Chuck Lorre Productions/Logo Variations

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum

This page will contain all of Chuck Lorre's essays. Primarily, the essays will be transcribed verbatim. If there is an issue with questionable content within the essay, we will adjust it. For all essays in unaltered form visit:

#1: Used on the pilot episode of Dharma & Greg.

Thank you for videotaping "Dharma & Greg" and freeze-framing on my vanity card. I'd like to take this opportunity to share with you some of my personal beliefs. I believe that everyone thinks they can write. This is not true. It is true, however, that everyone can direct. I believe that the Laws of Karma do not apply to show business, where good things happen to bad people on a fairly regular basis. I believe that what doesn't kill us makes us bitter. I believe that the obsessive worship of movie, TV and sports figures is less likely to produce spiritual gain than praying to Thor. I believe that Larry was a vastly underrated Stooge, without whom Moe and Curly could not conform to the comedy law of three (thanks, Lee). I believe my kids are secretly proud of me. I believe that if you can't find anything nice to say about people whom you've helped to make wildly successful and then they stabbed you in the back, then don't say anything at all. I believe I have a great dog, maybe the greatest dog in the whole wide world, yes, he is! I believe that beer is a gateway drug that leads, inevitably, to vodka and somebody oughta do something about it. I believe that when ABC reads this, I'm gonna be in biiiig trouble. I believe that Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High", is the greatest rock song ever recorded. Once again, thanks for watching "Dharma & Greg". Please be sure to tune in again to this vanity card for more of my personal beliefs.

#2: First seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "And the In-Laws Meet" and last seen on "Mr. Montgomery Goes to Washington".

Once again, thank you for video-taping "Dharma & Greg" and freeze-framing on my vanity card. I'd like to take this opportunity to share with you some more of my beliefs. I believe that the guy who invented those speed bumps in the freeway that snap you back into consciousness when you're drifting into a nearby semi should be given a big hug. I believe that there are actually several cures for the summertime blues. I believe that in my earlier statement of beliefs, I erroneously believed that beer was a gateway drug that led to vodka. After intensive consultation with ABC executives, I now believe I was very, very wrong. Beer is good. Especially beer brewed by major manufacturers, and enjoyed in a responsible fashion. I believe I've spent my life expecting people to behave in a certain way. I believe that when they didn't behave according to my expectations, I became angry, sad, confused and occasionally fearful. I believe these expectations are the reason I've been angry, sad, confused and occasionally fearful more than I care to admit. As a result, I now believe my expectations are the real problem. I believe that everyone has this very same problem, and they ought to start acting accordingly. Well, that's all for now. I hope you continue to watch "Dharma & Greg" and check in on my vanity card for more of my personal beliefs.

#3: First seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Father" and last seen on "Do You Want Fries With That?".

Once again, thanks for video-taping "Dharma & Greg," and freeze-framing on my vanity card. The following are a few more of my beliefs: I believe that El Niño is an international conspiracy perpetrated by evil roofing contractors. I believe it's high time The Beatles came clean on that whole "Paul is dead" thing. I believe that anyone who can read and speak clearly can be a network news anchorperson -- but not necessarily a weatherman. I believe that if I rid myself of insatiable cravings, lusts, paranoia, deep-seated anger and ill-will towards others, I'll be a much better person. I believe that TV is the cause of all the violence and immorality in our society -- ha! just kidding. I believe there's no business like show business, although if you're over-paid for feeding a big, scary monster, then that might be sort of like it. That's all for now, gotta go make a TV show. Once again, thanks for watching and keep checking for more of my beliefs real soon!

#4: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Old Yeller".

I believe I'm growing skeptical of cynicism.

#4½ Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "The Second Coming of Leonard".

I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that if you've read this far in my vanity plate you are an extraordinary person infused with great love and compassion. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. (thanks, Jeff) I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy.

#5: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Dharma and Greg's First Romantic Valentine's Day Weekend".

