Saturday, August 14, 2010

We need more rich, happy drunks

I’d been snapping at the kids. I was surly with waitresses. My hair trigger temper meant a trip to the grocery store for milk might end in newsmaking road rage.
Finally my wife had had enough.
“Just what is wrong with you?” she asked.
You know, I said.
“You can’t be serious.”
I couldn’t be more serious. Destruction of the culture is no joking matter. And that’s what we’re about to witness.
Yes, they’re remaking “Arthur.”
That’s the 1981 Dudley Moore movie, a classic. Worse, they’ve cast talentless bore Russell Brand as my drunken hero, Arthur Bach. 
He’ll be the role model for me if, cross your fingers, I’m ever bestowed with instant and bottom-less wealth. There’s never been a better example of a happy drunk than Arthur Bach. He left $1,000 tips, was kind to and revered by his staff of flunkies and drivers, and generally laughed through life as though he were being tickled by a giant invisible feather.
I remember the first time I saw the screwball comedy. Behind my laughter, I trembled. I was fearful they were going to ruin Arthur in the end by making him poor and happy or -- worse -- sober and happy. But the producers never flinched. In the end he got all the money, he got the girl and, I suppose, stumbled through the rest of his life without ever drawing a single sober breath.
Many good people will argue that America’s decline began when they took prayer out of the schools.
I argue it began when they stopped putting booze into the American male.
It’s been more than 30 years since even prudent amounts of alcohol were acceptable. Today, even moderate amounts of stress-reducing spirits are deemed irresponsible by the zero tolerance crowed.
Thus, today’s typical male is wound so tight that without release they eventually bust in some spectacular mid-life crisis. Happens with women, too.
Certainly, people drinking too much is a scourge. It causes havoc on the highways, tension in families and a reduction in otherwise productive lives.
But the same could be said for excessive sobriety. Many of the most damaging wars in world history have been instigated by sober crusaders fired with religious passions.

That's a lot of work for a happy drunk.
Me, I try and be moderate in all things -- and that includes moderation, a philosophy that gives me license to engage in excessiveness whenever it suits me.
Too many people in general and wealthy people in particular trudge through life as if were an exclusively grim endeavor. True, living’s not for sissies.
But if perpetually destitute people like me can find happiness, then certainly wealthy individuals should.
There’s a real poverty of rich, happy drunks like Arthur Bach.
Many of the most successful and wealthy men in the world are grim teetotalers. You never see Bill Gates giddy. Sure, Dick Cheney’s made an illicit fortune, but the only time he seems to get the least bit loaded is when he’s carrying a weapon that’s likewise.
And that brings us to Russell Brand, this generation’s answer to tedious gimmick comic actor Pauly Shore.
Now, instead of the refined and elegant Dudley Moore, our 21st century Arthur will be played by a reformed drug addict without dash or wit. Plus, promotional interviews will feature Brand regaling us with the contrast of his old life and how he’s straightened himself out.
He’ll demonize a lifestyle he exalts in his 2007 autobiography, “My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs & Standup.” The book’s dedication reads, “For my mum, the most important woman in the world to me. Now for God’s sake, don’t read it.”
He’s engaged to marry Katy Perry, whom Maxim (certainly not me) says is the hottest woman in the world. The only way she’d be the hottest woman in my house is if my wife went out shopping.
Still, she’s not without appeal. What she’s doing with Brand is a mystery. Clearly, she should be upholding another grand Hollywood tradition by homewrecking the Branjelina sham "marriage."
So I’ll be in a foul mood until Brand’s “Arthur” is released next year to what I’m sure will be scathing reviews.
It’s a situation sorry enough to drive a man to drink, a temptation to which I won’t for now succumb.
I might over-imbibe. It's happened before. And I wouldn’t want to do anything to damage the reputation of happy drunks.


shrink on the couch said...

No comedic actor ever had me laughing harder than Dudley in Ten. Tumbling down the ravine? I roared.

And no, I can't see Russell Brand as Arthur, either. Completely different take.

Chris Rodell said...

Yeah, that's a hilarious scene. He's so great in that. Did you ever see "Love Sick" with him and Elizabeth McGovern? He's her shrink and falls for her. So funny.

Glad to hear I'm not alone on Russell Brand. He's awful!