Archive for March, 2012

Which Direction Now, Genius?

March 31, 2012

Thursday March 29th, 2012 – Rockford, IL

   I can see an all too familiar pattern developing in my life, and it is cause for alarm. Last time it happened, I’ll bet it set me back career wise at least a dozen years or more. And wouldn’t I know it – the stars and planets are aligning again. I didn’t see it coming then, but it’s crystal clear now.

I’m finding myself caught between radio and comedy – neither being the most stable choice of how to make my living. I’m sending out mixed signals apparently, as I’m getting mixed answers. I was in this position twenty years ago, and chose to attempt to pursue both. That was a mistake.

All that did was kick me in the teeth and a few other more delicate places, and leave me on the outside looking in at both endeavors. The correct move would have been to carefully choose one of the two pursuits and completely focus on that. Had I done that, I think I’d be in a better place.

The reasons I didn’t do it that way are legitimate, but that doesn’t mean I still didn’t screw the pooch. I thought radio would be ‘stable’, and I kept getting job offers in it so I took them as they came thinking the next one would be better. None of them were, and I ended up stranded in some off the beaten path random town like Reno or Salt Lake City, having to start my life over again.

Today I was back on the air filling in on WNTA in Rockford, IL with Jim McHugh. I’m doing it basically to help out the operations manager Jim Stone because he’s a friend, but we’ve gotten a lot of compliments both in the building and from callers on how they’re enjoying what we do.

Granted, there aren’t any full time job openings available right now, but that’s today. It’s radio, and sweeping changes can happen overnight. Someone could quit or move on in a heartbeat, and that would create an opportunity. I really wasn’t looking to get back into the rat race of radio, but at this time in my life even six months of ‘stability’ would really come in handy. I would say yes.

There’s also an opening in Chicago radio at 100.3 since Robert Murphy just got bounced after about six months. He had a nice run twenty years ago, and they brought him back based on what he did then. Apparently the magic was gone, as he didn’t make much of a splash the second time around. He did make a ton of money in his day, so I doubt he’ll be starving. But I’m pretty close.

I sent out a feeler saying I’d be interested, and actually got a response. I have no idea what they are thinking, but my inner voice tells me it would be wise to pursue it. Even six months would be a welcome and much appreciated gift right now, and I know I can do the job. I could pull it off.

However, I’ve also been sending out feelers to several comedy bookers around the country and have gotten some responses there too. This is exactly the same dilemma I’ve found myself facing numerous times before. I line up comedy gigs, then a radio job comes along and I have to cancel.

Then I get fired in radio, and have to start the whole process over again. I see it happening once again. What’s the smart move? Unfortunately, I have bills to pay like we all do. That’s how all of this got started before. I’m twenty years older now, and I hope I’m twenty years wiser. We’ll see.

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Walking On Sunshine

March 30, 2012

Wednesday March 28th, 2012 – Rockford, IL/Chicago, IL

   When things turn out like they’re supposed to, life can be a blast. Today was one of those days, and I enjoyed every last second. Everything I did was nothing but fun, and I felt like I was totally in sync with whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing with my life. I wish every day was like this.

The weather was sunny and unseasonably warm, and that always starts it off on a positive note. I find it rather difficult to get upset at anything on a picture perfect day. That’s why I loved living in Los Angeles when I did. I was not doing well on many levels when I lived there, but I sure did love the weather. That’s probably what kept me going. I was there about a year, and it was tough.

Life itself is tough; at least it has been for me. Too often it seems like I’ve been trying to swim up the wrong way of a raging river and getting nowhere. I didn’t have any career luck in L. A. at that time, and in fact had all I could do to survive. It’s kind of like now, but I didn’t have income options there. There are very few paying comedy gigs in the L.A. area, and far too many comics.

That’s also the holy land of the radio business, and everyone wants to get on the air there. I had zero contacts, so I couldn’t wet my radio beak at all when I was there. No comedy. No radio. No source of significant income. That was my experience in Los Angeles, but I still had a great time.

