The Chaotic Evil Alignment in Me
(or Why I Should Never Mix Beer and Lemon Squares)
by Joe Buonfiglio
Good God, what have I done … AGAIN?!
This week’s post is not going to be my normal blogosphere tribute to giggly absurdity, but a rather eccentric, ill-fated journey down a divergent path to a neurotic mea culpa that launches with a simple question: What is it about me that I cannot resist the lure of chaos? To me, the romantic perfume of the chaotic evil dancing across the fringes of existence is as if a marshmallow slowly melting on the sidewalk in the noonday sun to a starving sugar ant. It’s as if I’m a cross between Batman‘s Joker and Puck from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
I’m … well … Puckish.
However, lately, I sense that I am doubling down on my involuntary commitment to this impishly evil path. I’ve been feeling less like Oberon’s mischievous servant and jester, and more as if the sprite of Satan himself.
Case in point…
Last night, I made a guest appearance on a local radio show thematically blessed with exploring both traditional and more experimental creative and artistic outlets. As they have in the past, the producer and hosts will invite me into their broadcast realm when they feel my “literary absurdist” branded persona might lend itself to the show’s subject matter. Of course, they should know better by now, but be that on their heads.
As is my practice, I came bearing a gift: a prodigious quantity of lemon squares from a local bakery. (For some reason, radio types are always hungry.) The sweet sustenance was a welcome complement of fare; for the show’s “fare” for the night was less confection and more confusion. While I usually find myself playing the joker in the deck under such circumstances, this night was graced by a court full of nothing but jesters each armed with a microphone and a growler of beer … and lemon squares.
That’s right. Beer and lemon squares.
It all actually started out as an interesting premise for an arts-based radio show: explore the tenets of storytelling through the long-popular fantasy tabletop RPG (role-playing game) “D&D,” “DnD,” “D2,” Dungeons & Dragons! This may seem a bit bizarre, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. It’s as if a room full of writers got together to create a fantasy book, but spoke it out load and let the broadcast airwaves record it for history as if it were dictation software taking it all down. Brilliant!
Of course, I fucked it up for them.
Now, in my defense, I’ve warned them before; you don’t invite evil to Christmas dinner and then get upset when he takes a piss in the cranberry sauce. If you invite a self-proclaimed “Absurdist” to the table, don’t expect him to play by your rules. Thus my demand that I play as “BoBo the Dwarf Bard WITH ‘DM Overruler’ powers.” This meant I could change the edicts and directives of the Dungeon Master at any time; unheard of in the history of the game since it was first published in 1974. Naturally, my character had a Chaotic Evil “alignment” (the categories of ethical and moral perspective).
To my surprise and delight, they agreed to my terms.
Fools. FOOLS ALL! AAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA—cough cough, er, sorry.
Anyway, astonishingly, that was not what caused all the intense mayhem to erupt. The on-air fantasy realm worked fine, if coming off a tad silly. However, off the air, behind the scenes, a storm was brewing of my own making.
See, I love radio. I loved guesting on local radio shows when I was the marketing director for one of Florida’s “official” state theaters. I’ve applied my writing and voice talent to a number of radio and TV commercials, and even had a “Theatre of the Absurd” radio show I co-created air nationally. There is just something about that audio Theater of the Mind’s Ear I find fascinating and irresistible. And the guys running this little arts program I find to be terribly talented, each and every one of them; creative and funny with that unique ability to play off one another with a chemistry that bordered on perfection. So, of course, I thought they would absolutely LOVE the benefit of my experience in the industry as I brought them enlightenment as to how they could up their game to the next level and bring this fabulous show the creative prominence it deserves.
Ho-ly shit. One of the worst misreads in my creative career.
All the warning signs that I should back off were politely afforded me. Unfortunately, I’ve never been good at reading signs if I think my creative input can do some good — and, of course, I ALWAYS think my creative input can do some good.
So when a co-host and show’s engineer grew visibly upset, I should have known I was crossing the line from “beloved guest” to “Bar this asshole from my studio!”
Did I back off?
Fuck no! I have creative brilliance to impart, so full steam ahead, my Muse!
See, I made a terrible mistake. I saw this delightful little show as an incubator for the brilliant creatives at its helm, a stepping-stone for bigger things to come.
That’s not what this is. This is not an imagination nursery for burgeoning artists, but an island of lost souls. What they created was much more than just an interesting radio show; it’s their safe place. It’s salvation.
It’s not to be improved upon and grown. It’s not to be tinkered with, tampered with, toyed with; it’s to be enjoyed, but left alone. It serves a purpose as is. It is a holy place.
It is sanctuary.
No trespassing. Do not abuse your invitation.
And yet, I just — kept — pushing.
So, understandably enough, one of the co-hosts absolutely loses it with me. The others awkwardly try to calm the waters, but the damage I had obviously inflicted was done.
Oh, interesting note: in the middle of reading me the riot act, in mid-yell while jumping my shit, he asks if he can take home the leftover lemon squares I brought into the studio as a treat. Dumbfounded, stunned, dazed, I agree. He carefully packs them up and storms by me out of the studio.
God, I love Creatives.
Puck rides again!
By the way, I’ve been invited back into the studio next week to continue the game.
Perhaps I shall bring brownies.
© 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio All Rights Reserved.