Now that my reign as Mr. August has technically come to an end, it’s time to reflect on the opportunities it has afforded me to see the world, meet some amazing people, and really make a difference.
As Stud of the Month I got to see how the charmed world works behind the golden curtain. In short, I was better than most of you for thirty-one glorious days where I was fed sugar-coated grapes, fanned with giant, starched thongs, and basically had whatever I wanted brought to me within seconds of my asking. And did I take advantage? You bet your ass, I did.
My first order of business was to seek revenge against all those who said I would never amount to anything. Yes, Walter Hennis, I’m looking at you. Thought you were cool making me cry at the baseball field by stealing my snow cone and dumping it in the trash, didn’t you? Well, when I was Mr. August I ate a different flavored snow cone for each day of the week. You? You went to prison, didn’t you? They got any snow cones in the joint, Walter? Riiiiight, didn’t think so.
Walter wasn’t the only person I exacted revenge against, but the best thing about being a celebrity is that you’re having so much fucking fun, other people––not just those who have wronged you, but everyone–––simply don’t count. Not only that, but doors open to places you’ve never been and that’s where I’d like to concentrate my entry today.
A week or so ago (it’s hard to remember, as the days of wine and roses flew by so fast) I booked a trip to Rue Morgue’s Festival of Fear in Toronto. The plan was to fly out early Friday afternoon (1:15 pm, US Airways) and get into my hotel by no later than four. That would leave me a whole hour to don my studly robes and get over to the festivities that were scheduled to begin around 5 pm. One of the coolest parts of the whole business would involve being able to traverse the couple of blocks to the convention center underground, therefore protected from any inclement weather. This is the kind of privilege I had grown accustomed to enjoying, and what better way to celebrate the last few days of my title than in utter, almost grotesque, opulence.
Friday arrives and it’s nearly time for me to head out of my little seaside town and make the hour or so trip to the Philadelphia airport. Before I can go, however, I need to work out in a show of respect for my exclusive station. No one wants to see a flabby Mr. August, so I humbly oblige. Just as I’m finishing, things begin to grow very dark outside. Then, thunder, followed by an electrical storm the likes I haven’t seen since the beginning of the War of the Worlds remake. Blood-sucking alien beings or not, I’ve got to make my flight so I brave a quick shower (washing all my parts, relax) and finish packing. Ready to go now, I see that the gods of scariness have rightfully granted me reprieve. Now I won’t have to cover myself with my bags as I make my way to the car. It will also be easier to drive, which will do wonders for my stress level.
But the gods, one discovers, are dicks. When I get outside I find that my street is underwater. Having flooded and totaled a car before in this town (a Ford Explorer, no less) I’m a little concerned that my tiny, Toyota Matrix will suffer a similar fate, causing me to miss my flight and denying a rabid, North American fan expo populace the chance to touch my cape. My neighbor Gene, bless his guidance, figures it’s still low tide so I should make it. Only, I should head the wrong way down my one way street (as it’s shorter that way and not as deep) and keep my speed high. I concur, and inside of ten seconds I’m backing into the deluge and revving my engine.
I gun it, spraying plumes of oily saltwater on the curious plebs dangling from the nearby hotel, and head into the turn. I make it, but not before I nail a curb with my tire (which later, I would discover, will require my purchasing a new one). Once on the main road out of town, I find myself stuck behind a slow-moving van. Nothing a little laying on of the horn won’t fix, and before I know it, I’m on my way over the bridge and into an epic, Mr. Augustian destiny.
However, destiny, in case you weren’t following along, is organized by the gods. Those are the dicks, remember? If you do, then you won’t be surprised to learn that when I arrive at check-in after parking my car in the long-term garage, I’m told that my flight is canceled. What’s worse, there are no other flights until the following morning. Come to find after some wrangling and a little luck, the person “assisting” me has fucked it all up and there is, in fact, a flight that evening. She books it, fucks that up, too, and after some running between terminals, the greater airline employment union manage to get me a single, fucking seat. Good people, I often despair at the failures I am forced to accept that define our stage of evolution as a species––racism, sexism, dickism––but nowhere can there be found more depth in human FAIL than at an airport. It is an ideal barometer for where we’re going and and let me tell you it’s somewhere in the outskirts of Cleveland and we’re getting there late.
Anyhow, seeing that my flight is at 7:40 which means I will miss the start of the convention, all that’s left to do is read for about three hours in a freezing cold airport foyer until I can check my bags, which can only be done four hours prior to when the flight is scheduled. Philadelphia airport, in case you weren’t aware, has no shops or eateries outside of security check-in, so unless you’ve brought your own, you’re stuck shivering and watching very wet people come in and out, all making the same kinds of errors in judgment that we’ve come to identify with being a human at an airpot. These are not circumstances in which I, Mr. August, have signed up for nor expected to have to withstand. But you don’t get a studly title by being a wuss, so I persevere. Three Steven King short stories later, my bags are checked and I’m putting my shoes back on. I’ll skip the part where, trying to find my belt, my pants fell down and I was bare-assed for about three seconds. Suffice it to say, it was as close to an act of terrorism as any I’ve ever committed. Although, I’m willing to bet my ass was in the 99 percentile of the people there.
Ass now covered, I head to my gate and discover that the flight has been delayed to 9:00. That means I’ll likely miss any night life I might have been able to explore in downtown Toronto, but there’s little I can do about it. Just as there was little I could do about the flight being delayed to 10:00 an hour or so later. So, at this point I’m about $30 down (thanks airport chicken sandwich and two beers price setters!) and I can barely see. Airports blind me. I’m not exactly sure why, but I think it has to do with the air-conditioning, the mix of perfumes and B.O., and the way things are all so far away until they’re right in your face. Your eye is so fatigued from focusing every other second, that it eventually just says, “Here, use this blurry setting. I’m fucking fatigued”. And like that, the eye becomes an airport employee and just gives you what it can and there’s fuck all you can do about it.
Just when I’m beginning to think my reign will end before Senator Ted Kennedy’s funeral is over, an actual, bona fide airplane shows up at the gate. And it looks to be in one piece! Hurrah! Woot! Yay! GET OUT OF MY WAY!!! I board, we take off, and I’m on my way to the great white north. Stay tuned as there’s more stud-of-the-month news next entry. To whet your appetite a bit, enjoy the demo reel of a brilliant animator fella I met in downtown Toronto at a place called The Loose Moose. More on him next time.