Archive for the ‘Show Business’ Category

An Extended Mess

July 23, 2014

Friday July 18th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

My life is an extended mess, and I don’t know how to fix it. It’s not messy like a lot of people, and in fact my mess is pretty boring. There are no drug or alcohol addictions or cheating on my pregnant wife with a secretary. But it’s still there. A mess is a mess, and they’re a bitch to clean.

I am flopping around desperately like a fish in a boat, with a giant hook in my mouth. My eyes are bugged out and I’m suffocating – with water just inches away. If someone would remove the hook and toss me back in the water, I would have a chance to start over. I would like that chance.

The hook in my mouth is being an entertainer. I have given up everything else in order to attain a skill level most never come close to, but it has put me in an unstable financial position. I can no longer earn a living like I have all of my adult life and my eyes are bugging out. I’m suffocating.

But water is just inches away. All it would take to turn my life around is one phone call with an extended run of bookings somewhere. It could be comedy clubs, casinos, cruise ships colleges or I could write for a TV show. I could also do radio. It’s not like I’m a total zero. I have a skill set.

The skill set I have is very specialized, and those that are at the top end of the scale are hauling in enormous bank. I don’t need that right now quite honestly. I’d be thrilled with medium money on a steady basis, but entertainment is a feast or famine game. I am smack dab amidst a famine.

There are few if any entertainers that don’t experience this at some point, but many have a nest egg put away to fall back on during the lean times. I had one started, and a nice one at that. Then I had a “worst case scenario” pop up in 2011 and health problems cleaned out every last nickel.

This was after getting blasted out of a radio gig in 2004 that would have paid great money and offered full insurance benefits so the crisis in 2011 wouldn’t have been nearly as devastating as it was. But it was. And ever since then I have been watching everything I have worked so hard for for so long dry up in front of my eyes. I know I’m not the only one suffering, but it’s still a mess.

How does one manage to clean up a life mess? It usually takes a while for one to develop, and it can’t be taken away in one fell swoop – even though that’s what most of us expect. It’s like the dieter that took a lifetime to put on that extra 100 pounds, but expects to take it all off in a week.

It’s not realistic, and in fact it’s dangerous to even try. There has to be a slow steady battle plan in place, and it’s neither pleasant nor easy. But that’s what it takes to achieve desired results, and it gets harder as one gets older because so many other things pop up and become obstacles also.
I’ve got so many problems right now I have no idea where to start. I do a little something every day on as many as I can, but then I look at how high the mountain is and I lose hope. What’s the solution? I sure wish I knew. A steady income would make things a lot easier, but how to get it?

I’m working on getting a resume out to ‘normal’ jobs, but I can’t lie. My heart isn’t in it. I need stability, but I sure don’t want to do it this way. Landing another radio gig that lasts several years would be ideal, but who is passing those out these days? Nobody. Back to cleaning up my mess.

Sometimes I feel like a fish sitting at the bottom of the boat - with water just inches away.

Sometimes I feel like a fish sitting at the bottom of the boat – with water just inches away.

Bus Dreams

July 21, 2014

Wednesday July 16th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

One of a large laundry list of assorted oddities in my life I have never been able to figure out is a recurring dream I have had for decades. I have told it in detail to several dream interpreters that I have run across both on the radio and in private, but nobody has given me a definitive answer.

In my dream, I am walking through an unidentified city. It is almost always at night, and I find an abandoned city bus parked with the motor running and lights on. I get on the bus, sit myself in the driver’s seat and proceed to start driving along a route that somehow I already know by heart.

I stop and pick passengers up, and nobody ever questions anything. I will exchange banter with many of the people that get on, and even answer questions they have about directions. It’s a very realistic experience, and I can totally feel that big bus steering wheel in my hands as I’m driving.

It’s never a school bus or Greyhound, and it’s never out in the sticks. It’s always a city bus in a city environment with big buildings around me and lots of traffic. I know exactly how to operate everything, and I consciously check my mirrors and use turn signals. It’s a detailed experience.

