apples and doorknobs



As a kid I often turned to the “camera” and narrated.  I was mimicking what many of my beloved 80s television and movie characters were fond of doing.  In my own naïve way, I was often trying to explain things to “God”, because I was learning to pray and it was how I dealt with the concept of being watched all the time. 


Over the years I’ve had conversations with friends who shared similar behaviours growing up.  The pattern is common, the tide of adolescence brings self consciousness and awareness, and talking to oneself is generally taboo and at it’s worst, a characteristic of mental illness.  There are more socially accepted ways to indulge:  some of us blog, sorting things out before an audience real or imagined.  Some are comforted by a secret journal or write fiction, many of us have engaged in a monologue to our pets, and of course, psychotherapy is covered by most health insurance.  As a storytelling technique for entertainment, it’s been tried and tested in the way of talk shows, “reality” entertainment and (sometimes paranoid) fiction. 


This is hardly an in-depth exploration on how we articulate our “inside voice”, religion, psychology, or the many popular media we consume that hits on a shared nerve, nor a chicken or egg debate.  I was thinking about Jacques and Franz today and it seems as good a place as any to start.  Similar to our post-modern self-narration, it’s often more amusing to imagine our life’s story is unfolding at the hands of another. 


About ten years ago I was dating a wonderfully romantic and imaginative human being who titled the script.  He told me about how one day he was walking past a movie theatre musing about the same with his friends.  “The Truth About Cats and Dogs” was playing and in order to fit the title on the small billboard, it read “Truth Cats”.  From then on he dubbed his close friends truth cats.  All these years later I delight in the amazing folks I think of as truth cats and who remind me of the phrase’s origin.  I am doing the conversation and it’s source little justice in my description – but from that day forward there were many jokes about “El Gato” – the story, it’s author – Jacques, and the "truth cats" – the characters.


I often revert to explaining the crazier events of life by imagining who would have directed such a scene, not as a victim, but as an observer.  Some days it’s David Lynch, others Spike Lee.  Sometimes, a collaboration.  Occasionally the comparisons are musical, at times literary, sometimes they’re found in film.  This summer I’ve been thinking a lot about Kafka. 


Life is stranger then fiction and though it’s easier to hold the figurative writers and directors responsible for the more unpleasant circumstances, perhaps you can relate, hopefully in jest and know ultimately we’re really in charge.  Feet planted firmly in reality, head sometimes in the clouds, surrounded by pop culture and fiction, I voted Franz off the proverbial island today and I’m not really looking to replace him.