Archive for January, 2013

Fixing Finances

January 30, 2013

Sunday January 27th, 2013 – Pittsburgh, PA/Fox Lake, IL

   I knew I would have another long drive home today, but I was prepared. Some drives are more difficult and/or pleasant than others, and the drive from Pittsburgh isn’t that great. I purposely do all I can to avoid taking the I-80/90 route because of the massive amount of tolls that go with it.

Maybe it’s my Wisconsin upbringing, but I’ll do whatever it takes to avoid paying one red cent in tolls if I don’t have to. I’ll drive over a muddy corn field in reverse if it saves a toll, and that’s been my mindset for years. Sometimes I get stung, but 99% of the time I choose another route.

Getting home from Pittsburgh has three main choices. The toll road eliminates one with me off the bat, so that leaves I-70 or US 30. I-70 is easier, but it takes me a lot farther south in Ohio and Indiana than I need to go. It’s toll free, but takes longer because of the extra miles to be driven.

US 30 goes through a lot of towns, and can tend to be a speed trap if one isn’t careful. I need to be extremely careful in that department, but that’s the route I chose today since it’s the best of all worlds. I would be free of tolls, and I also planned to scour some thrift stores to troll for trinkets.

I also brought along a cassette series by Suze Orman I’ve been meaning to listen to for several years but haven’t gotten around to hearing. I need massive improvement in my financial results, and I have to start somewhere. Doing what I’ve been doing has not worked to my satisfaction.

There were nine cassettes to plow through, but I found them both engaging and informative so it wasn’t a chore to listen to. I’ve seen Suze on TV and find her to be listenable and able to keep my attention and that’s a huge part of the battle for any speaker. Some people can do it and some can’t. Tony Robbins and Wayne Dyer I can hang with. Deepak Chopra and Zig Ziglar I can’t.

Suze Orman is now in the first category, and I thought this was a well produced program. What grabbed me the most was how she described money as being energy, and we all need to respect it if we want it to come our way. I guess I never thought of it like that before and it really hit home.

She also talked about how our first experiences with money as children stay with us throughout our lives and shape our attitudes into adulthood whether we want to believe it or not. I absolutely believe it, and hearing examples of what other people experienced made my own situation feel a lot less overwhelming. I’m by far not the only one struggling with this, but I so want to change.

I’m in an absolutely horrible financial situation right now, but again I’m not the only one. That doesn’t mean I’m always going to be this way, but if I don’t change my way of thinking that’s all I can ever expect. Changed results require changed thinking, and I got the wheels turning today.

This is not going to be an easy undertaking, but I have few options. I could just give up and try to get on the government dole but that’s not how I operate. I got myself into this ugly pickle, and I have nobody to blame but myself. I’m going to roll up my sleeves and get to work transforming my financial self into what I know it can and should be. If I can pull that off, I can do anything.

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In Rust We Trust

January 30, 2013

Saturday January 26th, 2013 – Latrobe, PA

   The ‘King of The Rust Belt’ strikes again! I had a sizzling hot show tonight in Latrobe, PA that was right up there with the best I’ve ever had, and it doesn’t surprise me in the least. This is right in my element, and I can swing a mighty hammer in these situations. I need to find more of them.

Put me in front of a friendly blue collar audience over thirty in a rust belt town and I’m good to go. I know how to touch these people, and make them laugh until they can’t breathe. They totally get the concept of Mr. Lucky, as they can all relate to it in their own lives in one way or another.

I’ve done well in other parts of the country, but The Rust Belt is my wheel house. Anywhere in the vicinity of a Great Lake is usually my bread and butter and I love working places many other comics prefer to stay away from like Buffalo or Detroit or some smaller town that has nasty cold weather and a ravaged economy. I’ll show up. Those are the people that need to laugh the most.

