1.30.2011

An Oklahoma Hooker


Apparently, this is an actual term. It refers to a storm that sweeps through the middle of the country, around Oklahoma, and then gets whipped up North to the Chicago area. I learned this fun new phrase upon hearing of the 12-16" of snow that is about to get dumped on Chicago. An Oklahoma Hooker. Amazing.

Only a semi-loose segue:

It got me thinking about the play with which I'm tinkering. Canoodling, possibly, would be a better word choice. Either way, I've been beating my head against both the proverbial and literal walls, trying to figure this thing out. It's not that I have no idea -- that might be less painful. I have a vague idea, a collection of characters, images, thematic what-have-you's, lines, a whole tackle box full of atmospheric hooks. But as per the actual concrete story, the forest-for-the-trees plot -- I'm struggling.

But now, with Oklahoma Hookers securely in my vocab, the one thing I am seeing clearly is that I have no interest whatsoever in nice human beings. No hero. No straight guy. No audience mirror. No honest victim. Gag me. For whatever reason, I have zero interest.

I don't regularly trumpet these types of characters anyway. But, my last pilot had a straight lead, an audience mirror of sorts. A coming-of-age-type guy. And wow, did I I hate him by the end of that process. There's nothing worse than writing a script, putting all those months into making the thing breathe and stagger to its wobbly feet -- only to realize you like your supporting cast a bazillion times better than your lead. It sucks. Giant ass balls. Horse balls, as my late maternal grandmother might say.

Normally, as a reader or audience member, most of us would take a bad guy over a lead. A villain, a scumbag, a downright bastard, a gleefully sinister bad cop, a scheming wife, a vicious lover, a moll, a suave and pompous ass, at least someone uproariously self-serving; an Oklahoma Hooker.

So why switch gears when you go to tell your own story? I don't know why I should or would. But I sometimes do. And the good guys have their place. (Lord knows we can all name a beloved book, film, or whatever, that has one as its lead.) But they're boring. And, worse still, they're as fake as high school.

In life, we all have our degree of villainy. Whether it's mild or extra spicy, well, that's our own business. But life is all shades of grey. So why waste our time with the driven snow?

So, I took one of the characters that was in the mix and making things difficult, and I cast said person off with the winds sweeping up to northern Illinois.

An Oklahoma Hooker. Here I grew up in Chicago and I've never heard this term. Would have saved me a lot of grief over the last two weeks.

ps. There's an actual town called Hooker, Oklahoma, as well. Go figure. No real connection. FYI. Use it as you will.

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