Sam is someone I should have hated. He liked David Lynch. He thought that open interpretation in the art of filmmaking was necessary and entertaining. He was the kind of guy who was totally down with silent films about a hammer pounding a nail in slow motion and black and white for thirty minutes. But I didn’t hate him. Quite the opposite. I thought Sam was awesome and hilarious. He was recruited through our craigslist/reddit search for crew members on the film that Chad, Dalton and I were making. He was the greatest addition to the team and he made being on set as fun as it was frustrating. He was Dalton’s number 2 when Dalton was unable to attend a shoot.
Sam used severe words with indifferent tones. It cracked me up inside. I had to contain myself whenever he did so because I was sure no one would understand why I was laughing. Sam used to complain about scenes in movies/TV shows when people bleed out their mouths after being stabbed in areas where that effect would not occur. He would say how cheesy and stupid it is and that it didn’t make any sense. “What if they get stabbed in the lung or something then bleed out their mouth?” I would ask.
“Well, then it’s terrifying.” He’d reply, with a tone equivalent to “You forgot your keys.”
Sam liked to record my various rants about my extreme distaste for Olympia. Occasionally to prevent an aneurism I would blow up on random shoot days, talking about everyone in that town and their fucked up little conspiracy theories combined with their tree-hugging views on “natural” herbs and remedies and how if they had to choose between themselves or a baby cow they’d volunteer to have their own fucking throats slit.
I would turn around to see Sam, phone in hand, cracking a smile in the laundrymat where we were shooting a cheating scene. “Are you recording this?” A nod was all he could muster. One thing I complained about often was this weird fixation everyone in Olympia had with abbreviations. If someone wrote a book on the Olympian lifestyle it would be called Everything is Abbreviated. I would make jokes all the time, abbreviating everything to a ridiculous extent. No one really liked it. “Hey, that’s a nice Chrys!” (Chrysler). or “Wanna head down to the ol’ B for some D at the W!?” (Bar, Drinks, West Side) The best one I came up with involved a place that sold pizza that you cooked at home called Papa Murphy’s. Sam and I were scouring for food in the midst of an Oz marathon, and I said “Wanna grab somethin’ at the P. Murph’s!?” He told me to shut up. Ultimately we couldn’t decide on anything better. When we arrived and walked up to it, Sam turned to me and said, “Not much action at the P. Murph’s!”
I’ve recently learned that Papa Murphy’s is a chain, and not just located in Washington. One night I’ll be sitting with some friends on a quiet Saturday, one of which shall walk in with a Papa Murphy’s pizza in hand, hopefully Hawaiian, and I’ll walk into the kitchen to light the gas stove. “Was there much action over at the P. Murph’s!?” I’ll shout, turning the gas dial. “What?” Someone’ll ask. Distracted by my involuntary flashback, I won’t notice that the lighting mechanism on the stove is busted. I’ll yell through the kitchen my story of where the phrase came from, spreading like wildfire back to the failed film and the reason for its existence. I’ll ask if they want to watch it. Everyone will shake their heads. I’ll shrug and reenter the kitchen, opening the stove, curious to find that it isn’t hot. A normal person would probably shut it off, open the windows and wait awhile, but my 101 IQ will will me into pulling out my Led Zeppelin lighter and attempting to light the stove myself. I’ll die a Darwin Awarded death, and I’ll die still wondering if there was any action at the ol’ P. Murph’s that night.