On The Record: I Drink Your Milkshake
It cost me $12 and 2 hours and 38 minutes of my life, but I've had a revelation: Everything I know is wrong.
It seems I am too nice, too willing to let bygones be bygones. Secretly, I always knew this about myself. Deep down inside, there were feelings — dark, terrible, ugly ones — that yearned to break free, but I suppressed them, beat them down until they burned holes in the pit of my stomach. I wanted the best only for myself. I wanted everyone around me to fail, to flame out miserably, to suffer and crash. I wanted to harm those who had wronged me. I wanted to club charlatans to death with a bowling pin.
I was not a good person, by any stretch of the imagination, and it frightened me, because normal, sane people did not feel this way.
Worried, I told some of my closest friends about my feelings. Surely, they could help. Only, they didn't. And surprisingly, none of them were horrified by what I was telling them. Rather, they all said the same thing: "Wow, you sound exactly like Daniel Plainview."
For those not in the know, Plainview is the main character in Paul Thomas Anderson's intense, totally excellent "There Will Be Blood," and he is a complete badass. He is ruthless and cruel and vindictive and fueled by an unspoken, insatiable desire to best his competition. He speaks in great, sweeping generalities (there is only black and white in his world, no gray — which sort of makes him like George W. Bush) and shouts and spits and has a truly excellent mustache. He is unstoppable and unapologetic and a force of nature, and he makes Chuck Norris look like a total wuss. Basically, he is the complete opposite of me ... and yet, he is also everything I'd like to be.
So I plunked down my cash and went to go see "Blood," as a form of therapy or something. And I emerged transformed. Because, as it turns out, my internal monologue was exactly like Daniel Plainview.
This is particularly apparent in one super-intense scene roughly midway through the film, where Plainview is drinking booze and spilling his guts to a man whom he suspects might be trying to con him (you can view some of it here, though you have to sit through a "There Will Be Blood" commercial to do so). It's amazing on about 100 different levels, though mainly because in it, he manages to sum up every single emotion I've ever felt surging inside me. Only he's describing himself:
"I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed. I hate most people. ... There are times when I look at people and I see nothing worth liking. I want to earn enough money that I can get away from everyone. ... I see the worst in people. I want to rule and never, ever explain myself. I've built my hatreds up over the years, little by little."
And I don't know what it was about the scene — how unapologetic Plainview is about his shortcomings, how simple and straightforward he makes everything seem — but right there, I decided that the old me was dead and that I would spend every day from here on out living exactly like Daniel Plainview: petty, jealous, booming, unjust, deadly, but being completely, totally OK with all those things. Because, truly, being Daniel Plainview means never having to say you're sorry.
So far, my transition to Plainview has been pretty smooth: I've started shouting a lot more, ordered gigantic T-bone steaks for my adopted son (even though I do not have an adopted son), draped a napkin over my face, grown a mustache. And I've taken to bellowing Plainview's signature phrase (the emphatic "I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!!!!!") at every opportunity. And, most importantly, I no longer take crap from anyone.
If someone wrongs me, cool. I am willing to let the transgression stand ... but I will spend every waking minute planning my revenge, and when it eventually comes — an act heretofore known as "Plainviewing" — it will be swift and vicious. (Without giving too much away, "Blood" ends with a massive Plainviewing involving a bowling pin and the previously mentioned "milkshake" taunt.)
Earlier this week, I Plainviewed an editor who had double-crossed me. I Plainviewed the dude who works at the deli down the street from me, because the ATM was out of order. I will Plainview Matt Gold, the kid who held me against a tree and threatened to beat me up in seventh grade. I want to Plainview the kids who talk sh-- about me on AbsolutePunk.net. And — perhaps most importantly — I pledge to someday Plainview every single band that has ever wronged me in the past. (First on the list, probably the guys who used to be in the Promise Ring, for making Wood/Water. Watch out, Davey.)
It might not be fair, but hey, being Plainview isn't about being fair; it's about settling the score. So while I'm not sure how I'll do it, I'll eventually get even with Brandon Flowers (for being a jerk to me because I started the whole "Killers vs. Bravery" thing), Tom DeLonge (for scuttling a potential story I was working on because "I was trying to get him"), and very specific members of the My Chemical Romance camp (for making it a living hell to try to report on The Black Parade).
I will Plainview Rivers Cuomo for everything since Pinkerton (especially Make Believe). I will drink the Mars Volta's milkshake for Amputechture. And I will bring the bowling pin to Billy Corgan's house as a way of saying thanks for Zeitgeist.
And this should serve as a warning to every band releasing an album I am looking forward to in 2008: If you betray me, I will Plainview you (are you listening, Kim Deal? Do you hear me, Plastic Constellations?) I will not be stopped, until every musician, publicist and multinational corporation has paid for their transgressions against me. I will Plainview them all. I will drink their milkshakes. I will be the one left standing. I don't know if this makes me a bad person. I don't really care.
B-Sides: Other Stories I'm Following This Week
Questions? Concerns? Milkshakes? E-mail me at BTTS@MTVStaff.com.