The Greatest Gift

Friday December 24th, 2010 – Cozumel, MX

For a born and raised in Milwaukee card carrying cheese head, the greatest gift of all at Christmas is being able to walk around outside in the sunshine wearing only a t-shirt and a pair of shorts. That’s exactly what I did today and it put me in a bulletproof mindset.

I got up early and got off the ship to explore more of Cozumel, MX which is starting to become a home away from home in the last few months because I’ve been here so much. Every time I leave the ship I try to walk in a different direction so I can get a feel of what this place is all about. Today I felt like walking, and I chose to take an extra long route.

It was about 80 degrees with a cloudless sunny sky, the perfect Christmas climate in my opinion. If Jesus was born in Bethlehem, that’s probably how the weather was anyway so that makes it more authentic. The only thing white about this Christmas was my skin, but I didn’t mind in the least. Being outside enjoying the sunshine was the ultimate present.

I managed to get myself lost for a while in the absolute worst part of the ghetto, at least I hope it was the worst. I’ve seen poverty before, but this was right up there with anything I’ve ever seen. Or would that be down there? Whatever the case, it wasn’t the tourist area.

I walked through blocks and blocks of pieced together ramshackle hovels I wouldn’t use to store my lawnmower, if indeed I had one, much less live in with a family. I saw people staring at me as I walked past, knowing I wasn’t one of them. I was an out of place gringo wandering through their world, but I’d be gone in a minute. They had to stay a lot longer.

I couldn’t imagine having to live in such squalor. I’ve had to live in less than desirable circumstances most of my life, but nothing even close to this. The more I was around all these hell holes the more grateful I was for what I have. I’m doing quite well, thank you.

What’s really amazing is just a few blocks away is the downtown area where there are a lot of bars, restaurants and resorts where people from all over come to blow all their extra money on wine, women and song. But just a few blocks away, families are mired in filth.

In my mind, that’s why I want to be rich. I’d love to help as many as I can have at least a little bit better life, but maybe that’s not my place. I just hate to see so many people not have what I think is a proper lifestyle. Packed like rats into rickety shacks sure isn’t it.

I bet I walked close to ten miles today, and I’ve got a nice plump blister on my right big toe to prove it. I walked off any frustrations I may have had about Christmases in the past, and it gave me both a positive vibe and made me feel insignificant, like a blip on a radar.

This life is over all too quickly, and it’s up to us to seek our own happiness. We’re all a bunch of idiots wandering through this place with no real direction, and as a collective we haven’t done much to improve ourselves over thousands of years. Poverty should have no place in this world, but it’s alive and well and stronger than ever. That’s not right to me.

But what can I do about it? I have enough trouble keeping my own head above water. In a perfect world, I’d have figured that out a long time ago and could help some of the other people who really need it. I’ve spent my entire life chasing my little show business dream, but still haven’t made any significant progress. I’m a paycheck away from poverty myself.

I like having deep thought sessions once in a while, but it can sure take the wind out of one’s sail in a hurry. I’m just a dung beetle, pushing my wet sloppy ball of poo across the desert and hoping every day that the predatory lizards don’t catch and eat me for lunch.

We’ll all be gone soon enough, so the best answer is to make the most of whatever time we have on this beautiful planet filled with so much insanity and an ample supply of rock headed morons to perpetuate it. I don’t want to be part of the problem, I want to solve it.

That’s very difficult, considering my limited resources. I’ve been plugging along for an entire lifetime, and it’s only now that I feel like I’m beginning to get a clue as to what the hell this experience could be about. It took so long to get to this point, I hope I have some energy left to do something with whatever little specks of knowledge I’ve accumulated.

The main thing is to keep moving and making progress. That’s one thing I’ve managed to do throughout my life, mostly by necessity. Had I not gotten fired in radio, I may have still been doing that. All I ever wanted was to be a star in my home town, and I probably would have been satisfied with that. Instead, I was forced to step out of my comfort zone.

I’m still out of it. What the hell am I doing with my life? I sure feel like I’m stumbling and bumbling through it, trying to make heads or tails of it all. I’m thrown from one new situation to the next, seemingly by random happenstance. I can’t find any steady rhythm.

Is this the reason I’m here, to bounce around like a ping pong ball in a lottery machine? Is there any reason any of us are here? These are the kind of thoughts that bake into one’s head on a long walk in the sun on Christmas Eve in Cozumel, MX. I have no answers.

The shows have been a pleasant surprise this week. I had heard Christmas week wasn’t a good week to be on cruise ships, but that’s not the case here. The ship is packed and the audiences were very good for all five shows. I really enjoyed them, and they were friendly and there to laugh. Whatever I’d heard was wrong, and I’m glad. This was a killer week.

The other comedian and I hit it off really well also. His name is Phil Tag and he’s from New York originally but now lives in Florida like so many people do. He’s my age, and a really fun guy to hang with. He’s done a couple of Tonight Shows and our styles are kind of similar in that we both work fast and pound audiences hard. I really enjoyed his shows.

That makes a lot of difference. Time goes a lot faster when there’s someone to hang out with, and we stayed after our shows and swapped stories during the staff Christmas party. I have some good ones, but so does he, and we made each other laugh until the wee hours of the morning. Good weather plus good people plus good shows equals good Christmas.


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