Monthly Archives: October 2012

Book: Eat, Pray, Love (Drink, Play, F@#k)

 

I few months ago I came across Drink Play F@#k, a comedic take on Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love:  One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia,  told from the man’s perspective.  I really enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love, so I wasn’t sure how I would feel about a book that makes fun of it.  I did actually enjoy the book, which I’ll talk about a little later, but it also got me thinking I should reread Eat, Pray, Love for comparison.  It took me two months (can we say resistance?), but I finally finished the book again for the third time.

 

I have to say, where the hell was I the first two readings?  I feel like I missed so much and everything seemed so much clearer this time.  Of course when I first read it in 2008, I was still somewhat in my depression fog and didn’t much feel like reading about someone else’s experience with it.  I kept thinking, I have this in everyday life, I really don’t want to devote my leisure time to hearing someone else’s version.  Though in the end, I did end up enjoying reading it.

 

This time around, something just clicked for me, especially the India section.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that for my first read I was younger than the author at the time and this time I’m a year old than she was when she took her yearlong sabbatical.  I feel like I’ve been living the last fifteen years in a fog.  Though if I’m being really honest, it’s more like the last thirty.  In case you’re wondering I’m thirty-five; life kind of went downhill for me after my fifth birthday and it’s only been in the last five years that I’ve really started to turn it around.  That’s not entirely true because I’ve had some amazing experiences in my life and I haven’t been completely comatose for thirty years, but I feel like I’m finally fully awake for the first time in my life. 

 

Now on to Andrew Gottlieb’s book Drink, Play, F@#k:  One Man’s Search for Anything Across Ireland, Vegas, and Thailand, which is a satirical spoof of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book eat pray love  written from the man’s perspective.

 

I loved Eat, Pray, Love. I thought it was poignant, interesting, and hysterical at times.  Reading how this woman dealt with her divorce and put her life back together with the backdrop of all these fabulous locations was such an enjoyable read.

 

Drink, Play, F@#k isn’t just a spoof; it’s really an homage from the male perspective of having his wife leave him for a man named David and it is also hysterical.  Gottlieb doesn’t just use the idea as a starting point.  He has broken down eat pray love and rewritten it sometimes scene for scene from the man’s point of view.  If you know Eat, Pray, Love, you can almost do a side by side comparison in your head, which makes everything even funnier.  Oh right, this is what Elizabeth did (or what a woman would do) and yep, here’s the man’s take.  This is how a man deals with a breakup.

 

Some of my favorite quotes from Eat, Pray, Love:

 

Man, they got mosquitoes ’round this place big enough to rape a chicken.  Ladies & Gentlemen, Richard from Texas has arrived.

 

…to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice…I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless newborn baby–I just don’t care what it puts me through.  Because I adore it.  Because it’s mine.  Because it looks exactly like me.  It can barf all over me if it wants to–I just don’t care.

 

In response, somewhere from within me, rises a now-familiar presence offering me all the certainties I have always wished another person would say to me when I was troubled.  This is what I find myself writing to myself on the page:

 

I’m here.  I love you.  I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you.  If you need the medication again, go ahead and take it–I will love you through that, as well.  If you don’t need the medication, I will love you, too.  There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love.  I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you.  I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.

 

Il bel far niente–the beauty of doing nothing  The art of doing nothing…How do I define pleasure?

 

 

And now for the man’s side of finding himself, Drink, Play, F@#k:

 

(on taking a complete stranger to the ER after headbutting her while trying to kiss her because they both were so drunk):

 

Colin had come with us to the emergency room.  As I guesstimated Giovanna’s height, weight, and birth date, I explained to Colin how my marital history had prepared me to deal with stuff like this.  He just looked at me, perplexed.  The he pointed to Giovanna.  “But you’re not married to her.”… “Are you even banging her?”  I told him I was not.  “Then what the fuck are you doing here?” …I was there out of a sense of obligation.  I was there because I was supposed to be there.  I was there because it was “the right thing to do.” …I always took care of that stuff for my wife. …I was like a human BlackBerry–except for the fact that my wife would actually touch her BlackBerry.  I was so accustomed to being the responsible one that it never occurred to me that I was no longer responsible for anyone but myself.