I had a lot of friends there, and every day was 75 and sunny. Nice weather really has an impact. I think if I had been stuck in New York under the same conditions, I wouldn’t have lasted nearly as long as I did in L.A. I’d still be there now if I had even a hint of a reason, but I think that ship has sailed. Show business is a young man’s game, and I spent those years developing my crafts.

Now I’m at least getting a chance to use my skills, and today was a double delight. First it was back to Rockford, IL for another noon to 3pm shift on WNTA. Jim McHugh couldn’t make it so again I looked through my list of contacts and made a few calls and was able to put together one jam packed program. I had everyone on from comedians to UFO types, and it all came together.

I could feel everything clicking as I hung up with one guest and brought on the next. I was in a groove, and able to hit all my time cues dead on to the second. I felt very comfortable and able to ad lib at will. For a while there, I actually felt like I knew what I was doing. What a rush that is.

Tonight I was back at Zanies in Chicago, and the crowd there was on fire. They were ready for comedy, and I was ready to give it to them. I’ve spent my life preparing for situations like this so all I had to do was go up and let it happen. I felt confident and knew exactly what to do and how. It’s pure ecstasy when it’s like that, and it’s not always like that. Tonight it was, and I relished it.

I’ve given up on trying to figure out why some days nothing goes right but others everything is clicking on all cylinders. Is it moonbeams and stardust? Who knows? All I know is that when it’s like it was today, I feel unstoppable. I wasn’t swimming up any rivers today; I was riding a wave and hanging ten. Location meant nothing. L.A. or not, fun is fun – and today was loaded with it!

Last Minute Times Two

March 29, 2012

Tuesday March 27th, 2012 – Rockford, IL/Chicago, IL

   Last minute substitute smart ass to the rescue. I received a late night text asking if I could fill in on WNTA in Rockford, IL from noon to 3pm. The news director Ken DeCoster needed a day off as his wife went into labor at 2am, and apparently I was the go to guy. I just wish I had known so I could plan for it. I don’t mind helping out in a pinch, but living last minute is not the way to go.

I’ve lived a life of doing things last minute, but in the entertainment world it’s a must. One has to be ready when an opportunity arises on short notice – and in fact hope for it. Many times that’s the way careers are made. In sports it has happened frequently. Someone goes down with a nasty injury, and the next guy steps in. Brett Favre filled in for Don Majkowski and never looked back.

This is a different situation, but the process is the same. I’ve now filled in for three completely different shifts on the station, and they wouldn’t keep calling if someone didn’t think I was doing at least a halfway competent job. Usually my friend Jim McHugh tags along, but today he didn’t because he was in Indiana watching his son’s baseball team in a tournament. I was flying solo.

Talk radio by myself is a different skill set than I’m used to, and it can be intimidating. I’m fine when I have someone to bounce off of, but sitting alone in a room with a microphone and several minutes to fill is a lot more difficult than it appears. There’s a method to it, like any other craft.

I don’t claim to be a news junkie, and especially not a Rockford, IL news junkie. I can’t just go on the air and start spouting off street names or commonly known local figures like I easily could in Milwaukee or even Chicago. I haven’t spent much time in Rockford, and I don’t want to insult the locals by pretending I have. It’s a challenge to both fill the time and still make it interesting.

When Jim is in the studio, we just have a conversation pretty much like we do in real life. He’s a smart guy, and we’ve known each other for years so we have a long history of common events and experiences we can refer to. We’re both long time comedians, but we’ve also been through a lot of other things that can relate to listeners. Being in there by myself takes away that advantage.

Today I just got out my cell phone and went through my list of contacts to see who I could call that might be interesting on the radio. I had no trouble at all filling the three hours, and could do it again for several days if necessary. I do know a lot of interesting people so why not give them some air time and entertain people in Rockford? I don’t need to always be the center of attention.

Tonight I filled in as the headliner at Zanies in Chicago. There was a schedule situation where there happened to be three open days this week – tonight, tomorrow and Sunday. I was again the go to guy, and was delighted to get the call. Not a lot of people could do both of these jobs well.

