I woke up yesterday and thought, “Yes, today I will get X, Y, and Z done.” I then proceeded to get halfway through X before I wandered off to eavesdrop on criminals and their lawyers outside the county courthouse downtown. We all have those days. Some of us have those days every day. I tend to have those days every day.
But here’s the thing. I got to overhear some cool stuff. For example:
Guy dressed like Snoop Dog: “Hell, yes, I stabbed him. Fucker took my beer.”
Guy dressed like Harried Public Defender: “You really shouldn’t have told me that.”
Me (out of earshot, I hope): *laughs*
Guy Who Looks Like Smug Frat Rat (shouting into cell phone): “So I show up at the Gresham P.D. to turn myself in, but they’re all, ‘Dude, your warrant isn’t active.’ And I’m all, ‘Dude, I’m turning myself in and shit.’ And they’re all, ‘You have to go down to the county courthouse. They can activate your warrant and shit.’ So I’m thinking, Jesus, what does it take to get arrested in this town? But I figure what the hell, so I come down here to the courthouse, and it takes me like five days or something to find someone who can help me.” [pause to smoke vigorously and, presumably, let his conversant get a word in edgewise] “Exactly, man. So anyway, they’re all, ‘We have to get a judge to sign this. Sit over there.’ So I go sit down for like a hundred hours or something. I’m freezing to death because they keep the courthouse like one degrees or something and I’m only wearing flip-flops. I think a couple of my toes fell off and shit.” [He’s wearing Nikes] “So finally some suit comes up to me and asks me why I want to be arrested and I’m all, ‘Dude, you tell me. It’s your warrant!’ So I guess I have to come back tomorrow or something.”
You cannot make this stuff up. I mean, think about it. If I put this in a book I would get so many, “That would NEVER happen in a million years emails my computer would explode.”
My favorite Saturday morning cartoons? Tons of them.
As a kid, my life revolved around the tube. Saturday morning? Duh. Bugs Bunny, check. Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, check. Jonny Quest, check. But I also watched TV before and after school, and at times, even during school. in 3rd and 4th grade, I’d run home for lunch to watch Bullwinkle and Underdog.
Yes, I read too, and plenty. We didn’t watch primetime television, except for The Waltons, which I was forced to watch at gunpoint because “it was good for me.” Yeah, whatever. (Today, I am a writer in spite of John Boy Walton—definitely not because of him, the sanctimonious dingbat.)
I know television is bad for you and stuff. It probably makes you into the kind of people I eavesdropped on outside the courthouse yesterday. But I liked it, and I think I learned a few things about story structure and suspense from many of the shows I obsessed over. And about the dramatic reveal. I mean, remember in Speed Racer when Speed had the accident and Racer X took him home to care for him, and Speed almost got to find out that Racer X was actually his brother?! OMG. Yes. I loved that stuff.
And I still love that kind of thing, though mostly in book form now. Though, man, isn’t Spongebob awesome? And now that I think about it, the guy who couldn’t get arrested isn’t nearly as weird. So maybe there’s hope for him in print after all.