Well, once again I'd like to thank you for not only watching, but videotaping "Dharma & Greg." I know you're busy, so this shows a wonderful commitment on your part and I want you to acknowledge that commitment with a big ol' Chuck Lorre vanity card hug. Okay, with that done let's get on with why you're here, to learn more of my personal beliefs. I believe that this episode, which on the surface deals with a funny Valentine's adventure, in fact grapples with the weighty issue of Weltschmerz. Weltschmerz is a German word which loosely means "world suffering deriving from the inevitability of reality to never match up with our expectations." Boy, only the Germans could come up with a word like that. Anyway, in this episode Greg is in Weltschmerz hell as he discovers that life is never quite like the brochure. Dharma, on the other hand, recognizes that life is a flowing river and happiness exists only when one embraces its ever-changing nature. From this dilemma we draw the comedic essence of our story. Finally, I believe that when I retire and teach sitcom writing at a community college, I'll use this theme for one of my classes to impress the kids.

#6: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "The Official Dharma & Greg Episode of the 1998 Winter Olympics".

Once again, thank you for videotaping "Dharma & Greg" and freeze-framing on my vanity card. For those of you who are new, this is my sporadic attempt to share my personal beliefs with millions of people (hence the term "vanity"). This attempt has led me into communicating many deep thoughts, and, I'm afraid to say, quite a few shallow ones as well. But what I've found most interesting is that after a few weeks, I've discovered myself scrounging for new beliefs. Things about which I could stand up and say with pride, "I believe in this, dammit!" Now that's not to say that I couldn't fill the card with a lot of mindless aphorisms. But do I waste my precious moment in the sun by proclaiming, "I believe that sex with multiple partners in a moving vehicle isn't all it's cracked up to be?" No, I do not. Do I squander this priceless opportunity to announce, "I believe we are better than the animals because we're capable of reading in the bathroom?" Once again, I do not. And so it is for this reason, I have no beliefs to share with you this week. No wait... actually I do believe that JFK had a much better understanding of the word "perks".

#7: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Daughter of the Bride of Finkelstein".

I believe that the very act of believing in something causes us to distance ourselves from that thing, thus a duality is created: oneself and the thing in which one believes. Now since we all know that in order to fully understand a thing one must be that thing -- walk a mile in its shoes so to speak -- it seems obvious that the state of believing in something inevitably causes us to not truly understand that thing in which we believe. This noncomprehension leads to all sorts of difficulties. "I believe in love" has a better than even chance of leading to divorce, while "I believe in God" seems to end in variations on the Spanish Inquisition. But -- and it's a big but -- if one were love, one couldn't help but be affectionate and caring towards oneself and others. If one were God, one would act toward all beings and all things as if they were one's own creations. And that, my friends, is the secret of life in a two-second vanity card. Of course, the secret could also be "Sit, Ubu, sit." We have to keep an open mind.

#8: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "The Cat's Out of the Bag".

I believe that words have power. Sticks and stones may hurt our bones, but bones heal in a relatively short time, while one critical parent can cripple you forever. With that in mind, let's try a little experiment. As you read the following words notice whether you feel the impulse to smile. Did it work? Did you smile immediately upon reading that? If not, that's okay. Don't get down on yourself. Remember, this is just an experiment. We can try it again. This time feel your lips curl up gently at the corners. You try to fight it, but your mouth seems to have taken on a life of its own. As you continue reading you can't help but notice that you are now smiling like the execs at Paramount after they realized they got a piece of Titanic for chump change. See? The power of words. In this case used for good. If you would like an example of words used for evil, call your mother and tell her you're really starting to make progress in therapy.

#9: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Spring Forward, Fall Down".

