The Los Angelean Mutation Guide

Bored with constantly seeing Jack Sparrows and micro skirts every Tuesday night by Popeye’s Chicken? Congratulations! You’re mutating into a Los Angeles resident.

Lee Keelerby Lee Keeler

Do you watch Blade Runner and the only thing that you scoff at is the impossibility of rain in Los Angeles? Have you reached new lows in complacency while hitting your parents up for cash back home? Have you attended a comedy show at a vegan tee shirt boutique? These are but a few of the many signs that your body and soul have been consumed by the machine of Los Angeles!

Fear not, dear reader, and join us as we identify the final symptoms of mutation in becoming a full-blown resident of the city of angels!


You are completely unimpressed by Halloween anymore.

If you live in the heart of Hollywood, any impressions of Halloween that you retain from childhood slowly backslide into some kind of Vietnam concept. Sluts? Street mutants? People dressed like pirates? That’s any given weeknight on Hollywood and Highland, my friend.There’s an entire profession of celebrity / character imitators who make their living off of tips posing for pictures in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater, a bit like a Chuck E. Cheese turned inside-out with malt liquor, urine and neon signs poured on top.

What’s more, these costumes don’t hold a candle to the real thing. People are all like, “Hey! Check out that guy’s Johnny Depp outfit!” Why? The real Johnny Depp is standing right over there. Freaks are flown in by the dozens, movie extras to the existentialist crisis that your life becomes when you attempt a simple stroll down Sunset Boulevard. Survive constant Halloween, then run along back to your childhood Spencer Gifts in West Virginia and see how the hell that rubber mask display tickles you.


You become a Czar of fast food.

The fast food here is actually pretty decent in terms of quality – Pollo Loco and Inn-N-Out costs a bit more than their counterpart chains found in airports, but they deliver much healthier junk. What’s crazy is how refined your palette will become as your mindless binges spiral into some kind of drive-thru snobbery. You’ll actually cruise past a McDonald’s like a fat ex-girlfriend, bemused with the fact that you ever had dalliances with such an establishment. The first time you smite a Whopper you do so with sheer power, like Napoleon marching into Madrid.

The down side is that if you have some sort of desk job your ass turns into what can best be described as a bag of wet french fries. The weather in Los Angeles is perfect, there are people with sculpted bodies and horrible acting skills all around you, which bring us to our next point…


You try to look good even while you’re doing disgusting things.

I don't own any athletic gear, so I run in jeans and Chuck Taylors. I mean, people would frown on this anywhere, but in a town as vain as Los Angeles, people start looking around for the hidden camera when you wear Chucks to break a sweat.

But these are people who wear Crocs and those stupid Vibram shoes with the toes in them. As a species, we’re not trying to pick up bananas with our feet anymore, so Chuck Taylors can be considered evolutionary ascension next to their ass-clown toe sneakers. If you have to run in Chucks because you’re too broke for real shoes, do it at night – nobody laughs at you, they just think you're a drug dealer.


You have to take out a loan just to register your vehicle.

Drive did a fantastic job of capturing the frenetic car culture of our city, but there was one vital scene missing: Ryan Gosling standing around with his thumb up his ass for an entire day at the DMV. The soul-crippling process of getting your vehicle registered is a rite of passage in Los Angeles: the hunger, the boredom, the pointless anxiety and rage directed towards apathetic employees of the state when they tell you to pony up 300+ dollars for a license and registration. This is the only state you’ll ever live in where a fake ID would be practical for operating a vehicle.

Thank heaven your stress ends once you pass your smog test and hit the open road, right?


You are almost killed by either a BMW or a Benz.

To get food to eat, you have to drive in your car! But to drive in your car, you might die! It’s like dinosaur times!

There is a large community of immigrants in Los Angeles that are still taking the American dream by the balls. Really going for it. The down side is that this version of the American dream has Ed Hardy flames airbrushed all over it, tangled up in hoop earrings and S-class Mercedes fender benders.

One of the best ways to keep yourself alive on the streets of LA is to wear full body armor while on your fixie bike. Or in your truck. Whatever. Defensive driving is an old joke whispered at bus stops and cars have become post-apocalyptic exoskeletons that house passive-aggressive egomaniacs hurtling toward you at a grade school crosswalk. Good news for Hollywood newcomers: if you can survive the Thunderdome that is Los Angeles traffic, your nerves can handle the constant rejection that comes with studio film work!

Well, how’d you do? Hopefully this guide has sired you through what would have been a potentially complicated metropolitan metamorphosis. Otherwise you might have to move your ass back to West Virginia and settle for a job with health care benefitsand a decent mortgage.  Bah, who wants some Inn-N-Out? My treat! Wait, can you drive, my car got stolen by the black Spider-Man impersonator by my place. No, he’s not black, I just mean the Spider-Man with the alien symbiote costume! Aw hell, forget it. Jerks.


Lee Keeler is the co-founder of and contributing writer for The Devastator Quarterly, “The Quarterly Comedy Magazine for Humans”.