An Actor Speaks

I may get kicked out of the club, here.

Dear Non-Actors,

I’m speaking on behalf of the acting community, here. I’m about to tell you something for your own good. It’s risky for me to do this, and I’m aware that just yesterday I was pimping Jeff, but here goes:

Don’t date us.

Seriously. Don’t date an actor. I know we seem all very charming and funny and outgoing when you first look at us, but I’m here to tell you something; we are all dying on the inside. We are the worst people in the world to date. We are all slowly killing ourselves internally. We are.

We are faced with rejection on a near-daily basis. And as much as we tell you that it doesn’t bother us, it does. It hurts the very core of our beings. We try and cover the pain with humor, or we attempt to dull it with alcohol or cigarettes or whatever-drug-of-choice, but the fact of the matter is it kills us that every single day we have to wake up and still be ourselves. We are always ourselves. And it’s never good enough.

We are used to only seeing people for six weeks at a time. After that, the sound of that same person’s voice will make us want to scream. We hate it when people tell us what to do, but we will constantly ask for advice. We want a director in our lives. Someone who is telling us things we want to hear (praise, attention, affection), but when that person has constructive criticism, we can’t stand him or her anymore.

If you ever tell us how to say something, or correct us on how we remember things, you’re pretty much out of our lives forever.

We only have the same six stories about how great some summer show was and we will tell them over and over and over again.

We might get into fist fights over the best season of SNL.

We are always talking to ourselves. In the shower, in the car, in our beds at night. Sometimes you’ll find us talking to corners, plants, televisions. We sometimes want you to listen to us say the same three minutes of material you’ve heard about one million times and then ask if you can see the “subtle” changes we have made.

We are constantly having to see other people’s shows, even really bad shows, and we have to tell the person that was in the show that it was really good work. We’re not being a good friend or anything, it’s just that deep down we know that if that other person is up later for the same role we’re up for, we know that we’re better and will get the part.

It’s not pretty, and we know it. We are horrible, terrible, annoying people.

The bitch of it is, every single one of us will tell you that we never want to date an actor. I bet every actor you know is dating an actor. If they weren’t actors when they started dating, they became actors (or techies) by having to “help out” with a show when someone drops out. Eventually, everyone in the circle becomes a performer. Every single one of us will tell you that we never want to date an actor; that they are moody and flaky and irresponsible and self-centered.

And then we crawl right back and date another actor. Because we are slaves to talent. We’re slaves to pretty things. We are more turned on by stage presence than a good meal. I’m not kidding. I don’t care how well you cook or dress or hike or catch a football. We want to see you do some Tony Kushner. That’s all we want. That is so hot.

Realize that I’m going to be in a bit of trouble for spilling our secrets here.

Every single actor feels like the single-worst actor in the world. We all feel like frauds. That if anyone really knew how much we were faking this whole thing, then we’d be shunned forever. We never feel prepared.

We think of ourselves first. We love ourselves more than anyone else in the world, and we hate ourselves just as passionately at the same time. We will be so happy that we will start crying because we will realize that we may never feel this happy again. We will be so angry that we will create a huge situation out of the lack of ice in the freezer.

We create our own drama. We live and breathe drama. If there’s no drama, you’re not living.

We hate each other passionately for forcing us to go see other shows and having to listen to their drama when it’s OUR drama and OUR shows that are the most important.

We’ll skip a friend’s show to have sex, and then when they skip your show to go on a date, they are the assholes.

You. Can’t. Win.

Example: last night. my house.

[scripty]
ERIC
Go get me a piece of cake, would ya?

PAMIE
Are you serious?

(pause)

ERIC
Of course not.

PAMIE
Uh-huh.

ERIC
I can get my own cake.

PAMIE
(singing)
Taylor! He gives me tough love! He’s just like Eric! He just wants me to get him a piece of cake! He says, “Get me a slice or I’ll hitcha!”

ERIC
Okay, I’m pretty sure you’ve lost it.

PAMIE
If I end up having a nervous breakdown, will you take care of me?

ERIC
Sure.

PAMIE
Would you? Would you really?

ERIC
I’d make sure you were in one of the finest institutions.

PAMIE
You’d have me committed?

ERIC
In the nuthouse, baby.

PAMIE
Oh my God! And you’d probably be all, “Hey, not my fault! Bitch went nuts on me! Here’s to pamie, for letting me have my FREEDOM!”

