Wednesday, June 11, 2008


i was sitting in my living room last week eating dinner and flipping through the channels. i stopped on an episode of a show called Two & A Half Men. it stars Charlie Sheen and another guy who was in a bunch of 80's movies. for the life of me, i couldn't think of his name. he was ducky in Pretty In Pink. he was in Hot Shots, too (probably when he made the Charlie Sheen connection). anyway, it was driving me crazy. whenever i know that i know something and i just can't conjure the answer, i become obsessed. its incredibly frustrating. so i sat there for the last fifteen minutes staring at this guy trying to remember his name.

the credits rolled and his name wasn't listed. the stars of the show must have got their dues at the beginning, but it stuck me then. JON CRYER. then i remembered he was in that movie Hiding Out, where he played a business man testifying against a mobster, then pretending to be a high school student to lay low. as i sat there in a moment of pride, there flashed a still screen filled with words. it was only up for a second or two. strange, thought i.

then, tonight, i happened to come across Two & A Half Men again. the show was actually okay, not laugh out loud funny, but amusing enough. then the credits came flashing by. i waited with remote in hand and when the last still image full of words popped up, i hit freeze frame. this is what it said:


When I was in the shower this morning, I thought: If we assume a Big Bang beginning of the universe, then every molecule, every atom, every proton, every electron, every quark, every wavelength, every vibration, every multi-dimensional string, every everything that makes up everything else shares an ineffable property of pre-Bang Oneness. Assuming that, then every everything is always moving in one of two directions: either away from that primordial state, or returning towards it. We feel these quantum movements. Moving away is experienced as loneliness, fear, anger and despair. Returning is experienced as one or more of the infinite variations and gradations of what we call love. Now, while some might say that equating the miracle of human feelings to the meandering of sub-atomic bric-a-brac robs them of their mystery, the truth is quite the opposite. Connecting our fundamental experience of life to the great mystery of existence ties us to the eternal within our every waking moment. We are not separate. We are made of the same stuff that existed at the beginning and will exist at the end. Therefore, the question we must each ask ourselves is simple: "In what direction am I moving today - towards oneness, or away from it?" When I was done reflecting on this, I stepped out of the shower, toweled off, and, while glancing at the mirror, pondered a new thought: "I have a pretty nice ass for a guy my age."
honestly, this was better than the show was. the fact that is was #112 made me think there were a lot more of these so i did a little internet research. i discovered that Chuck Lorre runs a production company and creator and/or writer and/or directer of about a half dozen shows over the past 15 or so years. he ends every episode of one of his shows with a "Chuck Lorre Vanity Card". its kind of like a blog post on national television.

here are a few more...


When Dharma was cancelled my heart was broken. Over the next few years my efforts to mend it by creating a new show led to an even deeper emotional nadir when I noticed that I had somehow become the author of a seemingly endless succession of failed pilots and pilot scripts. This was not a big enough string of stinkers to lower AOL-Time Warner's stock price (that had already been done by people more incompetent than myself), but my ill-advised attempts at heart-mending were sufficient enough to cause people in suits to not look up from their cobb salads when I ambled into the WB commissary (in Hollywood even has-beens amble). But I was indomitable. I kept writing... and failing... and ambling. And then, about a year ago, my good friend and favorite cross-to-bear, Lee Aronsohn, told me he needed to write something fairly quickly in order to keep his Writer's Guild health insurance. Everyone -- friends, agents, execs -- told me not to get involved. They assured me that I was too big, too successful, for such a partnership. You see where this is going. Lee and I wrote "Two and a Half Men." Which brings me to the glaringly obvious spiritual lesson in all this. How do you mend a broken heart? The Bee Gee's never figured it out, but I did. You help a friend keep their health insurance from lapsing.


I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for watching the show. I know that for many of you, particularly those who go to the trouble of reading my vanity cards, a real and continuous effort is being made to support what we're doing. So this is my little attempt at reaching out and saying how truly grateful I am. It's hard to grasp the idea that roughly sixteen million people watch each episode. But, according to the statistics, that is the astonishingly large audience we're getting every week. The fact that much larger audiences turn out to watch derivative, soulless singers being humiliated by a panel of unqualified dildos, or a bunch of pathetic shmucks jumping around like spider monkeys on crank to get a make-believe job with a goofy-haired guy on the brink of bankruptcy, does not lessen my profound gratitude. The fact that a few TV critics, who would probably eat a hole through their loved ones and crawl through if it meant they could get my job, insist on ignoring or denigrating our success, does not diminish my joy. I am a man who knows how to cherish the blessings that have been bestowed on him. And I just wanted to say so.


I was recently asked by a journalist why I write these vanity cards. It seemed like a simple enough question, but the truth is, I was stumped. Why do I write them? Not for money certainly, although I continue to hold out hope. Is it a creative exercise from which I derive great pleasure? Not really. I've always felt that the act of writing isn't nearly as enjoyable as the feeling that comes from "having written." So why do I do it? Well, after careful consideration I've come to believe that had I been even a moderately successful communicator in my formative years, I would feel little compulsion to communicate now. This leads me to wonder, would it have been appropriate to have told the journalist that I write these vanity cards because I was incapable of expressing myself as a youngster, a situation which caused me unbearable anguish and is only now beginning to dissipate? Maybe. But I didn't. I told him I write them because it's fun. And this leads me to a question: if he's writing about my writing, what kind of miserable childhood did he have?

some are funny, some are insightful, some are personal. there are many more (213 and counting) on this archive.
check it out.

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