The Not-So-Glamorous Ways That My Life Is Like A Movie

by Shari on April 22, 2014

If you are familiar with the very popular screenplay how-to book, “Save The Cat!”, you will know about the concept of “Six Things That Need Fixing”.

For a screenwriter, these are the flaws or quirks you would write into the main character that subtly show themselves in the first act of a movie. Obviously, this makes the protagonist relatable, often provides some humor, and gives him/her somewhere to go, something to grow in during the course of the film. You don’t really need to have six, of course; three would be plenty.

Especially if the three are real knee-slappers.

A remarkable thing happened to me last week. I was hired to be a “script doctor”; to rewrite a screenplay for an independent film company. For real money. And when I say real money, I mean the kind of money that real people who work in real jobs make. For someone who has slogged away at her screenwriting career for years with limited success, being flown out to meet the director and scout the location of my new film was terribly exciting.

You know, except for my Three Things That Needed Fixing.

1. Snap-In Tooth.

A few days before I got the screenwriting job, my local dentist yanked a tooth out of my mouth. I’ve written before about the hereditary gifts handed down from my father (dry sense of humor, cleft in chin, crappy teeth), but we’ve reached a new low when dentists are extracting teeth that are actually needed for chewing and smiling and not just wisdom which is a cheaper alternative to invisalign.

I’m going to be getting an implant eventually, but in the meantime they outfitted my gaping smile-hole with something called a “Flipper”. Surprisingly, this is not a tiny version of the 1964 TV show dolphin, but rather a mini-denture; a little fake tooth that can be snapped in and out at will, depending on whether I want to look like myself or like someone who’s been hit in the face with a whiskey bottle during a bar brawl. You can also learn more at About on denltal checkups.

Sadly, wearing a Flipper isn’t nearly as much fun as it sounds. First, it appears to have a mind of its own, popping out when it darn well wants to and stubbornly resisting being replaced in a very un-friendly-dolphin sort of manner. Secondly, it is impossible to eat with it in, so I have to surreptitiously spit it into a napkin and chow down quickly, remembering not to smile for fear of making my fellow diners gag, and then snap it back in place without a mirror, resisting the temptation to trumpet, “And for my next trick…!”

So, this is all to say that when I entered my lunch meeting with the director and producer for the film I’m rewriting, I was dealing with Flipper and the Two Other Things That Needed Fixing:

2. Borrowed underpants.

Well, thankfully my tooth was snapped in and not in my luggage, because the airline lost my bag on my flight. I mentioned this (with a laugh that bordered on hysteria) at the producers’ party the night before my big meeting, and the 16-year old daughter of the PR guy took pity on me and stuffed a clean thong into my coat pocket on my way out.

Yes, I wore it.

3. Pee clothing.

And as if an obstinate fake tooth and the omnipresence of a stranger’s panties weren’t enough, I stopped in the ladies’ room on my way into the lunch and accidentally dropped the sash of my blouse into the toilet. Of course, I didn’t realize this at a point when I could have rinsed it out in the sink and dried it in 12 seconds with the Dyson Airblade hand dryer, but when I was walking to the table, waving at the director, and suddenly felt the thwap-thwap of something wet against my leg.

Is the protagonist relatable enough yet?

Or just pathetic?

You’ll be happy to know that in true movie fashion, I came through the lunch with flying colors. Oh, sure, the steady dripping of my urine-soaked sash was somewhat distracting, and I had some trouble paying attention to the talk about story structure because the 16-year old’s thong was riding up my 50-year old arse, but Flipper decided to have pity on me and stay put.

Although as a humor writer, I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that it didn’t suddenly fly out of my mouth and hit the director in the eye. I might have lost the job, but how great would that scene have been in my life movie?



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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Annette April 22, 2014 at 2:57 am

When a gal such as myself, all self assured about her own comic writing, laughs out loud in fits 3 times in one reading, you know you’ve got a gem. This is wonderfully humble, humorous and hysterical, Shari. Congratulations on the script writing/editing gig!!! Besos, Annette


Shari April 22, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Ah, my friend, thank you. I especially appreciate the “humble” as this appears to be God’s long-term plan for me. :-)


alexandra April 22, 2014 at 3:41 am

My gosh that was funny.

Relatable, lovable, and oh so Dusty. FUNNY.

They’re getting you for a bargain, I don’t care what they’re paying you… it’s a bargain!


Shari April 22, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Love you, Alexandra. I would agree with you, if it weren’t for the urine-soaked manner in which I approach any job. xxoo


Darrin April 22, 2014 at 1:29 pm


First regarding flipper….all I could think about was you playing hockey and how tough you would look with the missing tooth.

Second regarding the briefs….all I could think about was how my youngest son tries to go commando when ever possible. I have no idea where he gets this from because I have never had such and Idea…so I firmly place blame on my wife for this one.

Third, I am glad the water was not blue because the people next to me at work would have thought I was going to die from laughter!

Well played on your part to hold it all together while having three itches and only two hands!!!!

Well played and congrats on the job.


Shari April 22, 2014 at 1:34 pm

I am certain that it’s Isabelle’s fault about the undies–she is French, after all. And thank you! xxoo


Kristin April 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm

So impressed, and happy for you! Very cool!


Shari April 22, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Thank you, Kristin!


Kizz April 22, 2014 at 4:49 pm

I have to say this goes way above and beyond the call of picturing your audience in their underwear!


Shari April 22, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Unless you picture them in borrowed underwear.


anna whiston-donaldson April 22, 2014 at 11:03 pm

A borrowed thong? Hilarious and OUCH. Excited about your new gig!!!


Shari April 22, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Thanks, Anna! And “hilarious and OUCH” sums up my life, pretty much.


Alan S. Pastontooth. April 23, 2014 at 12:00 am

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Three is plenty.


Shari April 23, 2014 at 1:05 am

Yes, yes, yes. Three-tooth salute to you, my friend.


Jenn @ Something Clever 2.0 April 24, 2014 at 3:20 am

That video was HILARIOUS! And I’m so impressed by your Hollywood success! Internet high-five!


dusty earth mother April 24, 2014 at 11:35 am

Thanks, my lovely Jenn!


Meredith April 25, 2014 at 6:39 pm

I’m just impressed the teenage thong fit! Hopefully, they’ll put that info in your bio in Daily Variety when they write about your film. It’s important.


dusty earth mother April 26, 2014 at 2:08 am

Making note to self to add to bio: “Amongst her other accomplishments, Shari is pleased to still be able to slide on a teenage thong.”


Linda Roy April 29, 2014 at 1:47 am

Flippers! Yes! That’s what the they use in pageants. Hilarious. Glad your flipper didn’t flip out on you. And yay on your screenplay gig!!


dusty earth mother April 29, 2014 at 10:52 pm

I’m a pageant girl!! Thanks for the info, pug sister.


Lady Jennie May 10, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Oh Shari, Oh Shari, how I love you.


dusty earth mother May 12, 2014 at 2:59 am

I’m glad about that, Lady Jennie. Someone has to.


Karen Cohen June 6, 2014 at 3:57 am

When I wish for a good laugh I go to your site and you always fulfill my wish, Shari. This time I laughed so hard I’m afraid I might have awakened the kids. Got to go check on them . . .


dusty earth mother June 13, 2014 at 2:26 am

This is good news, Karen. Tell the Cohen children that Miss Shari loves them, even with a missing tooth and pee clothing.


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