know the show will grin and nod politely and eyeball you like you’re some crazy believer in a cult they want nothing to do with.

And yet.

Countless are the people who quote the show daily because it speaks with verity—ensuing hilarity—over every facet of life, be it physical or mental, emotional or spiritual.

It’s silly writ, really.

And here, three decades later, people are still discovering the collective of voices from Jerry to J. Peterman, permeating our reality today as though the show were unfolding for the first time. That timeless relevance means Seinfeld stands to sway minds and win hearts and save souls in generations to come.

Hence the opening line here: I don’t see Seinfeld coming out of our lives.

That, of course, was not the sense in which Jerry used the words at the top here, to George.* Throughout the show, Jerry’s career-challenged friend pined to wield a planer as a professional planner of buildings that awe the world. The first we hear of it comes in the first season—and that was Jerry’s reaction.

I don’t see architecture coming from you.

By now, faithful readers, you may have thought of me, I don’t see a book coming from you. (That goes back to my June 2015 post on aiming to publish Seinfeld-ism the Book.) Most assuredly, I can say…the book is coming. Soon.

It may be a Christmas gift, but it’s coming.

All new material woven through a selection of the best of the material here—the most popular posts, that is, like the one that a law professor at Georgetown University passes on to students who don’t understand a certain Elaine line he drops now and then.

Nine years to the day on July 5 this year I launched this blog for the same reason millions reflected with a smile on Seinfeld turning 30 that day. This semi-swan-song post was originally slated for that day…but watching the aforementioned celebratory hullabaloo unfold online that week delighted me to no end—and changed some of what I wrote here about this end.

The end of the blog, that is, which will coincide with the publishing of the book.

Stay tuned. The publish date is certain to be tied into another Seiniversary date.

I’m speaking, of course, only to those who live in New York City.

 

*From “The Stake Out,” Episode 3, Season 1
Seinfeld Volume 1, Disc 1 | Time code for the scene: 12:38

 

“I don’t even really work here!”
June 27, 2015

(a note in advance of more Seinfeld-isms to come, very soon…)Ritz Crackers box_stansberrymasonry dot com

Returning here after more than two years–after I went bye-bye in 2013, after saying Helloooo!–I was tempted toward a good George-ism to capture the moment. Maybe the simple, ebullient “I’m back, baby!”

Or the subversive, Eeyore-ish voicemail he once left Jerry, “Hey, it’s George… Pfft. I’ve got nothing to say.” (BEEP)

But even Costanza comes up short here. (Sorry, George. I’m really sorry. It’s not you, it’s me.) To capture such an unexpected turnabout…I turn to the one-and-only Kramer.

In one of Kramer’s doofus falls into a legit job (Brand/Leland was the poor, unsuspecting company’s name), his boss called him on the carpet about his output. “I’ve been reviewing your work,” Leland said. “Quite frankly it stinks.”

He went on to tell the Ritz-cracker-smacking Kosmo that he must move on. I don’t even really work here! was Kramer’s crack-me-up reply.

As to why exactly that cracked me up…consider my absence, yes (I don’t even really blog here!)…but do read on.

The What-Happened

My absence was not intentional. Not even in my mind was I gone (although there is that, sometimes.) I still love this blog. I still love this show–even though some of it is not as funny to me as I near 20 years of great marriage and my mid-40s, and seriously/sillily raise 52 children.

(Actually we only have 5 but jokingly refer to “our 52 children” because, despite the joy, the laughter, all that Schmoopie…sometimes the comments, the questions, all that snap, make it seem like we have way more children than we do.) 

Still, much of Seinfeld is as funny to me now as it was when I first discovered it. Some of it is even funnier. Which is why I never meant to, in early 2013, stop adding to this Seinfeld survival guide to Life.

Around that time, in an Seinfeldishly ironic twist, Life dispatched a plane across the landscape of the Bounds family, unfurling a banner that read “Survive this”–and started dropping circumstantial bombs. We wanted to yada yada yada over the whole thing…in the George-negative, not the Elaine-positive way.

Then came a Newman-ic depressive phase. You know, where you’re denouncing vegetables and calling for honey-mustard shots and doing other foolish things that have people wiser than you saying life-saving things to you like you better think again, mojumbo.

The dance of Life didn’t halt, per se, during that time. It just shifted into a full-body-dry-heave kind of dance. Arms flailing, legs akimbo. Feet moving the family halfway across the country…that sort of thing.

