Been Here Before

Tuesday September 22nd, 2009 – St. Charles, IL

One of the few comforting qualities of being a dented can is that I’ve experienced most if not all ‘worst case scenario’ situations there can be in all facets of life. I’ve been as low as low can get and it didn’t kill me so there’s really nothing new about where I am now.

I’ve been here before, and unfortunately I’ll probably be here again. The trick is keeping a steady head in the middle of the raging storm and battening down my inner hatches. It’s very easy to think about ending it all when it gets like this and I’ve thought of that option a lot but deep down I know that’s not the solution. The best answer is to keep on fighting.

There are a few things I absolutely know to be true no matter what. They are:

-I’m not the only person to have ever struggled with depression. There have been millions  in all walks of life and from all times in history. This is not a new thing by any means and I am not the first or the worst affected by it. Other people have dealt with this same pain.

-People who haven’t had to deal with this have no idea what it’s about. They make stupid comments because they have no clue what they’re talking about. They mean well but that doesn’t change the fact that they pour gas on the fire. I need to ignore everything they say.

-This has been something most creative types have had to deal with throughout history. It almost seems to go with the territory. It can be lessened with diet and exercise and I have not always been the best when it comes to being consistent with that. I can do way better.

-Whenever I’ve had a dark spell, it has always eventually passed. Not only that, there has always been a period of fantastic creativity right afterward. Maybe it’s manic depression or bipolar disorder or whatever anyone wants to call it, but the pattern has never varied.

These things may be 100% true, but remembering them when the storm is raging rarely happens. When it’s dark it’s REALLY dark and it doesn’t matter that anyone else has or is feeling the same sensation. All that matters is life seems worthless. It’s overwhelming.

I can’t say I’m ready to turn cartwheels in the mall but I am starting to feel a little more in sync with life today, even though bullets are still flying. I got word a gig I was booked for this Thursday in northern Wisconsin has been ‘postponed indefinitely’, which means cancelled. It’s very unprofessional to cancel two days out and I should have been paid.

This is what happens when dealing with small time bookers. A bigger agency wouldn’t allow that to happen. There would be a contract and a deposit and if there was a cancelled show two days out I’d have half the money. That’s what should have happened here too.

I knew I was feeling better because the booker’s phone call didn’t set me over the edge. I took it in stride and although it pissed me off a little I didn’t flip out on the guy. He likes me and tries to get me gigs when he can so rather than give him an earful I just let it go.

Then I got an email from another booker regarding a weekend gig I have booked out in Idaho in October. The pay was pretty good and it was only one show a night but evidently that place is starting to dribble checks as well. A comic mentioned it to the booker and he put the word out warning us of the situation and offering anyone the chance to back out.

I could really use that money but I hadn’t bought my plane ticket yet and after checking the prices I decided to back out of the gig. I’d have to make two plane changes each way and if I’m going to do that I don’t want to get a rubber check. It isn’t even a comedy club. It’s a piano bar that has comedians so we‘re not the priority. Plus, it‘s a long way to go.

The main reasons I took the gig were of course the money but I really do think Idaho is a nice place. Just like Salt Lake City, the people are very friendly and the scenery is about as beautiful as there is anywhere in North America. I was hoping to get a week of work to make a few bucks and get back to the Boise area again. I’d love to have a regular outlet.

Then, to make it a trifecta, I received word that a show I had booked on October 1st is a bust and that’s going to be cancelled as well. It was at the Waukegan Park District and the woman who I deal with there is a total sweetheart. She wanted to try a comedy night and I told her I’d be up for it but it just didn’t work out. Too bad, as it’s in a very nice facility.

She wanted to make it a single’s comedy night and it’s a continuing education program so registration is required rather than just a walkup cover charge. Apparently it wasn’t the right way to market it and that’s just how it went this time. She’s very sharp and I’m sure she’ll figure it out eventually but for now it’s dead. That’s three gigs shot for one month.

Those would have paid all my bills for October but now not only am I screwed by those going down the toilet, there still isn’t any word on the bounced check from Giggles up in Brookfield, WI. I called the booker of that one and he said he’s trying to get them to get it handled but so far they haven’t. I went to my mailbox today and again I was disappointed.

I’ve been through all of this before in one way or another so I just blew it off. This is an amazingly hard time for a lot of people right now and it feels like the American Dream is morphing into the American Nightmare. The land of opportunity is drying up for those of us who have been used to being able to squeak out an honest living. It‘s all turning sour.

It’s not how it used to be and I can’t say I like the way life in this country appears to be headed. The real people in charge don’t seem to want a middle class for whatever reason and it looks like they’re going to get their wish. It seems like America is crumbling before our eyes but nobody’s doing anything to fix it and those who do care are not being heard.

The whole human race seems to be evolving back into monkeys. Everything is in chaos and it’s getting worse for almost everyone who isn’t independently wealthy, and of course that happens to be almost everyone. Something’s really wrong somewhere and my stupid little problems are dwarfed by the big picture. I sure could use a lotto jackpot about now.


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