Latrobe, PA is about fifty miles east of Pittsburgh, and they’ve been putting on comedy shows for the Parks and Recreation Department for many years. Jeff Schneider from the Funny Bone in Pittsburgh has been booking the talent, and asked me last summer if I wanted to do it this year.

I wasn’t looking forward to the drive, but he told me it was a good gig and the comics he’d sent in previous years all had fun. I assumed I probably would too, but not to this level. I was at home from the time I stepped on the stage until I got off 55 minutes later. I could have done longer, but those people had laughed enough. It was time for them to go home and they went home satisfied.

Of course like a dummy I didn’t bring any CDs or DVDs to sell, and that was a major mistake I won’t soon make again. There were about 350 people that would have cleaned out any and all of my merchandise inventory, and I blew a fantastic chance to return home with a significant bonus.

Merchandise has never been a strong part of my game, and that needs to change yesterday. I’m leaving well earned money on the table, and that’s just not smart business. Not every crowd buys merchandise, but those that do usually do it in droves. This would have been one of those nights.

Still, it was a wonderful experience all around and I’m glad I came – long drive and all. Doing shows like this is why I got into comedy in the first place, and if I have my way I’ll be doing lots more of them for as long as I’m breathing. There just isn’t anything else that gives me this buzz.

There’s no way I shouldn’t be rich doing this, and I’m going to find out how to achieve that so I don’t have to keep driving ratty cars and living like a lowly bum. I’ve spent my life getting my ‘show’ part down, now it’s time to master my ‘business’. I made a few bucks tonight, but I could be making a whole lot more doing exactly the same thing. I need to tighten up my plan of action.

James Gregory is a comedian from Atlanta who kills in the Southeast. He sells out theatres and his fans adore him. He doesn’t work anywhere else because he doesn’t have to. He’s a huge draw in his area and I find nothing wrong with that. I’d love to be the James Gregory of The Rust Belt.

Deals On Wheels

January 29, 2013

Friday January 25th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   Sometimes the right thing to do is to cut one’s losses and move on. That’s something I have not been willing to do as often as I should have in my life, and it’s only brought more heartache upon situations that have already proven to be losing propositions. It’s time to try something different.

This nightmare situation with my ‘free’ car has been a flat out disaster. Well meaning intention or not, I just can’t afford to keep getting kicked in the ball joints like I have been and I need to go in another direction. I’ve painted myself into a financial corner and this couldn’t come at a worse time, but when is a good time for any problem? They show up like bad relatives that won’t leave.

I’ve been keeping my eye out for a different car of late, and I found it. There are no guarantees with any used car unfortunately, but this is a calculated risk I feel I have to take. I need to have a dependable car to get to gigs, and also as a self esteem builder. Driving ratty cars is getting old.

My plan had been to drive the ’94 Nissan for at least a year, and save some money to move up the food chain and buy something at least halfway decent. My credit is so far in the toilet I doubt I’ll be able to get a car loan in this lifetime or the next, but that’s where it sits. I’m in a tight spot.

The car I found is an extra clean 1995 Toyota Camry. It’s only got 95,000 miles on it, and it’s a one owner car from Wisconsin of all places. There are written records of all the maintenance that was performed and the original owner took it to a Toyota dealer exclusively. It’s been cared for.

I’ve had several Toyotas from that era, and loved every one of them. They handle well, and get great gas mileage. The only reason I got rid of any them was that they were hit and totaled out by the insurance company. Had that not occurred, I’d probably still be driving one to this very day.

There’s no guarantee this one won’t get plowed into as well, but I am going to roll the dice and go deep into debt to get it anyway. I’m juicing up my credit card as far as it will go, and I haven’t been one to do that as a rule. I’ve saved it for emergency situations, but this is starting to qualify.

It was getting to the point where I was sticking more into that Nissan than if I’d had a loan on a brand spanking new Cadillac, and I just can’t see that continuing. I’ll send the Nissan through the auction, and that will go to pay off the credit card. I’d prefer not to do it that way, but right now I have no other choice. This is an opportunity I feel I need to jump on, and I’m not going to flinch.

