THE BLOG

I'm Seinfeld's Biggest Fan, But I'm Not Going To Watch Jerry Live

This solo tour isn't making me thirsty.

10/11/2016 2:29 PM AEDT | Updated 10/11/2016 2:30 PM AEDT
NEW! HIGHLIGHT AND SHARE
Highlight text to share via Facebook and Twitter
Greg Allen/Invision/AP
"I love Jerry, but it won't be the same."

Jerry Seinfeld is coming to Australia.

The news has been trumpeted across social media. People are ecstatic. Being a huge fan, a tragic, they expect me to be ecstatic, too. To be the first to buy tickets.

Quite the opposite. You see, I'm different. I've got a disorder.

Look at me and you see an average Joe. Married. Average job. Owns a home. But throw a 'Seinfeld' quote at me and I become something else. It's as though my mind switches into another gear or even another dimension. All that comes out of my mouth are lines from the famous 1990s sitcom that rocketed Jerry to stardom.

Like Robert Schumann, I hear a single quote and I go absolutely crazy. I'm pretty sure my brain has developed a lobe devoted to the show and nothing else. Like a sponge. And why shouldn't it? The 'show about nothing' is definitely sponge-worthy.

Bizarrely, the 'Seinfeld' part of my brain is activated not just by a reference to the show but by the mere mention of a word or phrase used in the show. For example, I once totally confused a friend when he used the word 'equivalent' and I blurted out: "High school equivalency". It is a very, very obscure quote from the episode 'The Barber'. But there it was, flowing out of me like a regular catchphrase.

When you consider that a single, non-descript word like that can set me off, then you can see I have a serious social problem. Every time I speak, I'm saying to everyone: "Come and listen to the idiot!"

While under this spell, I will say things which ordinary me would never consider saying. Like "These pretzels are making me thirsty" or "His buttocks are sublime". I become almost as incomprehensible as one of The New Yorker's cartoons.

Fortunately, I usually only lose control around friends who are fans themselves. A quote will drop and I'll let fly like Mussolini from the balcony. Around less familiar people, I'm much more refined, much better at reining in these irresistible impulses. But the urge is always on the tip of my tongue.

Three years ago, when my wife and I were on a Mediterranean cruise, I went to great lengths to score a photo of a man who was the spitting image of Frank Costanza. Disconcertingly for family and friends, this sighting was, for me, the absolute highlight of my overseas trip. I still go on about it regularly.

West-Shapiro/Castle Rock Entertainment
"They don't want us there, so we're going."

Then came May 1998, when the final episode was aired. I understood that the show couldn't last forever. And there is still an extensive history of 180 episodes to look back on fondly, to watch again and again, whenever the mood strikes, bringing forth renewed and often pre-emptive bouts of laughter. But still something changed that day. Inside, I was no longer the same. Perhaps it was a Junior Mint.

'Seinfeld' is my little escape from reality. Other people hide away in 'Star Wars' or Middle-Earth. You can see how people reacted to Carrie Fisher's appearance in 'The Force Awakens'. They, like me, want everything to remain just as it was. They, like me, are living a lie. But it's not a lie if you believe it.

I love Jerry, but it won't be the same. It won't be like it was. Jerry, it's not you, it's me. I'm living in the past. I'm hung up on some show from the nineties.

Fortunately this Seinfeld syndrome of mine is not a major issue. It's a disorder, but it's my disorder. And it isn't debilitating. It's never been so bad that I've considered ending it all by licking a box of cheap envelopes. It's just a part of me which cannot be silenced.

And now, in just under a year, comes my opportunity to see the great comic genius in the flesh. I should be excited. I should feel like I've had a B12 shot. But there's nothing. Bupkis. I'm like a boy in a bubble. Happy to dwell in the past and forget that times have moved on, that people have aged, that there is another world beyond the walls of apartment 5A, 129 West 81st Street.

Instead of sitting front row centre at every one of Jerry's shows, I'll be hunkered down in front of my TV, re-watching episodes that I've re-watched many times before.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

_____________________________

Maurits Zwankhuizen is currently writing a novel based on his Seinfeld obsession.

More On This Topic

Advertisement
Advertisement