I believe I think too much. I believe I'm literally drowning in a thick swamp of thoughts. No, swamp's not right. It's more like being in the middle of a swarm of bees, all of them flying insanely about, occasionally stinging for no apparent reason. Yup, bees, definitely -- thoughts are bees. In fact, I believe my entire understanding of the world is based on my thoughts, which are generated by my emotions, which are generated by ... well, I guess my reaction to stuff that happens. Anyway, I understand the world through the filter of my thoughts and emotions. If this is pretty much how you understand the world, it brings up an interesting concept. Probably since we were infants, none of us have directly perceived this world we live in. What does it mean to directly perceive something? Well, I suppose it would mean to be totally with that thing, as opposed to observing and thinking about it. It's a duality issue. Here's me, here's you. here's me, here's the sofa. Ya dig where this is going? We live on a planet dominated by a race of beings whose only connection to reality is constantly buzzing, mental bees. We're all walking through life in a dream state that is, at best, a funhouse mirror-image of what's really out there. It makes you think, doesn't it? Ouch! Dammit!

#10: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Much Ado During Nothing".

When I began writing these vanity cards, the premise was simple -- it's a vanity card -- be vain. And what could be more vain and self-serving than to use my two seconds of ABC's broadcast day to share my personal beliefs with millions of viewers? But as time passed I realized I was missing a major opportunity. Rather than just tell a few jokes, I could use the two seconds to unravel the mysteries of life and death and share my discoveries with those of you who can operate a VCR or log onto the Internet sites where my words are regularly posted (yes, I lurk). So, anyway, that's the new plan. The meaning of life, once a week, right here at the end of each Dharma & Greg show. HOW'S THAT FOR VAIN, BUCKO?! Okay, let's get started. The secret of life is we're all writing a vanity card. I'm not kidding, follow me on this. If we're in agreement with the concept "I think, therefore I am," then what are we in those rare moments when we're not thinking? Do we cease to be? No, of course not... unless we never "were" at all, unless our actual identity is a nothing that embraces everything, but an "everything" can't look at itself so we create the illusion of separate selves, which leads to the illusion of survival, which of course leads to all of our pain and suffering. Pride, i.e. vanity, goeth before the fall. And you thoughteth I was joking.

#11: Seen on the Dharma & Greg season 1 finale "Invasion of the Buddy Snatcher".

In February of '97, Dottie and I set out to create a series revolving around a woman whose personality is not a neurotic product of societal and parental conditioning, but of her own free-flowing, compassionate mind. In short, we tried to create a character we personally knew nothing about. Then the most astonishing thing happened: this fictional character began to teach us to think differently. For instance, while writing, we'd be forced to ask, "how would Dharma deal with the emotion of anger?" Oh sure, she'd feel it -- feel it completely. But then she'd be just as likely to let it go like a cluster of ugly balloons. Okay, fine, she'd let it go. How did she let it go? Probably by recognizing that no matter what the circumstances, emotions are self-generated. No one reaches inside your brain and flips the "anger" switch. So what does that teach us? Well, for me it means that all the anger I feel toward Cybill is ultimately created by... me. Whoa, there goes an ugly balloon! Thanks, Dharma!

#12: Seen on the Dharma & Greg season 2 premiere "Ringing Up Baby".

Richie didn't know he was beginning a journey into darkness when he made love to Kate. All he knew was bliss. For a few surreal hours his identity simply melted away. Of course, he tried to maintain his objectivity. Sex for Richie was traditionally an ego-ridden activity -- an athletic event designed to win the "you're incredible" trophy. But something else happened that night with Kate. He actually made love. He kissed her with love. He touched her with love. And finally, he entered her with a sense of devotion that dissolved all the fear boundaries which had caused him to be so alone. Unfortunately, Kate was just drunk and horny. Nothing even remotely special was happening in her camp. Richie had his first nervous breakdown shortly thereafter, although he preferred to think of it as a learning experience.

#13: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "It Takes a Village".

