Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Just add some nuts.

Are you one of those people who, no matter how fast things get done, it just never seems fast enough? Someone who bitches because a meal that used to take an hour to cook by hand now takes ten minutes in the nuker? Whenever I get like that I try to imagine myself as Carolyn Ingalls, on The Little House on the Prairie. She was the perfect woman ... the patience of a saint ...  (sigh) my ideal. What would she have done?

“Carolyn! I’m home! Is dinner ready?”

“Charles Ingalls you just sit down, shut the fuck up and smoke your stupid pipe. Here it is, the mid-1890s, and I’m still cooking over a goddamn fireplace here! Maybe if you hadn’t dragged our asses all the way out here to friggin Walnut Grove, Minnesota where everyone is SWEDISH by the way, we might have a nice home and cast iron stove, your dinner would be ready and I wouldn’t have to break my ass taking care of this little house. We’d be home and in a BIG house and maybe for once I could eat MY dinner while it was still hot. But Nooooooooo.....! You had to be the big FARMER instead. You want to eat something? Eat this, Chuckles! You’ll have your squirrel paprikash in about an hour.”

Alright, maybe she wouldn’t have handled it quite like that.

Or maybe you are one of those who think that just because you finally became hip to an idea, everyone else should?

“Hey Levi who’s that?    

“The guy over there working on the nets says his name is Jesus. His dad owns a lumber yard in Nazareth

”Jesus, huh? What’s he doin out there?”

“Walking on water, I think.”

“What?.....WHOA! He IS walking on water! That is so cool! Why is he doing it?”

“He says he’s the son of God.”

“Really? Which one?”

“That’s just it. He’s saying there isn’t a god for everything anymore, like for farming and making pastry and such. He’s yakking that there’s only ONE God, and he’s It! Annnd ...  he wants us to just drop everything and just follow him.”

“Follow him where?”

“Well now Judas, see, that’s the problem. He’s just gonna walk around the country telling everyone who he is and he expects that they are just gonna say, “Hip Hip Hooray, Jesus for Prom King!” and follow him. I guess he just wants the whole of Israel to be walking around doing nothing. Can you imagine me giving up my fishing business for such nonsense? Oy, my wife would kill me! “

“Well...I AM out of a job. Maybe I’ll follow him. Is he offering health care?”

“I don’t know. But maybe you should follow him and get the hell out of town. You know, Moshe over at the IHOP is still pissed at you for turning him into the Health Department on Code violations. Why do you do shit like that Judas? This is why people don’t like you”.

“I don’t know, Levi. But I better get going. There’s Moshe, and I don’t need this tsouris. Shalom, kiddo, I am outta here.”

The preceding was a dramatization, of course, but it gets me back to my original thesis; If you see yourself in either of these scenarios, then you, like me, are a very special person. Because we believe that the world revolves around us, and that just by thinking something, we can make it happen. The teams of international psychotherapists that have devoted their professional careers to mentally straightening me out call this magical thinking. It sounds lovely, doesn’t it? It’s like having your own little Tinkerbelle flying around inside your brain and whenever you choose, you are able to dispatch her (through the ear canal, of course)  to anyone you desire. And with one wave of her wand, stuff will actually come to you, like money, a full-size, solid milk chocolate likeness of Elizabeth Warren, or even comedy gigs. And it’s that last one that I’d like to spend some time with.

I’ve written in earlier posts about all the crappy gigs I took when I was starting out back during the Reagan years just to be able to work. Looking back, I remember it fondly, even with being tackled on stage by an Amazonian woman, being handed a bullet by the mob guy who’s wife I was ‘entertaining’ and being told that if I didn’t put an end to it, he’d be putting it into my head. I didn’t mind the guy in the upstate New York club who thought that cocaine was a currency and wanted to pay me in it, or having to sleep in a truck stop in Nebraska because we were trapped in a blizzard. I didn’t even mind the now well-known comic who captured a rat in the empty swimming pool of the hotel in which we were staying, brought it up to his room and kept it as a pet (FYI, he killed the rodent by feeding it Cheese Doodles, so don’t do that unless you have a rat problem in your house).    

I didn’t mind any of that that craziness back then. It was fun and exciting, I got to travel, and most of all I was able to do the thing I loved most in life for money (most of the time). But I was younger ... a lot younger. And here’s where the magical thinking comes into play.

It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but I kind of thought I wouldn’t have to go through all the bullshit again. You know, you’ve paid your dues, made your name, etc, and you would think the whole transgender thing might have generated a lot of interest, right? I mean, if I owned a club and heard that a nearly sixty year old former comic had Gender Reassignment Surgery, and is now trying to come back, I’d put my people on that right away. Find that Woman!  Make it Job One People! Come on, chop-chop, tick-tock! We’ve got to scoop her up now before she becomes a household name and we can’t afford her!  .....Oh crap. See there? I did it again ....magical thinking. No, no, don’t try and talk me out of it.               Come on. Isn’t anybody going to try to talk me out of it? God, I hate reality.

So it’s back to building relationships again with bookers. Back to scrounging around for work; Back to guest sets for no money; Back to the fifty-eight thousand calls to the same bookers over and over who tell you to call next week and when you do they push it to the next week and the next and the next until you want to take a hammer to the phone. Or you politely hang up the phone, promising to call next week for sure, and once it sits comfortably back in the receiver, you stare at it for a second and let loose with a diatribe like this;

“FUCK! HOW FUCKING HARD IS IT TO OPEN UP THE FUCKING DATE BOOK AND PENCIL ME IN FOR A FUCKING WEEKEND ANYWHERE? FUCK YOU, YA FUCKING FUCK! AND YOU, AND YOU...AND on and on and on until your rage eventually subsides. Until you realize that these bookers have a hundred other comics calling them all day for work too; And that they haven’t had an eleven year vacation; or a sex change; or are fifty-nine and are about twenty years past their prime for  television.

Well, I know what I have to do. I’m not happy about it, but I know. I’ll call next week. Okay Tinkerbelle, go to sleep.You ain’t working tonight.

That’s it! I’m done bitching. Everybody hug, and let’s eat! Abbondanza!





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