No Laughing Matter: An Eccentric Millionaire’s Cry for Help via “City Lights”

city-lights-1931-charlie-chaplin-booze-poured-down-pantsHi, my name is Eccentric Millionaire and I am an alcoholic. I am also part of the social elite, commonly referred to as the 1%, which obviously makes me a better person than you. As pompous and potentially off-putting as that may sound, it is honestly how I feel. Listen, I am better than you because I am more successful than you, and that’s that. However, believe it or not I do bleed the same blood as any other man. What I am getting at is, as perfect as I may appear to be I am not without flaws, the biggest of which being my ever revolving unhealthy states of mind, often brought on by consumption of alcohol. Though currently as I write this I am in a self-reflecting state, at any given time my mood could switch to either extreme suicidal depression or manic elated joy. You might say I am a bit of a mess.

Thankfully, I have the generosity of an odd street fellow – a Tramp, if you will – of the far lower class variety to thank for my being here today. Turns out, a talented director by the name of Charlie Chaplin has recorded and edited many of my most private and lowest moments and compiled them into a feature length film of sorts that he calls City Lights.

Now you listen, and you listen good, Mr. Chaplin! You should consider yourself lucky. If I weren’t so grateful for being alive, I would have sued your unsavory loose-fitted and torn pants right off your small and comical stature. You have invaded my privacy, defamed my character and have probably made millions from the mocking of my alcoholic sickness.

But as much as I want to remain mad at you, the truth is my gratitude for having been shown the error of my ways – albeit through means of illegally unauthorized surveillance techniques – trumps my instinctual reaction to take legal recourse. Having watched City Lights a few times now I can’t help but wonder how I didn’t die years ago, before I even met your acquaintance.


Here we are by the docks (pictured above), where we met for the first time. Oh, the shame I felt while watching my failed attempt at suicide, an attempt that almost led to the death of my one and only friend. I admit it’s not easy sitting through this scene, especially the part where I try to toss the weighted down noose around my neck and it lands on the jester-like tramp’s head instead. At that moment – in my selfish desire to end it all – I nearly killed a man. Reliving that particular moment gives me great shame, and yet though I do not find anything humorous about this incident, as many audience members no doubt do, I do find it impossible to walk away from this scene unaffected.

Oh Mr Chaplin, I hate you for making me relive this scene over and over again, and for putting it on display for the entire world’s amusement, yet at the same time I am thankful you did. It’s not easy to take a long hard look at yourself, and I thank you for forcing me to do just that.

vlcsnap-2011-10-02-02h11m32s124_largeBeing caught in the act of committing suicide is one thing, however being caught in bed with another man is far worse. Even the very suggestion that I have engaged in homosexual activity could be enough to ruin my reputation. Keep in mind, this footage was recorded in 1931. Back then there was no such thing as legal gay marriage, nor was the climate of acceptance in general society anywhere near what it is currently.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You think I’m a homophobe, don’t you? Well, I got news for you. Back when this footage was recorded the word homophobe didn’t even exist. So you tell me how it is that I can be something that doesn’t even exist. Is your inferior mind blown yet?

I’ll have you know that I am a straight man who has never once desired running my fingers through the soft curled mane of another man’s head. I am a straight man who has never had to resist the urge to dress another man in desirable evening attire as if he was my own plaything. I am a straight man who has never been seen in bed with another woman because… umm… well, because I… uh… umm… you know… because I… well, it’s none of your business, now is it! I AM A STRAIGHT MAN, GOSH DARN’T!

Anyway, let’s move on okay?

CityLights_carThanks to you, Mr Chaplin, I can begin to confront my alcoholism, and with the good grace of God turn my life around. If a blind woman can be given the gift of sight, and a poor kind-hearted tramp find true love, well surely there is hope for me yet.

With the assumption that you are reading this, there is something that I would like to ask of you, Mr. Chaplin. Would it be too much trouble for you to pass my number along to the Tramp if you see him again? I would love to hear from him again, especially if his love affair with that florist turns sour.


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Categories: Features

One Comment on “No Laughing Matter: An Eccentric Millionaire’s Cry for Help via “City Lights””

  1. June 28, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

    The funniest part of the book for me was where Labro described American men as falling into two camps: those who
    could crush beer cans with one hand and those who
    could not. Ce logo sp. C’est moi qui me manque.

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