The funny thing is, I have never driven anything close to a bus in my life. I did own a hearse a long time ago, but I didn’t drive it very much. It was basically a gimmick I used to advertise my comedy. I had “Die Laughing with Comedian Dobie Maxwell” painted on the side, and I parked it in a friend’s driveway that lived on a busy street. It was more of a billboard than anything else.

I only wish I could have as vividly detailed dreams about being a special guest at the Playboy mansion, but that has never happened even once. These bus dreams have been going on for most of my adult life, and I’ll be dipped in diesel fuel if I can figure out why. But it’s not unpleasant.

I did happen to ride the city bus quite a bit while growing up in Milwaukee, but there’s no way it should have buried itself that deeply into my psyche that I still have such vivid dreams about it today. I have never charted how often this dream occurs, but I’d say a couple of times each year.

Last night it happened again, and I have to admit I enjoyed it. I wasn’t naked behind the wheel or anything like that, and once again I knew exactly what I was doing and where I was going on my route. If I had that kind of confidence and vision in real life, I would be a superstar by now.

The only other recurring dream I still have is about trying to be a baseball pitcher. I show up at a tryout camp somewhere, and try to act like I belong there. I get on the mound and start to throw and before long there are scouts standing around asking me questions. Again, everything is vivid.

Once in a while the procedure will take place at an actual stadium although I can rarely identify which. Sometimes it’s Wrigley Field. Other times it’s Comiskey Park or the old County Stadium in Milwaukee. Most times it’s just your random run of the mill stadium, but it’s always packed.

Between innings I get to go out there and show everybody what I have left in the tank. I give it all I have, and then they ask me to join them in the broadcast booth. Again, I have no idea why it happens, but it’s never unpleasant. Where’s Sigmund Freud when you need him? I need answers.

If my life dreams matched my bus dreams, I'd be a huge success.

If my life dreams could match my bus dreams, I would be a smashing success.

Milwaukee Mingling

July 19, 2014

Wednesday July 15th, 2014 – Milwaukee, WI

I took a trip home to Milwaukee today, and it turned into a mini whirlwind tour. With the price of gas where it is I think we all have to plan our trips these days. I squeezed as much into a single day as I could, and it was productive. I challenge anyone to pack as much into one day as I did.

My first stop was Miss Katie’s Diner to see my friend Lynn Miner. Lynn is one of my biggest supporters, and an outstanding human being. He’s a magician among many other things, and he’s looking to do that full time after a hugely successful career as a grant seeker all over the world.

I can help Lynn with adding jokes to his act, but he helps me even more. He’s got a lifetime of experience in making business plans, and is mentoring me in what I’m doing. It’s a win/win for all parties, and I always look forward to meeting up with him. We complement each other well.

After lunch I stopped at the Milwaukee County Courthouse and then City Hall to check out the job openings of all things. I always said I’d never move back to Milwaukee, but if I had a reason to – like a decent job – I totally would. The former demons that used to haunt me are now dead.

I hated going back to Milwaukee because of so many bad memories. Now that I’ve gotten back in touch with my siblings, it has healed a lot of those wounds. None of them happen to live there anymore, but that’s where we were born and raised. Milwaukee will always be part of our DNA.

I don’t know if I’ll get a job or not, but it won’t hurt to sniff around and see what’s available. If I could land a nice gig with benefits, I can still do my “Schlitz Happened!” show around the state and continue performing and teaching comedy classes for Zanies in Chicago so life would be ok.

Since I was downtown already, I decided to take a lap through the Milwaukee Public Museum. It had been years since I did that, but I had some time so I decided to make the investment. I had no idea ticket prices have skyrocketed to $15, but by the time I got to the window it was too late.

I hadn’t planned on spending $15, but it really is an outstanding museum so I bit the bullet and I’m glad I did. There were a lot of exhibits I still remember from my childhood along with many new things I had never seen before. I enjoyed every minute of it, and it was interesting to observe all the kids that were there on class field trips just like I went on when I was that age. It was fun.

