My desire is George Costanza eating a sandwich in bed. It is the hedonistic trifecta of fucking, eating, and watching TV. My post-divorce desire also thwarts standard conventions, flaunts what was once expected, dips the coital sandwich in spicy mustard. It is owning one’s shrinkage, of peeing in the shower, and knowing exactly where you are broken and loving one’s roughness all the same.
It is not graceful nor nice nor meek. It is an urgent desire born of second chances and bonus rounds. A hunger which stems from seeing the light and somehow still surviving and doubling down on double-dipping that chip because: “You dip the way you want to dip. I’ll dip the way I want to dip.”
How much missed opportunity cost can one endure in a lifetime? When do we say fuck it and do what we’ve always wanted but were too scared to actually do?
Ours is, instead, an earthy lust of many appetites. It is George declaring to Jerry post-breakup that he is free, he is going to a tractor pull, he is staying out all night, and biting into “a big hunk of cheese, just [biting] into it like it’s an apple.”
We channel the unfettered lust of sacred fools, George and I. Of all those wise weirdos who urge the broken hearted to pick joy over sadness, laughter over despair even when the house is burning.
We love George Costanza, root for him, because he is a person no one really thinks can find love but somehow does. He tells us not to trust him, “Bald men with no jobs and no money and who live with their parents do not approach strange women.” And yet George is brave when Jerry tells him, “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.”
“Yes, I will do the opposite,” George declares. “I used to sit here and do nothing and regret it for the rest of the day. So now I will do the opposite, and I will do something.”
So ours is a desire that yells fire at a birthday party and shoves everyone out of the way, even the elderly woman with a walker. An impulsive yearning that includes asking your best friend to call in a bomb threat to get your boss, the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, out of the office with his grandkids while you’re hiding underneath the desk you’ve turned into a napping oasis.
George Costanza is Larry David’s embodiment of the 17th-century Japanese poet and samurai Mizuta Masahide’s haiku:
Barn’s burnt down —
I can see the moon.
George reminds me and my desire to simply show up and pretend to have the job before anyone tells us otherwise.
“What’s the worst thing that could happen?” George asks Jerry.
“Well, you’d be embarrassed and humiliated in front of a large group of people and have to walk out in shame with your tail between your legs,” Jerry says.