Dave really looked like he was paying attention. He smiled, pursed his lips and nodded as if he were giving their comments and criticisms much thought. And why wouldn't he? They were the Grand Pooh-Bahs who protected the simple folk from unnecessary art. But the truth is, Dave's mind was elsewhere. And that's not just a figure of speech. His mind was actually in one of those little butt bags that kids like to wear these days. Now, of course, Dave didn't start the meeting with his mind in a butt bag. When one of the muckamucks was summing up a vague thesis with a meandering generality, Dave's mind was very much in and around his head. But then, on its own volition, Dave's mind imagined all the attendees dancing around naked and squirting one another in their private parts with brightly-colored water pistols. And that was when it happened. That was when Dave's mind inexplicably slipped into a butt bag... right alongside his heart.

#14: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Turn Turn Turn".

Some days Richie would wake up crying. His first thoughts would be of Kate and the emptiness he felt without her. Those were the darkest days. The days when the pain of her rejection reached back and formed an alliance with his earliest childhood memories. The woman who couldn't love him now and the woman who couldn't love him then, working together like a Sino-Soviet monolith lumbering toward total Richie domination. So, bright boy that he was, he worked hard, drank hard, and chased soft women. Anything to forget. Anything to kill the pain. Until his dream came true. Until that amazing day when Kate came to him and said she had been wrong, that Richie was indeed the man for her and she wanted them to be together always. Which is when Richie suddenly realized that Kate was nuttier than rat crap in a pistachio warehouse. Richie still wakes up crying.

#15: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "The Paper Hat Anniversary".

Dave was mildly disoriented when he realized he and Richie were the same person. This sort of cognitive moment tends to undermine a guy's sense of self. But it didn't stop there. When Dave looked around the room, he realized he was also Kate and Lorraine and Ted and Lenny. Heck, he was also the dying philodendran on the windowsill. Suddenly he felt enormous compassion for all these variations on himself, or rather "ourself", which he thought was a more appropriate label. The pain of loneliness and the fear of death were suddenly swept away by this one blinding flash of insight. It was so obvious! There are no separate forms of life. Life was life, just sort of wandering around looking at itself, loving itself, and unfortunately killing itself. Which is when Dave woke up, *#@+, showered and shaved, went to work, worried about nonsense, drove home, watched a supposedly funny show, had a stiff drink and went to sleep again.

#16: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Unarmed and Dangerous".

Richie was excited about his upcoming death. He rented a medium-priced banquet hall and invited all of his friends, family and co-workers to the happy event. But when the big day arrived, many were confused. There was Richie, walking and talking, actually having quite a good time. What kind of death was this? What Richie had failed to explain in the invitations was that the death he was celebrating was that of his carefully constructed ego. From this day on, Richie would cease to be Richie (except for tax purposes). For all other purposes he would simply be a continuously unfolding manifestation of the universe -- a process not a thing. He tried to explain how blissfully liberating this was, that this was the enlightenment sought by wise men throughout the ages, but no one really understood. Of course it didn't help matters much that he kept pestering several female guests to show the continuously unfolding manifestation their sweater puppies.

#17: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "A Closet Full of Hell".

Dave still had vivid memories of when his mind was a quiet, useful ally -- a handy-dandy accessory that would discreetly remind him not to stick his little Dave fingers into light sockets. But that was long ago. Dave's mind was now in full revolt. One moment it would be idling nicely, waiting to notice, judge, critique or consider -- then, without warning, like a spider monkey on metha-amphetamines, it would start thinking ugly, angry, snarling monstrosities. Dave didn't know what to do. It was the only mind he had. And then he realized, it was out of his control because it was never his mind. It was just some scanning mechanism generated by billions of years of evolution, genetics, and conditioning. That made Dave feel better. At least until #*&^ #&$^^# mEeP ^%$^&!#^grrrrr %^%_+ +*&^) &% MWHA-HA-HA!&*( &^ *&*&78=07 WHOOO-gaa !$^& )argeep++tynoop!&*

#18: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Valet Girl".