I can’t help but be reminded of the people who owe me money from years ago, and if I had that I could have paid cash for the Toyota and had money left over to throw at my IRS bill which also needs to get paid sooner than later. This is a very painful lesson, but rather than stew in what I’ve blown in the past I need to forge ahead and get myself out from under this mess. It’s a tough test.

In the short run, this is a stressful pain in my differential. The last thing I want to be doing right now is farting around with changing cars – especially in the winter – but in the long run I feel I’m  making the right choice and hopefully it will free me up to keep myself on a good track for 2013.

Back On Television

January 29, 2013

Thursday January 24th, 2013 – Indianapolis, IN

This year could just end up being my best one after all! I caught a totally unexpected but highly appreciated break this evening by being asked to participate in a television taping just outside of Indianapolis in the town of Danville, IN at a gorgeous historic venue called The Royal Theatre.

Tom Sobel from Louisville, KY suggested me for this gig and I’m thrilled he did. I have a very good relationship with Tom, and I’m flattered he thought of me when he heard there was one last spot available. He asked if I wanted it, and although it didn’t pay I took it to update my resume.

Any time it’s possible to get on a TV show I need to take it. That’s how people get discovered, not only by fans but other TV shows. When I was on ‘The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson’ on CBS it was seen by the producer of Byron Allen’s ‘Comics.tv’ and I got on that show as well.

Tonight’s show was a winner all around, and an absolute joy to be a part of.  It was a taping for Comcast and apparently will be for On Demand viewing. There were nine acts on the bill and we each did an eight minute set along with an interview. There were no weak acts and it was a blast.

It was one of those nights where the right crowd was in the right venue for the right acts and all of us knocked it out of the park in perfect order. Everything went exactly how it was supposed to and when that happens standup comedy can be a wonderful experience. This was worth my trip.

The show was produced by a guy out of Indianapolis named Mark Craycraft. He’s been doing comedy since the ‘80s, and we crossed paths early on. I didn’t think he’d remember me from that long ago, but he did and couldn’t have been nicer to not only me but everyone else on the show.

There were no divas on this night, and everything just fell into place perfectly. We all got along splendidly, and I wish I could bottle up the vibe and spread it around the comedy world. This put me in a great mood, and gave me hope for other great things happening this year. It’s about time.

This was a perfect practice run for the Laughing Skull Festival in March, and if it’s any hint of things to come I’m more than ready to be seen by someone who can make things happen. I had a killer set, and Mark put me last because Tom Sobel knew I had experience and could throw heat.

I have a high energy level and it turned out to be the perfect order, but there were some quality veteran acts on the show including Scott Long, Mo Alexander and BT who also brought it home. Even the newer acts were well received. This was just one of those magic nights we all dream of.

It was an extra special treat to get to meet Mack Dryden, formerly of the super successful team of Mack and Jamie. They had a highly rated TV show, and had quite a remarkable run. I’m a big fan, and now Mack is doing corporate work. It was a thrill to hang out and talk before the show.

Mack stayed for my set when he didn’t have to and told Tom I was a ‘force of nature’. What an outstanding endorsement from someone I totally respect and admire. This was a great evening of fun all around, and I wasn’t even planning for it. If this is how 2013 is going to be, I’m loving it.

Back To Work

January 24, 2013

Wednesday January 23rd, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   The New Year isn’t new anymore, and it’s time to get back to all the projects I have incubating in various stages of completion. I’m running individual races against clock, calendar and cosmos all at once and that’s a lot of running for one individual. I’ve got all I can do to not run in circles.

I tried to touch on as many of those projects as I could today, just to give them a push forward and start the process of plate juggling. I woke up early to take an exercise lap in the Gurnee Mills mall, and it was bitter cold walking from the house to the freezing car where I sat until it warmed up to drive to the mall. Days like this are the hardest to squeeze exercise in, but the most needed.

