Excerpts from Frankie Muniz’s Autobiography That Make Me Think It Was Ghostwritten by Chuck Palahniuk, by Wen Powers
I remember the day my mom got the call that I landed the part of Malcom in Malcom in the Middle. She was grinning from ear to ear when she told me and I thought, “Boy, I must be really special huh?” Heh. Special. Special is just a word that your mom calls you before bed, your wife calls you before you head off to the job you hate, and the principal calls you when they tell you why you aren’t smart enough to graduate. Well, your mom lied, your wife is fucking your best friend, and failing out of high school is as American as Grannie’s apple pie wrapped in a triple XL American flag. I couldn’t wait to get to work with Bryan Cranston and the rest of my insanely talented television family!
Working on Miracle in Lane 2 was such a rewarding experience. Telling the story of Justin Yoder, a kid with spina bifida overcoming the odds to win the big soapbox race, really gave me insight into the lives people with disabilities. We all have disabilities though, don’t we? Some kids can’t walk, some adults can’t get their dicks hard, and some people are so disgusted by the terrible shit that they see each and every day that they find a way to make it all go away. Make all the pain and torment disappear from their vision of the world, all so that they can be “happy.” Happiness is probably the greatest disability there is, because people who are happy are deaf and blind and they’re too stupid to even realize it. Also, it was so fun when the director, Joel Kauffman, pushed me around in the wheelchair! We had a lot of fun on that set.
At that age, Agent Cody Banks had to have been the absolute coolest thing ever. I mean, what 18-year-old wouldn’t want to be a spy? To get into character, I would wander off set and try to do a little spying on my own. For me, it was fun to see what I could discover without anyone noticing that I was looking. Eventually, this took me to a shanty town by the river. I found people there who were more invisible to society than a spy could ever be. One homeless guy, Fuckstick Jack, had this pitbull that was too well fed for my liking. Every time it would growl, you could see chunks of blood and bone between its teeth. My only question was if it was some unfortunate rat, or maybe some other teen TV star who decided to play pretend where he didn’t belong. Not like the world would notice either was missing in the grand scheme of things. There’d be a mention on the news, people would shake their heads, and then, they’d forget. I distinctly remember when the dog barked, the metallic smell of blood that’s oh so similar to a handful of pennies would fill the air. The hunger in its eyes, I wasn’t sure if that dog wanted to eat me or fuck me. I knew what I was hungry for, though, the best craft services table of any set I’ve ever worked on. Seriously, you can’t make a movie without the catering guys. It’s a team!
Wen Powers is a writer and comedian in Chicago. His work has been featured on McSweeney’s, CAFE, and The Second City Network. Follow him on Twitter.