Meanwhile, in another ironic, Seinfeldian twist during that long hiatus…this blog’s readership took off across the two years I stopped writing. See for yourself:Seinfeld-ism stats on WordPress 2010-2015

I can hear George now: Your chances of success in this blog are only hurt by you continuing to write it.

Even with that attractive power of the Opposite apparently boosting my work, I still stayed away. Then, later, an idea: If I get back into it someday, I’ll do some new material then get out. Take a bow. Cue the curtain drop.

Then, much later–nearing the debut of the get-out plan–the plan got a good-surprise “Get out!” push.

The Times

Seinfeld cracking me up over Life itself–for me and for those around me–is what led me to launch this blog-ode to the series on July 5, 2010. Five years to the day, that is, coming up here soon. The final-bow plans came up about a year ago. I crafted a Seinfeld-ism “bucket list.”

While I dabbled with the plan–fast headed to the five-year anniversary–yet another Seinfeldian twist occurred: my blog got linked in the New York Times. This week. (Scroll down to the “George’s love of cheese” line.)

I can hear Jerry now: Costanza*…Benes**…Bounds***?!

*Recall George’s hand-clapping joy over a “NEW YORK YANKEES!” job.
**Recall Elaine’s hip-swinging joy over a “NEW YORKER!” gig.
***Pardon my laptop-tapping joy over a NEW YORK TIMES! nibble.

The New York Times exposure leaves me grinning a la Jerry’s “And you want to be my latex salesman” grin AND looking unfazed a la Newman’s “Hi-lar-ious” deadpan face. Not at the New York Times. At literary agents. Because back in 2010, when I started this blog, I had been trying to publish this material as a book.

The rejection-letter emails that followed (coming mostly from literary agents based in NEW YORK CITY) are best summarized by this one line from one such agent:

“I don’t think anyone outside of New York is really that interested still in Seinfeld.”

Cue the look on my face akin to Jerry’s when that Donna Chang gal he was dating used the word ridicurous.

The High Note

Scores of Seinfeld lines come to mind in witty retort to that agent’s comment. But I’ll just end where I began here and reach back into the Kramer-working-for-Brand/Leland episode. The morn of Kramer’s first day on the job, Jerry saw Kramer in a suit and tie and–dazed and Uncle-Leo-level-confused at his notoriously jobless friend now gloriously dressed for a job–Jerry said, “How long have I been asleep? What year is this?”

Have you been asleep? I wanted to say to that agent. Do you know what year it is?

Seinfeld has conquered the world!

That was 8 years ago.

Now look at Hulu.

“That people will only watch television like this in the future is so obvious,” Jerry himself cracked-wise at the April announcement to the world of the Seinfeld/Hulu duo.

Yes it is, Jerry. Yes it is.

So now I turn to George, to do as he once did and–as he learned from Jerry (“Showmanship, George!”)–get out on a high note.

Time to publish that book myself.

(Giddy-up!)

Stay tuned.

“Rusty!”
August 10, 2010

A ripcord-pull of a shout-out for when you head unexpectedly into the winds of change–someone else’s, that is, forcing you to change direction before others think the wind came from you.

Kramer got the opportunity to manage a hansom cab, making a lot of money giving people a “rustic” tour of New York City. His windfall soon fell victim to a certain wind coming from the direction of Rusty, Kramer’s equine buddy in this buggy business. Kramer the driver or Rusty the horse? The customers in the carriage couldn’t tell at first where the smell was coming from. Kramer’s announcement cleared the air…sort of.

Kramer had no idea what buckets of “Beef-A-Reeno” would do to the digestive tract of a horse–just like you have no idea what you’re getting into when you walk down that greeting card aisle, around restaurant tables, or into any other non-bathroom place where you a bathroom-specific odor lurks. You might stop to look for the source, but what you’re likely to find instead are other people looking at you like you’re a character straight out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail—and they don’t think you’re funny.

You’re not trying to be funny if you give a shout-out to Rusty when stumbling into such a situation. But if they do laugh—all the better. Because if they’re wondering who this “Rusty” is, that means they’re off of you—and you…you’re riding off into the sunset.

From “The Rye”
Episode 11, Season 7
Seinfeld Volume 6, Disc 2
Timecode for the scene: 17:40

“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

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