Saturday, December 31, 2005

To crumple or to shred? ...'tis the brotherly question

Nine years my junior, Mark, my brother, moved into his new place in September after having to move back to our folks' place following a burglary at his old apartment early this year. We're all happy for his new beginning.

I enjoy spending time with Mark, who possesses a proficiency for dazzling leaps of logic that link seemingly disparate pop culture references with everyday life. It's a blast to hear the stuff coming out of his mouth, and when this stuff mixes with my own twisted brand of comedy, well, "surreal" takes on a whole new meaning. The conversations we share routinely lead to inadvertent, arcane humor that makes us both laugh our asses off.

Mark agrees with me that most people wouldn't understand our jokes. We take snobbish pride in this, and the exclusivity of it all makes these moments all the more satisfying.

A few weeks ago I was driving him home. We had gone to see "Good Night, and Good Luck," a film I thoroughly endorse and recommend. Here's how the conversation, which had nothing to do with the movie, went:

Mark: Dude, I'm trying to clean up my new place. There's sh!t all over the place. But it's so tough. There's so much sh!t. Know what I mean?

Brent: Dude, I totally know what you mean. Seriously man, it's huge.

Mark: Yeah. It's like, I want to take pride in the place. I want it to be, like, my place. But with all the crap around, it's like I'm not in my own place or something.

Brent: Dude, I know. Check it out, man. You need to get a paper shredder, dude. Seriously. I'm telling you. I just got one. It's awesome.

Mark: Dude, why the f#%k do you need one of those? Just crumple stuff up. I just crumple it up.

Brent: Mark, that's what I'm saying. You're having trouble precisely because you have to crumple this stuff up. It's unsatisfying and feels insurmountable. You need the satisfaction that comes from a machine completely tearing up a piece of paper to the point of no return.

Mark: [laughs] Dude, come on. That's stupid. I don't need a paper shredder. In fact, that sounds violent, like that movie with that guy shredding up people. That one with Steve Buscemi in it. What was that movie?

Brent: Yeah, what was that movie again? "Fresno"? Yeah, that was the movie! [laughs] You need a paper shredder, like in that movie "Fresno."

[more laughing]

Mark: No, dude! It's "Fargo"! Now I remember. Geez...that's actually funny, though, 'cuz we're talking about a paper shredder, not a wood chipper cutting up people. So it would be a different movie: "Fresno."

Brent: Yeah, right. Dude, that's funny. Seriously. In fact, that could be a line from some independent film comedy: "Dude, you need a paper shredder, like in that movie 'Fresno.'"

Mark: Perfect. Let's produce and direct it.

Maybe we will.