After that I was able to squeeze in a couple of thrift stores, but didn’t find any ancient artifacts I could resell for huge profits. If VHS tapes ever come back, I know where to load up. Other than that, it was a bunch of junk I wouldn’t take for free. Still, it’s fun to hunt and I enjoyed the stops.

I was listening to my friend Steve ‘The Homer’ True on AM 540 ESPN Radio and he was on a live remote broadcast at a Pick n’ Save grocery store. He was trying to get donations for the local Hunger Task Force and was flipping coins to donate $100. If a listener won, Homer had to donate.

If Homer won, the listener donated. Homer has always supported anything I ever did, and I was glad to stop and flip the coin. I lost of course, but that’s the legend of Mr. Lucky. I received a big plug on the air, and donated to a worthy cause. Milwaukee will always be home, so why fight it?

Milwaukee will always be my hometown, so I might as well embrace it.

Milwaukee will always be my hometown – warts and all, so I might as well embrace it.

No Complaints

July 19, 2014

Tuesday July 15th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I am by nature a complainer. I think most comedians are to some degree, and that’s a large part of why many of us are attracted to the concept of comedy in the first place. Our minds tend to go that way anyway, so why not pick apart life in general and point out the flaws and absurdities?

It’s hilarious when done right, and I became skilled at it early. I used to pick apart school lunch every day in grade school, just because I thought it was funny. It was funny, at least to the kids in my class. I used to get them rolling to the point they almost choked on the food, and that’s about the best compliment I could ever imagine. Killing a kid would have made me a comedy legend.

Then one day out of the blue one of the lunch ladies got in my face and said she was sick of my smart mouth and told me to shut it once and for all. She said how hard they worked every day on a limited budget to feed us, and then I’d walk in and get all the kids laughing. She said it hurt all the kitchen employees, and they dreaded seeing me enter into the cafeteria. I felt like a giant ass.

I didn’t realize that my bitching had hurt those ladies, and that day I walked in the kitchen and said I was sorry to each and every one of them. I told them I was only trying to get the other kids to laugh, and I didn’t realize that I was hurting their feelings. I don’t know if they believed me at the time, but I absolutely meant it. I still do. From that day forward I never made another joke.

Granted, I’ve done jokes about school lunch on stage but that was decades later and in another state. The chances of any of those ladies being at my show would be astronomical. My luck they would be having a convention or reunion in the town I was playing, and I’d infuriate them again.

I often use this very forum to tee off on something or someone that grinds my gonads, and I’m sure I’ve turned people off with that too. I would love to paint a perpetually sunny picture of the world, but from my vantage point I just don’t see it. There are circumstances that befuddle me.

A big one I am painfully reminded of every day is my roommate Sheri. What a horrible hand she has been dealt off the bottom of life’s deck, and it sickens me to see all the pain and suffering she is enduring. She is out of the hospital after her stroke on New Year’s Eve, but her life is hell.

I am delighted that we were able to pull off a benefit comedy show for her, and I see the direct result of it every day. She has a chair lift that takes her up and down some stairs, and our event is what paid for it. Most of us don’t need to think twice about going up or down any single flight of stairs, but Sheri can’t do that by herself anymore. It’s a major deal for her just to get out of bed.

She has nurses that come over on most days and help her do the simplest things, and she has to take all kinds of medication that is very expensive. She’s on disability, and some of her medicine comes out of that. My rent money really helps her, and I do all I can to help her in any way I can.

It’s extremely sad all around, and sometimes I look at her situation and wonder why somebody so nice has to suffer such a cruel fate. Sheri is a kind soul and would never hurt a baby flea. I’ve known her twenty years, and feel an obligation to help. Yet through all this mess I’ve yet to hear Sheri complain even once. I’d bet few of us could take it so well. It’s time to shut my yap. Again.

It's easy to complain about just about anything. That's a habit I need to break.

