Photo courtesy of the Cooley family

Enabler’s Day

by Aaron Cooley

This is all Mom’s fault.

This, ending up here in this over-priced, congested, uneasy-on-the-eyes city, fighting my way through the craziest business on the planet, all of this has got to be somebody’s fault, right? In my case, it’s Mom’s fault.

It’s her fault that my earliest memory is sitting in a shopping cart pulling a can of beans off a grocery store shelf. No, that’s not right, I’m not pulling the can down . . . I’m watching myself pull the can down. I’m pulling the can down on a television. The whole family’s gathered around the TV, watching me in a commercial. Mom claims now that every intelligible word of my first three years was spent begging to be on TV. Hence, when she took me to an agent’s office, she was just giving me what I wanted. She says it was grandma that encouraged her to do it, encouraged her to listen to me, but I know it’s really her fault.

It’s her fault that from that first memory all I wanted was more and more of this insanity. I wanted more commercials, I wanted my own TV show, I wanted to be on the big screen. No dream was too big. After all, Mom was always telling me that I could do anything, be anything I wanted to be. Of course I believed her. She was Mom.

When I became a little minor celebrity in our small town, the local news came to interview me. Eight-year-old me explained that acting wasn’t my real passion. Someday I’d be making movies, like Lucas and Spielberg. That answer right there? Mom’s fault.

Mom drove me to every audition I ever had and every job I ever booked. She even flew to L.A. with me a couple times for big auditions. I remember staying in this majestic hotel, across a street wonderfully named Avenue of the Stars from the big haunting eyes of the Les Mis girl. I remember mom walking me across the street to an audition in the strange 70s complex that girl guarded, an architectural misfit today long buried under the monolith marvel of CAA.

It’s Mom’s fault my acting career was eventually retired in the name of education. As middle school wound down, she was the one who told me that her chaperoning days were over, that the time had come for me to just be a student.

It’s Mom’s fault movies are so important . . . no, magical to me. She’s the one who insisted on making homemade popcorn whenever we rented a new Betamax release from Captain Video. She claimed the popcorn tradition was her own father’s, but I blame her.

She also knew that The Incredible Shrinking Woman should be the very first movie we rent . . . you know moms, they have this wondrous power to see the future.

She’s also the only one who would go see Batman with me on opening night. Or should I say opening morning? I had to wait in line for the tickets to go on sale when the box office opened 14 hours prior (there being no pre-sales, no Fandango, no bleeping internet in 1989), but if I was willing to do that, she’d stay up late and take me to my first midnight movie. As planned, when the clock turned to June 23, we were planted in the best seats in the house. The eruption of the crowd as the lights went down sealed the deal: I was hooked not just on movies, but on event movies. And it’s all her fault!

It’s her fault I thought moving to a town where I knew no one and trying to break into maybe the hardest business to break into was a good idea. It’s her fault I didn’t prioritize, say, making money when picking a career. It’s her fault I was drunk with the allure of concepts like happiness and artistic expression.

Speaking of which, it’s Mom’s fault I think all my ideas are gold. I’ve never pitched her anything to which she didn’t immediately reply, “Oh, Aaron, that is great!” I’ve never sent her a script that took her more than 48 hours to read. And each and every time, all I get from her is rave reviews. Is that supposed to be healthy for a man’s opinion of himself?

It’s Mom’s fault I wrote a book. She was always telling me that this script or that script of mine would make a great book, that she could tell from my screen directions I’d write great prose. I remember the day my book was going on sale, I kept going back to Amazon and searching for the title, and searching for the title, waiting for that moment that it finally showed up. Before it did, however, an email from my mom popped up in my in-box, she had forwarded me a receipt from Amazon. She somehow bought the book before I even knew it was available.

And yes, it’ll be her fault if I write another. Less than three days after she sent me that receipt, she wrote me this long beautiful email about how she had finished the book and had cried at the end. Cried? It’s supposed to be a take off of James Bond movies, Mom! Have you ever seen someone cry at the end of a James Bond movie?

This is all Mom’s fault.

Thanks Mom.

Aaron Cooley

About Aaron Cooley

Aaron Cooley’s first novel SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED was named one of the Best Books of 2013 by IndieReader.com. Aaron runs development for famed director Joel Schumacher. His second book will be published in June of 2015. Follow Aaron on Twitter: @fleming17f

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