May 26, 2013

Source: Marco Walker

Dear Gato,

I”€™m mindful of the time we were rechristened. In Puerto Vallarta. The toothless soothsayer gave us sopa to drink that was foul-tasting and laced with mescal and some local psychedelic. She read your palm and pronounced you “€œthe cat,”€ then she named me “€œel tibron,”€ the shark. Remember? That trip revived my spirits so much, when I got home I fired my shrink. Other clients”€™ needs were greater. 

I recall bumping into one client. Only once, because the doc’s office was served by two doors: one in, one out. Clients would never see each other. Celebrity shrink, savvy? Privacy matters. TMZ is out there lurking, just like the drones. Brazilian paparazzi are never more than a few blocks away. Mental illness is not fully destigmatized in the United States, but we”€™ve made progress. Thanks partly to Charlie Sheen, the so-called poster boy for hypomania. Bipolar is the new depression and is accepted in most places. 

Anyway. I walked out through the in-door one afternoon, and I bumped into a seven-year-old boy. The next patient. His parents I guessed were getting divorced. A surfer kid with shoulder-length sun-bleached hair and a precociously easy manner. He”€™d grown up fast. Meeting this seven-year-old cured me. 

Now, affluenza is the chief cause of depression in the Beverly Hills area but I wasn”€™t suffering from too much money. Quite the opposite. In a flash, I saw myself through the boy’s eyes. And my conclusion was: You don”€™t need a shrink. You just need to get your shit together.

“€œYou don”€™t need a shrink. You just need to get your shit together.”€

I spent six months and thousands of dollars on Dr. Malachi, only to spend each session entertaining him. Which was a conscious ploy, a way of never getting to the point of my issues. Being a Freudian, he never went there, either. So I quit. I”€™d gotten into some financial quicksand after selling my last tranche of China Mobile stock then being stiffed by some Mormon producers”€”to whom I give full respect. See, I”€™d been foolish to think religiosity guaranteed integrity in business. Just because Mormons drink the milk doesn”€™t mean they”€™re not sharp dealmakers. Mormons are the new Mafia in Hollywood. We”€™ve had the gay Mafia, the Harvard Mafia, and the English Mafia. Now it’s the Mormons. Watch out.

Mick’s in the funny farm and this time it seems he’s staying the full month. Either the likelihood of group therapy with Lindsay Lohan keeps him there, or maybe he is finally tired of running away from his responsibilities. His removal from the circuit means that life is quieter. It’s a mixed blessing. It helps me work. I”€™ve been putting in ten-hour days. I”€™ve been on form”€”

“€”that is, until I ran into Dagen Bleu. Jennifer’s ex-husband? King Rat. The weirdo you almost threw in the pool after lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel. (Real name, Dagmar: He changed it to Americanize himself.) Seeing Dagmar again”€”and I insist on using his Danish name”€”has put me out of sorts. Not least because I discovered it was he who called the LAPD when Mickey bolted to T-J. He did it to prove”€”with police corroboration”€”that Mickey was a criminally neglectful ex-husband to Dagmar’s current wife, Tracey. Mick’s ex. Follow? In Dagmar’s 40-watt mind, wasting police resources on a rehab escapee would help win over the judge in the second divorce suit Tracey had brought against Mickey, induced entirely by Dagmar pressurizing the woman. He must have read about some deals in the trades and figured Mickey soon would be richer than he realized and consequently owed Tracey (read Dagmar) more.

Dagen Bleu is the sort of creature that only exists in Los Angeles. I was driving the 101 when I spotted a convertible overtaking a truck full of Hispanic gardeners”€”almost forcing the truck off the road. Bad, reckless driving. I glanced over and saw a smooth fella at the wheel. It was Dagmar. 

The guy is so good-looking it’s like he’s from another planet. And that is the only positive thing to say about him. He didn”€™t notice the truck because his eyes weren”€™t on the road. They were fixed on a dashboard TV. He was watching a commercial. Despite the distance between our cars, I recognized the man on his screen. It was Bleu himself: dressed and groomed like a model/doctor, the type you used to see on Santa Barbara. He’s an E/D-list actor. In his mind he’s a movie star. What he was viewing was a heinous and memorable commercial I”€™d already seen on a backwater cable channel around the time I sit down to work”€”the dead part of the afternoon. 

The dude was watching himself while driving in his car. And nearly killing other drivers as a result: He forced an ambulance to put the brakes on hard, he was so inconsiderate. If the casualty in the ambulance had a fractured back, Dagmar probably paralyzed him. What was the ad for? I”€™ll tell you. Picture this. The end of the commercial: an entourage of beautiful children, under ten years old, surrounds Dagmar, a blond Dolce & Gabbana male-model type. He pats their heads and smiles to the camera as the titles “€œBECAUSE ELECTIVE SURGERY ISN”€™T ONLY FOR ADULTS…”€ appear onscreen. Then he speaks his winning line: “€œCall 1-800 FACES”€”NOW!”€ 

Don”€™t get me started on him. I”€™ll change the subject.

The tsunami! When I officially died for four days. You ready? So this is how it went down.

On the plane to Bangkok I ran into a girl from college days. A cerebral type. She was friendly enough but she came from the real world, the world I was trying to escape. “€œThailand Is My Land,”€ the saying goes. I didn”€™t want to share my land with old classmates. It was Christmas and I was heading to meet my closest family in Krabi, which is located on the mainland across a strait from Phuket. It turned out the girl was heading for Krabi too. How about that? She was the type to be on Small World. (Is it still going?) I was seeking peace, I was seeking Buddha-level serenity”€”and here was somebody from The Past, haunting me first on the long-haul flight, then in the transfer lounge, and finally on the plane down to Krabi. It was a Christmas miracle that she wasn”€™t in the same hotel. 

We parted at the baggage carousel and agreed”€”well, she agreed for both of us”€”that we simply must meet up as soon as possible. I made the mistake of telling her which hotel I was staying in. A kind of charity piece, like: I”€™ll tell you one true thing before you never hear from me again. People skills…I got it in spades.


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