Surrender is a powerful word. It runs directly counter to everything Dave was taught. Dave was taught to fight for dominance -- to struggle to be the best. And after years of doing just that, Dave finally arrived at the mountaintop, the pinnacle, the hallowed place where eagles crap. But Dave was still unhappy, because no matter how hard he fought, winning was an illusion -- a mirage. But then, Dave thought, what would happen if I just gave up? This universe isn't meant to be dominated. It's an incomprehensible vastness which created us and to which we'll all return. So Dave surrendered and discovered a happiness he never dreamed of. A sea of bliss in which he willingly drowned. But then, he met this guy who was even happier and more blissful. You can guess the rest.

#19: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Like, Dharma's Totally Got a Date".

The carotid artery. I think that's what it's called. The big blood vessel in the neck -- maybe it's the jugular, I don't know. Whatever you call it, the damn thing was spouting blood, probably with each beat of his heart. It was late, I was coming back from a gig and saw his car wiped-out on the side of the road. I pulled over and tried to help. I knew the thing to do was to somehow stop the bleeding, but my hands were frozen. Instead, I told an unconscious teenager to hang in there, everything would be okay. A better Good Samaritan joined me eventually. He found an old shirt in the car and applied pressure to the kid's neck while I directed traffic. Then a cop arrived and told us that he would take over. I nodded, got in my Corolla and slowly drove home. That was twenty years ago. I still think about that kid and my frozen hands.

#20: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Brought to You in DharmaVision".

Richie was in perfect health when he began reviewing his life. His reasoning was simple: if your life passes before you moments before you die, why not do it when things are going good? That way, when you're coughing up blood and forgetting your childrens' names, you can just lay back and enjoy the morphine-drip carpet ride that takes you back to God. Richie's life review began with his teenage years because his actions during those years effectively blocked out all memory of the preceding years. He began slowly, looking for moments when he'd been kind and loving, generous and cheerful. Unfortunately, all he could remember was a bewildered, terrified, selfish, horny, angry, pimple-faced knucklehead. But that was okay. Part of the life review involved extending forgiveness. So Richie forgave that miserable teenager of long ago and began scanning his young adult years. Which is where he found a treasure trove of memories that caused him to cough up blood and forget his childrens' names.

#21: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Yes, We Have No Bananas (or Anything Else for That Matter)".

It was a novel thought for Dave: What if he's not someone who is perpetually in need of repair? What if the real grunt work of self-improvement is simply being aware of the things one thinks, feels, says and does? Dave decided to put his novel thought to the test by being aware of the first feeling that came along. As it turned out, his first brain guest was the feeling of horny. Dave was aware that he was horny. But, his awareness told him he was not so much horny as lonely. And the loneliness was really just a deep-seeded fear that he was unworthy of being loved......even by himself. Suddenly, Dave no longer felt horny. Now he felt hungry. But not so much hungry as sad. And the sadness was really just a deep-seeded fear that he was unworthy of being loved......even by himself. Which caused Dave to no longer feel hungry. Now he felt insane. But, that was okay because he was aware of it. And it wasn't so much insane as psychotically giddy.

#22: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "The House That Dharma Built".

If he had pondered the problem for a hundred years, Hollywood agent Mort Tayback couldn't have dreamed of a better way to kill her. His plan was elegant and simple... he would make Carolyn famous -- and not just Courtney Cox famous or David Schwimmer famous. For Mort's murder to work, he'd have to make Carolyn a legend, an international icon, a transcendent luminosity upon whom men, women and children from San Bernadino to Zimbabwe would dream about. He liked the sound of that -- "San Bernadino to Zimbabwe!" Carolyn, of course, wouldn't feel like she deserved such adulation (and who does, really). At which point she'd quickly descend into a deadly spiral of drugs and miscellaneous self-destructive behavior, culminating in her untimely death. The world would mourn, but not Mort Tayback. For this was his perfect plan of revenge, based on a maniacally simple premise: "If you want to kill someone you hate, make them famous."

#23: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Are You Ready for Some Footbal?".

