The Kids Are All Right, And All That

Stuever: Anne Hathaway hosted the 83rd Annual Academy Awards on ABC Sunday night, as scheduled. And her co-host, James Franco, did what exactly? (Besides be handsome? Besides a little Marilyn Monroe drag? And besides shouting “NYU, whassup!” to the Best Live Action Short winner? What, that’s not enough?)

Don’t get me wrong. The kids are all right, and all that. I like pushing the Academy Awards in whatever next-gen direction will get people’s attention, and, probably like the rest of your Oscar-watching party, I long ago gave up hoping for fantastic television and decided to revel in the attempt to lift that immovable boulder off of Hollywood’s deadened extremity. Oscar had part of our attention. It had the minimum amount.

The People V. Football

Storyboard’s latest notable narrative, by Jeanne Marie Laskas: She had no idea, back then, that he was sick. She had no idea he was losing his mind. Something neurological, the doctors are now saying, some kind of sludge blocking pathways in his brain. Would it have made a difference if she knew? Of course it would have. But you can’t think like that. And you can’t give a shit about people whispering behind your back. You hear about Fred McNeill? Star linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings back in the ’70s and ’80s. Ended up going crazy, and his wife, Tia, couldn’t handle it, so she walked out. It’s not like that, not even close, but whatever. People can think what they think.

She’s double-parked outside his apartment in the Mid-Wilshire section of L.A., idiots honking as they veer. Oh, forgodsakes. I’m in this world, too, people.

“Fred?” she says, calling him on her cell. “Are you coming down?” She has a sleepy, husky voice that announces her stance on just about everything these days: I’m done. Her face is round, still alive with curiosity, sturdy and pretty and framed by tight curls.

“Am I what?” Fred says.

“Are you coming down? I’m waiting.”

“You’re waiting?”

“Fred, I’m out here waiting!”

“Oh, okay, I’ll come down.”

“Don’t forget the suitcase,” she says.

“Suitcase?”

“Remember I need my suitcase back?”

He does not remember anything about a suitcase.

Four Forever

Alex Zayas: TAMPA

The four should’ve watched The Office together that Thursday night, teenage girls giggling on webcams, alone at their computers but connected by things only they understood.

They were always together.

But that night, only three faces appeared on screen: Sara Wortman, Jena Young and Tatiana Henry.

They thought maybe their friend was asleep or out to dinner with family. They had no idea everything had already changed; that they were no longer the Inseparable Four.

They would soon learn what happened to Calyx Schenecker.

Jena sent Calyx a text message the next day, when she didn’t show up at lunch.

WHERE ARE YOU?

Bill And Doug Got Married*

Justin Heckert, circa 2005: It was a small wedding. Bill and Doug arrived together for the ceremony, as for the past 50 years they had arrived together for everything. Each wore a braided gold band as a symbol of commitment. They were not dressed traditionally for such an occasion, but since it was theirs to celebrate, what they wore didn’t matter. They had only three witnesses: a minister, the minister’s daughter and a friend who would be taking photos. Bill was the best thing that every happened to Doug, and vice versa. They stood and faced each other in front of a fake fireplace in Niagra Falls, Ontario, last July, in a brick chapel with a white awning painted with two blue hearts, one of the few places in the world where they were allowed to do what they were going to do; they held each other’s hand, looked into each other’s eyes, and said I do.

Words On The Road

I drove back from Oklahoma this weekend in the ’98 Cadillac STS my wife’s father gave us. It was a long, (mostly) beautiful drive, made better by a steady cycle of Old Crow’s Big Iron World and a handful of This American Life discs. I pulled off I-49 south of Shreveport and ate a damn fine muffaletta at Monjunis Italian Cafe and Grocery, then ducked into the bookstore and bought The Great Gatsby on CD, read by Tim Robbins. I twisted the sound into the rear speakers, so it felt like Andy Dufresne was sitting back there reading Mr. Fitzgerald.

I’d never read it. I’m embarrassed by that. Sort of glad about it, too, because had it been required in high school or college, I don’t think I would have hung on every word like I did on that drive. Makes me want to re-read everything else I read for credit. Midaq Alley. The Grapes of Wrath. The Sun Also Rises.

I replayed the ending about 15 times, taking it back to where Carraway rubs the obscenity off the steps and playing it through those last jaw-dropping lines.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning ——

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

I’ve named the Caddy Gatsby. Hope my wife likes it.

Thanks to Craig for pointing out this unearthed Gatsby Nintendo game. Bad ass.