Life With Guido

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LIFE WITH GUIDO
A short film written by
Gary De Mattei

(Sound and Guido monologue begin)

FADE IN:
Old photograph of Guido’s Italian family; 1960s.

FADE OUT: photograph

FADE IN:
Abrupt medium close-up of Guido holding and looking at the photograph. He is wearing a crumpled sports jacket and tieless shirt; the background is the stage of an empty comedy club during a pandemic. He speaks into a microphone on a mic stand.

GUIDO
There’s an old joke— You know you’re Italian when you netted more than $50,000 on your first holy communion. Well, that kind of sums up my family. I found this old photo the other day and after concluding that I was raised in a goddamn Fellini film, I collapsed into a puddle of melancholy, self-pity, and despair that has taken me several days and a good twenty-four-hour tantrum to recover from. Afterwards, when momentary maturity set in, and my rational mind took over, I called the entire experience therapeutic. And I may have even tried to laugh off the current news cycle with obtuse ramblings and pretentious intellectual drivel found throughout my daily musings. Try navigating around an adult with that level of infantile brain paralysis during a pandemic, a political shit storm, and your beloved home state on fire— and you’ll get a glimpse into life with the grownup version of the husky kid in white socks holding a blowup doll of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

CUT TO:
Close-up of Little Guido holding a blowup doll of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in photograph.

CUT BACK TO:
Same medium close-up of Guido.

GUIDO
The Italian translation for homesickness is nostalgia. My imaginary shrink tells me these are “feelings and qualities associated with our instinctive need for love, protection and security”— feelings associated with home. I’ve concluded that in addition to homesickness being a noun, it is also a chronic illness that I have battled throughout my life. My uncited internet research has also shown me that I’m not alone, many of us go around with a feeling of homesickness, especially during days like these…which mama told us there’d be. You may be surprised to learn that homesickness is not just for kids going off to college with credit cards and surgical masks, and then sent home, and then sent back to college, and then sent home again. Adults get homesickness, too. It’s difficult to explain to someone who never vomited before having to go to Catholic School,

CUT TO:
Little Guido barfing in a toilet wearing a Catholic School uniform.

GUIDO (V.O.)
Or cried themselves to sleep when spending the night at the next-door neighbor’s.

CUT TO:
Little Guido in neighbor’s bed crying on the phone to his mother.

(SOUND: Little Guido (sniveling): “Mom, can I come home?” MOTHER’S VOICE ON PHONE: “Honey, you’re right next door.”

GUIDO (V.O.)
Or stayed in the fetal position in their apartment for five months during COVID-19 before finally getting out and taking a walk.

CUT TO:
Older Guido lying on bed in fetal position wearing a surgical mask.

CUT BACK TO:
Same medium close-up of Guido.

GUIDO
Those who are surefooted and okay with going off to sleepover camp will not relate to this embarrassingly heartbreaking disease. I hope you are one of the lucky ones who grew up watching Spin and Marty on The Mickey Mouse Club, specifically the episode when Moochie goes off to military school, and then marched into your father’s study, and through the cloud of peach-scented pipe smoke from his blend of Burleys, Virginias and Cavendishes, demanded that you be sent to military school too. If so, you learned at an early age that the world is a nasty place, horribly cruel, and filled with bullies who don’t care if you’re separated from your parents and locked in cages to rot.

CUT TO:
Photos of children in cages; circa 2019-20.

GUIDO (V.O.)
Or kidnapped, shackled and placed on a slave ship bound for Virginia where you’ll spend the rest of your life whipped and scorned for not working fast enough for free.

CUT TO:
Photos of slaves on southern plantations.

GUIDO (V.O.)
Or sent to gas chambers after meticulously crafting and sewing yellow stars on your family’s striped pajamas.

CUT TO:
Photos of Jews in concentration camps.

GUIDO (V.O.)
Or living in peace and harmony with nature until the white man murders you, takes your land, calls it America, and demands it should be made great again.

CUT TO: Photos of Native Americans.

CUT BACK TO: Guido

GUIDO
In short, some people don’t pay their taxes.

CUT TO: Interior empty comedy club. (Sound: crickets)

CUT BACK TO: Guido

GUIDO
This is why I chose a life in search of beauty and truth hoping to find something redeemable about the human condition before taking my final bow in this politically inept absurdist tragicomedy we call La Dolce Vita.

CUT TO: Shots of environmental degradation caused by animal agriculture.

CUT BACK TO: Guido

GUIDO
Living one’s life trying to make sense of the bizarre world we call reality while also pining for the unconditional ‘coddle me and rock me to sleep while telling me everything is going to be okay even when we both know we’re all going to die’ Kodachrome kind of love of the past— as administered by powerful women who worked all day and still had time to come home and stroke the fragile male ego— mothers, grandmothers, great aunts, sisters, cousins — that our poor unsuspecting romantic partners have had to compete with since the beginning of couple’s counseling. This is not only an ill-fated quest, it can also be a dreadful existence for the aforementioned mature and sane individuals who find themselves unable to live up to their significant others’ romanticized notion of their nonnas’ gnocchi. To them I say, “Grazie e mi dispiace di essere così pazzo.” And to all of the homesick Guidos out there who may feel from time to time the emptiness of existence and therefore have trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality, to them I say, “SNAP OUT OF IT!”

FADE OUT: credits

GUIDO (V.O.)
Thank you. (Sound: mic drop; feedback)