It’s easy to complain about just about anything. That’s a habit I need to break yesterday.

Social Intercourse

July 15, 2014

Monday July 14th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I have been feeling more than pretty good of late, and attempting to relax and enjoy the charms of summer. It’s been unbelievably slow on the business side, but jam packed with friends calling and asking to get together. My greatest resource has always been my long list of amazing friends, and that list gets longer and sweeter with time. If I did nothing else in life, I met some nice folks.

To have friends one must be a friend, and that’s where I’m having some issues. I don’t have all the time I’d like to hang out and visit, and that bothers me. I’ve always been one to hang out with someone because I like that person, not for what they can do for me. Unfortunately, that’s not the smart way to do things in a business sense. Social climbing is necessary, at least on some level.

I have always had a hard time hiding my disdain for someone I don’t care for. I realize nobody likes everybody, and there are more than a few that don’t like me either. I have no problem with that, except when those people are friendly to my face but then stab me in the back when I leave.

Why be two faced? Just stay away, and we’ll both be better off. I don’t have time for all of the good friends I have now, so why would I waste even one second with somebody that doesn’t like me? It makes perfect sense to me, but that’s not how business operates. I need to mingle more.

I think we all tend to stay with who is familiar in many areas of our lives, but branching out is absolutely essential in today’s world. Making new contacts can be a job in itself, but maintaining them is even harder. There are only so many lunches in one’s life, and how many times have we all said “Let’s get together soon,” but never do. Even if intentions are sincere, it’s just not easy.

I have been going over my master list of contacts, and I am WAY overdue to get in touch with a lot of people I really like. It could be a phone call or email, but I’d much rather meet up face to face if possible – even though they’re scattered all over the country and beyond. It’s a huge list.

We all have lives to live and I get that, but this year has been extra hard on losing many people I knew but hadn’t contacted in a long time. John Pinette is a prime example. It’s not like we were thick as thieves, but we knew each other well enough that whenever we crossed paths it was fun to see each other. We worked together enough times where we’d built up some positive history.

I’ve got literally hundreds of comedians like that scattered all over the planet, not to mention a ton of friends I made in radio, professional wrestling, trading sports cards and just going through life in general. It’s important to me to stay in contact with as many as I can, even though I can’t come close to keeping current with everyone. Who can? If someone else can do it, major kudos.

I just don’t have enough time, and it’s getting worse. I get up early, work all day, stay up a lot later than I probably should, drop off to sleep and then start it all over again. I make a hell of an effort if I say so myself, but I still fall painfully short. I’m going to have to rearrange yet again.

Idiots and/or scumbags have zero place in my life. Baseball gives three strikes, but I don’t have that kind of patience at this point. I’ll give one strike, and then you’re out. There are far too many good people I want to hang with. I don’t wish the losers harm – I just wish them away from me.

Friendship

Just Cos

July 13, 2014

Saturday July 12th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

Today is Bill Cosby’s 77th birthday, and I challenge anybody to name a 20th century entertainer that has touched more people in a positive way. I sure can’t, and if there is one not only does my hat go off to that person, I will include my head along with it. Bill Cosby stands alone at the top.

My grandfather took me to see him when I was about 14. I will admit I wasn’t thrilled about it at first, mainly because I was a 14 year old know it all punk and didn’t think it would be any fun to have to sit through something like that. Looking back, I clearly see what a flaming idiot I was.

I remember getting to the Performing Arts Center in Milwaukee with Gramps early and finding our seats. All that was on the stage was a microphone in a stand, and I remember experiencing an immediate sense of disappointment. I don’t know what I had expected, but it was more than that.

To make it worse, there was an opening act we had to sit through. It was a piano player named Walt Michaels. I don’t know why I remember his name all these years later, but I do. He wasn’t bad, and in fact he was unbelievably good – but I was 14 and knew everything about everything.

Then Bill Cosby came out and within ten minutes both Gramps and I were bent over clutching our sides with laughter. I’ve never seen anything like it before or since. He proceeded to pound it out for an hour and a half, and by the time the show ended the entire audience could not breathe.

