Conan stood in the sunlight, his ginger hair holding strong against the wind. Blow as it may, his hair remained in place. Only the vent flaps of his tasteful blue blazer, and the push of his trousers against the backs of his legs, showed signs of the breeze that was whipping around him. He held a pale hand up to his pale brow and surveyed the seascape ahead of him. The water sparkled, and even from this height, Conan could hear the meditative murmur of waves crashing against the rocks below.
He knew how those rocks felt! For weeks, Conan had been standing proud and resilient against the crashing waves of an unfair world. But even the hard, illusory permanence of rock eventually gives way to the annihilating erosion of time. Everything returns to silt. And a weariness had seeped into Conan’s bones. He felt tired. It did not show on his grinning face, or in the springy step of his sometimes admittedly clownish body, but he was exhausted.
Not too exhausted, however, to put on a black ski mask and break into Jay Leno’s ostentatious airplane hangar full of insultingly expensive rare cars, and steal a 1932 Duesenberg SJ.
He was not so exhausted that he couldn’t lift a cinder block and place it on the gas pedal.
But first, Conan O’Brien breathed deep the salt air. He sat in the grass and ran his fingers through it. He knew as well as anyone, and better than most, how easy it was to get caught up in the madness of the media. Still, it was important to remember that there was a world out there. A world that was indifferent to the machinations of moguls and monsters. The trees did not care who hosted what when. The clouds would rise and fall without the slightest understanding of contractual obligation or artistic integrity. This simple fact offered a psychic reset. A universal pause button.
Just kiddding. What was Conan, some kind of stupid hippie? He was a human being, who loved living in a world of human beings! He was a performer! Nature was for co-ed college students in peasant blouses, and dudes with unkempt facial hair who wrote poetry in Moleskin notebooks. Conan craved the city. He craved people.
But that world had turned its back on him.
Conan stood up and brushed dirt from his hands, from his pants. He pulled his black, leather gloves back on, and walked to the idling 1932 Duesenberg SJ. Of course, Conan recognized that Jay Leno would probably never even notice this particular beloved antique car was missing. He did, after all, own an entire airplane hangar full of beloved antique cars. How many beloved antique cars did one man need? If you were talking about Jay Leno, the answer was an entire airplane hangar full. Conan bent down and hefted the cinder block into his arms. Its weight felt good there. He leaned into the car and placed the block on the gas pedal. The car’s engine roared as the wheels spun anxiously against the blocks. Conan calmly and patiently shut the door.
And then he kicked out the blocks. “Fuck you, Jay Leno,” Conan O’Brien whispered to the wind.
The car flashed in the sun, and then charged off the cliff, into nothing. There was a brief moment of silence, and then a wonderful crunch, followed by the skittering of metal into the sea. This didn’t change anything, of course. What was done was done. One crumpled antique car at the bottom of a cliff did not reverse the past or make the decisions of miserable television executives any more thoughtful or imaginative. Conan O’Brien continued to live, like the rest of us, in a world that rarely made sense, and where almost nothing worked out the way that it should.
But just for one brief moment, he wanted to see something beautiful.