Saturday, October 31, 2009

Self-Improvement, Masturbation, and Two Gentlemen

            This year I’m going to read everything ever written by William Shakespeare.

            I’m not exactly sure why or what I’m going to gain from this endeavor. I assume it’s going to help me score with chicks and it’s going to make me seem more pretentious at parties when I allude off-handedly to a soliloquy from Two Gentlemen of Verona.

I’m down with that.

I live in LA, so many of the parties I go to are attended by people who’ve performed in crummy Shakespeare productions in high schools and regional theaters (I myself was nearly cast as Hamlet at the Lakeside Players in Kenosha, Wisconsin in a run that ended in a divorce and a voluntary commitment to a mental health institution – more on that later) so I’m just trying to catch up.

            It’s an exercise in self-improvement. And if Tyler Durden is to be believed “Self-improvement is masturbation.” But what’s wrong with masturbation? If God didn’t want us to masturbate he wouldn’t have given us hands. Actually, according to my fifth grade Catholic school religion teacher, Mrs. Kramer, there’s a lot wrong with masturbation.

Fifth grade was the year when religion class was first substituted out for sex ed for part of the spring. I think our sex ed books were actually called “Creation Education” or something. There was certainly no mention of sex at all on the front cover, just a picture of a first trimester fetus that looked more like a tadpole than a person. Mrs. Kramer told us that sex and the pleasure of sex was one of God’s most precious gifts and trying to get that feeling by yourself – and this is almost a direct quote – “well, God forgives everything, but if there were one unforgivable sin… that would be it.”


            And they wonder why Catholics walk around wracked with guilt. So basically by the time I was 13 I figured I was hell-bound, because there was no way I was ever going to get absolved by confessing to Father Vince what I was doing when I stayed up late watching Cinemax on Saturday nights. And by the time I was 15 I decided all that Catholic mumbo-jumbo about hell weren’t for me no how. Cause what’s the fun in being alive if you can’t do something for yourself once in a while?

            So, that’s why I’m gonna read all these plays and sonnets and other things. I’m even going to read the plays that Mr. Shakespeare is believed to have contributed to, cause as Tom Sawyer might say: there ain’t no point in doing the thing if you ain’t gonna do it right.

            I don’t have any particular order or idea of exactly how I’m going to schedule this or go about the whole thing. I’m winging it. I might get thrown off the mission for a bit to re-read Watership Down, or some new book. I also work 60 hours a week and write screenplays and stories and plays, but I’ll try to spare you any discussion of that nonsense.

            It starts today, Halloween 2009, with Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Oh, and besides that one little affront, Mrs. Kramer was an excellent teacher. Strict, tough, and missed.  


  1. Hi Gabe, I like this. I think I might do it along with you.

    And here's the thing about masturbation: You can't tickle yourself, but you can get yourself off...I think it's a gift from God.


  2. i remember that book! but very vaguely.

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