I was a fan from that day on, and I’ve never stopped. Especially since I’ve done comedy – or at least a reasonable facsimile of it – for so many years, my respect for what he has accomplished is enormous. His place in the all time annals of standup comedy is in stone, but he’s not done yet.

And that’s not counting what he accomplished in television. Fat Albert was a staple of the ‘70s on Saturday mornings, and I watched it regularly as did millions of kids of my generation. After that he only came out with the biggest sitcom of the ‘80s. Most mortal entertainer types would be thrilled to be able to lay claim to any one of those things. Bill Cosby is more than a mere mortal.

Sure, he had a few movies that flamed out. So what? Most of us never get even ONE chance to star in a movie and he got several. People make jokes about “Leonard Part 6” and “Ghost Dad”, but who wouldn’t love to be made fun of like that? If those are his worst problems, he’ll be fine.

I have been unbelievably fortunate to have met more than a few legendary comedians in person from George Carlin to Richard Pryor to Bill Hicks and others, but Bill Cosby is one I would still love to meet. I don’t know what I’d say other than how much I love his work, but that’s enough.

I wouldn’t consider myself a peer, as he’s pretty much in a class by himself. I’m a lifelong fan though, along with millions of others white and black, old and young, Northern and Southern and just about any other kind of difference. Bill Cosby has made more people laugh than anyone else.

Can anyone think of a higher honor than that? There isn’t one. If he’s a dented can he sure does hide it well, but it wouldn’t surprise me. We all are to some degree, but people like Bill Cosby do us all a favor and make the ride a little more pleasant. What an amazing contribution he’s made.

Bill Cosby is still going strong at 77. What a career he has had. Wow.

Bill Cosby is still going strong at 77. What a truly legendary career he has had. Wow.

Right Place Right Time

July 13, 2014

Friday July 11th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

One of the few standout highlights of my childhood that has successfully stood the test of time is my extreme love of professional wrestling. It wasn’t so much the actual wrestling itself as the dynamic personalities and charisma of the wrestlers. I was fortunate to have seen some greats.

Wrestling was a regional attraction for much of the 20th century until Vince McMahon Jr. took over his father’s promotion on the east coast and graduated it to a national and then international stage. Like it or not – and none of the old school promoters did – McMahon changed the game.

The star attraction he used to build his empire was Hulk Hogan, and together they created a big splash not only in the wrestling world but in mainstream American culture of the ‘80s. Hogan is the only professional wrestler to date to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated and that says a lot.

Hulk Hogan became a household name during that time, and Vince McMahon became wealthy beyond belief. Most casual fans of wrestling accept as fact that Hogan was the greatest of his era, but in fact he just happened to be in the right place at the right time. That’s the recipe for success.

Hogan’s wrestling abilities have never been stellar, but that doesn’t matter. His look combined with his persona and charisma were exactly what the public was buying at that time. He nailed it. It was just like the Colonel finding Elvis. That was another example of right place and right time.

For every Hogan or Elvis that hit pay dirt there are countless others that never find the winning combo and are destined to languish in either relative or total obscurity. One of those in wrestling was my childhood super hero and fellow Milwaukeean Reggie Lisowski – aka “The Crusher”.

The Crusher was the Midwest Hulk Hogan, even though Hogan got his first big push working for Verne Gagne’s AWA based out of Minneapolis. That was a major promotion in that era, and all kinds of great talent came through there – and through my little black and white television set.

Wrestling on TV then was basically a one hour commercial for live matches, and it worked. It got me to spend my money, and I loved every minute of it. The Crusher was my favorite, and the favorite of everyone else in Milwaukee. He was the original bad ass, way before Chuck Norris.

The Crusher was born on this day in 1926, and was nearing the end of his illustrious run just as Vince McMahon was starting his. Crusher and so many others that earned it never got to taste the mainstream adulation that Hogan and many that came after him did. That’s just luck of the draw.

