An Almost Academic Demonstration Of Futility

An esteemed film critic famous for his thick bi-annual paperback compendiums containing quick synopses of almost every single film ever made carefully sidesteps across a row of seats, making sure not to step on the feet of the other moviegoers (and apologizing to those whose feet he does step on), sits down, opens his briefcase, takes out a large plastic baggie filled with pink and white-frosted cookies in the shape of circus animals, and bites into an elephant as the lights start to go down: “Two men – one short, hirsute and chatty, the other tall, bald and stoic – decide to take a road trip across the United States in a rented 1976 Honda Prelude. Starting in Portland, Oregon, they will drive until they reach Portland, Maine, where the chatty man will throw himself off a cliff and into the sea and the stoic man will visit his ailing father for what he presumes will be the last time. During this trip the two men anticipate that there will be a growing emphasis on camaraderie, including some good-natured ribbing. Both men are able to think on the fly, as both are naturally gifted, or so they have been told most of their adult lives. Really, what this trip is about is the act of self-expression, and the farther East they drive the more they expect that they will be able to express the deepest, darkest parts of themselves without being judged. The stoic man, especially, is hoping to release the full bounty of malaise that has been sitting in his gut since he left home all those years ago, disappointing his father in the process. The chatty man is, of course, looking for a reason to live, as most short, hirsute and chatty men are wont to do. They both expect that at some point in this journey to nowhere they will cross paths with two buxom but hardened women who will bestow upon them both a brief moment of joy followed by an awkward coffee shop breakfast of burnt bacon, runny eggs, and bitter black coffee. But somewhere around Ames, Iowa the two men decide that they truly cannot stand each other, turn around, and head back to Portland, Oregon. Once there the men part ways without saying good-bye. The chatty man decides to see a therapist, and he does, one who prescribes him some very potent medication which, in fact, cures not only his depression, but his incessant need to talk and his dread of silence. The stoic man thinks about calling his father, but does not. When he hears that his father has passed away he sends a fruit basket, and it is this act, and this act alone, which sets him free from the past. He no longer has a home to go back to, but it doesn’t worry him, it doesn’t worry him, you might think it does, but it doesn’t worry him.”

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