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

A delightful confession for those stressful times when you drift, and those closest to you ask, “Where are you, exactly?” And you reply: 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. 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 one hand to one temple as you say the words Up here, then at the next words—shimmy that hand toward the horizon…like you’re already gone.

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, timed to the line: There’s a reason it begins with one hand to 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

“No soup for you!”
July 21, 2010

A brazen shout-out for when you need to let someone down a la You’re out of luck, and you don’t mind bludgeoning their feelings while doing it.

George and Elaine fell victim to this verbal assault from the culinary genius known as the Soup Nazi, whose zeal for his craft so focused him on that craft, that normal communication was beneath him in the presence of anyone who didn’t pay his craft the respect it deserved—people who, for example, kissed on their “schmoopie” while standing in line rather than saying “One mulligatawny” and stepping to one side.

No need to substitute for “soup” another subject you want to dish up, a la No raise for you! (The approach has obvious delicious merits, but if you’re not fully committed to the blunt wording and psychotic exclamation, your substitution will only produce quizzical looks, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.) The universal images conjured by the word soup—ordering a favorite one in a fine restaurant, receiving an efficacious one from a friend while you’re ailing, etc.—all have to do with being provided a comfort food.

Being denied that comfort, courtesy of you channeling the Soup Nazi, is punishment enough for anyone, in any discussion.

From “The Soup Nazi”
Episode 6, Season 7
Seinfeld Volume 6, Disc 1
Timecodes for the scenes: 4:00, 8:35

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