100daysoff

Jeff Astrof has 100 days off. See how he spends them.

Day 26

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My day started off as most of my days start off: I check the Writers Guild residuals page to see if I made any money off of any scripts I have written that may be in syndication.  Shows I’ve written for that still pay me residuals are: Friends, Grounded for Life and The New Adventures of Old Christine.  Most days there are no changes, some days I’ll notice that I have made 24 cents and I click the “details” button and I see that somebody accidentally watched an episode of Old Christine I wrote called “The Other F Word” on Spectravision in a hotel and they were too embarrassed to call the front desk and get credit towards the movie they thought they were ordering.   In any case, I’d like to thank the good people of Latvia, Estonia and the Czech Republic for watching three episodes of “Friends” I wrote, putting a cool $341.84 into my pocket– less taxes, agent and lawyer fees, plus Guild dues…. hello $86!  But it’s mine all mine, and there was no way I was going to let anybody take it from me.

The day started off strong.  I met up with a co-worker and my boss for a hike up Runyon Canyon.  My (former/hopefully future) boss is truly a terrific guy: warm, vulnerable, willing to put himself way out there and exceedingly generous.  Together, he and I are worth roughly $100,100,086.00  (see if you can guess how much of that I’m responsible for).  The truth is, I don’t know what he’s actually worth, but being around someone very wealthy and successful usually makes me feel a wide range of emotions from extremely envious to extremely resentful.  But with him, it’s just who he is, and I only feel good.  What does make me feel bad, however, is that Runyon Canyon is packed at 9:30 on a weekday morning.  And not just packed: packed with Supermodels.  I’m pretty sure that my two friends and I were the only people in the whole park wearing shirts.  Seriously, it was ridiculous.  Doesn’t anybody in LA work?  Even the Beautiful People’s dogs had six packs.  Also, it is worth noting that there are two ways of doing Runyon– the hard route and the easy route.  Left up to my own devices, I usually choose the easy route, because, you know, the dogs get tired and… frankly I don’t need to sweat in front of all the supermodels.  Today, my boss, who is my age but still my boss, suggested we go up the hard route.  Now, the hard route is not what I thought the hard route is.  The hard route is a hidden vertical climb that is packed with only the fittest, best-looking superduper models.  I wheezed up the real hard route on the way up, and after seeing my discomfort, we took the easy route back down; the easy route, of course, being what I had referred to as the “hard route”.  In any case: the lesson was clear: A– don’t go back there and B: there’s a reason my boss is super successful– given the choice, he takes the real hard route. (By the way, my dogs, who hiked four miles of urine sprayed trails with their noses to the ground did not think to pee even once!  I had to pee twice, but not them.  They wait to do their business for when they get home.  But more about dogs tomorrow).

After the hike I drove home with what I assumed were two dead dogs in the back seat (they are no doubt telling their friends a similar story about me), and prepared for my next foray into the land of beautiful people: Beverly Hills.  Today Shawni and I had our weekly family therapy with the Expert, in the heart of Beverly Hills.  I think we were the only people wearing shirts in Beverly Hills, too.  (And by the way, you wouldn’t wear a shirt either if you looked like these people).  Thankfully, the Expert had the courtesy to keep her shirt on.

Therapy for me has always been a little uncomfortable.  I naturally assume people are judging me, and here I’m actually paying someone to judge me.  When I was undergoing my own therapy, right around the time my Crazy Ex tried to stab me in the heart with a 9 inch knife– please remind me to elaborate on that story one time– I used to prepare in the car all the things I wouldn’t tell my therapist.  I would then arrive ten minutes late, crack a few jokes and spew out all the stuff I meant to keep private.  This therapy is different: it’s only about how to help our children.  But first, I had some unfinished business: last week the Expert claimed I was controlling and only did things I wanted to do.  So I spent the first half hour of the session about my children arguing how the Expert misread me and how I wasn’t controlling.  The Expert did the annoying thing that therapists do: she just nodded.  My wife just avoided eye contact.  Sigh.  Anyway, therapy was great: it always is.  We spent most of our remaining non-me time focused on how great the kids are doing and one thing I came away with was that we should not make too big a deal out of things, even when our kids excel.  Huh, maybe my parents were onto something.

Here’s the problem with therapy in Beverly Hills: each session lasts exactly one hour, and the meters only allow you to park for one hour.  You have to just have incredible luck that you catch the elevator at the right time and get to the street before the Parking guy gives you a ticket.  Now I usually have unshakeable faith that I will not get a parking ticket– it’s a weird thing about me and parking: I have what I call great parking karma– I always, and I mean always, get a parking spot in front of where I’m going or get a failed meter.  Would I trade that gift for say, the ability to play a musical instrument or know another language?  Maybe, maybe not.   The problem with Beverly Hills is that there’s no such thing as a broken meter.  And today we parked three blocks away from the Expert’s building.  Still, I’m usually pretty confident about my parking luck.  Except for today.  I had a feeling that today, the Universe felt like I owed it money.  Specifically: $86.