My eulogy. I know I'm not dead, I just thought it would be kinda cool to write it myself, while I'm alive and well, and stick it on the end of a TV show. Okay, first, I meant well. Despite all the things for which I need to be forgiven, in my heart I know I meant well. I believe that my sins were driven by fear -- fear of being unloved, fear of poverty, fear of death, fear, fear, fear. What can I say? I was deeply influenced by a frightened mother. I'm not casting blame here; God knows what she dealt with as a little kid. Second, I tried hard. When it came to taking care of my children, I allowed nothing to get in my way -- even a closer relationship with them. I attribute that sin to "fear of being a bad provider." There's so much more to say but as you can see, space is limited. I'll continue eulogizing myself on future vanity cards. In the meantime, there's nothing to fear but fear itself... and lethal diseases, random violence, and tragic accidents.

#24: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Death and Violins".

To pierce through the illusion of separateness, to realize that which lies beneath the tormenting wound of duality -- that was a goal worthy of a lifetime. Richie, however, never really believed he could unravel this mystery which had baffled the greatest minds of humankind. He certainly didn't have anything resembling a great mind. Then it occurred to him... maybe a great mind was not what was needed to see behind the veil of illusion. Maybe true perception comes from a great heart. This realization troubled Richie, for he knew in his gut that he didn't have a great heart either. But then he thought, perhaps with some desperation, maybe the secret was in having a great gut. Or nice shoes.

#25: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Dharma and Greg on a Hot Tin Roof".

I wanted to take this opportunity to wish all my faithful vanity card readers a Happy New Year. I also wanted to thank all those tireless people who transcribe the ol' card and upload it onto the Internet. I'm hoping '99 will be a great year for the vanity card, filled with fresh insights into the meaning of life and plenty of pithy zingers that bring a smile to one and all. I don't have anything insightful or pithy at the moment. Truth is, I'm vamping like crazy here. Just killing time, looking for a clever point of view, a sweepingly original articulation on the mystery of life, anything. Oh hell, who am I kidding? This has become a terrible burden -- week after week, exec produce D & G and write this freaky vanity card. No, "Sit, Ubu, sit" for me. Nooo, I had to create a monster -- a voracious little stinker that gnaws at my peace of mind like a slightly irregular freckle which could be melanoma... but I digress. HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYBODY!

#26: Underneath the first body of text, there is a drawing of a man getting attacked by three birds. Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Dharma and the Horse She Rode in On".

A valued member of the D&G staff, Informio the Clown, has been encouraging me to use the vanity card to exercise the non-verbal, or right-side ofmy brain. Well, Informio, this hemisphere's for you.

Thanks a lot, Informio. Now I have to go back into therapy. Stupid clown.

#27: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "See Dharma Run".

When Richie figured out that the universe truly was an illusion, he was quite dumbfounded at the simplicity of the insight. Unless some sort of awareness exists to perceive the whole shabang, the whole shabang effectively does not exist. It could be an infinite space filled with stars and planets, or a plaid snot rag wrapped around a bottle of pseudoephedrine hydrochloride. Or, to put it another way, when a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, there is no sound. For a sound to be a sound, there must be some sort of ear hooked to some sort of intelligence that says something like, "What was that?" Otherwise the sound might as well be a plaid snot rag wrapped around a bottle of pseudoephedrine hydrochloride. So now Richie understood that energy and mass only exist because of awareness, which means they have no inherent existence. Of course he had this insight while fighting a bad head cold, so that might have had something to do with it.

#28: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Run, Dharma, Run".

When I was a young man I got this guitar and sorta learned how to make it talk. Not as articulately as the guys I worshipped, but I did manage to get that old Strat to speak with a certain fluency and syntax. On good nights, I could make it scream with anger or cry like a baby. There were even times when my hands did things that would utterly surprise me -- when the thousands of hours of practice exploded into music that seemed to come from someone else entirely. I couldn't imagine a life without three pickups and that cool setting between treble and midrange. But eventually I realized my teenage dream was turning into an adult nightmare. In order to provide for my family, I traded the six-string Fender for a four-camera sitcom. I guess in hindsight it was a good trade, although on good nights while writing and producing "Roseanne," "Grace Under Fire" and "Cybill," you could hear me screaming and crying like a baby.

