Tuesday, September 25, 2007

From Making the Big Bucks to Making Lattes by Michael Gates Gill: Could've, Should've Been Me

Universal Pictures optioned the rights to the book, How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else, written by a former high-powered advertising executive who'd been fired at the age of 53 and replaced by someone younger. He's now 67 and claims to be happier these days makng lattes and cleaning toilets at Starbucks. The story sounds credible except for the toilet-cleaning. There's no evidence that anyone employed by Starbucks cleans. After a few small, skim lattes, disgusted by the mounds of napkins on the floor and torn Splenda envelopes on the tables, I bought my own espresso machine.

This is a book I could have written. Okay, so the writer/latte maker is the son of well known New Yorker writer Brendan Gill, which adds to his cache, but I, too, outlived my career as a highly paid TV writer in Hollywood and my fall has been even more dramatic. Mike, as he's now known, is getting $10.50 an hour plus health benefits; I rely on Medicare and earn nothing from my blog, for cleaning bathrooms or making cappuccino. Inspired by his resourcefulness, I just put tip cups in our bathrooms and on the kitchen counter.

Universal Pictures was, no doubt, intrigued both by the upbeat attitude of someone who’s made lemonade from lemons as well as the personal saga, which includes a divorce and brain tumor. Having been single until the age of 38, I, too, had enough low points to fill a feature-length film. My series of miserable blind dates would have to be compressed to create room for the ruptured appendix I had while ski bumming in Vermont that led to peritonitis, putting me at risk of dying. Worth noting for the purposes of a movie is the setting would provide exciting cinematic ski sequences. Also, I have a tape of the surgery that was performed to open my Fallopian tubes, something I've never seen in a movie, making it potentially ground-breaking, something that could lead to an HBO series. The rest of my medical history -- psoriasis and an overactive bladder -- is less interesting visually.

Everyone, I know, has a sense of grandiosity and mistakenly believes there's a movie in their life. But now I see in my case, it's true.

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