The Crusher wasn’t born at the right time, and there’s nothing anyone can do about that. It’s an unfair world, and some things are beyond our control. Another great that got screwed in that way was “Superstar” Billy Graham. I used to watch him as a kid, and he turned wrestling on its ear.

Vince McMahon Jr. admits that if he were in charge instead of his father that Superstar would have been Hulk Hogan ten years earlier. But he wasn’t. And now Superstar Graham lives alone in obscurity, wondering what could have – and should have – been. Life is what it is, and trying to figure it out only causes frustration. The Crusher and Superstar are still big stars in my book.

The Crusher flexing one of his '100 megaton biceps'. He was a classic, but never made the big money. What a shame.

The Crusher flexing one of his ‘100 megaton biceps’. He was THE attraction in wrestling when I was a kid. “How ’bout dat?”.

"Superstar" Billy Graham was ahead of his time, and even Vince McMahon admits it. Read Superstar's autobiography "Tangled Ropes". He was Hulk Hogan before Hulk Hogan.

“Superstar” Billy Graham was ahead of his time, and even Vince McMahon admits it. Read Superstar’s autobiography “Tangled Ropes”. He was Hulk Hogan way before Hulk Hogan, but never got paid like it.

Eleven Percent Genius

July 11, 2014

Thursday July 10th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I read a quote one time that defined “genius”, and I wish I’d have written it down. Usually I am a fastidious compiler of interesting quotes, but that particular time I was not for whatever reason, and now I am at a loss to find it anywhere. I found a lot of others in my search, but not that one.

Maybe I didn’t read it, I heard it. I don’t recall, but the basic message was “Talent is the ability to reach goals others can’t reach. Genius is the ability to reach goals others can’t see.” I have no idea who may have said it, but that’s not important. The message blew me away and still does.

I think there is at least some degree of genius in all of us, even though we don’t always act like it. Stupid seems to have a stranglehold almost everywhere, but occasionally bursts of genius slip out into the mainstream and thumb their nose at the rest of the world. Oh, to be one of those few.

Genius is a title that is often thrown around freely but incorrectly – especially by those without any of their own. Sometimes it’s a matter of opinion, and there is room for doubt. Is Kanye West a true genius? Despite what he may boldly claim, there would be those that may beg to differ.

I don’t want to get into it about him, as I can’t say I’ve heard even one of his songs. His whole arrogant persona makes me puke, but that doesn’t mean he’s not brilliant at what he does. Genius and humility don’t have to go hand in hand, and I’m sure there are all kinds of personality types.

Would anyone debate that Stephen Hawking is a legitimate genius? But would anyone want to trade places with him? I don’t think being a genius guarantees happiness, and in fact it would be a hindrance. Most of the world doesn’t operate on that level on a consistent basis, and never did.

I don’t think it takes an especially high level of genius to be successful in life. Supposedly we only use about ten percent of our mind’s potential. With all the mouth breathers walking around on a daily basis I find that number to be extremely inflated, but I’ll use it for example purposes.

How much more brain power would anybody need to use to come out on top? I say it would be eleven percent, but there would have to be a workable plan of action in place and that plan would need to be executed. That’s where I’ve had problems, and still do. There has to be a battle plan in place, and that’s where the genius comes in. One needs to see the vision before anyone else does.

I’ve had a clear vision in my head of what I wanted my life to be like since I was a small child. Does that classify me as a genius? I guess that would depend on who one would talk to, but since I have yet to be able to execute my full vision in the real world that would be a resounding no.

The King of Uranus concept is something I have pictured in my head for years, and I still have big plans to make that more of a reality. I have done it in bits and pieces, but nowhere near to the degree where I pictured it –at least not yet. I see it clearly in my own head, but it’s not executed.

Now I need to transfer that vision to as many others as I can. If enough others see it along with me, I’ll be called genius. That’s a great title to be referred to after one is dead. While still above ground, I’d much rather be known as “rich”. I don’t need to be a full genius – just eleven percent.