One would think with a diverse skill set like that I’d be rich by now, and that one would be me. I guess I was wrong, as I’m still struggling to pay my bills but at least I’ve got those two skills so when the phone does ring I can have something to offer. I just hope the phone keeps on ringing.

Reflection And Regret

March 27, 2012

Monday March 26th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

No major catastrophes today, so that’s a plus. Maybe the storm is over for at least a little while, or it could just be the eye of the hurricane with a second round of insanity coming right behind it. Whatever the case, I’m getting right back to work to get myself out of the vulnerable spot I’m in.

I’ve managed to paint myself into an inconvenient corner, and there’s nobody to blame but me. Sure, I’ve caught some ugly breaks – but that’s no excuse. I’ve played my cards poorly, and have no choice but to fold this hand and start over. Dwelling on it or bitching isn’t going to change my situation, only well planned and properly executed action will. I refuse to place blame on others.

The truth is, I have a big mouth and I’m not afraid to use it. I call things exactly like I see them, even if it’s not the popular choice. That tends to sit poorly with some, and it probably should. I’d probably be feeling the same way if the situation was reversed, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean that I’m right either. Occasionally I am, but that means less than nothing if it alienates people – and all too often it does. I think one of my feet is in my mouth and the other one has about a dozen bullets in it from my own gun. I can’t walk through life like that.

It’s not smart in the long run to be the loose cannon, but that’s a familiar role I’ve played for as long as I can remember. I’ve won the undying admiration of some, but the total disdain of others. I’ve rarely cared about who didn’t like it, but I realize now that’s a mistake. I have to dial it back.

Enemies themselves don’t scare me, but they can inflict damage on people who don’t know me by painting an unflattering picture without my being able to defend myself. Perception IS reality, and then I’m either in a hole before I open my mouth or don’t even get a chance to prove myself.

I’m in that position now as far as some comedy clubs are concerned, and it’s not where anyone wants to be. There are a few bookers who flat out won’t use me, and it has nothing to do with my abilities on stage. Even those who can’t stand me know I can do the job. But that doesn’t matter.

They’re in charge, and I’m not. If they don’t want to use me for any reason, they don’t have to. I’m having this happen way too much, and I have to change my ways immediately before I blow it completely. Its taken way too long to get to this point, why would I want to waste that effort?

If we truly are put here to learn, I’m making the absolute most of my time on this planet. I have made some major mistakes, and am learning some major life lessons through all this. They aren’t very pleasant, but they sure are effective. Hopefully, by cataloging my miscues I can teach others what not to do when they’re facing similar situations. I’ve screwed up, but so has everyone else.

It takes too much energy to be a polarizer, and I don’t want to play that role anymore. I’ve been at it a long time, and it’s not fun being a pariah. I may have scorched a few bridges that I’ll never be able to rebuild, and that’s on me. I regret that, and am moving on. I’ll have to reinvent myself whether I want to or not. Whichever direction I choose, I’m going in it with a mellower attitude.

Season Ticket

March 27, 2012

Sunday March 25th, 2012 – Norway, WI/Kenosha, WI

  OK, now it’s just funny. When it rains, it pours, and when it pours it floods. I’ve been soaked to the bone with a cloudburst of unpleasant problems in the past few weeks, and I’m not seeing any rainbows or sunshine on the horizon to let me know the storm is going to be over any time soon.

Today’s tribulation was getting a speeding ticket in the booming metropolis of Norway, WI on my way to Milwaukee to attend a baseball card show. I had a few remaining scattered trinkets of sports memorabilia to hopefully sell, and I also wanted to hang out with some of my card friends.

It’s a whole lot shorter drive to take either IL Highway 83 or US Highway 45 north from where I am in Fox Lake, even though they both go through small towns. It’s probably close to the same amount of driving time as taking I-94, but I often choose to stay on the back roads to save miles.

