Entry 2
A weeklong electronic journal.
Sept. 27 2005 3:30 PM

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I am not sure why I agreed to write this weeklong diary. I guess I am always a sucker when there is an opportunity to explore what is going on in my head, because unless I do something like this, I stay in a spaced-out state, which allows me to get through the day without much introspection. I am not very spiritual. Sure, I will read a Buddha book, or a Men Are from Mars book, or any self-help book, but I am not sure that cuts it. I always stop reading a Buddha book when they start talking about reincarnation. At that point, they lose credibility, and I can't listen to all the other stuff I like about the religion, like the stuff about not being an asshole. Isn't that the entire religion—don't want things, don't be an asshole? Although Tupac, I mean Deepak Chopra, seems to have found a way to write books about how you can be selfless and spiritual and somehow that will get you everything you want, especially money. Clever.

As I mentioned yesterday, I am temporarily living in North Carolina. I am here because I am producing a movie starring Will Ferrell that takes place in the world of NASCAR. I brought my family and was concerned that they would not like it here and that they would want to come home in three days, not the scheduled three months. But the opposite has happened. My daughter, who is in second grade, is going to school while we are here, and she does not want to leave.

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My wife and I are thrilled to live in a city with almost no traffic, unlike Los Angeles, where every trip to the store can take 45 minutes. How many hours can we spend in traffic every day before we all move to Oregon and screw things up there?

Here I am at the Deauville Film Festival looking fatClick image to expand.
Here I am at the Deauville Film Festival looking fat

Today was a normal day for me. I got up and went to Napier Fitness in Charlotte, where they work me out harder than anyone has ever bothered to—mainly by yelling at me like I am a Marine recruit. I am not into working out. I am 37 and have never been into working out with the intention of looking better. Now that I am older, I like the idea of working out with the intention of not dying before I hit 40. That is a much better motivator. I even like the people at gyms now that I am there for the sole purpose of life extension. I always hated all the cocky guys showing off their physiques. But I feel very comfortable with all the older men trying to prevent heart attacks. I can bond with them.

I probably hate working out because I was bad at sports as a kid. Physical activity in my childhood was spent getting picked last and put in deep right field, often on the other side of the fence. I came to resent the athletes. So I read my comic books and watched way too many episodes of the Mike Douglas Show, and somehow everything has worked out for me. But when I exercise, all I feel is resentment and anger. In fact, these people work me out so hard that I spend half the time figuring out ways to make them stop. I consider whether or not it would be worth it to let the treadmill fling me into the mirror behind me so I can end my workout early. Sometimes I will mention that I am dizzy, or have a pain in my arm, or any pre-heart-attack symptom so they will go easy on me. I have considered shitting my shorts to end it. I have considered faking a muscle tear in my shoulder. I have considered feigning double vision. Well, actually, I have said that a few times. But I have lost 5 pounds in two weeks, so maybe one day I will see the 180s again.

This is my daughter Sybill. I mean Iris. Click image to expand.
This is my daughter Sybill. I mean Iris.

Then I went to the mall with my almost-3-year-old daughter, Iris, who had such a knipshit (as we used to say)—a total meltdown—that I thought I was going to get arrested by cops who thought that I had kidnapped her. All I did was tell her that we already owned Shrek when she asked if we could buy it. Sometimes that is all it takes. She sat down in the video store and screamed at me, "Get out of the store!" about 50 times. I hid in the store. I thought that if she couldn't see me, she might calm down, or miss me and relax. Then she saw me hiding behind a post and screamed, "Get out of here. Go in the parking lot!!!" I had no choice but to pick up my screaming, Emily Rose-behaving child and carry her through the enormous mall to the car. Since I had to push the stroller, she was held with one arm as she screamed and spit and blew snot on me. One woman saw this and said, "She's 2, right?" And then she smiled, happy not to have a 2-year-old any longer.

The worst part is that when we got home, I put her in bed for a nap and she smiled, as if the evil personality had left her body, and said sweetly, "The phone is ringing. You should hurry up and answer it, Daddy." She couldn't have been cuter. And yet, I know the beast will return for a brief visit tomorrow. I only hope it happens to my wife and not to me.

Tomorrow we are shooting, so at least I get to sit in my producer's chair all day and tell everyone what they are doing wrong while I eat a vegetable burrito and read the New York Times and complain about Bush. Hey, have you heard, he likes to hire his unqualified friends for important posts? And still the Democrats don't have a killer presidential candidate. Amazing.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

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