Some day I’ll be one of those grandly self-important, million-dollar screenwriters invited to speak to a film school class. The awestruck students will hang on my every word, careful not to miss the key phrase, life philosophy or meaningful anecdote revealing the true secret of my success. I’ll saunter up to the podium, bestow a mouthed hello on a vaguely familiar face, blow on my no-foam latte, and dispense the following bit of advice: "Never wear your first thong to an important lunch meeting."
Yesterday afternoon, throwing caution to the wind in preparation for the most important encounter of my life, I flagrantly defied the All-Black Writer Rule, and even the Sneakers And Jeans Exception. It's springtime in Hollywood, after all, and there I stood naked in my closet on the verge of becoming The Next Big Thing. Bravely selecting some white linen Capri pants that wouldn’t have worked at all with panty lines, I also reached for a previously unworn pair of thong underwear I affectionately refer to as “up-butts.”
I soon discovered how very odd it feels walking into a restaurant with your see-through pants and fundamentally exposed cheeks, publicly apologizing by way of a visible length of rope up your crack. “Nice seeing you again,” I might have said to the Big Deal Producer Guy holding my entire future in his hands. “Please don’t mind my wedgie.”
On the plus side, the restaurant I’d dismissed in advance as no place for a big Hollywood power lunch turned out, conversely, to be a super hip, happening hang-out on a trendy stretch of La Brea between Wilshire and Melrose. Who knew this was the new Robertson between Sunset and 3rd? Producer Guy, who’s based in New York, lunches here so often they addressed him by name while delivering the Arnold Palmer he didn’t have to order. You don’t get that kind of fawning at Chateau Marmont unless you're a dead celebrity.
The bad news is I was not officially hired right there on the spot, as I’d naively imagined this scene from my life story would play out. Instead, we broke our bread, dipped it in red pepper-infused olive oil, ordered our in vogue high fiber low fat entrée choices, and talked. About regular things, like regular people. We discussed where we’d gone to college, mutual early aspirations to do stand-up and how far we'd walk in this town to get a good macaroon. By the time I'd backed into and out of the ladies' room, I found myself having fun of all things. That's around the time he mentioned that while both he and the producers feel I can get the job done, they’re obligated to hear the remaining pitches they’ve requested over the next couple of weeks.
Two hours later, what I’d conjured up as a quick rendezvous where I’d be let down easy over a ham sandwich turned out to be one of the most memorable days I’ve had here in Hollywood. Only when I forgot the garrot between my legs and stopped looking around to see if anyone big was at the next table could I really focus on the obvious. After all these years, here I was chatting with a smart, accomplished fellow who loves movies as much as I do about the possibility of our making one together.
What’s that quote about Hollywood being like high school, only with money? This was like film school, only real. Maybe the true secret to my success will rely not on a better choice of panty styles, but on learning to seize the day even while counting them with baited breath.