After that I went to have a healthy breakfast of poached eggs, oatmeal and tomato juice to start the day right. I’m still not in the habit of a daily breakfast, even though I constantly read how it’s important to do so. It’s not easy to maintain, especially when I’m on the road. But I did it today.

After that I hit the thrift stores for an hour, looking for resellable treasures. Actually, I’m really trying to improve my skills at spotting things worth buying. It’s easy to get fooled, and I’m very aware of that. I’m not looking to stock myself with junk. If anything I’m looking to clear it out.

This is one part time endeavor I can do at my own pace on my own time. There are thrift shops and estate sales and flea markets everywhere, and people do sell valuable items for less than they are worth. If I know what to look for I can hope to score a fair profit and supplement my income.

I have a couple of books on what to look for, and also a few friends who are already doing this and have been for years. I know sports collectibles pretty well, but that’s about it. The real key is to have people at one’s disposal to consult about everything from furniture to dishes to jewelry or anything else that happens to pop up. I’m trying to build myself a network for future reference.

It was well before noon when I finished thrifting, and I went to check my P.O. box and have a healthy salad for lunch. Two healthy meals in a row is great, and then it was back home to begin working on my booking schedule. I never enjoy that, but it’s a necessary evil so I gave that about an hour and contacted as many bookers in that time as I could. I sent my avails and said hello.

I did manage to nail a couple of random dates, but that reminded me of another problem I have with an outdated website listing my calendar. I need to take care of that, but I can’t do it without help from my new web person and I just haven’t gotten it together with everything else going on.

That will hopefully come eventually, and sooner rather than later. There’s just too much to get after on so many levels it’s overwhelming to keep track of it all. That’s why I wanted to touch as many bases as I could today and blow the dust off a lot of things that really need to get moving.

I also spent some time working on comedy classes, and cleaned out a major pile of emails that have been festering for weeks and needed attention. I put in a full day, but didn’t really make any significant dents in the big pile. I could do it all over again each day this year and still be behind.

Astronomical Odds

January 24, 2013

Tuesday January 22nd, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   This just in from our news desk– LIFE IS DIFFICULT! Oh, and in a related story – it’s not fair either. I didn’t happen to just stumble across these particular revelations today, but it’s becoming a lot clearer as I get older that anyone’s chances of hitting anything really big are extremely tiny.

I happen to know a lot of people who happen to be in the creative arts in one way or another. It doesn’t matter if it’s standup comedy, acting, radio, music, writing, professional wrestling or any other artistic pursuit – there are zero guarantees the best people in any of them will ever hit it big.

The term ‘hit it big’ can be defined differently depending on who is asked to define it, but I am referring to the biggest of the big – the ‘A’ listers. I’ve crossed paths with literally THOUSANDS of aspiring artists of all genres in my time, and only a handful have ever made it to that top level.

I’ve been doing standup comedy the longest, and the three names – wait, four that pop into my head of those who really hit it are Jeff Foxworthy, Drew Carey, Larry The Cable Guy and Frank Caliendo. I would say all those guys have household name recognition with the American public.

I have no personal issues with any of those four, and I’m not jealous of their enormous success. BUT…I would like to be able to figure out exactly why it was only them. No offense to anybody on the list, but other than Frank being able to impersonate the current celebrities of his day I have no idea why the other three have been able to climb so high while so many others are struggling.

Again, I like Jeff, Drew and ‘Larry’ (not the name I knew him as when I met him, but that’s his secret and I’ll respect it) very much as people, and I’m happy they hit pay dirt. But can’t there be at least a little pay dust left over for the thousands of others who have rolled their own life dice?

SO many examples come to mind of people in all genres who have slugged it out for years, and only had minimal success. My friend Mike Moran comes to mind. He wrestled professionally for years, and came up the ranks with numerous marquee names of that field like ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and Mankind. He had fun and made a living, but that’s about it. He’s not rich or famous.

