Jason Segel is my Spirit Animal

Jason Segel, apparently, is my spirit guide. Last week, I read Rob Brezny’s Free Will Astrology, with his unique, fascinating, sometimes opaque, horoscopes. This one said to imagine a helper, a guide, a spirit animal, a guardian angel you’ve met or haven’t. For five minutes a day for seven days, you were tasked to imagine this helper guiding you in an aspect of your life — career, love, car maintenance, whatever. In turn, you would perhaps receive some of that same guidance in real time.

I’ll try anything once, or a couple times if I feel badly enough about it, or seven times if someone tells me to in a horoscope. I dutifully sat down, lit some candles, took a few deep breaths, and tried to picture my Spirit Animal. Recently, I had gotten my Patronus from J.K. Rowling’s “Pottermore” site and was not happy with the result of Wild Boar, having wanted a Stag, or a Unicorn, or even a Giraffe. I created a new account with a different email and got Capuchin Monkey. I didn’t even get into Gryffindor; I’m in Hufflepuff. Still, I held out hope that my actual, not virtual, Spirit Animal might be a wolf and not a mole rat or a chicken.

I closed my eyes and waited for the image to come. First an angel figure, then some wings. Good start. Suddenly, a face emerged. Jason Segel. I shook my head, as if to log in to a different account. I like Jason Segel, but he lacks the gravitas I sought in a guardian angel. I started again. White cloth, wings, Jason Segel. If I’ve learned anything from the little meditating I’ve done, it’s that you have accept what’s coming at you. So I did. That’s How I Met My Spirit Animal.

In the urban dictionary, Spirit Animal is defined as an animal is a “representation of the traits and skills you are supposed to learn or have….a representation of you or what you want to be.” Apparently, living in Hollywood as a scrambling writer/actor/producer, or what we might call a “slash”, I don’t need the skills of a jackal or a moose (though they might come in handy), but the skills of Jason Segel.

I’ve seen Jason Segel a couple of times around town, once on a hike. Seems like a nice guy, but spirit guide? He’s an actor, and a writer, though very successful at it financially. Not so much like me. But he is half–Jewish. Me, too! Though on his father’s side, so on the plus side that would probably make him a little less neurotic, which is good. I heard an interview with him during which he expressed some restlessness about life. Me, too, Jason Segel, me too! He’s tall, and slightly goofy. Me, too! He loves the Muppets. Me, too! He doesn’t drink anymore. Me, too! Maybe my psyche was trying to tell me something.

I’m not a star-struck kind of person. Celebrity as a thing usually annoys me, especially in L.A. when crowds gather, traffic gets blocked, or someone gets seated before I do. Here it was, gathering in my psyche and getting in the way of what I was doing. But what can you do but acquiesce when you’re being hit with a spiritual baseball bat? Jason Segel. With wings.

I tried to imagine him in jogging pants with iPhone, but the wings and the white robe just kept coming back. This particularly ticked me off, as “guardian angel” and “spirit animal” are two different things; one is an animal, and one is some guy named Clarence you meet in bar. I guess my brain conflated the two. He looked like an overgrown angel in a front yard living Nativity somewhere in Nebraska. Goofy it would have to be.

Jason Segel is really a cut-up when you bring him into your imaginary pitch meeting. He spent the whole time making faces behind the executive I was talking to, trying to make me laugh. He was at least wearing a suit. I couldn’t help but think I wouldn’t have even gotten into this imaginary room without Jason Segel. He opens doors. The larger lesson, though, when we got a chance to talk in my mind afterwards, was to lighten up. Enjoy yourself. That’s not my strong suit. It’s not even a suit I own.

I imagined dating advice, though that was a little more challenging. I’d heard him call his girlfriend his “Lady”, which brings up to me images of fuzzy wide brimmed hats, peace symbols and jeans. Also, I date men, and although I have called men “Lady” more than a few times in my life, usually it’s not when we’re dating. Dating for me is an annual event, like taxes. I relish it about as much. It was a clue, though. Respect. Respect yourself and who you’re with, and remember you’re lucky to be with them.

We had a writing date, too. Jason Segel is a little more focused than I am. He really gets stuff done. He did direct his first movie when he was in his twenties, while acting in a hit television shows. No moss grows on that one. Another lesson: focus and concentration.

This was going well, but I knew it couldn’t last. He has things to do. Me, I’m working several jobs, going to auditions, and writing scripts no one is reading. I have all the time in the world. Jason Segel, though, is a busy guy.

I asked him about money. It’s easy here, in Los Angeles, to imagine some amount of money makes things easier, brings about satisfaction. I’m not naïve enough to believe that’s true, but comfortable is nicer than struggling. I’m sure never struggling again is even better. Like any actor, it’s easy to live in a fantasy of a big job that will come along and solve all your problems, even in the face of a Union with less than 5% employment. That doesn’t even take into account all the non-Union actors. And writing? I was told that it’s more likely to get a job as a pro football player than a writer. But then again, I was told that by an employed writer, and they tell stories for a living.

Jason Segel is a perfect person to ask about all that. He was on one of the biggest hit TV series in the past decade. He never has to work if he doesn’t want to. I heard him on an interview junket say he still needs to have a reason to get up in the morning; that just having the security of money doesn’t do much for who you are as a person. I remembered that you wake up who you are, no matter the thread count of your sheets or how many windows with a spectacular view are in your bedroom. Remember what’s important, sometimes we forget in the chase of the dream. He reminded me there’s nowhere to get.

It was a productive week. I learned important lessons: remain goofy; try to relax; respect yourself and who you’re with; remember there’s nowhere to get to, no arrival. I was kind of sad to say goodbye, but we both had things to do. I’m also a stickler for rules, and the exercise was only seven days. Since hanging out with J, I’m seeing that you can bend the rules and have fun. I’m trying to get better at breaking them. Not a sentence. See, I just did it there.

I was driving Lyft recently, which is apparently an unemployed middle aged man’s rite of passage, and imagined what Jason Segel would have to say if I met him in real life. First, some strange coincidence would have to occur, like all his cars would have to break down, and he’d be stranded, and all his neighbors wouldn’t be home, and his driver I’ve made up would have the night off. It might be raining. Anyway, he decides to call a car and I’d be driving. He’d get in the back seat with his Lady. They’d be laughing at some joke I couldn’t hear. They’d be personable. “You’re Jason Segel, “ I’d say. “Yep,” he’d say. And then I’d drive in silence for a while, afraid to ask him what I wanted to. I’d ponder whether to thank him for being a helpful Spirit Animal. I’d decide that would probably make me sound a little crazy.

Then, right as we drove up to the destination I’d ask him if I could ask a quick question. He’d motion his Lady to get out of the car, and he’d be there, one foot on the ground, waiting to make an exit. He’s probably thinking, “Make it quick.” Photographers descend, and there are flashbulbs. “Does it all seem a little ridiculous? How do you do this and not lose yourself? And do you sometimes wonder what it’s all for, that life should just be simpler? I sometimes feel that way, and I wonder if that goes away.” In scenario one, he says, “You should be so lucky.” But I erase that as seeming, though a good response, uncharacteristically flip. Similarly, a simple “No” doesn’t seem quite right, either.

The most satisfactory scenario is that he reaches in to the car, puts his hand on my shoulder, looks into my eyes, and says, “Me too, buddy. Me, too.” Then he steps out of the car into the flashing lights, and we both go our way.