Word Count 500
By Mike Cecconi
Great way to doom yourself to a shiftless art-bum’s fate is to get a film degree, so I got one of
those. Great way to legally indemnify your art-bum life is to wait until the statute-of-limitations
is up before writing anything down, so I’ve done that too.
Video-editing gave me violet-strobe panic attacks back at Syracuse, so I got okay at everything
else, allowing me to trade off. I mostly wrote, rube who thought he’d be scripting The Simpsons
by twenty-four that I was, but I grew competent at most things, though being loud and punctual,
they’d mostly ask me to act. The real acting students were mainly strung-out unreliables whose
“process” would wreck the shoot even if they showed but I happily said my lines seventy-seven
times, if it meant evading the Beta-Decks another week.
Friend-of-a-friend was doing her thesis, brilliant producer but bit of a control freak, only person
who’d write for her was my friend Ben, he may’ve had a crush on her? Ben wrote a Rockyesque
comedy about a washed-up pro-wrestler making s comeback and crafted the lead for me. Meant
training with Rochester minor-league wrestlers and multiple concussions but, hey, it kept me out
of the editing bays.
Ben decided, wrestler at-heart, his day-job would be reenacting for Fort Stanwix, it was logical,
still a character in a weird suit. The director gave myself, my girlfriend who costumed, Ben also
acting and our friend Jeff, a rap enthusiast from Downstate acting too, some money “enough for
food or gas but not both” and told us to drive to Rome so we did. In our holding pattern at the
Thruway McDonalds, Jeff saw an ad for the new Big ‘N’ Tasty burger and said “Cecconi, that’s
your rap name, yo, Big Tasty!” We spent that either/or money wisely, you see.
When we got out of our cars in Rome, after I quick-changed into an unflatteringly tight Redcoat
costume, the camera people and other actors filing in, I asked the director “so where’s our liaison
or whatever, the park ranger we have to meet with?” She looked me straight in the eye and said,
“I lied, I didn’t clear this with anyone, get in the fort.” Already in Rome, already in the costume
revealing my religion, Quarter-Pounder already in my gullet, show must go on, we broke into a
national monument without trouble, filmed a few hours then drove back. This should’ve been a
lesson how the film business would treat me but, again, twenty-or-so statute-of-limitation-passed
years ago, I was just that sort of rube.
Got “Big Tasty” out of it so that’s something. I don’t rap but whenever I do stand-up for a drag
or a burlesque and they want stage names, that’s what I go by: “Big Tasty”. Sometimes you get
tricked into breaking into a national monument and you come out the other end with a useless
diploma and a cool nom-de-guerre. I mean, might just be me. Maybe all lives aren’t like this.