That’s no insult to Mike either. He’s a great guy, and very good at what he does. He paid a big price to attain his skill level, and he’s one of the best in the world. But that doesn’t pay any of his bills, and he is just another name on a list. Stone Cold Steve Austin isn’t any better of a wrestler.

I had dinner tonight with my speaker friend Todd Hunt. Todd works harder than anyone I have ever met when it comes to marketing himself, and he makes a living speaking at corporate events all over North America. Todd and I knew another speaker named John Powers who passed away this week. John was a wonderful guy and very talented, and he was successful but not Zig Ziglar.

Being at the top of any field is just plain rare – and talent alone does not dictate who gets there and who doesn’t. A lot of it is luck, with a lot of other things mixed in too. The sooner one learns to accept that the less insane he or she will become trying to chase something that just isn’t to be.

Losing The Race

January 24, 2013

Monday January 21st, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   Today is Martin Luther King Day, and that stirs up many thoughts from many people. Nobody wants to admit it, but race relations are no better today than they ever were. Sure, there may have been some half baked attempts made to smooth things out but as a whole tensions remain thick.

It’s not just between whites and blacks either. There’s still intense heat between every color of the spectrum, and probably as much or more between people of the same color. For reasons I’ve never figured out, the human animal has an extremely strong ‘us vs. them’ gene inside all of us.

We seem to need to find a common enemy, and something as stupid as a different color of skin is a good enough reason for us. If nothing else, the enemy is easier to identify that way as they’re wearing their flesh uniform 24 hours a day. Try as some might that thinking just won’t go away.

Talking about race is very uncomfortable, and that’s probably why everyone is so uptight about it. From what I’ve seen, every race seems to think they’re superior when in fact we’re all a bunch of monkeys throwing poop at each other. Nobody has it all figured out, but nobody will admit it.

Unfortunately, white people have had centuries of privilege in America and have done little for the advancement of anyone but themselves. I wasn’t part of that group, even though I’m wearing one of their flesh colored uniforms I was given at birth. I’m the lowest rank private in that army, and not a rule making officer. I didn’t get to enjoy all the spoils of war a lot of the others got to.

Now the tide seems to be turning and the white man is the target of everyone’s wrath. I can see why on many levels, but that doesn’t mean I deserve to be in the firing line – but I am. I can’t say what I really think a lot of the time, because it’s considered ‘politically incorrect’. What a crock.

For example, if I say I don’t agree with our esteemed President Comrade Obama I get labeled a flaming racist immediately. Hey, he’s half white too – but nobody seems to recall that. Actually, he’s more like Neapolitan because there’s a red stripe right down the middle. He’s a communist.

Debt is at an all time high, and he’s an arrogant puke spewing his Marxist rhetoric but millions of imbeciles are drinking it like Jim Jones Kool Aid. I don’t get it, but this guy has a charisma for the ages that lets him get away with it and if I complain about it I get called a racist and a hater.

Am I the only one that sees the danger of the slithering serpent that resides in Washington or is there hope that the people of a once great nation will wake up and take their country back? I’m a big supporter of the theory of equality, and I have no problem with a President of any color. I am just not a fan of this particular one. I wonder what Martin Luther King would think about him?

We’ve got a lot deeper problems to solve than skin color, but it still remains an issue. I wish it didn’t, but anyone who says it doesn’t is an idiot – and there are MILLIONS of idiots patrolling our planet daily to keep those unnecessary racial tensions high so we’re all afraid to say anything that may lead to an actual solution. I don’t think I’m better than anyone, but we need to fix this.

Just Another Day

January 22, 2013

Sunday January 20th, 2013 – Kenosha, WI

   Today was one of those days that when it’s all over will go down as one where nothing at all of any substance or significance happened. We all have thousands of those in our lives, kind of like pulls on a slot machine. Once in a while a jackpot might be hit, but more often than not – zilcho.

