We are both in the same issue of Playboy.
Dear James Franco:
A few weeks ago, I lambasted books like The Secret. I take it back.
Something is amiss.
Over the last seven years, creative visualization has become dominant pop-spirituality trend. Like I said in a previous blog, the scientifically unsound theory behind creative visualization is that you attract into your life what you think about most. So, if you think about back pain all day, you attract more back pain. Accordingly (and here’s where CV goes wrong), if I think about becoming rich, checks will start arriving in the mail. My argument was, “Get a fucking job.”
I don’t think of you often. I only acknowledging your existence when I’m writing this nonsense. But maybe I’d concentrated on you to such a great extent that, um, I’ve attracted you into my life. That wasn’t my intention.
Speculations about mysticism aside, I’m bewildered by the enormity of this coincidence: you and I are sharing real estate in the October issue of Playboy. Little me, and big you, both sandwiched between the covers. That sounded a bit too sexual, but I’m not going to edit that out. Let some imagined reader (who has a hard-on or sudden moisture) live vicariously though me, and my blessed proximity to the great James Franco.
Today I went to the Barnes and Noble in Newport, Kentucky. I plucked the four issues of Playboy off the shelf, along with the new issue of Poets and Writers Magazine. I brought the stack up to the cashier, hiding the Playboys under the P&W magazine. Embarrassed, I whispered the cashier, “I have a story in Playboy this month.” Then I asked her if there were any more issues in the stock room. She called someone to the front. He said, loudly, “We’re all out of Playboy.” Everyone on line was looking at me. I said, “It’s not what you think…”
Anyway, when I got back to my car, I checked out the magazine. Flip through three pages of ads, and we get down to business. Right there, the first thing mentioned in the magazine: me. There’s my name, highlighted in red, and there’s my picture, taken by my wife, out in our front yard. I’m not boasting. I’m actually trying to come to terms with the reality of this. I started giggling. And then I noticed, a little more than halfway down the page, your name, highlighted in red. Off to the right, your professional headshot. You and me, James, same page.
Now here’s the thing. If you actually looked at this page, did you recognize my name? Did you think, “Hold on… isn’t that the mother fucker who has been attempting to use my cultural prominence as a way to draw attention to himself? Son of a bitch. I ought to call someone.”
Mind you, this blog does not have a wide readership. My friends might on occasion give a quick glance, but they hear enough of me in person, so why would they want to read my 3,000 word digressions? Other “clicks” are accidental: people looking for a way to contact you, or get the latest news on your love life. I’m willing to bet you still don’t know about Letters to James Franco.
Still, the coincidence startled me. In my book, Wally, which you’ll pre-order because you fucking love me like two guys sandwiched together in a Playboy magazine, you’ll read about how my protagonist, Wally, yaps and yaps about coincidences.
In the original draft, the coincidence stuff was actually much longer, but it was boring, so I cut it. I did research; and I don’t mean I used sources like The Secret or the writings of pop-guru Wayne Dyer. Real scientists, with real brains, and a real propensity to utilize the scientific method, have studied coincidences. The biologist Paul Kammerer created a taxonomic method for categorizing coincidences.
Anyway, it’s an honor to be in Playboy with you.