Larry David on being married to an environmentalist
(The following is adapted from a speech given at Earth to L.A., an NRDC fund-raiser.)
Thirteen years ago I met a materialistic, narcissistic, superficial, bosomy woman from Long Island. She was the girl of my dreams. She read People magazine, watched hours of mindless television and shopped like there was no tomorrow. Finally I’d met someone as shallow as me. I was hopelessly in love. We got married in a touching ceremony in Las Vegas. The cab driver who witnessed it was deeply moved. But then after a few short months I began to sense that something had changed. She started peppering her conversation with words like ozone layer, sustainable forestry and toxic runoff. The very mention of the word diesel would bring on back spasms. I began to notice new people hanging around the house, people who were not in show business and wore a lot of tweed. Clearly something was amiss. She was growing. How hideous. But what was now all too painfully obvious was that I, Larry David, the shallowest man in the world, had married an environmentalist.
Who is responsible for this odious transformation? I blame it all on the Natural Resources Defense Council. Specifically one Robert F. Kennedy Jr. One day my wife heard him speak, and for all intents and purposes, that was the end of my marriage as I knew it. He poisoned her mind with all his talk of clean air and clean water. My advice to you: Watch out. He’s tricky. Very, very, tricky.
Because I can tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that the woman who lives in my house and occasionally sleeps in my bed is not the woman I married. The woman I married would not interrupt me after 30 seconds in the shower and tell me, “That’s enough. Get out! You’re wasting the water.” The woman I married would not scream at gardeners and threaten to call the police if they didn’t turn off their leaf blowers. The woman I married would not chastise me for flushing a toilet. That’s right, flushing a toilet. This is where I draw the line. I said, “I can take shorter showers, I’ll even shampoo and condition without the water on, but you’ll never get me to stop flushing. I was raised to flush. I enjoy flushing. It is one of my few pleasures. You will not take that away from me.”
Once I came home from playing golf. “What are you doing?!” she screamed. “Don’t you dare come in here. You’ve got pesticides on your shoes. Those golf shoes cause cancer. I don’t want them in my house!” But the worst of
it was the night I got a call at work. It was 10 o’clock at night. I was doing a rewrite. “Your wife is on the phone!”
“Mitsubishi’s building a salt mine in San Ignacio.”
“Honey, I’ve got a show tomorrow.”
“Didn’t you hear a word I said? They’re endangering the gray whale!”
For the next two years I couldn’t have one conversation without hearing the word Mitsubishi. “Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi!” She was obsessed with Mitsubishi. She’d go up to strangers on the street. “Don’t buy anything from Mitsubishi. They’re killing the whales!” Then she dragged me down to San Ignacio to see the whales. For three days I slept in a tent, drank from a canteen and conducted my business in an outhouse. She actually got to touch a whale, and had her first orgasm in six years.
Last year a friend of mine hit on hard times. No job, in debt, had nothing, about to get kicked out of his apartment. I loaned him $5,000. “How dare you loan him money. You could’ve given that money to the NRDC.”
“But he has nothing. He’s starving.”
“I don’t care! Let him starve.”
I thought I hit pay dirt with Seinfeld. I wasn’t the one who hit pay dirt. The NRDC hit pay dirt. No sooner do the residual checks come in than they go out to the NRDC. I gave them so much money one year that lawyers were calling me up – “Mr. David, we’re thinking about suing Dow Chemical. Do we have your support?”
“Sure, go ahead, we’re about to sell third cycle.”
So please, ladies and gentlemen, I implore you. Do what you can to help clean up this planet so I can get my wife back. I don’t have that much more time. Thank you.