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The Failure Intervention – Deleted Scene #5

This deleted scene was originally the ending to Chapter 7 and Part 1 of "How to Fail."  You could essentially imagine this scene beginning on page 183 or so of the paperback edition.  This is unedited and unadulterated from the day it was nixed from the book.

Wait just a darn second!  What was a smoking hot girl doing in the Wee?  This never occurred.

I approached her and told her my analogy about cats.  I jokingly wondered if she could help me fail more in my life.  Rob me of even more of my possessions and dignity.  She must have thought I was funny or cute, because within less than an hour she was asking me if I wanted to get out of there.

I winked, gave the thumbs up, and A-OK hand signals to Willy and Tristan as she escorted me from the bar.  Was this the key to succeeding in life?  Just assume you're going to fail and go for it?  Perhaps.

Maybe my life was turning around.  I was starving, for vagina and a meal.  I hadn't eaten all day.  You forget to do things like that sometimes when you're a failure.

"It's alright, I can make you some mac and cheese at my place."

"My favorite!"

"It's everyone's favorite."

We stumbled down Tenth Avenue and hailed a cab which took us cross town to a fairly ritzy building near Grand Central Terminal.  Doorman, revolving doors, five elevator banks, the whole shebang.

We made out in the elevator while behind her back I slyly waved at the security cam in the corner, certain the sicko doorman got his rocks off by watching drunken couples going at in the lift after having returned from a night of boozing.  If he sold those tapes bootleg, I wanted to be sure I got some royalties.

We walked down her hall arm and arm, hand and hand, lip to lip.  Touching each other, grabbing each other, tickling each other.

I immediately noticed the light under Girl X's door when we got to it.  I had that immediate moment of clarity movie mafiosos seem to have that second before the realize they've been set up and are about to be whacked.  ("Just not in the face guys.")

"You have a roommate or something?"


She unlocked the door and there, sitting on a sofa and chairs were gathered Danny & ME, Jack & Kirsten, and Keith & Erin.

A white markboard lay on an easel aside the television.

Fancy finger foods were laid out on silver platters on the coffee table.  Those gathered were drinking glasses of white wine.

I looked at Girl X.  "What the hell is going on?"

"It's an intervention for you," noted Erin.

"Then why are you guys drinking?"

ME stood and walked toward me, put her hand on my shoulder.

"Erin explained it poorly.  It’s an intervention.  But not because we think he’s an alcoholic."

Erin looked mad that ME had kinda insulted her.

"I mean, we DO think he’s an alcoholic, but that’s not the issue."

"Today at least."

"Then I guess I can have some wine too."  I grabbed a bottle and took a swig straight from it.  "I'd hate for you to have to do any extra dishes on account of lil' ol' me."

I looked at Girl X.  "Wait a"


"Then who are you?"

"[Redacted]'s a friend of ours."

"You set me up, [Redacted]?! You don't really like me?"

"You pick up a girl in a matter of minutes and go to her home to have sex with her and you don't even know her name?! That's our point!"

"That's your problem."

"No, that's her problem for being willing to sleep with a drunken guy that doesn't even know her name."

[Redacted] scoffed, went to her kitchen and made herself a Bombay Saphire and diet tonic.

I was still flustered.  "OK, so why now?  Why this now?"

Danny stood,  "You called me about this last night.  You wanted an intervention, recall?"

Keith nodded.  "You called me too.  You kept saying, 'Intervene me!  Intervene me!"

Jack:  "And was someone with you?  I heard someone that sounded like Don King yelling behind you."

My eyes bulged.

"I was really drunk.  And high.  I think I had been kidnapped too." I tried to explain.

ME touched me on the shoulder.  "You called most of us last night and told us you finally wanted help becoming a success in life."

"Oh boy."

"You woke little Anna up," Kirsten glared at me.

"I'm sorry."

I noticed some platters of food.

"Mmmm...I’m famished.  What’s that?"

Erin pointed, "Let’s see, we have crab cake wedges, those are crepe suzette, and these are miniature croque monsieurs."

"Croque monsieur?"

"'Crunchy mister.'"

"I know what it means!  Jesus Christ! I guess putting out silver polished platters of Frenchy-named finger food whilst entertaining is part of being a success?"

"Indeed it is," noted Erin.

"Well I was promised some mac and cheese and some blow and jobbing.  And...I take it there’s no beer in the fridge, but, rather, a nice pinot noir or two."

Danny nodded.

"Please sit down."

