EXCERPT: 'My Footprint,' by Jeff Garlin

As I wait impatiently, I see a beautiful Mercedes sedan being hand dried. A very fat guy with long hair and a black baseball cap on backward is talking to the guy who's drying it. The fat guy is getting kind of animated. I'm intrigued, so I move closer and notice a couple of key things. One is that the car has a V12 engine. Second, the guy's baseball cap says SAVE THE PLANET in white block letters. He's got a V12 and he's telling the rest of us to save the Earth. Clearly a conflicted individual. Or one who likes driving cars with big engines and wearing free stuff.

I'm fat, but this fella is a pig. He kind of looks gray. As I make this observation, he lights up a smoke. He's truly a mess. I don't think he's ever exercised. Absolutely no muscle mass. I bet if I touched his arm, it would have the consistency of a water balloon. I can't quite hear what's being said, and now I'm obsessed with figuring out what's going on. I move even closer, and I hear him telling -- or rather, ordering -- the car-wash guy to put some muscle into it. A guy with no muscle mass should never be condescending to someone who has it, particularly with respect to activities that require muscle. Then fat Earth guy says, "Harder man!" The poor car-wash guy is really working hard. Finally he finishes and hands the keys to fat Earth bozo, who says, "I have no change or money for a tip." He throws his cigarette down, steps on it, and gets in his car. I can't take it anymore, so I say to the fat Earth guy, "That wasn't right. I'm going to tip the guy for you." "Do what you want; I don't give a sh**."

He looks in his backseat, then moves his seat forward and pulls out a stack of newspapers. He stuffs the newspapers into the garbage and gets back in his car.

"What about 'saving the planet'?" I ask. I can't help myself.

"F*#* the planet and --"

I interrupt, "And f*#*" me. . . . Very good."

He peels out and almost hits a pedestrian. I walk over to the garbage can, pull out the papers, and put them in my trunk.


As I enter my son James's classroom a few minutes late, still obsessing about the ignorance of the guy at the car wash, I receive a swift, angry stare from my wife. A ranger from Joshua Tree National Park is there addressing the class, wearing her full ranger regalia. She seems very serious. This could be a long night.

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