By Jason Alexander
I was once one of the most recognizable and beloved people on the planet.
I know it might be hard to believe, but it’s true. In the ‘90s I played a popular television character by the name of George Costanza on the show Seinfeld. George was an eccentric fellow, but he had a good heart. Well, not really, come to think of it. He was mostly just out for himself while trying to make it not seem like he was as much of a jerk as he actually was in the process. But that’s something, I guess. Most people are jerks that don’t even care how much of a jerk they appear to be, but George? George kept a lid on it the best he could. He may not have been kind to others or trustworthy in any way, but he also wasn’t Hitler. You’ve gotta respect a guy for not being Hitler.
Like all shows, Seinfeld would soon fade into obscurity. Now only being played 12-18 times a day on a smorgasbord of channels, people have more or less forgotten about the crazy antics of Jerry and the gang. That’s where I found myself at 50. With my best days behind me and an entire world waiting for me to step aside. I’d had my time, the world said, often whispering it while I was falling off to sleep. The world was against me, it always had been. Much like it had been against George all those years ago. I may no longer have my youth, or my looks, but damn it, I thought, I still had something. I still had whatever spark it was inside of me that ignited the cultural and spiritual phenomena that was George Costanza, and by God I was going to poor some more gas onto it. I just wasn’t sure how.
Then it hit me; get rid of the glasses. The reason I wasn’t getting the work I used to was because I was so well-known as George Costanza, and the only reason I looked like George Costanza was because I was a guy in glasses. Nobody needed another George Costanza, the world already had one. One was plenty, more than enough really. Not only that, but everyone was familiar with him. Even if you didn’t watch the show as religiously as most of the world did, you’d still recognize me as the guy with glasses from Seinfeld. So I had to ditch the specs. It was hard at first, I’d grown accustomed to them. They were my only means of being able to see. But if it meant I was going to get more work then it was a sacrifice I was more than comfortable making. Unfortunately, I really didn’t get much work from it.
The most I’d gotten paid in the last fifteen years was for reprising my role as George Costanza on Curb Your Enthusiasm. It was fun to come back and everything, but I get the feeling I could have gotten that role even if I did still looked like Goerge Costanza. Point is, the glasses thing wasn’t working. Maybe things were just done for Jason Alexander? I had my time in the sun and now that time was over. Most men didn’t get to enjoy anything even close to the success that I’ve had. I was famous, I’m still rich. Hell, I’ve even had sex a couple of times. It was a life well-lived, a life I could be proud of. Nothing much left for me to do besides sharing my experience with the next generation. Maybe they can learn from some of the mistakes I’ve made. After three weeks of that I said fuck this and got some hair plugs.
The plugs are fantastic. They’ve given me a completely new lease on life. Before, I’d signed some piece of shit lease that had me paying everything up front in the ‘90s then coasting through the tail end. Not this lease. This lease is one of those leases that will take you the rest of your life to pay. The kind of lease that expects more and more from you, right up until the end. The kind of lease that doesn’t make the world wonder aloud and rudely to others nearby, “Boy, he sure lucked out with that George Costanza role!” No, sir, you have it all backwards. George Costanza lucked into me. I’ve been running from the simplest, most obvious truth all along; I am George Costanza, and he is me.
And I’ll take him with me wherever I go.