Saturday, March 7, 2009

You gotta shake rattle and roll

One of the highlights of my non-illustrious career was the creation of a half-million dollar commercial for a regional grocery chain. My good buddy and copywriter, Uncle Lemme (video-store-story-teller extraordinaire), and I conceived and produced this animated :30 second spot. And as good fortune would have it, both the film AND animation houses producing the piece for us were in California. DAMN the luck! We had to travel to both Hollywood AND San Francisco in 6 months time. Tough job. Some body's gotta do it. We sacrificed ourselves.

This particular week, we were in Hollywood. Literally. West Hollywood. We didn't know about West Hollywood. I've never had guys whistling at me before. That was certainly different.

We'd gone out to dinner and had 2 or 3 bottles of Dom Perignon champagne and I'd had other liquid entertainment as well. So on the walk back to the hotel, I tried to sarcastically whistle back at the "guys" on the street and wound up more like spitting on them. Drinking and whistling don't go hand-in-hand. I'm lucky they didn't try to hit me with their purses. Hell, I'd have just hit them back with mine.

So we're back at the hotel pool. Lemme and I are in the pool floating like a couple of over sized, inebriated corks. Neither of us smokes cigars but I think we were because it fits the image of Big Wig Movie Producers in Hollywood floating in a pool, sipping on champagne.

We were feeling absolutely NO pain. Remember when your Mom told you NOT to go in the pool for 1 hour after eating? Well we ignored that advice. But Mom never told us to NOT drink champagne or smoke cigars in the pool either, so at least we were safe on the latter two.

It was a perfectly still, beautiful Hollywood evening. And I remember a sudden "gust of wind" as the palms by the pool rustled. I think a bird squawked for effect too (after all, we were in Hollywood, so special effects were to be expected even in the pool by our hotel).

And moments later, our Account Executive, Scott bursts through the courtyard door and yells, "DID YOU FEEL THAT?!"

Uncle Lemme and I looked at each other, blew snot out our noses guffawing, and said something unintelligible, but basically replied, "No, felt what?"

"WE JUST HAD A 6.2 EARTHQUAKE!!! IT'S ON THE NEWS RIGHT NOW!," Scott yelled - he was so easily excited – what's the big deal? We were all standing at that moment under a high-rise hotel tower on the largest, most unstable fault line in the U.S. – a fault line that had just burped minutes ago. Oops. Actually Lemme and I are floating on the fault line. Scott was turning red and flailing his arms on it.

Lemme and I blew snot again and took a puff off our cigars and another swig of champagne, "You're shitting me?"

We'd been hit by a 6.2 earthquake and bobbed up and down with it in the pool like a couple of fishing bobbers on the verge of catching a couple of whoppers. That, apparently is why the palms rattled. And the bird squawked. Lemme and I hadn't felt a damn thing. Nada. Of course a meteor could have crashed into our heads and we wouldn't have felt it either.

Fortunately, the epicenter was far, far away from habitation. I think a cactus fell over at ground zero. And as the cactus met its demise, Lemme and I continued to play the Big Shots, partying the night away.

Those were the days, weren't they, Lemme? Naaaaahhhhh.