I’ve made the drive back and forth countless times since I’ve moved to Lake County, and know most of the possible routes and all the detours by now. Today happened to be the day when I was passing through a small town I’ve been through zillions of times before, and the speed limit went from 55 to 35 in a hurry. There was light traffic, so I slowed down without slamming the brakes.

The police car was in plain sight as I got into town, and I assumed I had slowed down in plenty of time to avoid a ticket. Then I saw him peel out and turn on his flashing lights and I knew I had a problem. I could just feel it in the air that I was going to get a ticket, and I wasn’t disappointed.

I don’t think it’s a matter of negative thinking, or the personal vibes I’m putting out like it says in ‘The Secret’. Maybe sometimes it’s that, but this time I think it was just the regular old luck of the draw. It was my turn to get a ticket, and I got it. It wasn’t particularly convenient, pleasant or necessary in my opinion, but none of that was my call. I sat in my car and waited to get my prize.

Getting angry wasn’t going to change anything, so I didn’t. I didn’t send the cop any bad vibes or any vibes at all. He’s a cop in Norway, WI. How exciting can that be? I’m from that state and I’ve never heard of Norway until today. If his life is better for writing me a ticket, what can I do?

I’ve managed to hit the Trifecta of traffic turbulence in the last couple of weeks by getting this speeding ticket to go along with a parking ticket in Chicago and a flat tire on the freeway right in the middle of traffic. I guess it’s a grand slam, as I’m always getting nabbed by those photo cams at traffic lights. I am going to be wiped out even more when I pay all these fines, but that’s life.

I’ll find a way to pay the fines, and keep on slugging. I know in my heart I’m an honest person, and mean no harm to anyone. If the world doesn’t see that, it’s their loss. I’m busy enough trying to survive each day, playing the cards I was dealt in life. That keeps me plenty busy, believe me.

We did manage to have a very solid Mothership Connection radio show tonight on WLIP. That usually puts me in a good mood, and it did tonight. The smart thing to do is stay focused on what I can control, even though it isn’t the easiest. At least I’m not that cop marooned in Norway, WI.

Adored And Abhorred

March 25, 2012

Saturday March 24th, 2012 – Wausau, WI/Fox Lake, IL

   Like it or not, I received an unmistakably loud clear message today. It wasn’t one I was hoping for, but it actually helps quite a bit in shaping the decisions for my immediate future. Once again, I have proven to be a polarizing figure with someone who has a degree of clout. Sometimes I am adored, other times I’m abhorred. This time I struck out, but at least he had the plums to tell me.

I sent out my avails to all kinds of comedy bookers in the last few days, hoping to connect with new work sources or reconnect with places or people I’ve worked for before. Everyone and their uncle’s grandmother’s dog is trying to stay afloat these days, and it’s a buyer’s market out there.

I was able to hear back from a few people I didn’t expect, and even squeezed some work out of a couple much to my delight. Then I heard from another I hadn’t had contact with in a few years, and he told me he was glad that I was feeling better but he had NO interest in booking me. Ever.

I have to admit, it did take me by surprise as I thought we were on good terms. I’ve known him for years and liked him fine, even though he’s never given me a single booking. He’s got a lot of quality work at his disposal, and it wouldn’t hurt to go through the proper channels to try for it.

Apparently, he’s still upset about something I wrote in this very diary about a particular booker he was affiliated with who died a while back. I made my opinion known that I didn’t find him to be a particularly nice person, and I didn’t. He threw his power around because he could, and I’m not the only comic who thought that way. Maybe I shouldn’t have written it, but it’s how I felt.

Unfortunately, that’s the way I feel now. Just because someone dies doesn’t take away the facts of how they acted to people when they were alive. My father’s death didn’t wash away any of his nastiness in my memory, so why should anyone else? I looked back over what I wrote, and found it to be quite accurate and not a personal attack. I sent it to several other comics, and they agreed.

I wrote what I wrote then and write what I write now to offer my honest unvarnished viewpoint from where I sit. It doesn’t mean I’m right, and when I’m wrong I freely admit it. I know I didn’t mean anything mean spirited about what I wrote then, but that’s how it was taken by more than a few other bookers who heard about it but didn’t take the time to read it themselves. It’s typical.