I plopped in the middle of [Redacted]'s large sectional couch.  Danny, Keith, and Jack stood and walked to the marker board.  I whisped to the wives, "Can’t believe you carried a marker board all the way here.  Adds a very authentic feel."

Erin smiled and nodded at me.

"OK, we’ve outlined the things that you need to change in this year so that by the time we're celebrating your thirty-first birthday next year..."

" are a wild success."

I threw the crunch misters in my face, chugged some wine.

Jack:  "There’s three key points."

Keith grabbed a marker and began writing on the board as Jack announced each point.

"'Women.'  Rather, a woman.  And a relationship.  Successful adults have relationships of lengthy periods of time."

"And so did I for the previous two years.  Now I'm having fun."

"'Fun' would be you getting back into a relationship.  An even better one than your last.  With a girl that truly appreciates you."

"60 percent of marriages end in divorce."  I stared at all the couples.

"You know you just make up stats to fit your agenda," Danny snapped.

"No.  I read it on...Wikipedia."

ME:  "So if you’re going to become a success by year’s end, you need to fall in love with a girl."

Kirsten:  "And she needs to fall in love with you back.  You're not John Hinckley."

Keith:  "Right.  And then you have to have a committed, monogamous, 'I love you, honey' relationship with each other."

"Yuck.  I feel sick.  I think I'm going to throw up and I don't know whether it's because of all the booze I poured down my gullet or because of all the sappy pap you're shoving down my throat."

Jack ignored me and continued, "Second.  Your career."

"You will get a good job.  One where you wear slacks to work and have to shave every day."

"Successes shave!"

"And shower."

"And brush their teeth."

"Twice a day."

"Don't forget flossing and waterpicking."

"A career you relish waking up every morning for."

"A career with health care.  And benefits."

"And business cards!"

My six friends each proudly displayed their business cards.  I looked at Kirsten, who proudly held a French blue business card aloft.

"No offense, Kirsten hon, but why do you have a card, you're a homemaker."

"And that's a job!  You know, some studies have shown that homemakers are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars per year," she was getting frazzled, "We're chefs and maids and butlers and valets and nurses and bakers and teachers and..."

"Relax Kirsten, sweetie, our friend was just trying to get your goat."

"Sorry Kirsten," I appologized, even though I thought her logic was specious.

"But back to business cards.  Yes, business cards.  Won’t it feel nice to give the new women you meet--"

Keith taps the marker board.  "See point one..."

"...your business card instead of drunkenly scrawling your e-mail address on a cocktail napkin?"

"That's my move!"

"You’ll attract a classier lot, for sure."

"And once you have an adult job, you have to work at being a success at it."

"Getting 'atta boys' and promotions and raises."

"Moving up the proverbial corporate ladder."

I clapped my hands together loudly.  "I love cliches!"

But Jack soldiered on.

"Finally.  Point three.  This is the big one..."

Keith scrawled something on the marker board.

"You can never again have your parents, family, and friends, utterly disappointed in you for your actions."

"That’ll be admittedly tough."

Erin patted my hand.

"We know."

"Well shit.  I never realized I DID disappoint y’all."

"It’s not exactly thrilling to walk down the sidewalk and see your best friend sleeping in garbage next to Toothless Teddy the bum."

"I had been mugged, I swear!"

"Or exiting a rub ‘n’ tug massage parlour."

"I thought it was a pool hall!"

"Or when you lived off illegally-collected unemployment checks for a full year.  Think that made us proud to be your friend?"

"That was a great year.  The next year when I didn't file taxes was even better though."

I paused for a second and looked at the somber faces around me.

"I’m sorry I disappoint you guys so much.  Maybe you guys should mind your own fucking business, though.  And not worry about how I live my life.  I’m having fun."

I stood and headed to the door to leave.  I spun at the door knob.

"As Lily Tomlin said, 'Sometimes I worry about being a success in such a mediocre world.'"

There's some decent stuff there, but I was wise to strike it from the record.  It was too hacky, too dark, and made Stu appear as really too big of asshole.  There's a reason deleted scenes often become deleted.

If you enjoyed this, check out these other Director's Commentary and Deleted Scenes:

#1 -- "FUCK YOUS" (dedication page)
#2 -- "QUOTING BIGGIE SMALLS" (including famous quotes)
#3 -- "BLURBS" (cover blurbs)
#4 -- "CHAPTER ONE" (genesis of HTF idea)

Also, if you’ve read "How to Fail" and haven’t yet left an Amazon review, please take 30 seconds to do so here and keep spreading the good word!

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