My Desire is George Costanza Eating A Sandwich in Bed

by | Oct 18, 2020 | Dean Cleaning Two | 9 comments

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 —

now

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. 

“Yeah, so?” 

9 Comments

  1. David O'Connor

    Love the title. Love the first paragraph. Love the comparison to samurai haiku-ist. So much here, I wonder if the speaker could stay longer in the bed or step into an episode and debate with Jerry and George, a blurry lined scene–laugh track and all, add the soup nazi and other inside jokes. I think the quotes work well too. So much here, a pleasure to read, hilarious and tender, not an easy feat to accomplish. Love the tone and voice. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Clementine Burnley

    Kella, your words are so needed. Every single sentence with George in it grabs me by the throat and won’t let go. Brilliant, bold concepts executed with real fire.

  3. Tommy Dean

    “My desire is George Costanza eating a sandwich in bed. It is the hedonistic trifecta of fucking, eating, and watching TV.” Whoa this is fresh, defamiliarized, and so wacky it hurts! I love it! What a great, and wildly inventive metaphor!

    “dips the coital sandwich in spicy mustard.” oh my!

    “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? ” yes, here’s that blazing theme!

    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.

    This is so original! I predict big things for this piece!

  4. Constance Malloy

    So much raw truth and so much fun to read. The opening line and ending line are the bread (like the sandwich George is eating) to the story with a lot of great meat and other stuff packed between the slices. This is light-hearted and heavy at the same time. Well done!

  5. Francine Witte

    Oh my, i love this. Let me first say, that when a person tells me they’ve never watched Seinfeld, i don’t even know what to do with that. I love how you incorporate so much of the world of George in her, but to drive a point. Really excellent.

  6. Roberta Beary

    Whoa, what an amazing title!

    Love all the Seinfeld references woven in with the narrator’s desires. (Most people I know have a favourite Seinfeld quote. Mine is: ‘If this van’s a-rocking, don’t come a-knocking.’ Saying it out loud always cheers me up.)

    Masahide’s burnt barn haiku is a wonderful surprise.

    Your ending is perfect.

  7. Trent

    Kella –

    Sometimes hard to recapture the zeitgeist of such an influential item, but you’ve succeeded~!

    I dig the “How many missed opportunities” the best.

    It’d embellish things a bit more if there were “parallel universe” type items, such as a diner that is a local counterpart
    to the NY one, but that’s just an idea, for the sake of escalation~

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Christina Rosso-Schneider

    I cannot get over the opening sentence of this story. You really knocked it out of the park here. It sets the tone, sets up the protagonist and the story so well. I love how you’ve taken pop culture to weave it into this story. It’s brilliant.

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