Dear readers: As you may have noticed, this week's Stranger is primarily devoted to Strangercrombie product—those Strangercrombie-holiday-auction items consisting of made-to-order Stranger content, from that splashy front cover (ooh la la!) to Ivan Cockrum's smashing back-page comic. Also in the Strangercrombie mix: Last Days, which will forgo its usual obsession with celebrity pedophiles and public-grooming shenanigans to focus on a week in the life of winning bidder Eric Cozens, a dazzlingly ambitious West Seattle entrepreneur who you'll get to know thoroughly below. Enjoy!
MONDAY, JANUARY 16 Last Days' Eric Cozens Week kicks off with the first of seven what-I-did-today missives from the man himself. "Monday is a day for thought, planning, revisiting things undone, and compiling them into a fresh set of tasks," writes Eric, who co-owns both Mission and Blackbird Bistro in West Seattle, and who quickly tempers his heady proclamation with an attractively self-effacing explanation: "I'm really not that anal—or organized—it's just impossible to get anything done without a list." After executing his morning business tasks and clocking some cardio time at the gym—where he "half-heartedly pedaled while reading The Sun Also Rises—Cozens proceeded with the foremost item on his to-do list: building a secret society. In the words of Cozens himself: "The Greenwood Think Tank was organized years ago as a proactive group of scholars, economists, therapists, and a pimp named Jaw Bone, brought together to provide insight and commentary on public American life." And although the GTT has "a seemingly bottomless supply of groundbreaking ideas," says Cozens, "we have discovered recently that the group is incapable of action." The solution: "Mobilizing a group of highly motivated like-minded people that want to change the world. And we will."
TUESDAY, JANUARY 17 Today Citizen Cozens made progress toward his brain trust's impending world domination by chatting up a clerk at Roosevelt's 10,000 Villages fair-trade emporium. After purchasing "a couple world-music lounge CDs, two onyx candle holders from Pakistan, and a puzzle box shaped like an egg," Cozens took his kindred-spirit clerk to lunch at the nearby Sunlight Cafe. "I had the falafel and pita, she had the big salad, and we both drank coffee," writes Cozens. "We talked of life and fulfillment. I told her about the plan for mobilizing a group of highly motivated like-minded people that want to change the world, and she agreed to help. I anointed her Amy B, Minister of Fair Trade & Belly Dancing." After the pleasures of lunch, Cozens directed himself back to work, attending a 2:30 p.m. champagne tasting at Blackbird, then devoting some time to the planning of the Rock Paper Scissors tournament to be held at Mission on Saturday, February 4. "It's going to be a double-bracketed, random-seeded, two-out-of-three-throw, single-elimination tournament," says Cozens. "We got Session (the little stubby beer by Full Sail) to help sponsor it, and the money raised from entry fees and Session sales is going to be donated to Community for Youth (www.communityforyouth.org), a youth-mentoring program here in Seattle. We even got endorsed by the World Rock Paper Scissors Society. We'll broadcast the event in the bar, with sexy referees judging the competition from lifeguard chairs. Plus prizes and a DJ for the night. It should be fun." But the day wasn't over until Cozens reconnected with his dream of social advancement: "The day ended with dinner and drinks with Lady Scarlet, who'd just returned from a stint in Holland with a new energy for life. We talked of Purpose, and Intention, and Action, and Hunger, and connecting with something bigger than yourself. She's going to put a website up, and get the group space running. We need a place to commune and communicate in order to organize and act."
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18 After two work-packed days, today Eric Cozens enjoyed a relative day of leisure, following a 10:00 a.m. wine tasting (!) with an afternoon of snowboarding at Snoqualmie. "Great conditions, forgiving snow, and we even ran into some fellow Mission folk and got to take the last run of the day with them." But by evening, Cozens's higher calling landed him in another brainstorming meeting in another bar. "Session Lager had a little private get-together in the downstairs bowling alley of the Garage," writes Cozens. "I found myself in a fairly heated shuffleboard match with Devin Simonson, one of our beer reps for Mission and Blackbird, who I went to high school with a dozen years ago. I explained what I was trying to do with the Greenwood Think Tank and the ideas I was trying to spread. He said he was in. It's good to have a guy with a lot of beer on your side."
THURSDAY, JANUARY 19 Nothing happened today, unless you count the delicious breakfast eaten this morning by Eric Cozens at Endolyne Joe's, or the luxurious nap Cozens enjoyed from 3:00–6:00 p.m. ("I dreamt of puppies," writes Cozens. "But in kind of a weird way.")
FRIDAY, JANUARY 20 The week continues with a high-octane brainstorming dinner at Blackbird between Cozens and one of his best friends in the world, Caleb. Writes Cozens, "I was able to download what has been on my mind this week. It's nice to have someone you've known your whole life, though sometimes those are the hardest people to open up to with new thoughts and ideas. It's easy to tell a stranger about a fantastic idea you have that will surround you with positive influence and change the world, but it's a task to break out of a role that someone of familiarity has cast you in. I was nervous to talk about my idea with him. He received it like it had always existed."
SATURDAY, JANUARY 21 Nothing happened today, unless you count a late-evening poker game wherein Eric Cozens was clobbered again by Devin Simonson, AKA the guy who beat him Thursday at shuffleboard. ("But it was okay," writes Cozens, "because I won the second game and split the third with Devin's ex.")
SUNDAY, JANUARY 22 The week ends with a renewed vow from the man of the week: "People want to connect with something that is bigger than themselves. The only thing that ever changed the world was a group of highly motivated like-minded people. If I don't use my little two cents this week to talk about it, I'll regret if forever. If there are people out there who feel the same way I do, and we're able to make a difference in the way people think and act, I'll take the chance for ridicule. If not, I don't mind if the idea is shunned and I'm labeled as a crazy guy. I don't want this to be some giant call to action. I just would like to make clear that if there are people that this speaks to, there is a place they can go: www.oursevenwords.com or groups.myspace.com/oursevenwords."
Thank you, Eric Cozens. May you continue fighting the good fight. Speaking of good fights: Those driven freaks at Bad Actor Productions are putting up a new show, and in the name of returning a favor, I'm required to mention it here. Capitol Hill High runs February 9–25 at the Capitol Hill Arts Center. Send Hot Tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.