Dr. Lester: Don’t toy with Floris, Schwartz.
Craig Schwartz: Oh, no.
Dr. Lester: If I was 80 years younger, I’d box your ears.
Craig Schwartz: I wasn’t toying with her sir, I wouldn’t — pardon me, how old are you, sir?
Dr. Lester: 105. Carrot juice, lots of it. I swear, sometimes it’s not worth it. I piss orange. I have to piss sitting down like a goddamn girlie-girl every 15 minutes.
— Being John Malkovich, 1999
Webster’s defines crafty as:
- Adept in the use of subtlety or cunning
The film word defines crafty as:
- A paradise of options to fulfill your first meal of the day requirement
- A horror set where one malfunctioning appliance can seriously ruin your day
Someone once said breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Scholars maintain the source of the quote was lost centuries ago. Without a figurehead to pair with the saying, I usually allow the advice to fall by the wayside.
However, being on set means you’re on your feet all day. You work long hours. And frankly, you can’t be your best if you don’t eat a good breakfast — the Kellogg’s company said that, so it’s a little more reliable.
We were working a 40 day shoot and I had successfully worked my boss into a groove of a repetitive breakfast order — egg white omelet with mushrooms and a side of avocado. It was like clockwork. That is until some asshole on set decides to flaunt his cup of freshly made beet juice — another reason I hate said vegetable.
“Jeff, they have a juicer?”
Of course, there was a juicer. This is the world of film. They probably had pre-made Fluffer Nuters if you asked nicely. Next to the appliance in question was a spread of fruits and vegetables — ready to be blended into the concoction of your dreams. Beets (of course), carrots, celery, apples, ginger root, watermelon, oranges, cantaloupe…
The health benefits of juice alone earned the plastic cupful of vitamins and minerals a permanent spot on the rhetorical morning food order. Which meant some extra time spent, by me, carefully feeding the spinning, buzzing, humming electric juicer piece after piece of crudités.
I’m not knocking juice. It’s refreshing, it’s light and it’s good for you. Without juice, the world would never know her better-looking sister, Smoothie. In fact, for a light AM eater like myself, a cup of well-balanced vitamins and minerals is a perfect alternative to eggs and potatoes. So, juice, this isn’t a knock on you — don’t take it personally. We’re on the same team.
But this was no ordinary juicer. There was a reason I wasn’t willing to disclose the machine’s existence to the boss man right off the bat. You see, according to our caterer, it was bought second hand — without the proper top. So now we have ourselves a pre-used food processor and a makeshift cover that rattled as the appliance worked. It was a time bomb. Literally.
Like a game of Russian roulette, the deceptively innocent-looking mechanism would blow its top, on average, once every three uses — spraying its un-juiced contents wherever it pleased.
Rewind to a few weeks earlier. I decided to purchase some new sneakers. A friend of mine sported some comfortable-looking Sperry boat shoes and I thought to myself, “Hey, I could use me a pair of those slip-ons. Pure, white slip-ons.”
My repertoire of footwear became that much more versatile for now I was able to boast a pair of white kicks, suitable for a hard day at work or a lax weekend BBQ.
White shoes are prone to ridicule on a film set, probably everywhere for all I know. They left us too young, and didn’t have time to spread their beautifully ghost-colored wings.
I can hear the buzzing and grinding like it was yesterday. Beet after carrot after apple slice. The juice ran thick from the spout into the clear plastic cup. Halfway full — I prayed I wouldn’t be today’s victim to the Juicer’s cruel joke.
I carried on, feeding the menacing enemy as it laughed with its metallic sounds of whizzing and milling.
And then…CRACK! SNAP! RATTLE-RATTLE-RATTLE!
Like a record skipping — my disco dancing coworkers looked up at me, the DJ, standing at the malfunctioning turntable.
Conversations in the crowded room came to a halt. Silence except for the spinning juicer, now topless. It was the loudest thing I ever heard — drowning out the screams of my once-white shoes.
I looked down, fearing the worst.
My shoes — my beautiful white shoes had been doused with carrots, apples, and most noticeably, beets. The red splashes looked eerily like the blood stains of a murder victim in the movies.
A young Production Assistant pushed past me, eager to play the odds, be the next one to use the machine, knowing full well the top would withstand another 3 glasses or so.
She looked at my sneakers.
I’ve never wanted to put someone’s bare hand into a full-powered juicer so much as I did when that sardonic girl spouted that one word sentence — having no respect for the dead. The costume department tried to revive them with some Tide sticks and bleach, to no avail.
In loving memory of my White Sperry Boat Shoes.
August 2010 – September 2010
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