Sure enough, when we got out of the lobby of the Expert’s building, we noticed a Beverly Hills Parking Cop on a bike, giving a ticket halfway down the block.  As I saw the Cop give a ticket, I knew I was in trouble.  I yelled to Shawni, “He’s going for our car!”   I mentioned earlier that my life is often played out for me as the multi-camera sitcom, “The Jeff Astrof Show” starring Jeff Astrof, complete with a 70’s era laugh track and an audience that LOVES to applaud exits and boo when people are mean to the star.  Well, every now and again, my life plays out as Jeff Astrof: the Movie (introducing Jeff Astrof in his feature debut).  Today was one of those days.

EXT. CROWDED BEVERLY HILLS STREET — DAY

A BEVERLY HILLS POLICE COP, LATE 20’S FIT, SHIRT OFF, RIDES DOWN A CROWDED STREET LOOKING TO GIVE A TICKET. JEFF, MID-40’S, SHIRT ON, UNTUCKED OF COURSE, NOTICES THIS AND DECIDES TO RACE THE COP TO HIS CAR.   The Cop crosses the street, a full block ahead of Jeff.  Jeff tries to make up the distance by picking up the pace.  Damn!  A red light!  Jeff risks it and decides to go for it; he dodges and weaves between a dark blue Ferrari and a black Bentley.  Angle on: the Cop, rapidly passing other cars, dodging pedestrians as he races towards an unknown destination.  BACK TO: Jeff– now running full-speed, his groin barely holding together after being pummeled for the last two days!  Why didn’t he stretch!?  And why do people think he’s controlling!  CLOSE ON: A BLACK TOYOTA HYBRID HIGHLANDER THAT WILL NOT BE COST-EFFECTIVE AS A HYBRID UNLESS GAS GOES UP TO $15 A GALLON– It’s parked in front of a RED BLINKING METER.  This is where the cop is heading!!!  Jeff runs, faster and faster, breaks clear of the pedestrians– it’s going to be a race to the car!  Jeff gains on the cop.  The cop passes an alleyway– Jeff two steps behind him!  Just then, a WHITE ISUZU TROOPER PULLS OUT OF THE DRIVEWAY, narrowly missing Jeff.  The cop slows down, almost at the Hybrid Highlander!  Jeff has very little energy left– why didn’t he take the easy route or at least the easy hard route?!  Screw it: he goes full out summoning energy he didn’t know he had and races past the cop towards the car.  His only chance is to get into the car before the cop starts to write the ticket.  He reaches into his pocket to grab the keys but— HIS POCKETS ARE EMPTY!!!!  His pants are too tight to hold keys!  Why isn’t he losing weight?!!!  The cop bears down on Jeff and  the Hybrid.  Then Jeff, with nothing else to lose, in SLOW MOTION, mimes pulling a remote control out of his pocket and aims it at the overpriced SUV.  SFX:  THE BEEP-BEEP-BEEP OF A CAR DOOR BEING UNLOCKED.  Jeff is shocked!  WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!!  Jeff looks at the invisible remote in his hand, then turns back and looks down the block.  ANGLE ON: Shawni, running a few steps behind, holding out her freshly-used remote!  IN ONE MOTION, Jeff opens the door, slides into the front seat, and mimes pushing the start button.  The cop slowly passes the car, eyes first glancing at the red blinking meter, then locking with Jeff’s.  Jeff nods, knowingly, “You may get my $86 someday Universe, but today ain’t that day.”  Shawni gets into the passenger seat and smiles as the cop pedals off.  As Jeff and Shawni drive off towards Sunset, we:

FADE OUT.   End of Day 26

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Written by 100daysoff

March 10, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses

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  1. Jeff, I am totally enjoying the “Jeff Astrof” Show. Today’s episode was great. Keep it up we are vicarious ( did I spell that right?) Californians as we read it.

    Marc Rosenberg

    March 11, 2011 at 3:23 am

  2. As always Jeff…made my day!

    Steve Schultz

    March 11, 2011 at 8:12 am

  3. “Jeff Astrof: the Movie (introducing Jeff Astrof in his feature debut)”

    This might be my favorite blog post yet. Incredible.

    David Kantor

    March 11, 2011 at 9:53 am

  4. As someone who was there, Jeff sold himself short as an action hero. I could swear that I actually saw him leap over the hood of a car.

    100daysoff

    March 11, 2011 at 3:33 pm

  5. That post above…that was me, not Jeff.

    shawni modrell-Astrof

    March 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm


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