There is a taste in my mouth so foul, so offensive, so utterly disgusting that I can hardly bear it. It is the bitter aftertaste of youth, or "yoots" as Vincent Gambini would say. I have had the displeasure of hosting a complete stranger, claiming to be a distant relative. A twenty year old, ill-mannered little shit-for-brains, whom I let into my home, because, as far as I can tell, I was bored. What other explanation could there be?
"I thought I should call and introduce myself," the voice on my phone said. "Because we are family." I had answered the call because I didn't recognize the area code, and I was curious. My grandmothers brothers grandson, had tracked me down. Until recently, we had no idea that this branch of the family tree even existed. He was nervous and awkward, and I began to romanticize the notion. I tried to imagine what desperate circumstance my young cousin Kevie was in, that he would call on me for assistance. I agreed to help him, never imagining that he would show up a dirty, stupid, straight, mall-goth who would: use all my hot water, eat all my food, make me pay for everything, show no interest in my life whatsoever and not say "thank you," not once! This I attribute to his age, and the fact that he is from my father's side of the family. I should have known better.
The purpose of his little invasion was to check into a film school, here in Hollywood. I figured if he was interested in becoming a film-maker, he must be sensitive, smart, you know....artsy. But I was as wrong as polyester socks. Over the sixty or so hours I spent with this yoot, I was able to study the future of our world and it was not pretty. Due to his lethargy, I surmised that he had probably spent many years on medication of some kind. And yes, I did rifle through his belongings while he was away, discovering an odd assortment of herbal supplements and a note that said to avoid refined sugar. This, of course, didn't stop him from consuming things like: a root beer float and a piece of chocolate cake, in lieu of a meal. His taste in entertainment was just as questionable. He had little to say about films, but a lot to say about video games. When I took him to Amoeba Music (once again, the coolest record store in the world), he asked: "What is an LP?"
"Are you serious?" I replied.
"Well, I know what DVD's and CD's are, but we don't have 'LP's' where I come from..."
I explained that LP's were Long Playing Records on wax and I ignored his comment about "melting." Then I realized that the problem was where he comes from, not geographically, but historically. Born in 1985, he has never lived in a world where Madonna wasn't famous. He was a glorious example of what is wrong with the yoots of today. What, dear Cousin, you fail to realize is that M. Night Shymalan is NOT a great director! Final Fantasy is NOT an appropriate topic of conversation! You do NOT have a woman's fashion sense if you choose to dress like a giant carrot! And if you had once said "thank you," you can bet your poser ass that I would have said "You are welcome." But you didn't. And you are not welcome. Casa de Onassis is closed for business, little boy. Have a nice life.
A very dear friend of mine recently played hostess to a houseguest of her own. I listened as she related stories of unwashed dishes, deluded religious fantasies and high expectations. I felt her pain and hoped that I would be spared the horror when I received my own guest, but alas, I was not so lucky. I figured that there was some universal conspiracy behind this whole affair, that I was to be shown something, taught something. And I was. I learned that strange relatives and relative strangers are one and the same. The one redemptive thing about this nasty affair is that it is now over and life has returned to normal. I can once again sit around in my underwear, watching Desperate Housewives, confident that I will never again be so foolish as to answer a call from an unknown area code.