Friday
Dec062013

Yes Hog

Ben Segal


 

0.

In this story the Jim Carrey vehicle Yes Man is caught in the world of Groundhog Day.

I have not seen Yes Man and I do not remember the rules of Groundhog Day. Can you die in Groundhog Day? I don't think so. I think you wake up the next morning after experiencing death. I think that is the real draw of the movie—the Bill Murray Christ Fantasy. But like I said I can't remember.

According to what I can remember of the trailer for Yes Man, Jim Carrey has a miserable life because he is terrified of risk. He decides he will say "yes" to everything and adventures ensue. He is placed in absurd situations but learns to savor life's surprises. I think he also falls in love. Then the movie ends.

In this version, Jim Carrey has just woken up. It is the day he has decided to say yes to everything.

 

1.

Jim Carrey, sad, goes to Olive Garden for the never-ending pasta bowl. He will say yes to anything! His life will change for the better if he just sheds his fears and embraces the possibilities life lays before him.

Jim Carrey explains his plan to the waitress at Olive Garden. She says, "Would you also like a salad?" and Jim Carrey says yes. This is healthy and good. The world is throwing health at him like darts. At the next table over, a college student, Dave, hears Jim Carrey's yes-saying plans and leans over.

"Want to come to a party with me?"

Yes. Of course it is yes.

Jim Carrey goes to the party. Lurid lighting. Teens and techno. Love-full bros are doing keg stands and Jim Carrey drinks every beer and jello shot he's offered. Dave tells the others about Jim Carrey's yes plan.

"Can I have your wallet?"

Yes. 

"Tattoo my name to your face?"

Yes.

"Carve a picture of my cat into your chest?"

Yes.

And on and on until Jim Carrey passes out bloody and poisoned with an unfinished Laur inked wavily into his cheek.

 

2.

Jim Carrey wakes in his own enormous white bed. The sunlight filters through his curtains and of course his face is unmarked and his blood free of alcohol. It must have been just a dream. And it is a good day. A beautiful day. A day for saying yes.

And yeses work fine for the morning. An extra coffee with breakfast, a favor for the woman in the cubicle over—nothing major. Then lunch comes and Jim Carrey goes to Olive Garden and is offered a never-ending pasta bowl.

"Would you like another?"

Yes.

"Would you like another?"

Yes.

"Would you like another?"

Yes.

And straight through the second half of work and into the night, Jim Carrey periodically getting up to vomit excess spaghetti in the bathroom until the restaurant closes and sends him out with a bag of leftovers.

Sick, Jim Carrey stumbles to his car and prays the whole way home that no one will offer him anything.

 

3.

Jim Carrey wakes up hungry and there is no Olive Garden in his fridge. Such vivid awful dreams he's been having! It must be from the chasm-like rut of mediocrity into which he has sunk. Something must come to break his muddy listlessness.

And Jim Carrey has a plan. He will say yes to everything!

It's a nice day, sunny, so he parks a little way from his office and begins walking to work. Beggars beg and Jim Carrey gives to every one. It's a little expensive but the generosity feels good. Jim Carrey is smiling his huge dimpled smile.

Just feet from his office, Jim Carrey is stopped by a weathered older man. Can he spare any change? Jim Carrey searches his pockets but he has given all his money already. And yet, on this day, he cannot say no.

"Let me just run to the ATM so I can get you some."

Jim Carrey withdraws a hundred and gives twenty to the weathered man, who bows slightly and slumps against a concrete facade.

Unknown to Jim Carrey, an unassuming young man has been watching this all unfold. He stops Jim Carrey before he can make it into work. He wants to know why anyone would withdraw money just to have something to give to a homeless person. Jim Carrey explains his plan to say yes to everything.

The young man asks for the remainder or Jim Carrey's money. The young man asks Jim Carrey to lick the sidewalk while singing "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" by Nancy Sinatra.

Yes and yes.

The young man is cruel but not stupid. He has Jim Carrey couriering heroin by mid-afternoon.

And thank god midnight comes and the day is reset. Jim Carrey finds himself alone and pajamaed in his cool milk-white bedsheets. A bad dream? He doesn't think he slept though. He feels a little sick and checks his calendar. It's the day he will be only saying yes.

 

4.

This time it's a murder. A man at a bus stop sees bad news on his cell phone, calls out "Somebody kill me!" to no one in particular.

Jim Carrey, yessing, hears the man's cry.

"Ok. How should I do it?"

"I don't know. Bash my head in with that rock."

The man's tone is sarcastic but a request's a request so Jim Carrey picks up a fist-sized stone and smashes the man's face. There is so much blood and Jim Carrey is crying. He is horrified but the man's teeth are out so he can't ask Jim Carrey to stop.

 

5.

And on it goes, nightmare after nightmare, until Jim Carrey is too terrified to leave his house or answer his phone. He spends day after the same bright beautiful day cowering beneath his winter blanket, too terrified to leave his bed.

 

6.

A century of Jim Carrey's fuzzy-blanket cowering, of sleep and rocking, chin down, arms crossed over his knees.

 

7.

But finally he realizes that Groundhog Day is the salvation of his whole terrible yes-saying promise. Nothing matters in the light of eternal return. He takes up suiciding as a hobby, relishes the yeses that will time and again come to ruin his life.

Jim Carrey has learned the thrill of self-abasement. In the inconsequential world of no-tomorrow, he takes it on himself to be a profaned saint, to give his body to the hard wants of any person dumb or humble enough to ask.

He walks into the street with a cardboard sign, "I'LL DO ANYTHING" drawn on it in huge black letters.

And he does. Simple nice things sometimes but mostly the days ramp up to awful once those around realize the absoluteness of his offer. You can picture the violence or the sweetness or whatever. Jim Carrey gives himself to a cannibal, helps build a house, donates his organs, kills himself on tv, tutors a kid in math.

That Jim Carrey does ANYTHING is the point, and the way the little wild stories pile up is such that each and every one is drained of significance, that the distance between the vilest and most heroic action becomes nearly meaningless and impossibly fleeting, washed out in the bright sun of the next dawning yes day.