Palsy of the Mind

I saw Crispin Glover do one of his slideshow things back in 1994 and never envisioned that I would be attending one in 2010. The man’s got staying power. I was a cashier at what was then called the NW Film Center and apparently no one had arranged to get Crispin from his hotel to the art museum and I was the only one with a car. Um, taxi? But I was asked if I’d be willing to pick him up if need be. You would think that a young person working at an art theater in the ‘90s would think that might be cool, but I totally freaked because I did and do hate responsibility, talking to strangers and the unknown. What would we chat about? What if I couldn’t find a parking spot? “Uh, I don’t know,” was all I could say, hoping to get out of the situation. Obviously, it worked because he managed to get to the theater and not in my ratty ’83 Chevette.

In the ‘90s strangers used to send me all sorts of things in the real mail. One such thing was the screenplay to What Is It?, Crispin’s down syndrome movie that didn’t get made until 2005. I never put Crispin Glover into the stalkable camp (though I do find him more attractive now that he’s older and I am as well—the thing is he dates way too young and fugly, so it clouds my judgment and while not pro-marriage he didn’t sound too opposed to becoming one of those old dads that I dread in this interview) because he’s always struck me as kooky for kooky’s sake, so I don’t think I was sent the script because of any perceived fanaticism. I think it was because I had just put out an issue of my zine about tards, tots and terrors. Tards, duh.

Sometimes I do regret becoming sensitive with age and sometimes I am surprised when I read things I wrote more than a decade ago. Even though I rarely participate in Facebook, I do glance at it every now and then and just noticed a few minutes ago that the Chinese gentleman from my highschool with cerebral palsy who wore leather pants, drove a Cadillac and sort of had a thing for me (he liked all Gothy types with dark hair and red lipstick) had befriended another guy I went to high school with but was never really friends with but whose friend request I accepted because I can’t say no. This guy made an appearance in tards, tots and terrors under the heading Butt Pirate vs. Palsy Pirate. At this point in my life I just can’t get away with calling anyone a butt or palsy pirate. I twittered something about this serendipitous discovery (not using those terms) then almost deleted it because my account is more food-oriented and any talk of race or disability could be taken the wrong way (and of course I mean it in the best way possible). I got an unfollow on vacation when twittering about lack of dating options for white women in Thailand because white dudes only date hookers. Food people are kind of the lamest really.

Well, now that I think about it, a Kinko’s guy I had a crush on who also did a zine, the impetus for starting Scaredy-cat Stalker really, had a problem with my palsy story. We used to write letter letters to each other like every week, which seems unfathomable now, but he got on my bad side because he liked my friend not me and out of the blue he sent me an angry letter than I’m sure I still have somewhere, angry and weird because it wasn’t handwritten as usual but printed from a computer, and the last line was something to the effect of see ya, have a good life and I hope you having fun picking on people with cerebral palsy. The thing was, we were still in touch years after that, on the e-mail, so clearly the palsy thing was only so much of a deterrent. To add insult to injury, this dude who was never much of a lady’s man got cancer, then started getting laid like crazy, all sorts of sympathy sex from female penpals (not me, mind you). He’s married now and still being a dork in a boring Northwestern way that I used to find charming and we’ve not corresponded since at least 2003.

So, the Crispin Glover movie I saw last week was not What Is It?, though that was playing the night before and afterward. No, I saw the more touching (serious, not joking) part two in the unfinished trilogy, It is Fine. Everything is Fine! with the screenplay by a man with cerebral palsy who also plays the main character (and died a month after filming). There are almost literally no words to describe this film and if you had even the vaguest interest in such a thing I would genuinely recommend you see it for yourself. Ah, the plot is pretty much him having sex with long-haired young women whose hair he brushes until they declare that they are going to cut their hair, and he goes into a rage and strangles them. Yep. Even the palsied have that women are prettiest with flowing locks fetish! (Remind me, I need to update Cut to the Chase.) But that is selling the film short because it is strangely sincere.

Hearing Crispin speak seriously, nerdily, passionately after it aired, did slightly up my attraction to him. Not extremely so. But I did start to wish that I had driven him around downtown Portland 16 years ago.

Reality isn’t typically reflected in my immediate dreams. That night though, I did have a dream involving Crispin Glover, not one of those deep R.E.M .dreams, but one where your alarm goes off and you’re so exhausted you hit snooze three more times (I vehemently opposed the snooze bar before I moved to NYC. I’m not sure if I’m so tired now because I’m ancient, because NYC is tiring or that Oregon is so painfully early to bed, early to rise) and fall into a half-conscious state. Crispin was lying on a couch, it wasn’t my house, it felt like a highrise, it might’ve been Eric Ripert’s fancy apartment. I was describing chef Ripert in his show, Avec Eric which I never ever watch and kept using the word smooth—smooth hair, smooth voice, smooth skin—in a positive way, Crispin was nodding in acknowledgment, then said, “I know, he’s horrible.”

5 thoughts on “Palsy of the Mind

  1. Oh My Gosh! Crispin Glover. I wish you’d driven him around Portland 16 years ago, too, so I could read about it now. I totally get why you didn’t do it, though. I wouldn’t have either. I bet he would have loved the lounge at Hung Far Low.

    I always had a love/hate thing with him too, I kind of suspected he was a fake weirdo, which made me mad, but then he was/is so good at it.

    And I love the way he dresses down the dorky fanboys in the interview you linked, when they asked him if “Beowulf” was a remake…hahaha…you can feel the side-eye coming through the text

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