A Night Off

Monday November 22nd, 2010 – Somewhere At Sea

An unexpected night off. The other comedian Happy Cole apparently had a glitch in his schedule, and has plans to be home for Thanksgiving with his family. Fine with me. I told both him and the cruise director I’m flexible and will do whatever it takes to work it out.

I never mind helping someone out, especially another comedian. I know how schedules can sometimes conflict and way too often there’s too big a deal made when someone tries to make a switch. I’ve been there more than my share of times myself, so this is a total no brainer. A guy needs to get home for the holidays. I get it. How can we make that work?

What will happen is, Happy will do all five shows tonight, and I’ll do all five tomorrow. I don’t think I’ve ever done five shows in a day before, but it won’t kill me. I’ll do what it takes to make it work, and Happy will fly out tomorrow and be home for Thanksgiving.

That left me a lot of time tonight to sit and think about my future in detail. What would make me happy, and what can I realistically do to achieve it? Those questions have had a variety of answers over time, but right now it’s money and freedom. That’s what I want.

The good thing is, my money needs aren’t extravagant. I just want enough to live a nice life. A decent place to live, a slightly better car than I’ve been used to (that’s not difficult) and clothes on my back should do it. After taxes, $35,000 a year would do me very well.

The key is, how can I get enough saved to pay me that much just for getting out of bed? I’ll have to hit on a few ideas to get the nest egg in place so I can live off the interest. I’ve got quite a few ideas, and if one should hit I will be well on my way. It’s not like I’m not trying, I just haven’t hit anything yet. When I do, I’ll be ready. I’ve waited for a lifetime.

The freedom I want is creative freedom. I want to do what I want to do, when and how I want to do it. I’ve had more than enough imbeciles piss in my creative tank over the years and I’ve had my fill. I look at all the radio morons I had to listen to, and it makes me puke to think I listened at all. Then, when their ideas didn’t work, I was the one fired. No more.

If I’m going to work for any clueless imbecile, that clueless imbecile will be ME. I want to build a business from nothing and see it succeed. I’ve always been fascinated with mail order and that’s why I like Uranus Factory Outlet so much. I want to sell funny things at a fair price, but create a brand along the way. Marketing and sales are skills I want to learn.

I also want to develop the territory I call ‘The squared circle of Uranus’ which includes  Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, WI and Rockford, IL. There are millions of people in that geographical square, and it has all kinds of scenarios for marketing from big city to rural.

I have solid contacts in all four places, and I can develop my ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show in Milwaukee while I keep marketing other things to the area. I really believe all the cash I need is located right there in that square. Now I have to prove myself right and go get it.

Life is so temporary anyway, why not do what we really enjoy? That’s why I’ve stayed with comedy this long. I love doing it, and it’s been fun for a quarter of a century. Now, it makes sense to look into some new avenues that turn a better buck so I can be smart for a change and be ready when those dreaded golden years come. They’ll be better with gold.

Very few of my comedian friends have any kind of retirement plan. We all thought our big break would eventually come and take care of all that in one fell swoop. Ha. Only the precious few ever get that break, and the rest of us are left wondering where our next gig is coming from. It’s getting ugly out there, and I sure don’t want that lost guy to be me.

I don’t trust anyone in the comedy business as far as I can throw them. Bookers couldn’t care less about us, even though we’re the ones that make their living. That whole debacle with the Funny Business Agency and Giggles in Brookfield, WI last year drove that point home. I’d worked for each of them for many years, and they blew me off in half a second.

There’s no respect there, and even though I was wronged, I’m the bad guy in their eyes. They don’t care, they’ve got a backlog of hack wannabes who’ll work for half the price or less than a seasoned professional will, I’m through letting idiots like that rule my career.

Plus, it’s a lot more fun to be in control and in the driver’s seat. There are no limits as to what I can do, all I need is a direction and a plan. Nobody is going to go after the territory I chose, because they don’t see it like I do. The only one I’m competing against is myself.

I’ve read some amazing success stories of my mail order heroes like E. Joseph Cossman and Melvin Powers who each had multiple million dollar ideas that paid them off without ever leaving their bases of operation. I want that to be me, and I think that would bring an entirely new energy to my life which would make everyone around me more positive too.

That’s what I’d much rather do than chase the Hollywood game. I’m not what they want anyway, and never was. I like being real, and hanging with others who are the same. I like the challenge of building something out of nothing, and all it would take would be a little spoon full of success to last me for the rest of my life, however long or short that may be.

This is the perfect time to get everything going. I’m between places to live and have no real plans for the immediate future other than finish up my contract on the ships. After the first week in January, I’ll have an open schedule and be able to start working on whatever I feel like. I’m going to use the rest of the time at sea to prepare myself for my new era.

I sure hope I can avoid some of the stupid mistakes I’ve made in the past. Some of those are still nibbling at my nuts years or even decades later. I’m trying to get better, and this is a good time to wipe the slate clean and start over again. I’ve got a chance at the big time.

One nice run in life would be fantastic. After so many near misses and disappointments, the taste of success would be super sweet. I can’t remember a time when the future looks as hopeful as it does now. I’m afraid to be optimistic, but I will anyway. This could be it!

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