@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
Is It Contagious
The word “contagion” has never been so poisonous for the whole world. The mere sound of the word brings forth unpleasantness, a collective trauma.
As the world became more fragile, I cannot deny that my mental state mirrored the general woe. Lori, lover of art that depicts the darkest hours and demons of humanity, couldn’t bring herself to watch any film that was dour. I reverted to some childlike state, and spent my nights on my sister’s Disney+ re-watching every cartoon I’d love as a kid. It was a needed lullaby, I’m not ashamed to admit.
Friends and acquaintances would probably be sick of me telling them how good the show “Ted Lasso” is. Watch this show. It’s clever, funny and so feel good you will end up smitten with the ensemble. It became quite apparent to me how much not only I, but the entire country (the world?) needed this type of show. Don’t get me wrong, I love an anti-hero—love them—but this void for genuine but flawed, compassionate and/or passionate but in some ways inept, heartwarming without being hokey has been absent in recent years… until Ted Lasso. Additionally, I think Americans are pretty fed up with being portrayed as stupid, vapid, greedy, shallow, prejudice and/or lazy. Now, granted, a lot of Americans are a lot of those things. I agree. However, I’ve done my share of traveling around this country and most people are actually pretty nice. Sure, a great lot of them are simple, but simple isn’t bad. Don’t just give us someone to root for, give us someone to relate to.
So, it got me thinking. Because I’m always thinking about my next script (though, I should just be thinking about finishing the ones close to done). And I keep telling my friends how it’s not just a great sitcom, but the value in the humanity of it is so fucking spot on. And I don’t think I could conceive of such a show because I am not an optimist.
I’m not. I consider my self a realist, though sometimes people confuse realism with pessimism. Worse still, I often find optimism exhausting. Even though I want it to rub off on me. Even though if optimism was contagious I’d be showering in my optimistic friends’ sneezes as much as possible, COVID threat and all. My ex was a consummate optimist (and no that wasn’t the reason we split) but it did annoy me from time to time… which then annoyed me that it annoyed me, sending me into a weird loop. One of my closest friends in comedy, who, for reasons I don’t fully understand, is constantly talking me out of holes that I often dig for myself, deep enough that I can’t see any water in the glass is one of the few genuinely optimistic people I know in the stand up world (Jason Salmon, click for comedy) but the difference between Jason and most other optimists I know is that he doesn’t have blinders on. I have friends and family members who are optimistic, but they are (usually by choice) semi-delusional because they simply don’t want to see the dirt and the mold growing in cracks all around us. Jason sees the darkness and is optimistic anyway, that fucking prick.
Back to the drawing board. Ted Lasso wasn’t just a show I think the people needed, I needed it. So could I write something as motivational as that? Certainly, it’s not my temperament.
One of my best friends goes, “well, what do you do that makes you really happy?”
“Right now, not much.” That was my reply. I don’t know. I was having a day. Sure, stand up makes me happy but I feel forgotten in the stand up community. Yes, writing makes me happy but you have to write about experiences or people, you don’t just write about writing. So I thought about it. I just don’t see a show built around nephews and a niece with surfing, old-timey cocktails, games and psychedelics.
I was at the beach with a group of people, most of whom I didn’t know. I got talking to this tall, hippy woman with cool tattoos and great hair that wasn’t frizzing even though we were at the beach and it was sweltering hot. She had recently gotten out of a four year relationship. I told her I’ve returned to the dating apps and how they’re generally terrible. It surprises people (because of my looks) that I struggle to get people to meet up with me or call me back. I’m not going sit here and say men are terrible. Because women are terrible too. You’re all terrible. (See I’m fair = realistic)
She goes, “I don’t do the dating apps. I manifest to the universe who and what I want.” What an irritating optimistic thing to say. First of all, what the fuck does it even mean to manifest something? Putting out good vibes into the universe? Like when I’m smoking a joint with my toes getting splashed by the waves of mother Ocean should I just start screaming, “I WANT TO SELL A SCREENPLAY AND I WANT TO MEET SOMEONE WHO LOVES TO WATCH JURASSIC PARK AS MUCH AS ME WHO IS ALSO SMART AND FUNNY, ALSO I WANT A NEW CAR. IS THIS HOW MANIFESTING WORKS?”
Pessimism is as easy to catch as pink eye, and like pink eye, it clouds everything you see. But optimism? And the desire to inspire for the sake of inspiring? To just bask in glory of any win, whatsoever, whether it’s yours or someone else’s? I’ll never believe such a world will exist. However, I do know for sure those people exist, and if we can try to follow by example, and pull the good out of other good people with passions… well, maybe that’s how manifestation works.