Jim Bouton wrote about the truth of the hierarchy and politics of baseball, and he was bounced out of the inner circle of the game for years. I’m sure in some circles he still is, even though what he said was not only true but not all that bad either. People are people, and he wrote about that.

I wrote about how it is to be a comedian and have to deal with a booker who never had to drive across the country and put his soul on the line to entertain a group of drunken meatheads who got in free on a Wednesday night in some strip mall in Des Moines. It’s not easy, but they don’t care. There’s always someone else who will do it if I say no, and they know that. I’m not going to let a comedy booker or anyone else take away my dignity. If I have to go work at a car wash, so be it.

Starting Over All Over Again

March 25, 2012

Friday March 23rd, 2012 – Wausau, WI

   Whether I like it or not, I’m starting my life completely over. Again. I’m not anything but tired, but that’s the position I’m in. I’ve been here so many times before I’ve lost count. I’m not afraid. I’m not angry. I’m not out to make any statements or prove anyone wrong. All I’m looking to do is make a peaceful, honest and decent living and bring as much joy to as many others as possible.

One would think that’s a noble cause, and the world would open up and let me follow my inner vision to the benefit of all parties. I would win because I’d be using my gifts for their most good. The people on the receiving end would win too, because they’d be able to lighten up and laugh.

Too bad our world doesn’t seem to work that way. Most of us have to claw, scratch and gouge out a living no matter what we do and that uses up a lot of time and energy that could be spent on doing the actual job itself. Having to worry about keeping the bills paid is not productive energy.

But alas, millions of us in America and dare I say billions worldwide are stuck in this muck of having to try to carve out a living without an ounce of help from anyone. It’s damn hard, and I’m not seeing it getting any easier any time soon. The world plays rough, and there are no tag backs.

These last nine months have been a major kick in the ass, both bad and good. It was very good in that it caused me to completely change the way I take care of myself physically. I’m feeling as good as I’ve ever felt, and I totally needed that kick. The not so good result was that it caused me to miss several months of work and drained every nickel of savings I had. It has wiped me out.

That’s part of the risk of being self employed, and I know I’m not the only one that has faced a dire situation like this. It could have been a lot worse, and I know it. At least I didn’t have to put a wife and kids through this, and I know families all over the world are living through some hell.

I’m a one man band out there in a world that really doesn’t want to hear any music, at least not from me. There are billions more faceless life forms just like me breathing up air and drinking up water for however long we can survive, and then a whole new crop rises up and redoes it all over again. There doesn’t seem to be much improvement on the last batch, but that’s how it plays out.

That being said, I sat down this morning and made up an attachment with a list of my available dates, and sent them to as many comedy bookers as I could find. I sent them to anyone anywhere I could think of that might have the potential of hiring me to do a live comedy show in the future.

I’m sure some will answer. Others won’t. Some will book me. Others will not. I don’t take any of it personally, and won’t waste my time anymore with those who don’t choose to use me. I am in a spot I hadn’t planned on being in this late in the game, so clear thinking is a must right now.

Tonight I had a gig in Wausau, WI in a hotel lounge. It was a few bucks I can totally use right now, but not a career maker by any means. I have to make that career happen myself, or at least make an attempt. It’s not that easy, as life often has other plans. Let’s see how this all plays out.

Ron Shock Needs Help

March 23, 2012

Thursday March 22nd, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’ve been getting so much bad news lately, I don’t even want to answer my phone or check my emails anymore. And I sure don’t want to see or hear any broadcast news reports. Life is one big horror story after the next as of late, and I must say it’s really bumming me out. Some happiness or lighthearted fun would be a nice change of pace, but I’m still waiting. Life has been a downer.

Today it was a very troubling mass email passed on from a booker about comedian Ron Shock. I worked with Ron many years ago at some club in one of the Carolinas. I think it was Charlotte, but it might have been Greenville or Columbia. That’s not important. The sad news is that he has a rare form of cancer and has been going through his own personal hell as of late. How horrible.

