Sunday, May 6, 2012

Happy Birthday, George

Today is George Clooney's 51st birthday, so I sincerely hope you all will celebrate by living like Clooney.

Have a few cocktails, eat Italian cuisine, go out with someone too young for you (someone gorgeous with brown eyes), get arrested, and charge strangers $40,000 apiece to visit your home and hang out with the President.

Hell, while you're at it, please put on a tuxedo.

As of this morning, this blog had 51 posts filed under the George Clooney label. This will be the 52nd (one to grow on).

That count is probably not entirely accurate since I am a master at slipping George Clooney references into any and everything, even when I'm writing about serious topics. Here are a few of my blog posts that mention George:

The American - In Which George Clooney Mortifies My Son
A Very Special Lifetime Christmas Movie
The Crush List (The Happiness Challenge Day 30)

You can see all of them by scrolling down the righthand side of my blog and clicking on George Clooney under Labels.

My friends are masters at adding George into photos of me, like this:
Or adding me into photos of George, like this:
My son randomly asked this morning if I'd read Marrying George Clooney: Confessions from a Midlife Crisis (my sister gave it to me for Christmas). It's on the bookshelf stacked on top of Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott which is on top of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

"Not yet," I said.

"Mom, this woman is going to steal your man and you're not even going to read her plan of attack?"

Those are the kind of conversations we have around here. George Clooney is one of our go-to punchlines. Because, clearly, the idea of me meeting him and him falling in love with me at first sight is just a joke. George Clooney is simply shorthand for dreams and possibilities and delicious impossibilities and hope.

Often the past few years, George Clooney has helped turn my inner musings away from sad realities and toward happy fantasies. Most of those stories involve me winning an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay based on my best-selling memoir and George presents me the award. None of these stories involve us getting married (I don't believe in marriage as a happy ending).

Some of the stories involve me lying out in the sun on his yacht somewhere off the Italian coast, because I'm tired and I'd like to just lie around with a magazine and have a really attractive man serve me cocktails.

On guard
Listen, people, if you don't have fantasies, real life will beat you down. Never let real life steal your joy.  If you need to assign George Clooney to guard the gates, to keep your joy out of the hands of thieves called Regret and Anger and Guilt and Grief, then do it. George will be the guardian of your hope. If you want to make him wear a tuxedo while he does it, he's always willing to comply.

On my 12th birthday in 1985, my mom gave me two gifts:

A pink and blue Swatch watch that she let me open in front of my friends during my slumber party.

A hardcover collection of Lewis Carroll's works and a framed poem from Through the Looking Glass that she had me open during my birthday dinner, when it was only me and my brother and my mom around the table

I do not have that Swatch anymore, but the book is still on my shelf. And the framed poem is hanging on the wall above my bed.

It is actually only the last eight lines of the poem, a poem whose full text spells out the name of the original Alice when the first letter of each line is read downward. It is written in calligraphy on aged parchment paper.

Eager eye and willing ear
Lovingly shall nestle near

In a Wonderland they lie, 
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die: 

Ever drifting down the stream -
Lingering in the golden gleam - 
Life, what is it but a dream? 

If you're going to dream, friends, dream big. If you're going to choose a fantasy man for your trips through the looking glass, choose only the best. There are a lot of other lessons you can learn from me, but those are it for today.

Happy birthday to my fantasy man, George Clooney. Thanks for being the best pretend boyfriend a girl  could ever have.

Life, what is it but a dream?

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