I’d run right into hell and back

20 Feb

So at this point, I’m either going to have to do some fancy substitutions, or violate the confidentiality agreement that Maxwell had me read over and sign after the yelling and disclosure of imaginary film school portions of the interview.  It’s just too good.  I’m going to throw caution to the wind here on the off-chance that Maxwell is too busy interviewing other unsuspecting innocents to prosecute.  Also – can we all just take a moment and celebrate the fact that a man with a barely lucid mental state had a sheaf of confidentiality agreements that were mimeographed?  Yes, you read that right – MIMEOGRAPHED.  I’ve thought about this particular detail almost constantly since I escaped my interview ended, and I have come to the conclusion that he must have a mimeograph machine in his place of residence.  I mean, you can’t just breeze into Kinko’s and ask to have something duplicated via mimeograph.  Although, I do think that the Vietnamese place that I used to frequent down the street from our old apartment had one….. Maybe….. I’m not sure what that thing was and frankly, just getting my copies made was sort-of challenging, so I never enquired.

So, on to the part where Maxwell cried.  In sharing more with me about the concept for his project, a truly amazing plot line was revealed.  At one point, Maxwell was telling me that the characters in the show would all go to hell.  He said that this would take place at a Jr. High dance.  He spent a good deal of time right after that reveal cracking up at his own funny (“Get it?  They’re in hell!  And it’s Jr. High!  And it’s a DANCE!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!  It’s so funny!”).  Then the camera pans over to a long line of chairs.  Panning…….panning……panning.  Man!  Such a long line of chairs!  BAM!  Out of nowhere, Anne Frank!  Sitting in a chair!  In hell!  I’m just going to wait for a minute to let that sink in.

Anne Frank.  In hell.

So, just blowing by that awesome choice and it’s inherent comedic perfection, we pan some more and come upon Adolf Hitler in repose.  Naturally.  Now, reading this secondhand account is one thing, but imagine that someone is telling you this story live and in person.  Imagine the kind of cheek-biting, sip-taking, fake-coughing manuevers that you would have to employ to just get through this – to just make it to the end without laughing in poor Maxwell’s face!  I am available for hire, ladies and gentleman, and am obviously capable of some pretty incredible feats.  Skills:  determination, kindness, on-demand coughing.  The list goes on.

Anyway, there sit Hitler and Anne, and slowly, Anne looks over at Hitler, gets up, and offers him her hand (so as to ask him to dance).  This is the moment my friends.  A single tear escapes Maxwell’s eye, slides poetically down his cheek and it’s the beginning of the end.  The tears just keep coming.  And coming.  Through Maxwell’s emotional monsoon, he wales that Hitler and Anne are slow dancing to November Rain.  He’s sobbing “It’s so funny!  But ultimately it’s about forgiveness.  At the root of everything we do – it’s forgiveness.”

Maxwell doesn’t succumb to the social pressure.  He does not buy the hype.  He feels no shame bawling at a cafe while softly singing November Rain to himself/at me.  I was floored, obviously.  I mean, it’s not often that you see someone completely lose control in public, and to see it on so many levels?  For such a sustained duration?  I knew I was having a really remarkable experience.  One that probably (are you there God?  It’s me, Liz) won’t come around but once in a lifetime.  Well, actually in my case, I’ve had several experiences like this – remind me to tell you about the time I transcribed a letter for a non-english-speaker that ended up being a letter to his/her lover regarding a gender reassignment surgery and the potential future of the relationship going forward.  So many gestures.

There is so much more to tell.  So many more tiny details that made this experience truly mind-boggling.  There is the story of how Maxwell got hit by a taxi while riding his bike and got “a very generous settlement”.  There is the incredible tale of his completely unmedicated spinal surgery (“the doctors didn’t want to do it – they were like:  It’s never been done!  but I convinced them.  I mean, look at me!  I can take it, you know?”).  There was the part where he asked me to guess his daily pain level on a scale of 1-10.  Guess what?  It’s a 10.  He yelled, he cried, he made a lot of shit up.  And at the end of the day, I’m pretty much in the same boat.  So here’s to Maxwell – the best, most insane interview in my experience to date.

I didn’t take the job (he did offer me a position, but it was never made entirely clear to me what I would be doing), but I think it was a totally worthwhile adventure.  That – right there – is my life in a nutshell:  A series of totally worthwhile adventures that never lead to gainful employment.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand scene.



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