By Mark D. Crantz
Laguna Beach. Another perfect day in Paradise, but oh no, it’s awards season. Ready. Set. Snooze. Here comes Peoples Choice, Golden Globes, Country Music, SAG, Academy Awards, and on and on the thank-you goes.
Each year, I get more depressed knowing that I’ll never get the nomination from the likes of the Hollywood Foreign Press. To improve my chances, I’ve tried to learn a second language, English. “Please can anybody foreign, domestic or alien give me a nomination?” To which the universal reply is, “That doesn’t sound like English. Try next year.”
After much soul searching, I’ve decided to rig things in my favor by coming up with my own nominating body called the Hollywood Domestic Abuse Press. Their sole purpose will be to recognize the one individual most suited for a life underachievement award for playing the role of victim. I can hear the award presentation now. “Mr. Crantz, here is your life underachievement award and Miranda warning in one. You now have the right to stop being silent and victimized, anything you feel you can’t speak up for or stand up to, we will assign you a life coach to answer on your behalf. However, to date, in the category of Abused Parent, your portrayal of a suburban parent whose children send their Father’s Day cards to local ATMs and those ATMs send you insufficient fund notices, a hefty late fee surcharge, and a kindly reminder to increase the alimony payments to your ex-wife, whose current relationship with the bank’s branch manger hangs on your balance, it is then, that the Hollywood Domestic Abuse Press unanimously agree that your victim role is unmatched by any of the other parent nominees. Congratulations and our sincere condolences, too.” (PS: Wire adjusted funds to Societe Generale Bank, Paris, France. Your family is on vacation. )
Truth be told, I’ve probably never won an award because I quit being a member of groups or industries that like to hand out awards. You see there was a childhood incident. It happened in the basement of a Methodist church. “Crantz, come up here. Front and center,” the parent leader commanded. “Yes?” I inquired. “Crantz, you’ve been here two years and continue to hold the lowest rank in the group’s history. Don’t you want to get badges and move up in rank?” quizzed the parent leader. “No sir, I like it where I am,” I answered. To which the parent leader bellowed, “Get out. We don’t want your kind here.” So I left with no award or badges in hand. (Amplification: The Methodists were not affiliated with this group and were unaware that they even had a basement because they always looked up and never down when singing their praises.)
Fast forward to today. My psychiatrist, Dr. Arnie Paypal, insists, if you want life’s answers pay me first then we’ll talk. After receiving the necessary Franklins, Dr. Paypal diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Award Syndrome. It’s a common condition whereby the castigated individual subconsciously wants awards and recognition, but he can’t fit into any group that hands them out. The condition first got national attention from the comic Red Buttons who always started his act with, “I never got a dinner.” Unfortunately, my condition is more severe because I never got a breakfast, lunch or dinner. Of course the upside is, I never seem to gain weight and I’m always home.
In fairness to my lament, I must recount the one and only time that I did get an award. My middle kid, Stephie, was a fabulous soccer player, who lettered in the sport in her freshman year. She was aware that I never lettered in my chosen sport, wrestling. In fact, it was much sadder than that. If you blindfolded me today and took me to high school gymnasiums throughout western Pennsylvania, I could tell you from the gym’s ceiling lights what high school I was in. I spent most of my sports career on my back being pinned. Chartiers Valley High School. Pinned. Mount-Lebanon High School. Pinned. Bethel Park High School. Pinned. While humiliating, I did do a service of sorts. I made many kids feel good about being the victors. Sure, I was the vanquished, but not forever. On my 42nd birthday, my daughter surprised me with a letter jacket and gave me her letter and soccer pin to wear. I was even more surprised when my daughter gave me my one and only award in the basement of another Methodist church. (Correction: Again, the Methodists were not affiliated with my daughter’s soccer program and continue to be unaware of a basement.) However, now I look up and sing my daughter’s praises.
Be patient Lagunans. I predict an award in your future, too. Ready. Set. Accept.
Writer Mark Crantz moved to Laguna Beach recently.