 

I never got seduced by online gambling.  If I wanted to make money depressed and alone staring at a computer monitor all day, I’d just go to the office.

 

I realized that the real reason I came to Las Vegas was to play–not necessarily gamble, or hit golf balls–but to play.  Ultimately, that’s the most appealing thing about the city.  The whole pace is a temple to leisure.  Some people might say that’s a silly reason for a city to exist.  But I disagree.  Life has too many serious moments as it is.  Every day we’re faced with a dozen choices that tie us up in knots.  Should I send my kids to public school?  Or should I take a second job and send them to private school?  Should I put my mother in a nursing home?  Or should I invite her to live with me?

Those are the big decisions that have to be made.  They’re important–and I’m not diminishing their significance.  But in Vegas, my toughest choices were things like, “Should I play from the blue tees or the white tees?”  “Should I hit the Hard Rock or Mandalay Bay first?”  Those decisions are unimportant–but I’m also not diminishing their significance.  Because not everything has to be such a big deal all the time.  If you don’t unwind and just beg out with a beer and a swim-up blackjack table now and then, you’ll make yourself nuts.  And if you’re nuts, you’ll make the wrong decisions about the big stuff.   And that’s how you end up with three kids in private school and your senile mother living in your basement.

 

Compared to the Cove, DiCaprio’s beach looked like a greasy February morning on Coney Island after a circus freak convention and a cheap beer festival coincided with a condom giveaway.

 

When you’ve been handed the keys to paradise, it would be foolish to waste a lot of time outside the gates.

 

During my second week at the Cove…I got laid.  I realize that it is extremely ungentlemanly to make that statement, and I apologize to anyone who may have been rooting for me to turn out to be a gentleman.  I do my best–and I have been known occasionally to rise in the presence of a lady and hold a door or two open for the elderly–but this book does have the word “fuck” in the title, and I have certain responsibilities to my readership.

 

Alicia and I are together forever (fingers crossed) and life is good.  As for my ex-wife, I wish her well.  I hope she’s not too upset with me for writing this book.  Lord knows I’d be pissed off if she wrote one.

 

 

TV: Call the Midwife

 

I’ve started watching the British show Call the Midwife on PBS and it’s amazing.  Set in London’s poor East End in the late 1950s, it deals with the everyday life of young women working to deliver babies in some really harsh conditions.  The fact that they live and train with nuns makes for some interesting humor, especially when it comes to dating.  You can catch the show on PBS or watch it online.  Like all British shows, the season is short, only seven episodes, so there are only three left, but now I want to catch up on Downton Abbey, which for some inexplicable reason I have never seen.

 

Book: Love, Life and Elephants

 

I’ve been reading voraciously lately and devoured a number of books.  One of the ones I enjoyed the most was Dame Daphne Sheldrick’s memoir of her life in Kenya,  Love, Life and Elephants:  An Africa Love Story.  She’s led such an amazing life raising orphaned wild animals, being co-warden of Tsavo National Park with her late husband the conservationist David Sheldrick, and her insights into African life offer a different perspective.  It really is a love letter to Africa in the way she describes the landscape and the animals, including her precious elephants.  She always had a menagerie of wild animals being raised and reintroducted back into the wild, but her greatest success stories have been the baby elephants she raised after their mothers were killed, mostly by poachers.  She writes in such a compassionate way and has such knowledge of elephant behavior that you start thinking of them as people, which is a good thing because rather than most animals we anthropomorphize, elephants actually have behavioral patterns that closely resemble humans.  Now I want to go visit the David Sheldrick Wildlfie Trust in Kenya and visit the elephant nursery.

 

Two other books I’ve read recently which were good are The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich and The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato.  Both are set in Renaissance Venice and the historical aspect is interesting.