For years, this magazine has enjoyed the benefit of your patronage, readership and spirited responsorship. A few of you have even at times had the patience to peruse this very column, The Weekly Memo, and have perhaps even flattered me with an embarrassing workplace titter or two as you read. For that favor, I am extremely grateful. And to demonstrate my gratitude, I have recently taken it upon myself to lobby our editors for a holiday party in your honor. They of course have responded with their characteristic enthusiasm, telling me that they would be happy to support such a party if I hosted it, paid for it and made all of the arrangements on my own.
Therefore, allow this memo to stand as your invitation, dear friends, to the First Annual Simon Holiday Audience Appreciation Party, to be held at my apartment. My apartment is located in glamorous Los Angeles, which I realize may be a bit far for many of our readers in other states and countries to travel. However, before you nay-say the entire affair, allow me to lay out for you (like a succulent buffet) the itinerary of holiday fun I have planned just for you...
First, upon accepting my invitation, I will provide you with your very own Mapquest directions to my apartment, which will come in handy after you've landed at LAX and rented a car at your own expense. Perhaps before you leave the airport, you'll experience the novelty of a bomb threat. See, it's already liked you've stepped into your own movie.
When you arrive at my apartment, you will doubtless be a little hungry, and I will be prepared. A strainer full of Ruffles will be there waiting on my dinner table, underneath a bright, yellowed kitchen light. The tiny insects lying dead in the bottom of the light's shell will cast festive patterns over the Ruffles as you pick at them, and coupled with the lone red candle I will have burning in my living room, will provide an ambience that you will not soon forget.
Speaking of candles, I will also have one burning in my darkened bathroom, creating a very effective semblance of cleanliness. There will be pubeless soap on the sink for you to wash your face with, and a bath towel hanging on the back of the door for you to dry your face and hands. It may still be a little damp from my recent shower.
For I will have GROOMED FOR YOU! When you enter my humble-yet-sexy two bedroom apartment, you will be greeted by a man in a pair of black pleated pants, a very ironic Christmas "Huxtable" sweater and a pair of sexily misshapen white socks. He will be clean-shaven, combed and well-perfumed. In a word: sheveled. This man will be me, Chad Fifer, your host for the evening.
And I promise you, I won't have a huge "head start" on the evening, like I do at most holiday parties. In fact, you will be delighted to find me still completely coherent, drinking a mug of hot coffee. You will not be able to see where the coffee came from, and I will not offer any to you. Should you look on your own, however, you will find an assortment of beers and half-full bottles of liquor in the refrigerator, ready for your consumption. Look over the sink (also on your own), and you will also find one or two glasses. Enjoy a drink, won't you?
Surely, you will be tired from your trip, but no worries – you will be the only two people at my apartment for quite a long, awkward time. Let's catch up and relax. Hey, look over there! It's my large, slobbery dog, Beppo! I will pet him and scratch at his neck while you stand in the living room in your coats, holding cups of booze, looking around at my assortment of DVDs, loose change and clothing. When I finally try to strike up a conversation, you will suddenly become very interested in the dog yourselves, patting him on the butt and talking to him like he's a baby – anything to avoid speaking with me.
I understand; the beginning of any party can sometimes use an ice-breaker. Which is why I gave Beppo a "head start" on the evening. You probably didn't realize it when you started getting him all riled up, but that dog is DRUNK! I'd better go get some paper towels because... oh, there he goes! Isn't that hilarious? What a little jester. He didn't even want to drink that Jim Beam I gave him.
Oh, dear – speaking of, you probably need some mixers for that liquor. At my party, thrown in your honor, I will have forgotten to buy anything like that. But that's okay. There's a really well-stocked pop machine right down the hall, by the laundry room, where there are no lights and it smells like old people eating chicken. No, no – you stay here and help me clean up this mess, young man. Your lady friend can go get some Diet Cokes on her own. Besides, I have this hilarious joke to tell you and she shouldn't be around for it. It's another ice-breaker.
Oh, great! More Simon readers! I can't believe you all came so far to attend! No, no – this isn't your typical "Hollywood" party. As a writer and frequent critic of films, I try my best not to travel in those fancy Tinseltown circles. Conflict of interest, you know. Plus, like Groucho Marx said, I can't be a member of a club that doesn't want me. Say, how about some music now that more people are here? You guys like Radiohead? I'd love to play OK Computer in its entirety. Don't worry, I'll stop all conversations and make everybody listen whenever a really cool part comes on. It happens a lot on this album, too. I'll go get it real quick.
What? More visitors? Wow – this party is getting out of hand! Hey, now that we've reached "critical" mass (what other kind of mass would you expect from fans of a criticism magazine – ha!), why don't we watch a couple of funny videos! No, no – you can all get to know each other later, I've got some old theater tapes that I'm in and I'd love to show you. It's hard to make out what's happening or what anybody's saying, but I'll talk over it as it plays and explain. Sit down! Listen!
At this point, my roommate Steve will probably come in the door while everybody's sitting uncomfortably on the floor watching me rewind tapes. He'll have a bunch of people with him who will obviously be on the tail end of some great night out, and they'll be making a lot of noise and wrecking the whole thing. I'll get bitchy with him because I'll feel I've lost control, and we'll start having a "little discussion." You'll take that cue to start drifting toward the door. A few of you will probably get out before I even get the lights back on, but that's OK! If you've really, really got to go so soon, I can walk you out to your car. Maybe we should all go out and hit a bar or something? I'm already really drunk – it'll only be more hilarious to get me out around some strangers. No? Well, how about I head back to your hotel with you. There's gotta be a bar there. Let me get my car. I'll follow you. No, no – it's fine. I'll just follow you.
Yes, I will.
Well, there's nothing you can really do to stop me. I just got a look at what you're driving. That's an Acura with a big Hertz sticker on the plate. I'm not too drunk to miss that.
No, no. I was just kidding. You should stay here, though, while I sober up. Then I can follow you to hit that bar. Come on, I'll make another cup of coffee.
OK. No, no. It's cool. Hey, well, thanks for reading the column. The Weekly Memo. No, that's another one. No, that's not mine either. But I'm sure they really appreciate you reading. Seriously – you guys are awesome. Hey, that's what the party was all about, right?
Please RSVP no later than December 20th.
The Weekly Memo is a biweekly behind-the-scenes look at the revealing correspondence of our most fascinating thinkers, leaders, celebrities, and weirdoes.