Dad: Jesse? Hello. I’m calling because I have a movie idea.
Me: CAN’T GET ENOUGH
Me: OF THAT FUNKY STUFF
Dad: Ah yes. Yes, indeed.
Me: SAID WOMBA WOMBA WOMBA WOMBA WOMBA WOMBA WOMBA WOMBA WOMBA WOMBA OH YEAH
Dad: Yes. Good. Jesse. Let’s try to focus. I think you’re going to want to hear this idea.
Me: I AM HAVING SO MUCH COFFEE OVER HERE
Dad: Yes. Me too. That’s why I’m calling. Okay. Very good.
Me: VERY GOOD INDEED
Dad: Yes. Well. Here’s the idea.
Me: I’m listening!
Dad, intently: Are you familiar with the commercials where a man works in an office? And all of his coworkers… are chimpanzees?
Dad: It is excellent. The man is utterly unable to get anything done! For example, in part of it, the man is—he is trying to give a PowerPoint presentation… and the chimps are all sitting there, in suits and ties, scratching themselves! Utterly oblivious to what he’s saying.
Dad: Chomping bananas, making flatulent noises with their lips—it’s too good.
Dad: Jesse. Imagine receiving a performance evaluation—from a chimp. My God! What a nightmare!
Me: Ha! Yeah! Okay! So what’s the movie idea.
Dad: The idea is: is there a movie in that.
Dad: Could you make a movie about working in an office that is populated by chimps.
Me: The idea is just—you just want to make a movie, out of a commercial, that you just saw.
Dad: Well, I suppose I—yes. I do. Yes.
Me: You don’t have like a plot or character arc or anything.
Dad: Not…. as such. No.
Me: Well, I’ll—
Dad: Well, I suppose this could be a character arc: Supposing you have one particularly obstreperous chimp, in a position of authority, the C.E.O. or somesuch, and—and when he takes a dislike to someone, he—he goes, HAAANCK, and he hurls his—his—
Dad dissolves into a fit of teary laughter.
Me: Okay, I feel like this is going in the direction where the chimp starts throwing his poop.
Dad: HA HA HA HA HA HA.
Dad: OH MY GOD. OH MY GOD. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.
Me: Yes. Okay. I mean, that’s clearly very funny—I don’t know if that qualifies as a character arc. But it’s very good.
Dad: Oh my goodness. Oh. Oh my. Yes. Well. Anyway.
Me: I’ll play around with it!
Dad: You’re the screenwriter!
Me: Yeah! Okay. Hey. Speaking of which—so, it turns out, the insurance thing kinda fell through, for that one hospital bill, from the whole foot infection thing, because I guess this whole time I haven’t actually had insurance.
Me: I mean, it’s really complicated. It’s a total he-said, she-said sort of thing, with the various insurance places, and like the government, and by now I’m like, who even knows what happened! No one can know. It’s like the Heisenberg uncertainty thing. Maybe that wasn’t even my foot, with the sentient river fungus. There’s just no way to know.
Me: Anyway, the point is, I figured out this whole kind of perfect solution, where what happens is: I pay you guys a fixed amount, once a month, in like the forty dollar range. On like a monthly basis. Maybe we’d just pay this month and then stop. We can work it out later. The point is: then you and Mom are my insurance company.
Me: It would be very entrepreneurial of you! And that’s sort of really what America is all about.
Me: And then you can pay this hospital bill.
Me: It’s not much. I mean, it’s like mid four figures.
Me: High mid.
Dad: How the hell—okay. Jesus. You’re telling me, you don’t have any insurance at all.
Me: Well yeah because I’m a screenwriter and
Dad: FOR CHRIST’S SAKE JUST SHUT UP FOR ONE SECOND.
Dad: Go work. Go work for a company.
Dad: That is all. Find a company that will hire you. Any company, that will hire you to do anything, in exchange for health insurance. This is what I am telling you to do. It is not advice. It is an order.
Me: Okay but we won’t be able to do the chimp movie if I give up on being a screenwr
Dad: YOU IMBECILE. WORK FOR A COMPANY. ANY COMPANY. WORK FOR A COMPANY OF CHIMPS IF YOU HAVE TO, YOU NAÏVE DELUDED FOOL.
Dad: AND YOU WILL. YOU WILL WORK FOR, AND AMONG, SUITED CHATTERING REEKING LOATHSOME CHIMPS.
Dad: BUSINESS CHIMPS IS BRILLIANT NOT BECAUSE IT HAS FLATULENT NOISES AND THE HURLING OF FECES. IT IS BRILLIANT BECAUSE IT IS A PERFECT DESCRIPTION OF LIFE.
Dad: IT IS WHAT YOUR LIFE IS SOON TO BECOME. IT IS WHAT ALL OF OUR LIVES BECOME.
Dad: ALL THOSE WHO WORK, WORK FOR CHIMPS. THAT IS THE BLEAK UNBEARABLE TRUTH OF MODERN LIFE.
Me: Can I talk to Mom?
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