Any comedian who has ever worked with Ron Shock knows he’s one of THE most fascinating human beings in any profession, and also one of the most intelligent. The stories he tells both on stage and off are some of the most unique I’ve ever heard, and he definitely is a memorable guy.

He’s not a particularly large man physically, but his big booming voice and thick Texas drawl make him larger than life on stage. I remember watching his shows every night and admiring his ability to mesmerize audiences on a consistent basis. It has to be at least twenty years since we’d worked together, but I’ve always remembered him fondly if his name ever happened to come up.

Comedy can produce such random pairings. Rarely do clubs or bookers think about who’s on a particular bill, and quite often total strangers have to share living quarters for a week. It’s all very random, and that can produce varied results. Sometimes people clash, and it makes life difficult.

I very rarely have had trouble with any of the other comics I’ve had to share an apartment with for any week of work I’ve ever had. Sometimes it’s only a night or two where two acts end up in a town together, but they’ll both remember it years later. It’s like having a microwave roommate. Good or bad, it’s over in a short time. Sometimes you see the person again, sometimes you don’t.

Ron Shock and I have never crossed paths again after that particular week of working together. In fact, I have no idea if he’d even remember my name. He was the headliner, and I was just one faceless middle act coming up the ranks like so many others. We shared stories all week and got along fine – but then it was over and we both moved on. That’s how the comedy business works.

I’m not going to lie and say we were close friends, because we weren’t. We crossed paths for a few nights on the road, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deeply sadden me to hear of his situation. It absolutely does. It’s ironic to me, as Ron lived in Houston at the time and was friends with Bill Hicks. They talked on the phone all that week, and I think Bill was dealing with his own cancer.

The mass email I received today said that Ron and his wife are in an overwhelmingly stressful financial situation and could use a hand with donations to help pay bills and let his wife get a bit of rest from all the time she’s been spending dealing with this nightmare. Ron has also been very open about his battle on You Tube, and that takes unbelievable guts. I send good vibes his way.

I wish I could do more, but I’m having my own problems. The best I’m able to do right now is spread the word, hoping people will read this and send even a buck or two to help them both get through this horror. Send donations to: Ron Shock 920 Bonita Avenue Las Vegas, NV 89104.

Four Scumbag Maggots

March 22, 2012

Wednesday March 21st, 2012 – Kenosha, WI

    Some days I just can’t seem to figure out why things happen the way they do, and today is one of those days. I’m feeling very down today, but it’s not all about me. Yes, I have a few annoying problems right now that aren’t pleasant to deal with, but who doesn’t? Those aren’t unsolvable.

What I’m upset about are situations beyond my control, and that’s a major downer. They seem so unfair, and I’m powerless to do anything about them. It’s extremely frustrating, and especially so because they involve people who in my opinion totally don’t deserve it. But I’m not the judge.

Gary Pansch called me today and wanted to take me out for a belated birthday lunch. I’ve been friends with Gary for probably twenty years, give or take a couple. If there’s a more peaceful and laid back person anywhere in America, I’ve never crossed paths. Gary is as mellow as they get.

He’s a very funny comedian, but he never chose to pursue it full time because he doesn’t enjoy all the insanity that goes with the business part of it. He sees how crazy it all is, and doesn’t want to lose his identity as a person. He performs when he wants, and lives a peaceful life on his own.

Last night, he was out walking his dog around sundown. It’s a stray he found and adopted, and treats it like a son. The dog’s name is Charlie, and he’s had some health issues lately which have been of great concern to Gary. I see how much he cares for Charlie, and it proves how kind he is.

Gary and Charlie were two blocks from the apartment Gary has lived in for twenty years, when four lowlife punks came out of nowhere and started beating Gary up for no particular reason. He said they didn’t say a single word or even take his wallet; they just started viciously beating him.

It took FOUR scumbag maggots to beat up Gary Pansch? Gary wears glasses and is about 5’7”. He might weigh 150 pounds on a good day, before a haircut and after a big meal. Beating on him would be like kicking Woody Allen’s ass. No offense to Gary or Woody, but this infuriates me.

