The comedian was one the most influential people in my life. He raped several people.
For the last several years of my life, I have mentally prepared myself for the death of Bill Cosby. I am a person who usually rejects dead celebrity worship, but this would be one of the rare exceptions for me. In the last ten years I have moved to multiple apartments in multiple states, packing all my belongings: computer, books, art supplies, mental bullet points on how to reflect on the death of Bill Cosby should the moment inevitably come while I’m at work one afternoon. I have lived in Atlanta for six years now and only last year remembered to buy a fire extinguisher; it was before the Atlanta move that I started thinking how I’d talk about Bill Cosby dying.
What I’m writing here is a combination of things I’ve had to think about or the last few days, and things I’ve thought about for nearly a decade. And ultimately it’s about how the former was hindered by the latter. This is, for all intents and purposes, the memorial I knew I was going to have to write about a person who is no longer in my world anymore.
Good evening, America, on this pivotal Election Night. It is 9:00 PM on the East Coast, 6:00 on the West Coast. Polls have closed in New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Louisiana. A giant spider has attached itself to the front of my head.
Ah! Mr. Reynoldson. Alright then, Logan, well then you can call me Gary. Did you find the place alright? Good. Can I get you anything? Coffee? Water? Futuristic-sounding nutrient beverage? Well alright then. This won’t be stressful at all. We have very advance hiring practices here in the year 2019, which is a very strange thing to say since there’s no important reason to emphasize that in context to the rest of this conversation, especially one between two people alone in this interview room. In the year 2019. Are you sure you wouldn’t like some colored water in an oddly-shaped glass that is perfectly normal for the present time?
Author’s Note: essays like this are a result of the creative energy fostered by the amazing Atlanta performing arts community, none more relevant to my life than the talent of Dad’s Garage Theatre Company. Homeless for over a year thanks to the scourge of commercial construction progress, Dad’s has recently found a potential new home in a vacant church in Atlanta. Now all it needs is a bunch of money to buy it. Please donate to the Dad’s Garage Kickstarter today.
What’s that you’ve got there? Oh, right. One of those. An online minister certificate. Yeah, I’ve seen them before. A bunch of you have one of ‘em. It’s trendy. It’s fun! You can perform weddings and stuff like that.
But you know what else it is? It’s lame. Okay, I get it; I’ve been hearing it for years now. You’re technically a priest. Congrats.
Well guess what. I can top that. In fact, I have topped that. So to all of you cool kids who think you’re so hip with your Universal Life Churches and your mail-order official licenses, I’ve got you beat. My paperwork came in this morning, and as of today, I am officially a Trappist monastery.
Oh, what a great opening question. Clearly by the banker’s box filled with all the personal items from my desk sitting here next to me, I’m doing just great.
Oh, I am? Really. Well, that’s interesting.
M-hmm. “Noticeable decrease in productivity.” Well, can’t argue with that I guess.
Oh? Do I have any questions? Actually, yes, Jim. Can I call you Jim? I’mma call you Jim.
Jimbo, have you ever watched The Shawshank Redemption?
Great movie. You know that awesome scene at the end where Morgan Freeman is facing the parole board and just gets all profound and intense with them? Good. That’s good. In that case, we can move on to why productivity is down.
It’s this, Jim. This roll of toilet paper. Right here.
Ladies and Gentlemen of this esteemed Congressional panel:
On May 28, 2014, the world lost one of the greatest minds of the last century. A writer, thinker, activist, and inspiration to millions across all races and nationalities, we were blessed as a people by the presence of Dr. Maya Angelou.
Angelou was a legend, with a career spanning more than fifty years as a writer, poet, singer, actress, dancer, public speaker, professor, lecturer, and filmmaker. Her biography required seven separate books to fully expound. She was a respected colleague of Malcolm X, James Baldwin, and Dr. Martin Luther King. Upon the news of her death, President Barack Obama said of Angelou, “the voice she found helped generations of Americans find their rainbow amidst the clouds, and inspired the rest of us to be our best selves.”
Dr. Angelou’s work made one of the most significant impacts on the way we thought and felt about life in the 20th century, and there will truly never be anything like her again. With the exception, of course, of our department’s fully-operational Maya Angelou combat robot.
Fellow members of the academic community: thank you for attending. I’d just like to start by saying there are fire extinguishers located at both sides of the room.
Art, they say, is subjective. But that does not shield it from scientific analysis. I have brought you here tonight so I may discuss a great crisis in science. Arts and entertainment have violated the prior respect of accuracy and logic in a basic tenet of sciences: biology. We face a crisis, ladies and gentlemen. One that has built up over the last few decades and unless we address it I feel it will only get worse.
My report, “Comparative Mental and Cognitive Assessments In Relation To Documented Biological Anomalies in Canine Species,” means to address this very crisis. For guests of the doctoral community here tonight: I am referring, of course, to how talking dogs make no sense.
In all my time, I hear ze rabble from ze customers- they say “ah, ze French—’zey are so cruel to les animals.” It is mainly, you see, le fois gras—the delicious stomach rich with fat ‘zat we force feed to ze goose. “Ahhhh” ‘zey all say. “How can you do such a thing? Zat poor, poor innocent creature.”
Innocent. Feh. See ‘zat; I just spit right ‘zere.
You Americans—always so quick to rush to ze side of zee furry little animals- ze duck, ze baby geese, ze dolphins dancing in ze water with ze tuna, le petit… how you say… veal cow.
As a child I was raised on a love for fine food and ze art of cooking. And also, on justice—ze most delicious dish to serve of all. It is for zis reason that I am proud to have become ze head chef of ze most just and honorable restaurant in all of France. One that exclusively serves to its customers ze flesh of animals that truly deserved to die.
What do you mean I “can only bring a hundred pounds of this back to the wagon?”
Look at this thing. It’s dead. And if you think hauling it all back is a chore, let me tell you about finding it. I had thirty seconds to shoot it, I can only fire a single bullet in one of eight directions and the first three times a rabbit got in the way. Or a cactus. I literally can’t tell.
I’m not wasting this. I don’t think if I only shave a few steaks off the flank it’s going to grow back. What happened to “use every part of the buffalo?” Didn’t that Indian at the Snake River crossing tell us that? The one you traded with to get thirteen more wagon wheels because, and I quote, “why do we need three sets of clothing each, anyway?”
Do you know why I’m telling you this, Morten? Because I care. Because I need to tell SOMEONE and frankly, you’re my only friend. Possibly the only person I really know. Possibly the only other person that really exists in this place. Seriously, look around; it’s just you, and me, and wherever you hid your band but I promise I’m killing them if they pop up in any goddamned magic window things too.
No, I don’t think this seems a bit extreme. Have you actually taken a moment to reflect on the bleakness of our existence? Have you given any thought about the future, Morten? Because I have.