I had always been envious of people who pull off a good April Fool’s joke. This is probably due, in no small part, to my love for the television show “Cheers” when I was growing up.
Unfortunately for me, the key element of these jokes is usually that you be a good liar, which I am not.
The most success I had came early on in my career when I threw some boxes down the stairs and started yelling so that my mom thought I fell. Boy, you should have seen her face when she came running!
But then, April 1, 2003 I had an idea. It was spur of the moment, but I was inspired. I sat down at my computer and I typed out this email to everyone on my contact list:
i’m quitting hollywood
That’s right folks, I’ve had it. With everything going
on in the world, I can no longer pretend like any of
this matters. It’s time for me to go home. I can say
the usual “well I’m gonna go back for a few months,
make some money and come back with a new attittude,
ready to tackle the world” but we both know that
probably won’t happen. Thanks to everyone who’s helped
me along on my journey, I will never forget you and I
promise to keep in touch. To those of you trying to
make it, don’t be disheartened by my example. If you
believe in yourself, truly believe in yourself, you
can do it. Maybe one day I will find that belief.
I’ll be keeping this email address so you can keep in
touch with me this way, and I’ll probably have my cell
phone through the end of the month but I’ll be out of
my apartment by the fifteenth of april.
Take care everybody and wish me luck, because I wish
you all the best in whatever you do.
Then, a few page lengths down at the bottom, I wrote “APRIL FOOL’S!”, because I am a pussy.
I would never commit suicide, but I have to admit that the whole, “I’ll show them!” thing has appealed to me.
At that point, I lived in a two bedroom, one bath apartment in Valley Village (which isn’t as nice as it seems on the Sarah Silverman Program) with four other people. I didn’t have a real job and my “acting” career certainly wasn’t playing out the way I had expected, so I guess there was some wish-fulfillment going on here.
Well, fortunately for my joke, but unfortunately for me, it seems that most people didn’t bother to scroll down to the bottom, because I was inundated with heartfelt emails from people, some of whom I didn’t even know that well, pouring their hearts out to me.
People said really nice things. They persuaded me to stay. Told me how funny I was and how I had such a bright future ahead of me (well, I showed them!). They talked about how I was a great guy and they were going to miss me so much. Trust me, when I say this isn’t really what you want to hear when you’re pranking someone.
I immediately started feeling really guilty and wrote back to all of these people, apologizing profusely. I hope you can see now why I had never pulled off a very good prank before and why I am ultimately not cut out for this line of work.
Nobody held a grudge for too long, people were pretty understanding. There was no long-term damage, just a few restless nights of sleep for me.
Except for one person.
He was someone I didn’t know that well. I had a brief part in a video he had produced or shot or something. The details are lost to time and my damaged brain.
Re-reading it now, the email he wrote still gives me knots in my stomach. I’ve changed some of the details to protect his identity, but all the important parts are the same.
I sort of have this fantasy in my head that he was fooled, started writing a shorter, less personal email and then realized he had been tricked, wrote this one instead to stick it to me and decided to never speak to me again as his own, retaliatory April Fool’s joke in revenge.
But that’s probably just because it’s six years later and I still feel guilty about this. Anyway, here it is:
I don’t know what to say. It is sad to hear but only you know what is best for you. I don’t know where your “Home” is but I am sure it is a place where you will feel more comfortable and support. Now about you never coming back. Don’t worry about that right now. Just like you didn’t want to say you would never leave LA before you arrived.
I work at a rest home now and spend most of my day talking to people about their lives so I have a rather informed perspective on the whole “meaning to life” thing. Not necessarily the right perspective but an informed one none the less. One story that I hear alot I call the caught in the rain story. It is often when a family takes a trip together an gets caught in the rain which seems to ruin their good time. As you might imagin when they look back on it that is the fun time they had together. That is what they remember because they were all united by that adversity. It doesn’t rain in LA like it does in Seattle. It doesn’t snow like Chicago and it doesn’t honk like New York. The adversity in LA it each person and their dreams. The weather gives us that. We actors, writer, producers and strippers are brought together by a common goal and that is to get into the stories that inspired us when we were young. You faced that challenge… most people in this world don’t have the courage to even try. You did much more than try. I am proud to know you and expect to get a lot of feedback from your twisted perspective on all future projects.
I hope you come back some day if nothing else than just to visit and have a good time. You are always welcome wherever I live.
Take care my friend.