Around The World In A Day

Wednesday December 23rd, 2009 – Duluth, MN/Lake Villa, IL

I am SO sore right now. Everything aches. It feels like my entire body got clubbed a few hundred times with a giant canoe paddle. The last thing I wanted to do was drive 450 long hard miles to Duluth in December to do a low paying gig, but I made good on my promise to show up. If I say I’m going to do something, I really do try my best to honor the deal.

I’m in a tough spot right now, but I’ve been here before. These are the times that build a callous toward life, and I’ve got one of the thickest of anyone I know. I’m not bragging at all, and in fact I almost wish I didn’t know how to handle these situations, but I totally do.

There are days when I’m bullet proof and can handle anything, and there are others that push me over the edge and I don’t want to go on living. Today was bullet proof, and I was in a clear thinking mindset the entire trip despite the fact I’m getting raped on the rate for my rental car. It’s Christmas week and it was tough to find a car at all. Of course it was.

I’m Mr. Lucky, remember? It’s always ‘worst case scenario’ and THEN add the wrinkle or glitch to make it really difficult. It’s a hell of a comedy formula but not pleasant living it, especially now. I’ve got to do some serious maneuvering to recover from this situation.

I thought about what to do for most of the trip, the rest of the time trying to hear any bit of weather information I could find about the alleged impending snow storm that’s going to alter life as we know it apparently. I’m not afraid of snow, but right now I don’t need a second accident in the same week trying to swerve around some imbecile in front of me.

This isn’t going to be an easy fix. That Toyota I wrecked was running great and I paid a little more than I usually to when I invested in it. I had a wheel bearing replaced for $900 and that’s now lost money. My over/under for this one was not met because I didn’t have it long enough for it to pay off. I gambled and lost. Again. Now money is a major issue.

My credit is horrendous after losing my house in Utah. That was in 2001 but I’m going to have that hanging over my head for a long time. IF I can hit some kind of cash jackpot or windfall from selling a screenplay or whatever, I’m sure I’ll get an opportunity to have it go away with a lump sum negotiated payment, but right now that doesn’t help me at all.

I do have a credit card, but that’s juiced to the moon from my dental nightmares with all my root canal work in the last year or so. I think I’ve also got part of the Toyota I wrecked and some of that wheel bearing on that tab as well. I’m really up against the financial wall right now, more than I can remember in recent history. I’ll have to make smart decisions.

That’s exactly the opposite of what I’ve been doing. I had some cushion money but that is ALL gone and I’m bone on bone. I should get a check for the wreck because I did have it insured, and right now I’m glad I did. I’m sure I’ll be able to go back to the auction and fish out some other discarded hulk, but that’s getting a little old too. At this time in life it would be nice to have some security. I’m sick of gambling, I’d rather pay for a decent car.
My friend Max in Springfield, IL knows a Hyundai dealer he used to sell radio time to when he had his morning show there. At one time Max said he thought he could help me get a loan from the guy and drive off the lot with any car I wanted, new or used. I thought twice about it and never pursued it, but right now that deal sounds ok. I’ll give it a shot.

I don’t have anything to lose, and if the answer is no I’ll dig something up. I wish I had more of a financial cushion, but I don’t so it’s back to this game again. I’ve played it way too many times before, and it’s losing it’s luster. I don’t feel like gambling with this now.

I’ll have to deal with that eventually, but tonight I had to do a show. I got in about 4:30 for an 8pm show, and that’s a lot better than doing 95 miles an hour trying to make it just as they’re bringing me up. I’ve done that before, and it was at this gig actually. Not good for the stress level, and at least I didn’t have to do that again. I made it in reasonable time.

The Black Bear is a very nice place and the hotel is top notch all the way. They throw in a free buffet ticket and that’s always excellent too. I checked in and ate right away so I’d be able to get at least a little nap in, but of course my phone was ringing with people who wanted to know how I was from the accident. I appreciate that, but it kept me from sleep.

The casino wasn’t as crowded as it usually is, and the show room was down right empty at 8:00. The booker is also the host and he knew Kristi McHugh was snowed in so he got a local to come in and do some time in between us. I don’t think it was necessary but he’s going to do what he’s going to do and I didn’t have the energy to start asking questions.

The crowd was tiny and I had my work cut out for me but I wasn’t going to make them have to pay for my bad breaks. It was none of their faults my car got wrecked or a big bad blizzard was on the way. They came out to see a show and I was not going to cheat them.

I leaned into it and brought all I had. I worked as hard as I could and tried to give them a show I’d like to see if I was coming out on a night like that. I grabbed them by the throat and didn’t let go until I was done and they loved it. I was very happy with the show as my energy was good the whole time. I’m pleased I didn’t use bad circumstances as a crutch.

The booker was thrilled as he usually is, and I really like working for the guy. The thing is he just doesn’t have enough work for enough pay to warrant any more marathon drives like this. I thanked everyone for having me and was warned by security to start driving to avoid the snow. I can’t afford to take any more chances right now so I took their advice.

The rental car had Sirius Satellite radio so that kept me awake for a while but the snow turned into sleet and freezing rain as my knuckles were snow white on the steering wheel for the next six hours. It’s Thursday at 1:30pm as I write this and I just got home now.

I’m about ready to drop from exhaustion but I made it there and back. I did what I said I would, but now I need a shower and sleep and a fresh mind to take care of this puzzle I’m forced to solve. I have until 8:30pm to get my rental car to Milwaukee. Merry Christmas!

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