Hair Lip

— May 1, 2000

Not only was I late for work, but my car’s booster engine fouled up. It didn’t explode or anything, it streamed a thin trail of smoke and rattled. So the automatic driver didn’t pull me over, land the craft, and call for a repair vehicle. It put me in the slow lane, making me even later, and when I arrive I’ll stammer and make feeble excuses to the boss instead of cocking my fist back and punching him right in the mouth. Oh, dear God, that would fill my heart with joy.

So, in the slow lane, I fly along at 180 miles per hour instead of 300. The car’s video communicator buzzes and I quickly press the silver button marked “Ignore.” In the field next to which I’m flying, gazelle leap and a host of sparrows launch, turn in a boomerang pattern, and then land again in the willow shrubs. The communicator buzzes and I press “Ignore.” I don’t want to talk to my boss. Gleaming new cars rocket past me at nearly double the speed.

My watch communicator beeps. I flip my wrist over; there’s no ignoring this one. I touch “Answer,” and my boss’ head and that ridiculous gray derby appear on the curvy screen. “Jenkins! You’re late again!” I look to the sparrows and gazelle in the field, I smooth the hair on my brow, and then to my watch communicator I say, “Yes, sir, I apologize. My, uh...” and I prattle on about the booster engine. “I don’t want to hear excuses! I want the schematics for the Johnson account you were supposed to have drafted by...” My mind drifts to images of skinned and cut knuckles dislodging whole rows of teeth.


“Yes, sir. I’ll send them now.”

My fingers dance around the console keys in front of me. The bubble monitor displays the schematics, half-finished and late. Another button actuates the car’s refreshment system and delivers a cup of coffee. It’s cold and tastes burnt.

I hate work. Why can’t I just sit and watch TV all day; I love those game shows. The shows that offer a thousand-dollar cash prize for guessing a correct answer or spinning a wheel. With a thousand greenbacks, I could get a new flying car, a big 28-inch TV, and a house-cleaning robot. That would be the good life. That’s what I need.


Thursday, April 17
Good Morning San Diego
KUSI 7:00 a.m.

If I could travel back in time, I’d meet the person who first discovered that maple syrup is sweet and edible. I’d be, like, “Dude, did you just lick that tree? Don’t lie! I just watched you walk over there and lick that tree, you magnificent kook!” Then when he was embarrassed, I’d steal his discovery and mount a world-domination plan based on the profits from a breakfast condiment empire.

The Neverending Story (1984)
ION 8:00 p.m.

Oh, how I yearn for the release of Speed Part Four: Snakes, Bombs, Breakdancing, and Babies on a Bus. Starring Sandra Bullock as the beauty queen cobra charmer, bent on the destruction of public transportation, and Ben Affleck as a poor yet determined inner-city rapper who learns from Edward James Olmos and Ernest Borgnine that love is colorblind. The Speed storyline will finally be completed. What a triumph.

Friday, April 18
Canterbury’s Law
FOX 8:00 p.m.

Finally, a show about lawyers. We held signs. We marched. We asked, nay, demanded a national television network provide us with stories of law. Never before had we been answered. Never before! “We want legal shows!” we chanted. “We want legal shows!” Fox heard our cry, citizens. Fox heard our cry.

Saturday, April 19
Curious George
PBS 7:00 a.m.

You know what are scary, I’ll tell you what, baboons. You know why, I’ll tell you why, because they eat meat. Monkeys are supposed to be cute and clutch your pantleg and eat little bits of fruit and hang from fences and swing on ropes. Monkeys ARE NOT supposed to gnaw off a hunk of your thigh with bloody fangs. Plus, they have those big, unpleasant, stinky pink butts.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
ABC 8:00 p.m.

I want to tell you that I despise this clichéd kids’ trash. But I’d be lying. While I’ve never taken the time out of my life to read one of the huge, simplistic books, I have watched the movies and enjoyed every second. I know I’m supposed to be the intellectual (stop snickering) type who turns his nose up at popular pap, but damn it all, I want a magic wand that makes things fly and shoots lightning. I need a magic lightning wand. NEED.

Sunday, April 20
America’s Next Top Model
CW 7:00 p.m.

The waaaay better show is America’s Next Top Crack Hooker.

Monday, April 21
Walk the Line
FX 5:00 p.m.

Here’s the entire script of thoughts from my head while watching this movie. “Johnny Cash wasn’t a hair lip. That thing is distracting. Seriously, millions of dollars and they couldn’t budget in some putty makeup? I can’t stop looking at it. Would someone please just dab some foundation on that hair lip so I can pay attention to the story. I cannot see anything else on the screen and I can only hear what the hair lip is saying. Hair lip. Hair lip. Hair lip. Hair lip.”

Tuesday, April 22
Saturday Night Live: The Best of Chris Farley
8:30 p.m.

Thank God Chris Farley died. It is far cooler to be the fat overdosed comedic genius than the weepy contestant of a celebrity diet-and-rehab program on VH-1. Yeah, he might’ve lost a hundred pounds, kicked cocaine, and given Muriel Hemingway sweaty hugs, but we need tubby dead legends more than thin unfunny Puritans. We salute you and all you gave to us, sir!

Wednesday, April 23
Big Brother 9
CBS 8:00 p.m.

And while we’re on the subject of crappy reality game shows, I’m going to say this right now, and I want everyone to damned listen. The crying has gotten out of hand. You were kicked off of a game show, not threatened with bodily harm or the loss of a loved one. Sure, maybe a tear should be expected from the women, but if you’re a guy and you’re blubbering like a Girl Scout with a skinned knee on TV because you lost a game, I swear I will give you something to cry about, you embarrassing sissy.

Thursday, April 24
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Family 8:30 p.m.

Ooh, look at me, I’m Johnny Depp and I’m weird. Think of me as being weird! I’m not at all like other actors who are rich and famous and do things for money. I’m weird, dammit! I’m weird and different!

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First, Mr. Phoenix does not have a hair lip, this is simply a scar from an accident as a child. I however do have what one would call a cleft lip and cleft palate deformation. Usually called a double cleft, I had the unfortunate outcome of being born with a physical defect one cannot help. After eleven surgeries and two years of speech therapy I ultimately became a model, then actor, then writer. Obviously I wasn't used on close up face shots as although I'm told I have a beautiful face they that know better believed it would be a distraction on the pages of a magazine. But for whom? Those that are too stupid to simply be considerate of other human beings? Those that don't take the time to inform themselves of exactly what a cleft palate comes from or the pain one must endure carrying it around their whole lives? Hmm, I wonder...I ponder the thought, who are these people and what makes them so shallow? Oh, I know, people like yourself that perpetuate the idea through "humor" that it is an ugly or unacceptable malady as if the person is purposely holding it up onto their face saying "hey look, it's a small scar and something must be wrong with me." Funnily enough "hair lip" comes from prisoners that came over from England and were dumped in the South, they were too stupid to understand so they perpetuated the moniker. How ironic, from one stupid group to another. Too bad you can't see what Joaquin Phoenix is doing on that screen by imitating a great, dead singer for what he was....a troubled boy turned to troubled man turned to significant human. Comment on Joaquin's goofiness right now and that'll be fine, it may be enough to sway the interest of those with ADD, but the truth of the matter is we've all got some physical, emotional or mental problem we must overcome. Oddly enough it's only a problem because others that don't know its name make it so. Peace.

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