A short and semi pointless story about how the character Kramer was killed by racism and it was my 9/11.
-The Egg Party
by The Egg Party
So this is a short and semi pointless story about how the character Kramer was killed by racism and it was my 9/11. I remember where I was and how everything changed afterward.
Before Collapse. I was eleven at the time and I had put as my 'person I most admire' as Michael Richards aka Cosmo Kramer in my primary school graduation book. After Denouncement. 20th of November, 2006, Michael Richards was filmed on some TMZ footage ranting about stringing up niggers.
I was the ripe age of twenty and much of the man I had become was modeled on this former hero of mine. At twenty one I started on anti-depressants. To paraphrase Tobias Funke,
'...[my marriage] hit a rough patch...I don't want to blame it all on 9/11 but it certainly didn't help'.
Years later at a family dinner I was using the bathroom at my older brothers house. Above the toilet was the famous picture of Cosmo Kramer with the subtext, 'He is a loathsome, offensive brute, yet I cannot look away. He transcends time and space. He sickens me. I love it'.
It was somewhat explains my desire to write this for everything has to do with family in the end. Let me bring it back that. It was comforting to know that I was not the only one to be raised from those tales of New York.
Brave Cosmo. People state they recall what they wanted to be when they were young. Very specifically in fact. I only remember two instances through the assistance of childhood figures. I was four. I have a commemorative plastic plate from Kindergarten that I drew with my grandad and me in front of a slot machine getting the winning combination of fruit. I told my grandfather, his words, that when I was young I wanted to become a lotto winner. No ambitious astronaut blowing Neil Armstrong on the moon but someone able to buy the whole shuttle.
The second career choice made by my young self is clearer to me. I was twelve and I was watching a lot of Seinfeld at the time. Mostly over my head. That is one of the reasons I gravitated towards Kramer; his comedy made sense to me. It was a conversation I had with my Mum. I told her I wanted to be a comedian. Best I can do these days for a laugh is the verbal representation of shitting my pants. But I wanted to be like Seinfeld, Kramer and all those characters.
Whenever I left the primary school class I would stop before returning to the room and compose myself. Every time was the possibility that my entrance would rival that of Kramer's. I imagined sliding the door across, jarringly stepping in and standing straight like I had been struck by lightning. Cue applause. I can imagine the irritation this would have caused the teacher. My strength in grade six was not equal to the task of fully grasping the door and it would stutter across the frame in a noisy mess. I would stumble into the room and usually blush or fall. The second thing I wrote about myself in my graduation book was that I was person most likely to 'fall and cut themselves'. This frame of self identity lasted long past this childhood idolization.
My youngest brother had this concept he was trying out for a while, where instead of choosing a genre to fit yourself in neatly you just choose a fictional movie or television star that you look similar to and add the prefix -billy to the end of it. Kramerbilly. At the time my brother looked like Keanu Reeves in Bill and Ted. Billbilly. Or more fitting in my opinion Bill and Teddabilly.
Looking back at the clothes Kramer wore throughout Seinfeld made me question if I ever had an original thought about my personal appearance throughout my teen and young adult life. During the genesis of the character Larry David made Kramer wear a size of clothes one size too big and on the other hand made George's clothes one size too small. It was meant to make Kramer seem relaxed and George look neurotic. It worked. Perception on how one looks is so subconscious. But it is a big deal. No matter how your brain tried to simultaneously contradict the idea with some individualistic universality bullshit.
So I fell into this mold of a loose relaxed fitting kind of guy. My intelligence often took back seat to the desire to be Kramer. Only problem image wise was how the fuck do I mimic that hair. Could I get away with using a hair band? I first needed an extensive perm. I didn't have the social fortitude for that. I mimicked as best I could as the situation allowed. It was not a perfect fit but it was a system.
Absolute Decimation. After the fall of Kramer my idols changed. He was dead and the ones chosen after were characters that were already partially debilitated. Bukowskibilly, Waitsabilly, Cashabilly. I started working bar and serving drinks and adding healthy doses of skepticism and pessimism to my life. I wore more articles of black clothing and smoked more cigarettes. I experimented with drugs. The innocence which was a somewhat inherent part of Kramer was lost. Boy meets world. Older man-child meets world not based on a fictional reality.
Maybe the idea of New York City was dead. I was raised in a metropolis and maybe I needed the country. The more convenient option was to settle with more country music. The fact remains that the choices inspired by Kramer have an imprint on me to this day. Shit, nothing gets me going better than someone telling me to giddy up.