A Modest Proposal for Your Church Plans (If It’s Sunday …)


As someone who invested large tracts of childhood developing my multi-layered post-traumatic stress and foggy thought by attending churches (thanks Mom & Dad!), I encourage you to do something different this Sunday. Read a book. No, not that one. Had you really paid attention to all the horrors and glaring contradictions, we wouldn’t be having this conversation now. Perhaps try Candide by Voltaire. Read it. Then write a compelling book report. Only then can we ever take your arguments (theological or otherwise) seriously. Don’t forget an adequate source of light! No, not that one. Yes, mythological luminescence choking on metaphors engineered for slow children is certainly powerful, but let’s save that for a rainy day, shall we? I mean literal light, like from the sun or from the light bulbs Tesla … what? … sure, whatever … like Edison invented. Cheers! What? No, I won’t be praying for you. You’ll be praying for me? (sigh) Jesus, is attention deficit some kind of holy sacrament in your cult, or religion or Benevolent Society for Judging the Different?! No, I wasn’t actually speaking to your “lord and personal savior”. I was taking my neighbor’s name in vain. Yes, shame on me, as my neighbor is actually a pretty nice guy once you get to know him. He’s pretty busy with his landscaping business and taking the kids to soccer practice, though, otherwise I’d introduce you and see how he feels about the whole taking his name in vain atrocity. Anyway, please read a bit more literature before you invite anyone else to your “super cool laid back church with coffee better than Starbucks”. The future of basic human decency just might depend on it …
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candide

Floods, Elmer Gantry and The Office Space Nation


So my latest residence flooded.  I awoke last Sunday at 5am, not to some nubile honey begging for more (which would have been unusual if not refreshingly delightful, given my Spock-like adherence of late to my Twelve Step Program to Remain a Single Guy), but to the gentle sound of the thunderstorm in the kitchen, fed by a growing pool of water in the master bath (and bedroom) above.  The water pressure out of that broken toilet would make your average firefighter jealous.

Now half the house is under construction, which ain’t that bad . . . if you don’t need a kitchen.  Besides, eating is over-rated, or so the brain trust “beauties” who populate runways these days tell me.  And the occasional crunches are not tightening my abs quick enough, damnit!

Longer story less long,  I’m looking for a new place to live . . . again.

Ever since I started down the path of a recovering mortgage broker in the late summer of 2007, my housing has been a plot to create material for my stand-up act.  I have slept in an office boasting just enough square footage to accommodate a desk, a chair, and a double size sleeping bag.  Apparently that “double” bag was from the Target for little people.  I have slept on floors and couches and in vehicles.  I have been the human additive to an apartment of cats.  I have rented a room in a house that was foreclosed . . . and PG&E shut off the gas and electric . . . so I relived my Boy Scout days cooking bath and oatmeal water on a camping stove for two weeks.  As I suspected, my definition of “camping” remains lodging half a star above Motel 6 (thanks Boy Scouts and my parents idea of “vacation”).

My residential odyssey of the last few years has required me to recruit ex-US Marshall buddies to serve restraining orders to major metro ex-cops and to pay multiple deposits to a real estate broker landlord who ended up filing for bankruptcy (guess how much of my deposit I got back).

Nothing money couldn’t solve, but when you switch to the entertainment business mid-life, I’ve noticed it takes more than two years to start earning decent coin from the endeavor.  I could pull the family strings, given my parent’s involvement with that 80’s marvel Up With People.  However, given their “born-again” loyalties, the best they can do for my entertainment career is help me research a role for a remake of Elmer Gantry.  But I already did my childhood.  And my parents spent the college, film school, and “help our kids” money on a few decades of membership in the Spokesperson for Jesus of the Month Club.

So here I am, with $30 and lint burning a hole in my pocket.  What am I going to do?

I am going to start Office Space Nation.  My passion is to make love to the nearest movie camera or bored audience.  And apparently one or two people out there have lost their job, fear they’ll lose their job, or hate their job.  They need my help.  I understand.  I have the street cred.  And I am the eternal optimist entertainer who refuses to see the dark side of life.  I have no idea how the business side will work.  One of you does, and needs the work.  I’m just the ideas guy behind the microphone and camera.  I’ve got my plate full.  (Seriously.  You don’t want me anywhere near a spreadsheet.  A wormhole might develop and William Shatner will end up living in your kitchen for the next five years.)

Hi.  My name is Mark Roman.  I am your Socratic Entertainer.  So what’s your passion?

Paul Newman the Gentleman


I turn 37 later this year, but I’ve certainly felt my mortality with all the losses this year (Tim, George, Bernie), of which Paul Newman is the latest.  GQ considered him one of the top 50 gentlemen of the 20th century, and for good reason.  I’ve got a page from that issue of GQ on my wall, with nine of those top gents, and Paul is there next to Pacino and above Jack.  His Newman’s Own line was a fantastic example of a celebrity committing a significant and lasting act of charity . . . in the private sector.  I grew up watching Butch & Sundance.  This year I’ve finally embraced the journalist/entertainer in my soul.  So I feel like I’ve lost not just a portion of my childhood, but a mentor and hero in Paul Newman.  Others spoke, even screamed.  He simply and elegantly acted.  The results were his quiet eloquence.