Sean Beaudoin

Enough excellent writing to fill a large tube sock

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A Flood Of SwayzeOsity

So three days after I made a random post about my hero Pat Swayze, who for some reason just sort of popped into my head after a long time of not being there, I pick up a copy of The Onion, possibly the greatest newspaper in the world, and they have a big article about Patrick, even referring to him repeatedly as "The Swayze". Now, I have to say, this came as quite a shock. Stan Smith has been calling Pat "The Swayze" for years now, and even considered patenting the phrase, like Pat Riley did with "Threepeat". (Onion Lawyers: feel free to check dated/notarized early GNF drafts in the Time Warner vaults). Anyway, it got me thinking about this thing I read once and only half-understood. It was a theory by cognitive scientist Richard Dawkins that there are these things called "memes" which are almost living ideas that pass through the human herd. We think we have ideas independently, but, in reality, we are picking up on information subconsciously that floats from person to person, like the tiny electrical charges that float from ant antennae to ant antennae. In other words, maybe the guy at The Onion happened to read the same entirely unrelated four books, four articles, and listen to the same four songs that made The Swayze pop into his head as it did mine.

When I was in college, I had a dream about a movie where there was really no plot, just a camera following one person for a brief period of time. That person would bump into someone else on the sidewalk, or see a friend in a drugstore, and the camera would just start following the friend, as if there were no real narrator. Just when you got used to one person, it would jump to the next. I woke up and immediately jotted down 20 pages of script treatment. The concept was that the movie would tell two dozen stories, each maybe only a few minutes long, and the focus would change as the characters happened to interact with one another randomly. I was all set to shoot a short 16mm film the next semester. So imagine my surprise when I went to the movies with some friends a few weeks later and saw the exact same movie as I had dreamed about. It was called Slacker. It was as if the guy had stolen my treatment and filmed it for himself. It wasn't a little like my idea, it was exactly like my idea. I tried to explain this after the movie and those friends were all like, "Yeah, sure, let's go get take-out". I showed my treatment to a number of other people, who all just shrugged. In the end, I threw the treatment away and came up with a new idea, but I still haven't forgotten the shock of that level of coincidence. Maybe it was a meme. Maybe Richard Linklatter snuck into my dorm and I can sue him for royalties. Maybe even now, as I try to finish this too-long post off, some kid in China is typing the exact same words. Except it's probably in Mandarin. Or Cantonese. In which case, it will seem entirely different.

Also, Harry Potter was my idea too.
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“The pool was packed, full of moms and dads and screaming kids with melty popsicles. It was a perfect day. Except something bad was coming. Soon. I could smell it in the chlorine.”

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