LA, Traffic, and Trudeau

Nappoholics Anonymous is a weekly column featuring twelve random thoughts by actor Tony Nappo. Some are funny, some are poignant, some bother him, and some make him weep from sadness while others make him weep for joy. Here are his thoughts: unfiltered, uncensored, and only occasionally unsafe for work.

1. I did my hair toss and checked my nails this morning, but I only feel kinda so-so.

Fucking Tuesdays.

2. Comeback of the Week

3. Had an awesome trip to LA last week. Caught up with a bunch of friends, ate some great food, saw the Venice canals and beach, Hollywood Hills, hit a couple of parties, enjoyed the shit out of the weather. Total relaxing vacation mode.

I must be the only actor on the planet who goes to LA to get away from work…on purpose, anyway.

4. This piece was painted by the film and television director Anne Wheeler. Anne is the only director I know for certain who uses storyboards… because I have actually seen them. I mention this because there is a discipline implied in that practice that I see employed in this painting. The subject is very clearly a lizard. No doubt in my mind. It isn’t abstract in any way. It is the subject front and center in the composition. But inside of that framework – as inside the framework of the storyboards in her film work – there is immense freedom.

Her colours are so vibrant, and they are each distinct – not a lot of blending of colours. There is almost a mosaic quality here – which makes me think of actors in a film. Each is bringing a distinct shape, colour, and personality of their own to the table, but together serving the director’s ultimate vision. I find this piece fun and alive yet stoic at the same time.  Anne gave me no title for it or link to any of her other works so please do bug the shit out of her personally to show you some more.

5. Airport Text to My Daughter, Ella: 

If my plane crashes and I die, I love you forever. And I love you for who you are, not in spite of it. And I know you are gonna do just fine in life no matter what. You’re smart and strong and funny. You’re a champion. You got this life.

If I don’t die, I’ll see you Saturday, probably.

6. “I would never wear brown face. In fact, if I become Prime Minister and have my way, you’d hardly ever see a brown face in Canada again.”

7. Sometimes I think when people are casting for a project and someone says “we need a real dick for this part,” someone else immediately says, “get Nappo” and then they start thinking about what to order for lunch.

8. Mother of the Week

9. I get in an uber last week, headed to CanStage:

Me: “Can you take College and go down Sherbourne, please? The traffic is best that way.”

Driver: “Traffic is like a woman. Always changing.”

Me: “That’s not a bad thing, is it?”

Driver: “A woman is never wrong. Do you know that? And a man is never right.”

Me: “Well, according to what you just said, you’d be wrong on that one.”

Medium-sized laugh.

Later that same ride…

Driver: “You were right. The traffic was better this way.”

Me: “Every once in a while, I am right. I wish I were a Woman, so I could be right all the time.”

No laugh.

Me:  “Stupid penis.”

Big laugh.

And scene.

10. Only in the USA, would you not only find a diner called Killer Cafe but one that is open 24 hours. I think this metaphor isn’t even really trying here.

11. I absolutely have to thank Mike Koichopolos – a friend I originally met in high school, but we have kept in very regular touch for years. Mike is the guy who whipped up that stamp for last week’s sesquicentennial column. I sent him a text and an hour later I had what I had hoped for… and so much more. He never refuses my technological favours.

 I have no idea how he does any of it, but if you’re shopping for a guy who knows how to do all that shit, look him up on my friend list. Here is a couple of things he has done for me over the years (weirdly enough – mostly without me asking him to).

 

12. I felt a responsibility to respond to the whole Trudeau thing and wrote a big long thing about how I once dressed up as Samuel Jackson in Pulp Fiction for Halloween in complete ignorance. I then sent the piece to five people of colour who I love and respect immensely. What I learned was what I suspected, and why I sent the piece to these five people, in the first place – I really had no place writing on the topic.

There are times in life to speak and times to listen. I’m listening right now. I want to learn and grow and be better every day. None of the five condemned the piece, but there was enough constructive feedback for me to know I had missed the mark… by a mile. Instead of adding my take, I wanted to share with you, with permission, a part of one of the responses that were sent to me because it feels miles ahead of where I am at (and where most are), and I think it is more than food for thought. I think it’s an absolutely fucking brilliant philosophy. I plan to read it over and over and over again until it sinks in. The person who sent it wished to remain anonymous because he wasn’t writing for publication. It was just a conversation he was having with a friend. But he was more than happy to allow me to share it without any name connected to it.

His words:

I think I’m entirely the wrong person to ask about this situation. I think that, in general, folks spend way too much time criticizing what they perceive to be their political opponent’s character rather than their policies.

Furthermore, I believe many people absolve themselves of actually doing anything virtuous by allying themselves with the historically dispossessed and disempowered. Louis C.K does a great bit about giving up his seat in first class on an airplane for a man in uniform that beautifully illustrates this phenomenon. It’s really worth watching.

I don’t think that dressing up in a costume makes anyone racist. But my Spidey sense start tingling when somebody calls anybody else racist because I just find that whole dynamic to be a ploy to elevate one’s own status by unfairly criticizing the character of another. Similarly, I find the overwhelming rush of people to form social media mobs (and broadcast media mobs) to assassinate the character of people they don’t really know to be a really poisonous element of our social discourse. We saw that with the hole Covington Fiasco yet we will keep doing it, whether it’s political leaders, sports and entertainment figures or any poor Sluggo who has the misfortune to get caught in our social headlights.

I think we’ve really got to start visiting old people, helping our neighbours, playing ball with our kids, visiting the sick, rather than entertaining ourselves by throwing rocks and other people while patting ourselves on the back.

As I say to my kids, I think we really have a choice to make our lives an Amusement park or make them an Adventure; in the scenario above I believe that we are wasting precious hours (face) painting others as bad and ourselves as good.  A facile entertainment. An amusement park. Brightly-lit self-gratifying distraction.

The Adventure would be to actually go out and do good rather than calling attention to our own goodness by spotlighting the perceived badness of other people. I say and believe all of this because I have the misfortune of seeing my kids trapped in this social media morass to the detriment of their self-perceptions and their perceptions of the world around them.

If we could all just acknowledge our own Brokenness instead of reacting in amazement and amusement to the Brokenness of others, we might be better able to focus on “fixing” ourselves, which I believe to be our true vocation and our life’s work. We gotta create less acrimony and find more peace.

 


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Written By

Tony is Italian, he’s from Scarborough, he’s an actor, he’s a father, he’s a really good house painter, and he doesn’t believe that most things matter, ultimately, at all.