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Secret Agent Man

Drinking a Cup of Kindness for 2013

Drinking a Cup of Kindness for 2013
Photo Source: Jonathan Bartlett

I’m writing this column from Koh Phangan, a tiny island in the Gulf of Thailand. My new home is an isolated beach, miles from the nearest town. The hut I’ve rented is small but honest, and it’s just a few steps from the water. Best of all, there’s a hammock right outside my door.  

I know what you’re thinking. Why did Secret Agent Man choose to spend his holiday break in the middle of nowhere? I think the Burt Reynolds character in “Deliverance” said it best: “Sometimes you have to lose yourself before you can find anything.”

Getting lost in Thailand is the smartest thing I’ve done in a long time. Being on my own has given me the time and space I need to see my life with clarity. But you know what? I’m not really alone. A local dog that resembles a dried-out mop has been visiting me every day. I call him Ari. We’re friends.

Right now, I’m sitting by the jungle’s edge, watching the sun slip below the horizon. My canine pal is next to me. Everything is right in the world.

That means it’s time to write down my New Year’s resolutions. I hope this list will guide and protect me during the next 12 months. 2013 is going to be the year I learn to let go and be the happiest agent in Hollywood.

The entertainment industry is not a battlefield with life and death stakes. It’s just a business, no different from any other. I will accept this and stop thinking of myself as Rambo in a suit.

When it’s dark and I’m driving home over Laurel Canyon, I will not scream every time I see a pack of coyotes. They’re just hungry predators that live in the hills, not the reincarnated souls of former agents.

I will stop seeing betrayal in the eyes of every actor I sign. They’re not all going to leave me when they hit it big. Some will stay. The rest will burn in hell, so I’ll have the last laugh.

The next time I deal with an ignorant manager, I will remind myself there are people in this world too stupid to grasp their own stupidity.

My therapist is right. The shadows that follow me home at night aren’t real. They’re just tricks of light, not clients I’ve dropped who are now hungry for my blood.

Computer monitors are expensive; I will stop punching them.

I will stop carrying fragmentation grenades to lob at the packs of actors who approach me after a workshop. All they want is a few seconds of my time, and there’s no reason to assault them with a military-grade weapon.

When my blood pressure starts to spike, I will repeat to myself, “It’s just a job. It’s just a job. It’s just a job.”

I will stop finding reasons to miss my anger management class.

Instead of dreaming about opening a tiki bar in Thailand, I will create a detailed plan that I can put into action.

When I finally disappear for good, I will choose an alias that sounds like an alias. I feel this is the right thing to do. (I might go with…Sam Diego.)  

I guess those are more than enough resolutions. Unfortunately, this process has reminded me of life back home, and now I’m totally stressed out. Maybe I should reach down and pet little Ari. That might help. Oh no! He’s dead! Without knowing it, I must’ve strangled him while I was writing down my resolutions. How could I turn an innocent dog into a rubber stress ball?

Maybe it was a mistake to name him Ari.

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