I didn’t get home from my show until just after 3am. We’re having a brutally cold spell of late, and my car heater doesn’t blow as much heat as I’d like so I was freezing the entire way home. It felt great to slide under the covers and I added an extra blanket so I could warm up and nod out.

I had originally planned to get up early and get my walking in, but when 7am came I could feel the arctic blast as I got up to get dressed so I crawled right back into the toasty rack for what was supposed to be just a few minutes. The next thing I knew it was 11:30 and my day was half over.

I’ve been all over the place lately and not sleeping a lot, so I guess it was good to get in a solid chunk like that because I felt great upon awakening. It felt so good that a few minutes later I was out again and didn’t wake up until 4:30. That was probably a bit much, but that’s what happened.

Now I was mad at myself for wasting a whole day, and my phone and email message stacks I’d planned on shrinking were instead growing by the hour. A lot of friends know they’ve got a good chance to reach me on Sundays, and it’s often my busiest day for hearing from several of them.

There was no way I could get to all the messages, as I needed to get to Kenosha by 8pm to host ‘The Mothership Connection’ radio show on AM 1050 WLIP. I haven’t spent much time on that project of late, and it’s good I didn’t because there was a malfunction at the station due to severe weather and the satellite was down and there was no national news feed at the top of every hour.

That’s the time we use to take a break for a couple of minutes to get ready for our next guest or hit the head or whatever we need to do to keep the show moving. Not having that made it harder to maintain a flow, and it was a pain in the ass quite frankly. Too bad, as it wasn’t to be fixed.

As with that or the faulty sound system at the comedy show yesterday, all there is to do is deal with it and move on. Radio and comedy and life in general is just a series of individual events of various length, with again very few having a particular identity. It all blends in to the big picture.

Our show tonight wasn’t particularly horrible, but we didn’t blow any dust out of the speakers or make Marconi proud of his invention. We got through the four hours, and that was about it. It was fun, but at the end of my life I can’t see myself reflecting on this day one way or the other.

I slept most of it away, and the time I was awake I didn’t do anything special. I didn’t change the world, and I barely changed my underwear. It was just a day, like so many others we all have where nothing particularly good or bad happens. I guess it could always be worse, but it could be better too. I like to shoot for the days that stand out, but there just aren’t that many of them in the lives of most people. I’m learning to take each day as it comes, but this one failed to stand out.

A Night In Peru

January 21, 2013

Saturday January 19th, 2013 – Peru, IL

   I had a show tonight in Peru, IL at ‘The Super Bowl’ which has grown to become one of my all time favorite one nighters. On paper, it sounds like a hell gig. Peru is a town near the intersection of I-39 and I-80, and quite honestly before I was booked here I had never heard of it. It’s close to LaSalle, IL and the vicinity is referred to as LaSalle/Peru, but I doubt that helps raise awareness.

The comedy shows are at a bowling center run by brothers Jim and Bob Stubler. They’ve been running shows there probably twenty years or more, even though I’ve been working there ten or less. I can’t remember how I first got into the rotation, but I did and now I’m an annual regular.

Both the Stubler brothers have been unbelievably kind with their compliments, and have asked the booker Harry Hickstein to keep me coming back. Harry is also a great guy, and although he’s a comedian he books a few rooms on the side and this happens to one of them. It’s my favorite.

Sure, it’s a bowling alley in an obscure place and that might not sound like comedy heaven but those people come out to laugh and have supported comedy for twenty years. They’re exactly the same kind of people who go to Las Vegas and see shows there. The average person thinks that to play Vegas is a big deal – and it is – but most of the audiences are from Perus all over America.

I’ve usually done very well here, and it didn’t hurt my cause that the Stubler brothers have both become fans over the years. That’s always nice to achieve anywhere as a performer, but is never guaranteed. Most owners and bookers look at us at interchangeable and replaceable, and couldn’t care less what we do on stage. These guys are different, and if nobody else can appreciate it I do.

