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Apr
30

over a Cliff

I’ve always wondered, given the fascination we have with losers and people actively engaged in the throes of losing, why there aren’t more autobiographies written by those amongst us that have failed? You only have to turn on the TV at almost any time or any channel and the program will probably be some voyeuristic peek into some otherwise mundane life. Reality television lives on the morbid fascination we have with watching people fall short so why doesn’t this translate into book sales for those same unfortunate bastards?

Perhaps people who read are inherently smarter than the intellectual refuse that watches TV. As an avid reader, I would like to take this position but if you look at the NY Times Best Seller list it simply doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

Why have I deviated from my usual fart and penis topics you ask? It’s very simple. I watched Sixteen Candles for the 300th time yesterday and a thought occurred to me.

Whatever happened to Darren Harris?

There’s a scene in the movie where Darren and John Cusack, playing the nerdy sidekicks of Anthony Michael Hall, are lying next to each other in the trunk of a car. They are then lifted out by a jock and free to continue with their lives.

The easy thing to do here is use that scene as a allegory for their careers after the film but then that would lead to a lot more parables and then next thing you know I would lose track of the original premise.

Don’t believe me? You think I’m somehow immune to my own dithering just because I’m the one writing it? Believe me, just once I’d like to get to the finish line of the race I originally began running. When the gun goes off, and by gun I mean my laptop firing up, I’m looking forward to a 100-yard dash but before I’ve taken ten steps I’m throwing up hurdles.

How’s that for some high-quality dithering?

So it is I will forgo the observations of how Mr. Cusack climbed forth from the trunk and into Hollywood stardom. From an obscure part into “leading man” status and practically invited himself into all of our collective hearts.

At some point in time there really was a point where Darren and John lay next to each other, shoulder to shoulder, as peers. Same goals. Same lofty aspirations.

Where did it all go wrong for Darren Harris?

There. That’s the point I wanted to bring up and I didn’t cram in one metaphor about Mr. Cusack. He’s finished as far as this story goes; I’m now free to devote my entire focus to Mr. Harris.

Who else is going to dig up shit on Darren Harris for you if I don’t do it? Ask yourself that. I think it’s time you show just a little appreciation for the hours I waste looking up stuff on the internet for you. There’s no way you can ever watch Sixteen Candles again without wondering to yourself, and possibly aloud to the others in the room, “whatever happened to Darren Harris?”

A quick look at the IMBd website lets us know that he had two small parts in movies after Sixteen Candles; as one of the “Weenies” in Weird Science (also a John Hughes movie with Anthony Michael Hall) and as Nerd #3 in Better Off Dead (also with John Cusack … who was the star of this movie. Ouch.).

One minute you’re lying in a trunk with a guy and the next you’re Nerd #3 and having to watch him be the main man. That had to have stung a bit. You have to wonder if he looked at Anthony Michael Hall and thought to himself “what does he have that I don’t?”

After Better Off Dead (a very ironic title in this case) he never appeared in another film.

Shit, not flooding you with metaphors right now is tougher than I thought it would be. I have to remind myself to just keep my head down and legs pumping. It’s not helping that Wikipedia has jack squat on Darren Harris. Even Rotten Tomatoes has nothing.

All I can find is that he was born in Canada. Then I got a lead that he was the AV guy when he attended The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, California. No wonder he was typecast. What is it they say about getting attached to the people you Google? I looked into The Buckley School and saw a list of “notable alumni” and Darren wasn’t listed. I was offended. You know who was listed? Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Kim Kardashian and Sara Gilbert. What, Darren wasn’t a big enough WHORE to make the list?!

Sorry, Sara, got a bit carried away.

Then it turns out I don’t know where he went to high school, he was the AV guy at UCLA, not The Buckley School. That explains his not being listed…

I watch Sixteen Candles and instead of being intrigued with John Cusack I fall under the spell of Darren fucking Harris who apparently got pissed off at always having small nerd roles and gave up after three movies. If you add the fact that I was going to mention Sixteen Candles 16 times in order to impress the dorks that take the time to notice such things but couldn’t be bothered, you might think my prospects of  achieving even Harrisian notoriety are bleak at best.

That’s where you’re wrong. For you see the end of the story is drawing near and I didn’t once go diving off into some unwanted metaphor. That’s real progress. I see the finish line and all I have to do is mention how much I’d like to see a Darren Harris autobiography and the tape will practically be breaking across my chest.

(That’s it. Almost there. Say something pithy.)

Darren, we’re dying here. What happened?

(Steady Manion. Steady. Suggest a title.)

What about calling it Darren, we’re dying here. What happened?

(Wait, wasn’t the whole “running a race” and “finish line” stuff a metaphor?)

(Shit.)

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