Whatever Works

In the movie Whatever Works directed by Woody Allen there is this character of Boris Yellnikoff , played by Larry David. The movie starts and ends with a monologue of Boris and I like both very much. I hope you will enjoy them too. If you didn’t see the movie yet I just can say that you should ;-)

Monologue at the beginning:

Boris Yellnikoff: [to audience] Why would you want to hear my story? Do we know each other? Do we like each other? Let me tell you right off, ok… I’m not a like-able guy. Charm has never been a priority with me. And just so you know, this is not the feel good movie of the year. So if you’re one of those idiots who needs to feel good, go get yourself a foot massage.
Boy on Street: Mommy, that man’s talking to himself.
Boy’s Mother: Come on, Justin.
Boris Yellnikoff: [to audience] What the hell does it all mean anyhow? Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nothing comes to anything. And yet, there’s no shortage of idiots to babble. Not me. I have a vision. I’m discussing you. Your friends. Your coworkers. Your newspapers. The TV. Everybody’s happy to talk. Full of misinformation. Morality, science, religion, politics, sports, love, your portfolio, your children, health. Christ, if I have to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day to live, I don’t wanna live. I hate goddamn fruits and vegetables. And your omega 3’s, and the treadmill, and the cardiogram, and the mammogram, and the pelvic sonogram, and oh my god the-the-the colonoscopy, and with it all the day still comes where they put you in a box, and its on to the next generation of idiots, who’ll also tell you all about life and define for you what’s appropriate. My father committed suicide because the morning newspapers depressed him. And could you blame him? With the horror, and corruption, and ignorance, and poverty, and genocide, and AIDS, and global warming, and terrorism, and-and the family value morons, and the gun morons. “The horror,” Kurtz said at the end of Heart of Darkness, “the horror.” Lucky Kurtz didn’t have the Times delivered in the jungle. Ugh… then he’d see some horror. But what do you do? You read about some massacre in Darfur or some school bus gets blown up, and you go “Oh my God, the horror,” and then you turn the page and finish your eggs from the free range chickens. Because what can you do. It’s overwhelming! I tried to commit suicide myself. Obviously, it didn’t work out. But why do you even want to hear about all this? Christ, you got your own problems. I’m sure your all obsessed with any number of sad little hopes and dreams. Your predictably unsatisfying love lives, your failed business ventures. “Oh, if only I’d bought that stock! If only I-if only I purchased THAT house years ago! If only I’d made a move on THAT woman.” If this, if that. You know what? Gimmie a break with your could have’s and should have’s. Like my mother used to say, “If my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a trolley car.” My mother didn’t have wheels. She had varicose veins. Still, the woman gave birth to a brilliant mind. I was considered for a Nobel Prize in physics… I didn’t get it. But, you know, its all politics. It’s like every other phony honor. Incidentally, don’t think I’m-I’m bitter because of some personal setback. By the standards of a mindless, barbaric civilization, I’ve been pretty lucky. I was married to a beautiful woman who had family money. For years we lived on Beekman Place. I taught at Columbia. String theory.

Monologue at the ends:

Boris Yellnikoff: [to audience] I happen to hate New Year’s celebrations. Everybody desperate to have fun. Trying to celebrate in some pathetic little way. Celebrate what? A step closer to the grave? That’s why I can’t say enough times, whatever love you can get and give, whatever happiness you can filch or provide, every temporary measure of grace, whatever works. And don’t kid yourself. Because its by no means up to your own human ingenuity. A bigger part of your existence is luck, than you’d like to admit. Christ, you know the odds of your fathers one sperm from the billions, finding the single egg that made you. Don’t think about it, you’ll have a panic attack.
Melodie St. Ann Celestine: Boris, what are you doing? Who’re you talking to?
Boris Yellnikoff: What? There’s people out there watching us!
Helena: What?
Marietta: Out there?
Boris Yellnikoff: Yeah, they’re watching… well, there was when we started. I don’t know how many are left.
Melodie St. Ann Celestine: Does anybody see anybody out there?
Marietta: Out there? No!
Melodie St. Ann Celestine: Oh Boris…
Boris Yellnikoff: [to audience] See? I’m the only one that sees the whole picture. That’s what they mean by genius.

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