Gary had a fat lip and a black eye as he told me the story, and said as it was happening the only thing he could think about was protecting Charlie. He said he knew it was a bad situation when a few drops of his blood spattered on Charlie’s face, but he never raised his voice as he told of it.

I have to admit, this would have sent me right over the edge. I was furious just hearing about it, but it didn’t seem to anger Gary at all. He told the details matter of factly, and said he didn’t even call the police because it took him by such surprise he wouldn’t be able to identify those who did it in a lineup. He said they left just as fast as they came, and he sat there soaked in his own blood.

What the hell is wrong with this planet? Is anything or anyone sane or fair? I can think of more than a few complete jackass types that could absolutely use an ass whipping session exactly like this, but not Gary Pansch. He’s never hurt anyone, and I doubt if he’s even killed many spiders.

I thought I had made significant progress in my life when it comes to dealing with anger issues, but hearing of this shows me I still have a long way to go. Gary was barely upset, but I was ready to take a golf club to the left ears of four teenage hot shots who think they’re budding gangsters.

This really bothers me, and there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it. I’m sure the punks will strike again, and it’s SO wrong. Sometimes there’s just nothing funny to say about anything.

Financial Foolishness

March 21, 2012

Tuesday March 20th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   Sometimes I think I’m being smart, when in fact I’m just a big old stupid goof no matter what I do. I bought myself a spare car when I had a little extra cash, and I thought I was backing myself up in case of a problem. Little did I know it would end up becoming a part of the problem itself.

Storage turned out to be an issue, and I’ve been paying for an outside storage space for the last several months. It’s a little over three miles from where I live, which is a healthy hike but not an impossible one. In a pinch, I can find a way to get there and have a spare vehicle waiting for me.

Or so I thought. I went there last night to check on my trusty steed only to find it with three flat tires and a dead battery. I don’t know what kept the one tire inflated, but my spirits were about as flat as the other three. My main car is making some grinding noises, and I don’t have any cash in the bank to get it repaired at the moment. I thought I’d drive the spare one for a couple of weeks.

I went back today with a manual air pump and some jumper cables and breathed some life back into the old jalopy. It really is a sweet little car, but I wish I hadn’t bought it. That money in hand would have done me a lot more good right now, or at least been a lot more convenient. Too late.

I’m in a financial pickle, as I doubt if I could sell either tin can for what I have in them. Cash is king, and I’m fresh out right now. So is everyone else apparently. There are a couple of deadbeat slippery lowlifes that come to mind who still owe me over $2000 combined from car deals made several years ago, and that would come in very handy right about now. Will I ever see it? Nope.

I love how people like to tell me to ‘just forget about it’ and ‘move on’, but if it were them that were owed that much money they’d pitch a royal hissy fit. I thought I was more than patient with those two turds, but they just continue to ignore the fact that they stole money and never made an attempt to pay me back what they owed. I shouldn’t have trusted them, but I did. I’M the moron.

This is an extremely painful and cold hearted lesson that keeps on stinging, but I really do have to ‘just forget about it’ and ‘move on’. I’ll move on, but I won’t forget. I can’t. They’ve both had more than enough time to pay me back, but they haven’t. They have money for dope, but not me.

I’m the dope for being so trusting, and I feel SO raped. I made both of those deals in good faith at the time, and didn’t get treated the same way in return. How could anyone with feelings not be infuriated? I’ll admit, I’m more than a little steamed – but the problem is much deeper than them.

It boils down to me not being smart enough with my money. I’ve always been free to give it up when I’ve had it, and I thought it would keep coming forever. I’m in a down cycle right now, and it’s not flowing like it has in the past. I’ve never been rich rich, but I’ve usually squeezed by ok.

Now the squeeze is on me, and I’m not in a position of power like I’ve been in the past. I’m out of savings, emergency funds and collectibles to sell. I suppose I could unload one of the cars, but it would be at a loss and only a temporary fix. Universe, I could use a break right about…NOW!