After eight years of pursuing a career in the entertainment industry, let me assure you that I am still on the cusp of becoming a huge star. A legend, actually. That said, my realistic vision has been clouded along the way by the bitterness and disappointment of rejection.
However, my jaded tendencies pale in comparison to those of Bernie, a grotesque, inappropriate, darkly pessimistic child-actor agent who regularly requests my section and tries to convince me that my only hope of making it in Hollywood is to join forces with him. Because, you know, his clients work regularly in Lunchable commercials.
"How are you today?" I ask each time.
"This town is going to shit," he responds immediately.
Fuck me in a clown car, why did I ask how he's doing?
"What would you like to drink?" I inquire aloud to him and internally to myself.
We then go through this humorous exchange in which he tries to get me to beg him to drink, coquetteishly protesting that it will ruin his productivity. No matter what I say, even if it's "Yes, Bernie, I agree you shouldn't drink. Who else will sell magic beans to small children?" Bernie eventually "caves" and orders three double martinis on the rocks.
He's quite crafty, that Bernie. He waits until the restaurant has cleared out to corner me and poison my mind with his warlockian views of Hollywood. When you have an empty section, save Bernie, he knows you have nowhere else to go. Damn his craftiness.
"So...may I bring you anything else, like the bill?" I ask.
"How old are you?" he snarls. He's asked me this question a dozen or so times, all within a span of a few months.
"I play 25-30," I respond.
"You should just move back home," he says in between noncommittal glances at his Hollywood Reporter.
"I mean, unless you have an agent who knows how shitty and horrible this business is, you're wasting your time."
"Sounds like amazing motivation."
"When I was your age I wasn't waiting tables," he brags. "You know what I was doing?"
Braiding your back hair and narrowing down your Columbia House selections?
"I was working in the mail room at William Morris. William Morris. The William Morris Agency?"
"Yes I'm familiar."
"So don't stand there and act like you know about this business. I know about this business."
"Ok. I will stand here and be inadequate."
"You know where I worked AFTER William Morris?"
"United. United Talent Agency. UTA. UTA!"
This pattern generally continues for a good half hour. At many points I will wander off, and each time I return to the general vicinity of Bernie, he unpauses himself and resumes the anecdotes. And then tips approximately 12 percent.
The last time I ever saw Bernie was the third time he told me he was leaving LA and returning to his Jew-borhood in ________, New York. Given how long ago that's been, I can only assume one of three things. 1) Bernie moved back to New York. 2) Bernie is in hybernation and will return shortly now that I have given thought to his name. 3) Bernie never really existed at all and is a cautionary manifestation* warning me against truly giving into the bitterness that keeps this baby going.
* Bernie is real.