#29: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "See Dharma Run Amok".

As an experiment, I just set my computer's calendar to 1/1/00. So far so good. The system seems to be dealing with the 00 date without too much trouble.Although I did just notice that President McKinley is running for re-election, and Americans are certainly smelling better, now that one home in seven has a bathtub. On a sour note, bubonic plague has struck Honolulu and the entire city had to be set on fire to destroy the disease-carrying rats. I just read about a fellow named Harvey Firestone who claims to have a bright idea about attaching rubber tires to rims. Rubber tires? What good will those be on trolley cars? Finally, as I sit here on my porch, sipping lemonade, I feel comfortable in predicting that the 20th Century will be a peaceful one.

#30: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Everybody Must Get Stones".

I feel that the alter-egos of Richie and Dave are beginning to wear out their welcome in my vanity cards. The spiritual searcher, "Richie," is named after my childhood friend, a gentle giant and bonafide genius. "Dave" is derived from the classic Cheech and Chong piece "Dave's not here." I used Richie and Dave to explore themes I was personally uncomfortable with. As fictional characters, I could send them charging into emotional, intellectual, moral, sexual and spiritual machine gun nests, while I sat safely behind the lines. This is literary cowardice. Beginning now, any vanity card musings will be written from my own point-of-view.

"Wait one darn minute! I'm real, and so is Dave! This should actually be called The Richie and Dave Vanity Card!" "You're damn right, Richie. If anyone's fictional, it's Chuck Lorre."

Uh-oh, little help?

#31: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Dharma Drags Edward Out of Retirement".

There's a wonderful story about a learned man who went to see a Zen master to debate the merits of Zen. The master poured him a cup of tea, and purposely kept pouring so the tea ran over the cup and spilled onto the table. The man was startled and asked the master what he was doing. The Zen master replied, "You are like this cup, too full of your own opinions to receive anything else." Now I'd like to ask everyone reading this vanity card to empty yourselves of all your opinions, beliefs, fears, hopes, resentments and desires for just one moment. Just let them all go... empty your cup. Good. Some call this emptiness nirvana -- attained by years of meditation. I would suggest that there's another path to attain this state of emptiness: write and produce twenty-four sitcom episodes in thirty-five weeks. Which is the origin of another Zen riddle: if no one hears a comedy writer weeping inconsolably while curled in a fetal ball, is he still funny?

#32: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "It Never Happened One Night".

The secret of life: praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind. To be happy, rest like a great tree in the midst of them all. Did you get that? Okay, here it is again: praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind. To be happy, rest like a great tree in the midst of them all. Got it? No? All right, don't panic. Once again: praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind. To be happy, rest like a great tree in the midst of them all. Are you a great tree yet? ... Aw, geez. Okay, once again: praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind. To be happy, rest like a great tree in the midst of them all. Ya' happy?... Good. Unfortunately, that's not the secret of television, so tell all your friends to watch "Dharma & Greg" and while you're at it, see if you can get a Nielson box... get a Nielson box... get a Nielson box... get a Nielson box...

#33: On the heading, "CHUCK LORRE" is replaced with the three symbols "Ψ▼*". Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Bed, Bath and Beyond".

I happen to believe that a life unexamined is a life not worth living. I also happen to believe that a life examined will cause an incredible amount of heartache. With that dilemma in mind, here's where my examination has gotten me so far. The only real progress I've made as a human being came at those times when my carefully constructed ego was completely shattered by people and/or events. Unfortunately, that progress was always short-lived because each and every incident of ego deflation was followed by years of building up a stronger, more resilient replacement. Son, friend, athlete, musician, rebel, space cadet, husband, daddy, TV writer-producer, divorced guy, jerk, smart guy, wiseguy, fool, seventeen handicap, success, failure are all false selves because they are fleeting processes with no real substance or permanence. So where does this leave Chuck Lorre? Egoless? I wish. But it does make one think, maybe Prince was on to something when he shed his name for a symbol. Hmmm...

