You know ... I didn't want to come right out and say anything when Clark made the suggestion:
"I'm being dark and gritty. A fan suggested it."
You've seen Clark ... right? He's not the dark and gritty type. Oh, he can be dark and gritty unto himself ... but to do so, to put up a front and make a concerted effort to go broody to try it on for size? Doesn't really work for him, let me tell you.
But like he said and I'm paraphrasing here (sort of): "Try it. You might like it."
Here's what I discovered about myself, my dark, gritty, dirty, brooding, bottomless pit demeanor self: The only dark I really like? Is dark coffee and dark chocolate ... and I don't even like chocolate that much.
To put my mood in a dark frame of mind, that was near impossible. And I tried just about everything ...
I watched Leaving Las Vegas. (Ever seen Leaving Las Vegas with Nick Cage? Dude won an Oscar for that performance. It's depressing and sad. But the flick was handy so I thought it might help. It's not exactly gritty but there's a lot of brooding and darkness in it.) Result? It just made me thirsty for beer.
... grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr ...
I channeled my inner Humphrey Bogart. Nothing.
I hung out in the slums and chewed jerky and made sure I was wearing clothes that had been worn too long between washings so it would help me get in the mood. Nothing. I hummed dirges. Instead of pointing me into a downward spiral of doom, I ended up liking them. It was futile.
I ate porridge. Didn't work. I ate nothing at all ... for days. I figured that would put me in a bad mood, perhaps force me to look at things in a glum way. Nope. I just kept looking forward to the joy of finally eating something when the experiment was all over.
Then? I thought of something that just might jump start my goal. I put on pants ... and wore them for an entire day straight. And then two days straight. An entire week, uninterrupted. (You know how I prefer my pantslessness to just about anything.) It didn't crack me.
Finally, I pulled out all the stops because nothing else was doing the trick.
I went lightless. I embraced goth rock. A swam in a bevy of black clothing. Maybe watching Arnold Schwarzeneggar performances would click my inner grittiness. (Nope.)
I spent a couple weeks zeroing in on Jeopardy in an effort to mimic Alex Trebek. (Talk about glum.) Nothing.
I hung out with and shadowed Clark more than usual - he seemed like he might be on the right track in trying to bring out his edginess. Still ... zippo.
I finally gave up. It's just not in my nature to be gray and somber and brooding.
"Guys?" I confessed one morning at the breakfast table, right in the middle of some bland, undoctored oatmeal. "I'm a failure at this gritty, brooding thing. Dark and handsome? That I can dole out in spades. But all the grunting and bad attitude projecting and stuff ... it's just not in my wheelhouse. I give. I concede. This experiment got the better of me ..."
I stood from my seat, took off my pants, sighed a sigh of relief, walked out of the room and into the kitchen. I came back with a pint of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey.
"Anybody want some?"
This stuff? Lightens any mood.
Jeff and Clark looked at each other, then back at me. They held out their bowls of lifeless oatmeal, tears welling up in their eyes in silent approval.
We were all much happier that day ...