Tortured Souls


Monday April 7th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I’m still feeling sad about John Pinette’s sudden passing. I wish I could say I was surprised, but unfortunately the only surprise was that he lived as long as he did. The man did have his demons, but that doesn’t take away the fact that he was one of the kindest souls I ever remember meeting.

Tim Wilson passed earlier this year, and there was another gentle soul that was a pleasure to be around. I can’t speak for Tim’s personal life, as I didn’t really know him on that level. Most of us as humans have our struggles, but entertainers – comedians especially – are often tortured souls.

Actors and musicians can fall into that category too I suppose. James Dean or Marilyn Monroe would qualify in acting, as would Jim Morrison or Kurt Cobain in music. Sometimes their legend grows a lot larger and faster than they do personally, and it leaves them behind as human beings.

Artists, performers and creative types in general are often loaded with quirks, tweaks and deep seeded issues and are an extremely sensitive lot. I know I am, and have never denied it. Life isn’t easy as a rule, but it seems that the more gifted a creative person is the more problems they have.

I can remember being called a genius by some of my teachers in grade school. I’m not trying to brag or flatter myself – I’m just reporting a fact. I had a twelfth grade reading level by about third grade, and I remember my teacher Mrs. Matthews calling my grandparents to tell them I was one of the most creatively gifted students she’d ever taught – and she’d been teaching for fifty years.

At the time I had no idea what any of that meant. It felt like I was getting singled out, and I was uncomfortable about it if anything. I remember my father hearing about it, and he started calling me “The GENIUS” in such a sarcastic way that I learned to hate the word. It’s still embarrassing.

I think creative types often get squelched early, or at least they’re not encouraged to get inside their own head and see what’s under the hood. My grandmother never wanted to see me pursue any kind of creative endeavor. She wanted me to be a clerk typist like my uncle. How torturous that would have been, and had I been forced to do that I would have eaten a bullet lunch by now.

Unfortunately, creative types are human beings as well, and human beings as a rule want to be “normal” – whatever that may be. We just want to fit in, and be part of a family. I know that’s all I ever wanted, but I never had it as a kid. That caused me to stifle a lot of my creativity at certain times, but it runs so deeply that I couldn’t do it very long. It’s just who I am and I can’t help it.

John Pinette was that kind of person too. I’m not sure if he was left handed or not, but he sure had all the attributes. He was brilliantly creative, but unfortunately much of the public only saw him as “that fat guy”. Chris Farley had the same label, but he was a lot more than that as well.

I really could relate to a John Pinette, and I liked the guy a lot. I know what made him tick, and all he wanted was to be happy and see everyone else happy too. He gave his life trying to make it better for others, and I’m trying to do the same. Sometimes it feels like I’m spinning my wheels.

The word 'genius' is often misunderstood.

The definition of ‘genius’ is often extremely misunderstood.

All too often those that are have demons to go with it. It seems to go hand in hand.

All too often those that are have demons to go with it. It seems to go hand in hand.

Speaking of hands, a lot of genius types happen to be left handed. Why? Who knows?

Speaking of hands, a lot of genius types happen to be left handed. Why? Who knows?

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