#34: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "A Girl Can Dream, Can't She?".

The more I investigate the non-realm that lies just beyond, beneath or throughout the non-realm I think we're in, the more I'm convinced that it will take the heart of a warrior to continue. I suppose part of the reason for that is it requires courage to not be seduced by the comfort level generated by this particular illusion. Isn't it easier to just lay back and slip-slide into the daily grind of unconsciousness? And then there's the cultural conditioning which proclaims, "This is it! What you see is what you get." Now, let's think about that for a moment. What we see is what we get. Hmmm... We can't see electrons. We can't see a virus. We can't see getting an honest profit participation in anything we write -- and yet we still believe these things exist. Which brings me to God. Isn't it strange that we can look up at a night sky, at a majestic mountain, at the sculpted behind of a beautiful woman in spiked heels, and have trouble believing in God? But I digress.

#35: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "The Dating Game".

Dharma & Greg adopt a baby, they break into a diner and serve pie, their closet is haunted by devil dolls, Kitty sues Larry for a broken ass, Pete lets the bad air out, Dharma goes to the big dance, a dead friend sends D&G to the big trees, Greg falls asleep in a very bad place, Dharma goes into the nothing business, Edward comes out of retirement in a simple blue frock, Greg says "y'all," Dharma runs a button hook with Steve Young, D&G run from an angry bear, the in-laws are attacked by an angry sea lion, confused ducks attack a fund-raiser, a horse falls for Dharma, Greg is nibbled by a curious goat, Dharma tries out a Stradivarius, a coffin and a Ferrari, Good and Evil meet on a trampoline, politics gets ugly, Pete and Jane tie a bad knot, D&G peel potatoes, Santana bonds Greg and Larry, food fight with Kitty, Greg and Pete crash and burn, and marriage doesn't stop D&G from dating. You don't believe me? Watch the reruns, dude! Thanks to everyone who taped and paused. See you next year!

#36: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "One Flew Over the Lawyer's Desk".

I recently mentioned to an engineer friend of mine that I get slightly crazed when things are less than perfect. To my surprise he looked at me with a crooked little smile and said, "Oh, but things are perfect." A few days later our conversation continued. This time he told me that the universe was expanding at exactly the right speed to keep it from flying apart or collapsing back into itself. He also noted that the subatomic makeup of our bodies was calibrated so magnificently that were it off by less than one percent, two human bodies approaching one another would release enough energy to blow the Earth out of its orbit. And consider this: if a plane loses its wings at thirty thousand feet, and DOESN'T fall to the ground, then we would be living in a world where fat people could stick rockets in their ass and fly to Miami for a three-day weekend. Now, if you're like me and don't find that to be an improvement on the laws of nature, then I think you have to agree with my friend -- things are perfect.

#37: Seen on the Dharma & Greg episode "Welcome to Hotel Calamari".

I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome all my loyal vanity card readers back for year three of D&G. As you can see, I've changed the card to black print on a white background in the hope that this will facilitate reading while you "pause" your videotape. I also wanted to use this card to talk about what I did on my summer vacation. Rather than go to Europe, or some exotic locale, I chose to go on a spiritual journey. Among other things, my journey led to this stunning realization: For as long as I can remember, I've mistakenly felt that God, or some kind of higher power, had taken everyone aside and explained to them what this life was all about. And for some twisted, cosmic reason, it was decided that I alone would remain in the dark. Uncovering this self-centered misconception was an enormous breakthrough for me. For the first time in my life I didn't feel like an ignorant, frightened outsider. As a result, next summer, one more ignorant, frightened insider is going to Paris!
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