Another thing I like about this gig is it’s not a far drive. It’s maybe 100 miles from where I live and any time I can get paid and sleep in my own bed it’s a victory. The opening act bowed out at the last minute because of the flu, and I called Bill Gorgo who was happy to fill in. Another plus.

Bill sets me up perfectly and is a headliner in his own right, so the audience was in for a double dip for their money. The joint was packed to the rafters when we got there, and we assumed we’d have another red hot show. I would have bet my paycheck on it, but I’m glad I didn’t. It was hell.

First off, the sound system was malfunctioning all night and there was no backup. It started for Bill and never recovered, and it affected the whole show. Also, there was a table of women front and center that were having a birthday party and they wouldn’t shut up or stop texting all night.

Bill and I are about as road seasoned as it gets, but both of those obstacles slowed us down. We did our best, but it frustrated us both to the point of distraction. We wanted to give that audience our very best as we always do, but it was a major struggle. My one hour set was jungle warfare.

Afterward, Jim took me in his office and apologized for the conditions and said he would have the sound fixed immediately. He told me how funny and professional I was, and said he thought I should be famous. That’s a classy way to handle it, and it’s why I love working for these guys.

Laughing Skull Festival

January 20, 2013

Friday January 18th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   Once in a while I’ll actually manage to pull off something halfway intelligent. It turns out I did exactly that several months ago and then completely forgot about it until today. I was reminded I had submitted myself for a comedy festival called ‘Laughing Skull Festival’ when I received the email informing me I had been accepted. It takes place in Atlanta from March 27-31 of this year.

Comedy festivals are relatively new on the horizon, and I haven’t had a whole lot of experience doing them quite honestly. As a rule, I’ve been too busy actually working to spend time trying to enter festivals which are usually a showcase where industry people gather to harvest ripe talent.

Montreal’s ‘Just For Laughs’ is a huge one that’s been going for decades, and there was one in Apsen, CO that HBO used to run. I have no idea if that one is still going, and that’s embarrassing for someone who claims to be in that particular business. No wonder I’ve not progressed farther.

I’ll painfully admit my weakest trait has always been my business acumen. I should know who all the major talent pickers are and where they are picking said talent at any given time, but that’s not something I’ve ever actively pursued. I’d just assumed that world would find me eventually.

Well, that’s about the most naive assumption I’ve made since believing the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny would keep bringing me money and candy into perpetuity. How could I think I had a chance to get seen if I’d never put myself in front of anyone who might be able to discover me?

I have no answers other than I have played the game very poorly. I was never sure of myself as far as talent was concerned, and wanted to be really ready when my moment arrived. I misjudged myself horribly in that department, as it turns out I had the talent all along but didn’t believe in it.

I’m not bragging, but when I’m on my game I can work a live audience with the best of anyone I’ve ever seen in person. It took years of effort to develop that, but the raw ability was there from the start. Not everyone has it, and I wasn’t aware of that in the beginning. I’ve been given a gift.

It’s like a baseball pitcher with a 100 mile an hour fastball. Not everyone has one, and the ones that do don’t always have it forever. It’s a delicate thing that everyone wants, but not all who get it become instant superstars. I’ve had one the whole time, but managed to avoid hitting pay dirt.

Whatever happened happened, and I can’t change a lick. What I can and will do is pick myself up and go down to Atlanta to fire my best fastballs in March. I’ll do what I do, and hopefully I’ll catch the eye of someone who sees how much effort has gone into preparing for this opportunity.

All I need is ONE person who gets it and has power to make things happen and my world gets changed in a heartbeat. Instead of worrying about speeding tickets on my way to Eau Claire and defective driver’s doors, I will have a whole new set of things to occupy my time and I want that. I know I’m ready for something better, and if it’s not this particular opportunity it will lead me to getting in front of that single pair of eyes that needs to see me. This is an exciting time to be me.