It’s probably better to have In Search of Lost Time up there, but we’re talking to Eternity here, so I can do what I want when I want–this is Proust, after all.
And why the hell would I start a blog post about Proust when I haven’t written in something like a month and everyone has forgotten about this blog?
It has to do with Jackass 3D. I know that isn’t the normal thing that would be associated with Proust, but these are the things that tumble around. They say (I don’t know who they are) that once you read Proust your life is fundamentally changed forever–they say that you don’t go back, that you see things differently; it’s like gazing into the abyss or something. If that’s true, I feel like I should be at least 48% fundamentally changed already. I’m about that far through In Search of Lost Time, the whole thing, and it’s about damn time that I see some kind of results.
But I’m not seeing them. I don’t think about time or art or the way that I fundamentally deal with the world. I just sit and mourn Proust’s neuroses for the most part.
And that’s what takes me to Jackass 3D. You see, I spent the majority of my middle school years emulating the things that those guys did on the show. It was perfect, really; I was the perfect age where we could do it and people would say, “Oh, it’s just kids being terrible fucks out in the country.” That could have been right, for the most part, because I don’t think that we were doing anything particularly unique. Like I said, we were emulating, and all the Jackass crew had on history was that they knew that they should be filming, always filming, and that’s where they found success.
We were always filming, too. Our group was a good one, mostly made up of guys with fucked up home lives that got together and ran around the woods and punched one another and got burned on the weekends. That was therapy, I guess, because it’s for damn sure that most, if not all, of us really needed it.
Watching Jackass 3D really brought that all back for me, and more than that, it contextualized it for me. Jackass originally aired on MTV about ten years ago, and we started playing the same roles about 2002 or so. I’ve grown up in the shadow of Johnny Knoxville getting hit in the balls by a sledgehammer hung from a fulcrum. That’s the most forming moment for me; not Oklahoma City, or 9/11, or the Iraq War, or even American Idol. It’s a giggling man who just loves to have riot mines go off in his face.
That’s memory. That’s fluidity. That’s how unreliable it all is, the mind and the body and everything in between.
So when the cast of Jackass sings a shitty Weezer song appropriately titled “Memories,” I have to deal with a lot of things. These guys are getting old, nearly forty, and the body can only be destroyed for pleasure for a short amount of time. It also means that I’m getting older, that my time for destruction is ending, and that a chapter of my life is fundamentally over. There’s no one else doing it like these guys did; the rest are all defined as “doing what that Jackass guys do, but more.” I don’t want that. I want Chris Pontius running through the streets of London acting like he’s a werewolf. I want Ryan Dunn trying to jump Snake River and never making it. I want Wee Man flying off a ramp into water.
In some sense I want it all to be new. I want to experience all those things again: the pain of dropping in a quarter pipe and fucking up my knee, the taste of everything in a fridge stirred in a cup, the fear of thinking that you’ve accidentally castrated yourself while reshooting all of The Fellowship of the Ring with only two people.
But I don’t really want them. I just want to remember them the way they were, like Proust would, recreating those situations through talk and conversation and circumstance. Always remembering, never rethinking, continually moving onward.
I wish the entire Jackass crew well, forever, because I’m fundamentally tied to them.
Johnny Knoxville is my Elvis.