A One Horse Race

Monday August 22nd, 2011 – Fox Lake, IL

I’m starting a brand new chapter in my professional life, and for the first time ever I feel like I’m ready to do it correctly. Every other time I’ve done this it’s been a half ass barely thought out long shot that has resulted in a flaming pile of wreckage. This is a new day.

Life now becomes a perpetual race against the clock, and I’ve got to make the very best use of my time as possible. Each day has to have purpose and direction – at least if I think I’m smart. My days of random wandering waiting for bold adventure to find me are over.

I did it way more than the average ham and egger, and I must admit I really enjoyed the intoxicating feeling of total freedom. I got to explore my country several times, and chase  some dreams along the way. I actually caught a couple, and took it a lot farther than most.

Everyone’s days here are numbered, but I’m starting to become really aware of it. Time is not the inexhaustible resource I used to think it once was, though now I realize it never was. Every day counts, and after a while they run out for everyone. I’ve wasted more than I care to admit, but it’s too late to do anything now other than learn from it and move on.

Learning has been my one constant, and I’m doing it more as each day passes. I wonder if it’s just me or is this the proper order in life? I’m not sure. I see a lot of halfwits making as stupid or stupider mistakes than I ever did, and many are older than me. I’m not so bad.

I’ve never claimed perfection, but at least I see improvement. I’ve learned from my vast array of frightening mistakes, but I’ve also made some difficult positive decisions that are now in a position to pay off handsomely if I play my cards correctly. It’s an exciting time. I have a bulging backlog of life experience, but I’m also able to facilitate future changes.

One thing that’s changing completely is the game of standup comedy. It used to be a big novelty, and virtually every performer was lumped into a single category – comedian. Not anymore. The novelty has long worn off. Audiences are becoming jaded and fragmented.

It’s not good or bad, it just is. If I don’t learn to adapt accordingly, the game is over and I’m out pounding the cement for a job at a Jiffy Lube greasing up rusty ball joints on pick up trucks. Failing to plan is planning to fail, and that’s where I sit now. I need a road map.

I was always a ‘wing it’ guy, and I went with the flow way more than I probably should have. I didn’t stick with any one thing, but instead preferred to drift without a rudder and see where life took me. I’m not where I want to be, because I never chose a destination.

That’s about to change in a big time hurry. My personal life is on a major upswing, and my professional life is about to follow. I’m changing on the inside and that will manifest itself on the outside. It has to. The Law of Cause and Effect can’t be changed no matter if I believe in it or not, which I do. My causes are already changing, and the effects are sure to follow. This is the best place I’ve ever been physically, mentally and emotionally also.

I got a chance to meet Kenny Rogers when I lived in Utah and I thought he was a genius at how he handled his business. He said he’d been singing so long, at any time he’d never know if he was in style or out. Sometimes he had a hit, then it would fade. Then it would happen again. Then it would fade again. He wouldn’t worry about the temporary downs.

He said he just kept busy doing all the things he needed to do to put himself in place for the next hit, and it always came eventually. He didn’t focus on the dry spell, he looked for what would get him out of it and concentrated on that instead. That’s why he’s a big star.

Who doesn’t know Kenny Rogers? He went from a rocker to a country singer and found his stride quite nicely. He also acted in movies and even opened his own chain of chicken restaurants. He adapted to the times several times, because he needed to stay in business.

If I’m going to stay in the entertainment business, I have to make major changes and the time to do it is now. Times and circumstances are completely different from when I began and I’m a completely different and better person. I can’t keep doing the same old things.

Being a constantly touring nightclub comedian is unbelievably difficult on many levels. It was an enticing challenge twenty five years ago, and I did it and did it well. My level of fame or lack thereof does not reflect my level of acumen. I know what the hell I’m doing, at least on a comedy stage. When it comes to business dealings, that’s a different story.

I’m unfortunately by far not the only performer in any genre to have this weakness, but I’m finally at a point where I can accept it and move forward. I’ve screwed it up so badly over the years, I’m now able to see what went wrong and at least make an effort to fix it.

The biggest and most glaring mistake I see in hindsight is my severe lack of preparation and direction. Some of that was my fault, and some wasn’t. I’ll take the bulk of the blame though, and hope there’s still time to recover. Cooks have recipes, and I need one as well.

I started overhauling my entire life schedule when I was down in Texas last week. I put generalized lists together of all my projects, and what I think I’ll need to do in what order to make them operate smoothly. I saw how out of sync I am, and know I have a whole lot of busy work ahead of me. It’s a major project in itself to make a list of my other projects.

Some are long term, some are short. Some are more important than others and a couple of them are pipe dreams I can’t realistically afford to invest time in right now. The sports cards were one of those, and I’m SO glad that’s out of my life. Now I need to trim further, and I am. I’ve got a much better feel in my head for where I want to go than I ever have.

There are some mistakes I’ll probably never be able to recover from. Bob and Tom will probably not have me back no matter how stupid I think that whole situation was and is. I apologized for whatever I did, but they didn’t accept. That’s just how it is. There are way more opportunities than that, and I have to find them. Do I want to do standup? Not in the same way I’ve been doing it. I’m just another white guy. I need to develop a hot gimmick.

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