Temper Tantrum

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Temper Tantrum

This is Rob Long with Martini Shot on KCRW.

I heard this story recently. It's sort of instructive and cautionary, which makes it appropriate for the end-of-the-year, in-'06-I'll-be-a-better-person kind of New Year's resolutions.

A fairly successful television writer and producer -- who was, in his defense, in the middle of a pretty challenging production week -- went to the refrigerator in the kitchen in his office at the studio to get a small bottle of Evian.

Snag. The PA had neglected to order the small bottles, which this producer preferred, and had instead ordered the medium-sized bottles, which he didn't.

So here was a guy in the hairiest part of a very hairy week, a guy who was thirsty, okay? I mean, the human body needs water, just to survive, and instead of seeing a refrigerator filled with the type and size of water that he preferred -- a type and size that he's pretty sure he clearly identified time and time again -- he's confronted with the grotesque and insulting sight of bottles of water at least one-third larger than he prefers, bottles too large to finish in a minute or two, and which he'll then put down somewhere, forget about, then, later, see a bunch of almost empty bottles on a table, not remember which half-finished bottle is his, and have to open up another -- requiring another distracting trip to the office refrigerator. He threw a fit.

And he had every right to.

Maybe he went too far in some of his actions and words. And yes, obviously, there was a lot of other stuff going on in his week and his life that may -- emphasize may -- have crept in there, temper tantrum-wise. But, really, when you get right down to it, he had a point, didn't he?

Well, actually, he didn't. I mean, I didn't. I mean... I like the small bottles of Evian, okay?

This happened a few years ago. And later on that day, after the Evian bottle meltdown, I went to a board meeting of My Friend's Place, which is a homeless youth agency in Hollywood that I've been involved with for almost 10 years. We're a small, but hugely effective resource in Hollywood for homeless youth to get counseling, health care, job and life skills training, and, for many, just a safe place in a very dangerous world. Most of our clients have been abused and betrayed by the adults in their lives, and most of them do things to survive that you and I simply wouldn't believe, or wouldn't want to believe. And some of those kids living on the street have kids -- babies -- of their own.

Let me put it this way: I'm pretty sure that most of the clients of My Friend's Place don't really have an established and firm preference in bottled water container size.

I think about the day, especially at the end of the year when I'm, you know, quietly summing things up in my head. Mostly what I do here on the radio is complain -- about my career, about the people I work with, about the city we live in -- and so every now and then it's not a bad idea, I think, to remember that not everyone is in a position to have such strong feelings about Evian bottles or GPS systems or TiVo or Kiehl's moisturizer. I mean, I do, and I don't feel guilty about it. But often, I forget to feel grateful about it. Which I think is what I'll try not to forget in 2006. Or at least through January.

Or at least through the first week of January. Or at least until tomorrow.

By the way, if anyone is interested in the work My Friend's Place does, please visit us at My Friend's PlaceMyFriend'sPlace.com. All one word. We can use every bit of help or good wishes we can get.

For KCRW, this is Rob Long, with Martini Shot, wishing you a Happy New Year.



Rob Long