ERIC
You make it sound so glamorous.

PAMIE
“One for me, and a little something for my crazy girlie.”

ERIC
You’d do the same to me.

PAMIE
I would not! I can’t believe you’d have me locked up!

ERIC
You would do the same for me. What are you doing? Why are you touching me?

PAMIE
I wouldn’t do that to you. I’d sit with you in your bed and I’d brush your hair and play dress up with you.

ERIC
Dress up?

PAMIE
(flinging herself on the futon and wrapping her head in a blanket)
OH! You’d just ditch me and leave me forever! That’s so wrong!

ERIC
Dress up?

PAMIE
Yeah, I’d dress you up like whoever you thought you were that week. Like Lincoln, or Patsy Cline.

ERIC
Do me a favor. Have me committed.

PAMIE
Well, at least I know now not to call you if I ever go crazy.

ERIC
If?

PAMIE
In fact, I’m gonna make a little list here of who I’d call if I was ever thrown in a hospital that would come and save me.

ERIC
Could you hand me that JANE?

PAMIE
Let me get my Handspring. Okay, “Nuthouse friends.”

ERIC
I’m getting some cake. You keep talking.

PAMIE
Oh, I will. Don’t you worry. Okay, let’s see…. First, I’d call my mommy. She’d do anything for me.

ERIC
Yes, she would.

PAMIE
Unlike some people who would just let me rot.

ERIC
Cake good.

PAMIE
I’d call Eleanor. And stee.

ERIC
Are you planning on getting locked up on the West Coast?

PAMIE
I like the beach.

ERIC
Uh-huh.

PAMIE
Then I’d call Matt and Becca, and Corey… Corey would help me…. and Ray. Ray always knows what to do. I’d call Ray. And then I’d call Marc and Anna, and they’d probably call Jon. And I’d call Tara and the other Tara and one of them would pray for me and the other would start a forum topic for me. I’d call your mom and your brother. Then I’d call Beth, and Chuy…

ERIC
Don’t forget ericajackson.com.

PAMIE
I didn’t. And then I’d call Andi, and Andy, and Jessica… Jeff and Rose together could bust me out and still keep a beat while they do it. Then I’d call David Bucci.

ERIC
The playwright? From here in Austin?

PAMIE
Yeah.

ERIC
Does he even know who you are?

PAMIE
It doesn’t matter, he’d still help me before you would.

ERIC
I’m going to sleep soon.

PAMIE
Then I’d call… Johnny Depp, since we’re in LOVE. And then I’d call Ralph Macchio, as I don’t think he’s too busy right now. And then I’d call Fiona Apple and Madonna, and then I’d call Matt Bearden who would at least make me laugh and then I’d call my dad and then Taylor and then… the president.

ERIC
Bill Clinton?

PAMIE
Whoever is president at the time. He’d still have more time for me than you.

ERIC
Are you almost finished?

PAMIE
You don’t care. Then I’d call your dad and Jimmy and Chris and then I’d call Crazy Terry.

ERIC
You don’t know Crazy Terry.

PAMIE
But it’s just crazy enough that it might work. Then I’d call Cal. Then I’d call David Letterman, and then I’d call Superman.

ERIC
Of course.

PAMIE
And then I’d call knees.

ERIC
Knees?

PAMIE
I’M CALLING KNEES, OKAY? And then, when I’ve run out of all other options and called the entire world, then I’d call you and you can have me locked up because I have no other option.

ERIC
You feel better now?

PAMIE
No.
[/scripty]

An actor will kill you slowly.

We never shut up. We never stop talking. When we’ve stopped talking it’s because we’re depressed, and we will be blaming ourselves, but we’ll probably take it out on you. We are prone to fits of creativity at the worst times. Last night I spent half an hour keeping Eric awake because I was laughing about Fred Schneider from the B-52’s. I’m not kidding. I just kept singing the Foo Fighter’s “Monkey Wrench” like Fred Schneider. Do you want to live with this?

Just let us date each other and keep on hating and loving each other. Save yourself the pain and the self-esteem issues. Sure, we’re great at parties, but when the lights go out, we are miserable, moody, overly sensitive people with such paranoid delusion that we are able to convince ourselves that the entire world hates us.

I may never get to do a show again for this, but I think that it’s good to let you know now that we are not what we appear to be.

And besides, we’re just going to date each other anyway. We can’t help it.

Love,
Pamie

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