Tue, Mar 12
CONFESSIONS OF AN AUCTIONEER@ 12:00 AM
I don’t keep trophies.
I have no problem with people who do, by the way. When I visited Stan Winston’s studios, back in the late 90s, and got to see all of the mounted and displayed brilliance that came from his mind and hands – everything that clanked or slithered or stalked across the movies I loved as a teenager? The Terminator, the Predator, the Alien monster and, tragically, some early work-ups for the then-upcoming Godzilla movie that the producers gypped him on. They didn’t want to pay for the 3-D models he was making. Just wanted flat, forgettable, fresh-off-the-computer CGI. Which explains why that movie sucked.
But being in Stan’s studios, with these gorgeously mounted examples of his work, was the closest I’ll ever come to visiting the actual Batcave. Or the Justice League satellite. Or one of Charles Foster Kane’s warehouses.
For some people, having shelves and walls displaying the evidence of their past successes, of their progress and achievements, helps them to make and do more stuff. And that’s fine.
I’m the opposite, for some reason.
If I may get briefly, sickeningly poetic here, I think of my life like a comet, with my past burning away in an ice and fire trail that twinkles to darkness in the cosmos. (Holy shit, I sound like I’m trying to sell Jamba Juice). Now, that doesn’t mean the walls and shelves of my office are blank. There are objects that mean something, to me, both chronologically and emotionally, but maybe not to someone else looking at them. A megalodon shark’s tooth. A small plaque with a Gerald Kersh quote on it. A necklace with a pair of Vietnamese presentation coins and a golden typewriter charm. A white cloth smeared with incense ashes. A stuffed Ponyo doll signed by Hayao Miyazaki. Other things, from other times and lives. I know them when they appear, and they exist, quietly, in a place where I try, every day, to create something.
Conversely, in that same place, that small office, where I try to carve out something new, and push into the future, I can’t abide too many objects from my past. Especially in my line of sight. I own one single object from Ratatouille, and my daughter will probably end up with that. The few awards I’ve received thus far in my career are scattered into the ether – manager’s offices, my parents’ house, or auctioned off to raise money for things I love, which I want to keep going.
Which brings me to why I’m auctioning off this trove of King of Queens memorabilia.
WFMU is, hands-down, my favorite radio station. They run no commercials, take no ad revenue. 100% listener-supported. The DIY, punk-rock, podcast mentality before any of those concepts existed. I stream them online when I’m writing and there’s always something amazing playing, something interesting happening, someone fascinating doing something unspeakable.
And it hasn’t been easy for them.
But it’s been relatively easy for me, especially after nine years on the King of Queens. Don’t think I’m not aware, every single day, of how cosmically, karmically-undeservedly lucky I was to get cast on The King of Queens, and then to not get fired when they say how mediocre my acting was. For some reason, I was allowed to stay, and learn to act (being on a set with Kevin James and Jerry Stiller every single day for nine years will, even if you’re not trying, make you a better actor).
This chair, and the series finale script signed by the entire cast and crew, plus my crew jacket and Sony studio ID, as well as the pair of Doc Marten boots I wore in every single episode, have always sat in one corner of my office, between the teetering shelves of books.
I always liked them sitting there. It was a gentle reminder that I’m lucky and need to be thankful and always think twice before I’m ever impatient or rude to anyone. Some days, I’ll admit, I forgot that lesson, but most days I did.
But I feel like I’ve absorbed what I needed, during those amazing years where I got to play poker on Friday nights that the superlative writing staff of The King of Queens, got to go to Vegas on those big charter buses we’d rent, would smoke weed and sip scotch with the producers, and made enough money so I could finance stuff like The Comedians of Comedy, and my first couple of albums which, let’s face it, if I didn’t have King of Queens money, would never ever ever have happened. The Jacket. The Chair. The Boots. The Card and The Script. A Tarot Deck of Five, reminding me that fortune’s only good if you use it to pay for and perpetuate the stuff you love.
And now it’s time for them to go. Just like it will be time, someday, for my Comedians of Comedy tour jacket (one of only five in existence) to get auctioned off to raise money for something. The way I auctioned off my “Famous Mortimer” Globochem jersey (the only one of its kind, from Mr. Show) to raise money for the L.A. Food Bank a few years ago. Memories mean more than objects to me. And if I ever lose my memory? Well, then what good is a roomful of objects going to be except to remind me how much of my memory I’ve lost?
So, on Tuesday night, March 12th, 2013 (tonight or tomorrow, depending on when my web master posts this) you can call into The Best Show on WFMU from 9pm to midnight, EST. Those are the only three hours you can call to bid on these items. Someone’s going to own them. You want it to be you? Then call 1 800 989 9368 during The Best Show on WFMU, and stake your claim. At midnight, whoever’s got the most money on the table, walks away with the Tarot deck. And WFMU will, hopefully, keep broadcasting, forever and ever.
Again, and I can’t stress this enough: only call 1 800 989 9368 during the hours of 9pm to midnight, EST, on Tuesday the 12th. That’s the only window where you can bid and win. You can, of course, always just flat-out donate to the station. They’re menu of premiums and goodies (https://www.wfmu.org/marathon/pledge.php?pr=BS) are better and more crave-able and beyond the imagination of even the dreamiest music lover. Click on the link and go shopping. Or place a bid, and burn off some of my life’s comet. I’ll be forever indebted.