I have been trying to master the fast part of “The Way That We Live” by Betty, the theme song for The L Word, for the better part of a decade. That rambling list of gerunds is deceptively hard to recite, especially under the pressure that sets in when you triumphantly declare at a party that you can totally recite all the words to The L Word theme song and everyone expects a demonstration.
After many a night practicing, and my girlfriend waking me up to inform me that I was singing it in my sleep again, the rowdy earworm started to sound more and more like an incantation or a prayer. The more I heard those words play over and over in my head, the more I wondered if within that daringly simple hook, Betty had encoded a certain doctrine. Could The L Word’s theme song outline a righteous path toward a fulfilling life?
With the conviction of Jenny Schecter writing about manatees, I embarked on a journalistic and spiritual journey to unlock life’s secrets with the help of Betty’s lyrical key. I decided to do all of the verbs described at the end of The L Word’s in just one day. The results may shock you.
8:02 a.m. – TALKING
I woke up on the morning of my endeavor, ready to jump right in. Talking is how I normally start my day anyway, so this one would be easy. I tapped my sleeping girlfriend on the shoulder, and the following conversation ensued:
ME: Today, I’m going to do all the verbs from that annoying fast part at the end of The L Word’s theme song.
ME: For science!
HER: I’m having some serious concerns about our relationship.
8:04 a.m. – LAUGHING
This one was also easy. I had a nice little laugh at the fact that my girlfriend clearly doesn’t get my work. She did not join in the laughter.
8:10 a.m. – LOVING
For this next one, I decided to do something I love: drink pressed juice while watching an episode of The L Word. During this time, I also pondered the fact that when straight people say “the l word,” they’re usually talking about “love” and not Ilene Chaiken’s six-season wonder. Strange!
9:10 a.m. – BREATHING
Simply breathing here seemed too simple, so I signed up for a class in my neighborhood on Transformational Breathing. It was being taught by my ex-girlfriend.
10:27 a.m. – FIGHTING
I fought with my ex-girlfriend in the middle of a Transformational Breathing class.
10:59 a.m. – FUCKING
For this, I masturbated, because masturbating is fucking. Also, my girlfriend said she was not interested in having sex with me for the sole purpose of a story. She again reiterated that she thinks this project is pointless.
11:06 a.m. – CRYING
Realizing that my latest project, and my life’s work by extension, could be pointless, I had a quick cry on my walk to my next destination.
11:10 a.m. – DRINKING
To get in the real spirit of The L Word, I shotgunned two Dos Equis at The Planet. Because The Planet is a fictional cafe-bar on the show, I had to settle for the parking lot of Planet 9, a record store in my neighborhood.
11:37 a.m. – WRITING
With a slight buzz, I made my way to an actual cafe so I could sit and write the first part of this story. I got distracted and instead wrote a 2,000-word manifesto comparing my plight as a misunderstood writer to Jenny Schecter’s plight as a misunderstood writer.
1:14 p.m. – WINNING
At the cafe, I challenged the nearest table to a round of The L Word trivia. They insisted they had never seen the show, so I won easily.
1:46 p.m. – LOSING
Losing would be harder, as it’s something I’m not used to doing in any capacity. But I’m very bad at darts, so I found an establishment with darts and promptly lost to a kind stranger who, when I told them I’m a writer, asked “like Carrie Bradshaw?” It was then that I realized we need more representations of writers on television.
2:03 p.m. – CHEATING
After weighing the veritable pros and cons of cheating on my girlfriend (Pro: I could finally be the Shane of my friend group! Con: I would actually become the Bette of my friend group, because even though Shane is remembered for her infidelity, Bette was the real serial cheater of the show), I realized I was perhaps taking this project too far. So instead, I just cheated at darts, which got me thrown out of the bar.
3:15 p.m. – KISSING
I went home, kissed my girlfriend, and she asked if I was still working on my dumb project and if I was anywhere closer to unlocking life’s secrets.
4:12 p.m. – THINKING
I took a walk and thought long and hard about whether I had unlocked life’s secrets.
5:43 p.m. – DREAMING
Pausing mid-walk to recline on a park bench, I started daydreaming about what life would be like if I quit my job to open up a half-salon/half-skatepark like the one Shane McCutcheon worked in. Eventually, I actually fell asleep. I can’t remember what I dreamed about, but a stranger woke me up to inform me that I had been whispering “I killed Jenny Schecter” in my sleep.