“Musicians. Get a real job.”
July 11, 2011

An impromptu observation to make when someone talks so incessantly about musical things–about, say, some new song they’re plucking–that you’re thinking Yeah, you’re really plucking something there.

“So the Raisinets are eating a box of Raisinets?” Jerry asked Elaine as they rode the subway and discussed a commercial showing various candies playing in a band: Raisinets on sax, Milk Duds on banjo, etc. At one point, the saxophonist Raisinets buys a box of Raisinets from a nearby concession stand. Elaine didn’t get it either. Jerry wrapped it up with this bon mot that he got from the scene.

You love music. (Who doesn’t?) What you don’t love are people with a mere modicum of musical skill who confuse the universal love of listening to music with the personal love of discussing music. And explicating it. And tying any conceivable topic of discussion back to it. You mention Back to the Future and in seconds your guitarist friend is onto Don Giovanni.

Eddie Van Halen did the guitar in the scene where Michael J. Fox puts the Walkman on McFly? Huh. No, I haven’t seen Amadeus. That’s why Eddie named his son WolfgangFascinating, you say–your polite “crescendo” as you bow out before you’re made to feel like you need the Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, Rosetta Stone for Italian, and a few other “parts in your kit” to…er…be on the same sheet of music.

Wait for this person to leave the immediate area then strum Jerry’s low note with the nearby audience–or, if you’re comfortable with your conversational talent, play this rimshot while that person has a front row seat. Don’t fret about their reaction; eventually, they’ll understand: anyone with so much time and energy on their hands for one thing clearly needs something else to do. You’re just helping them get to it.

Or, to put it in terms they’ll understand: you’re giving them a friendly kick in the arpeggio.

From “The English Patient”
Episode 17, Season 8
Seinfeld Volume 7, Disc 3
Timecode for the scene: 00:00 (you read that “music note” right; this scene is the prelude to the episode)

“How about—it sucked.”
September 3, 2010

A daring comeback for when you’re faced with something that brings up the standard “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”—and so is ugly, you feel the need to remind the beholder.

Elaine’s date suggested they see The English Patient because it was up for all those Oscars, so she went (even though she wanted to see Sack Lunch and find out what was up with all those people in the brown paper bag). Bumping into friends as they departed the theater, the friends gooed—”How could you not love that movie?”–and Elaine booed.

Ugly doesn’t get as much air time in conversation because that’s what the conversation itself might become if you go there. And this is one time when you should—go there when someone goes so ga-ga over the beauty of something, that they can’t see that everything has flaws. Flick these words like a lighter in the darkness of their thinking, and you’ll show them things they might not otherwise see. How do I love thee? they pine of that thing and count the ways. “How do I hate thee!” you interject about that thing, and count away too.

From “The English Patient”
Episode 17, Season 8
Seinfeld Volume 7, Disc 3
Timecode for the scene: 4:04

“Kudos, Elaine on a job…done.”
July 7, 2010

A massive shout-out to use on those who foul-ball on a job you asked them to do–and you weren’t even asking them to hit it out of the park, just get it on the field.

J. Peterman, Elaine’s boss, had just returned to the helm of his adventure-chic clothing-catalog company after leaving Elaine in charge while he got over a little case of Office Space. When he saw that Elaine’s biggest decision precipitated fashion disaster, this was his summary reply–delivered in the same room-filling, syllable-smacking voice he used to say just about anything (e.g., “Elaine…you’ve got to see The English Patient“).

Fill the room with your voice when you say it–the more flourish, the better, to give it that Peterman-ian flair–and don’t forget to give a full pause between the words “job” and “done.” Volume is not the point here; calling attention to the one word you’re leaving out of this universal courtesy is.

From “The Money”
Episode 13, Season 8
Seinfeld Volume 7, Disc 3
Timecode for the scene: 15:44

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