Proper Perspective


Friday February 12th, 2010 – Elkhorn, WI/Milwaukee, WI

What a busy day, but it was all in proper perspective. Jim McHugh called me early with news that George Clinton was appearing on WGN’s morning TV news. That was kind of a surprise, as I didn’t think it would be a match. Still, I will always be a fan of George, so I tuned in to see it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen George appear on a morning show before.

He’s been in the news lately for several reasons, none of them pleasant. His mother died a few months ago, and apparently he didn’t have enough money to pay for a funeral. That was a shocker when I first heard it, but it really isn’t. Show business can be brutal with all the lopsided deals people sign, hoping to get ahead. George deserves better. He‘s an icon.

Then, his oldest son passed away just recently. Apparently, he was found at home a few days after he died, and that has to be devastating to a parent. On top of that, a member of one of George’s girl groups ‘Parlet’ named Mallia Franklin passed away from a stroke.

All this has happened in the very recent past, but when George came on TV he was in a very upbeat mood and played along with the interviewer, who brought a box of props and wigs and tried to match George’s hairstyle. I can’t say I’d be as patient as George was, but he played along and made the bit work. I thought he was great and was glad he got a plug.

George and the band played at The Cubby Bear in Chicago tonight and I’d love to have been there. I’ve seen him there several times before, and he didn’t disappoint. Rarely does he, and it‘s hard to believe he‘s still out doing smaller clubs at age 68. Granted, a lot of it is because he has to earn a living, but he sure isn’t taking the easy way. He really earns it.

A casual fan watching that TV show this morning would have NO idea about all the sad events that have happened to him recently. He came out and entertained. Period. That’s a consummate pro, and I respect him even more after seeing it. I don’t know if I could hide it as well as he does. My problems seemed pretty tiny in perspective so I shut my mouth.

After seeing George I had to attend traffic court in Elkhorn, WI. The sheriff issued me a citation after my accident in December and I needed to fight it for many reasons. It would have taken four points from my driver’s license and the fine was $213. That’s too much.

I don’t know why I got a fine at all, other than they milk the hell out of everybody when they get the chance to raise revenue. They cited me with ‘too fast for conditions’, but how did they know how fast I was going? It was icy, and I had slowed WAY down. Nobody in the courtroom was at the scene except me. How could anyone prove I was going too fast?

There was a sheriff hearing people’s stories and offering deals before a trial. I told him what happened, and apparently a few other people in that accident had already been there. He knew of it, and said I wasn’t the only car in the pileup to get a ticket. Still, I think it’s a total scam and I tried to tell him that politely. He wasn’t a bad guy, and I tried to reason with him like an adult. I thought, and still do, that I shouldn’t have gotten any ticket at all.

Obviously, that wasn’t his idea of a ‘deal’, so he ended up knocking the points violation off and making it a non moving violation. He lowered the fine from $213 to $170 and I’ll have thirty days to pay it. I could see it was probably all I was going to get, so I said yes.

I suppose I could have made a scene and asked for a jury trial or called a lawyer, but the cost or aggravation of all that just isn’t worth it to me. I know the court knows that too, so they get people to pay their fine and make it go away. They had an opportunity to make a quick $170 and they took it. Too fast for conditions, my ass. They just want their money.

Again, I tried to look at it with perspective. I could have easily died in that crash, and if not I could have easily had some horrible injuries. If staying alive and being able to see or walk or anything else most people take for granted (including me) cost $170, it would be a fantastic bargain. I’m sure people in wheelchairs would gladly pay $170 to get out of it.

I wasn’t bitter as I walked to my car with no limp. I’ll pay my fine in thirty days and just move on. It could have been a LOT worse, and bitching about a fine won’t change my life for the better. I felt good about myself for thinking like this. In the past I haven’t done it.

After court I drove to Milwaukee to meet up with Ron Lee to scout out potential places to perform the one man show. Ron has been doing some leg work and we’ve been staying in contact about a lot of the things necessary to bring this project together. There are a lot of things to put in place before an actual show, but we knew it. This is all from scratch.

We looked at a few spaces, and it was a very productive process. We talked to people in charge and asked about availabilities and all kinds of stuff I really haven’t done too much in all my past experience. Most shows I’ve done are preset and all I have to do is show up and go up. This is completely different, but it’s already been a great learning experience.

We’re going to pull this off. I feel it. It’s a quality product and I’m doing things exactly how I’m supposed to be doing them. I’m not disrespecting anyone going in, and I will not look to do it in the future either. I want this to come together through hard work, planning with a dash of showmanship thrown in. No, more than a dash. I’ll need a ladle full of that.

Our last stop was at the Milwaukee Visitors Bureau. I plan on registering with them like I did with the Lake County Convention And Visitors Bureau in Illinois, but they’ll have a challenge to outwork a consummate pro like Jayne Nordstrom and all the competent staff.

This was a pretty busy work day, but I had a show at Zanies in Vernon Hills, IL tonight. There was only one because they brought in some soap opera star who drew tons of horny women who all thought he was going to sleep with them. It was funny to see them run out of the showroom hoping to bed their TV stud master, but see me waiting around instead.

I got some animated dramatic looks of severe disappointment, but I’ve gotten that quite a few times in life so I just laughed and blew kisses to all the ladies. The Zanies staff was laughing, as they saw the position I was in. It could have been worse. It’s all perspective.

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