If you didn't know who his was, would this look like the typical genius to you?

If you didn’t happen to know who this person was, would he look like the typical genius to you? I doubt it.

How about this guy? Inspired madman or complete jackass?

What about this guy? Inspired madman or complete jackass?

Keeping SCORE

July 11, 2014

Wednesday July 9th, 2014 – Gurnee, IL

Tonight I attended a free seminar on how to conduct business online. It was given by a member of SCORE, which is a mentoring source for small business. I had heard of this organization for a long time, and I probably should have gotten myself involved a lot sooner than now. But I didn’t.

I didn’t do a lot of things I now wish I would have, but who doesn’t share that story? We could all fill our own life’s diary with the opportunities we blew, but that’s not news. What’s important is what we do correctly, and that’s what I intend to focus my energy on. The past is exactly that.

My pit crew Eric Feinendegen heard about this meeting that was held at a library in Gurnee, IL where he lives. He asked if I felt like going, and I jumped at it. He had never heard of this group but they’ve been around for decades. It’s made up of volunteers who have business experience.

I’d guess there were 40-50 in attendance, and most of them looked to be very new at the whole idea of being an entrepreneur. The theme of tonight’s presentation was setting up a web presence in order to do business, and how important it is in today’s economy. It has become a necessity.

The guy in charge was friendly enough, but his presentation skills weren’t the greatest. I don’t mean any offense by that, as that’s not what his field of expertise is. He was obviously a member of the business world his entire life, and now in his retirement he’s reaching back to help others.

I’m grateful for any help I can get right about now, but I couldn’t help thinking of how I could do presentations like this and blow people away. He had no idea how to structure his talk, and he didn’t have a beginning or an end. He just kind of started, and then talked until his time was up.

I don’t want to rip the guy, and he really did seem like a friendly fellow. But if I had paid to be here, I would have been completely disappointed. There was zero showmanship whatsoever, and it drove home not only how crucial that is in all presentations but how I have a master’s degree.

Somebody somewhere needs someone that can make effective live presentations, and I need to find them in a hurry. Comedy shows are great, but by far not the only outlet for live presenting. I would gladly host events like this if I were being paid, and it wouldn’t have to be all that much.

Eric and I have our work cut out for us. He’s a speaker himself, and has won several awards in contests he’s entered. That would be the last thing I’d want to do, but we can help each other get to where we both want to be. He’s very good at organization, and we have been working together at getting me better in that department. I still have a long way to go, but we’re making progress.

I in turn can help him with his speeches, and eventually we’d like to bring someone else in as a pit crew to keep things running smoothly. NOBODY is able to do everything by themselves, and it’s smart business to consult someone who has experience no matter who that is or what it’s for.

Tonight we reached out to someone that has business experience – something I can really use a hand with. It’s another step on the long journey of becoming a self sufficient entrepreneur. I wish I’d done it a whole lot sooner, but I didn’t. It’s too late for wishes. Action is all that matters now.

SCORE is an organization that mentors small business. I can use some help.

SCORE is an organization that mentors small business.

What Is Success?

July 9, 2014

Tuesday July 8th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

The mystery of the way life works never ceases to fascinate me. On one hand, I’m having all of my dreams come true with my family after a lifetime of utter hopelessness and loneliness. But on the other, I’m seeing my career go absolutely nowhere after a lifetime of unbelievable sacrifice.

Which would I rather have? Why can’t I have both? Does anyone have a tight family bond and career success? I have to believe a lot of people do, and I want to be one of them. But if I have to choose one, I’ll take it exactly how it’s playing out. It’s giving me a power I’ve never had before.

There is a major healing process taking place inside me, and I’ve never felt better. It’s building on itself and creating a steady flow of positive energy, just as it was a constant source of pain and suffering before. Chasing the show business dream was a substitute for this, but it never worked.

It’s like the difference between the best tanning booth there is vs. an actual sunny beach. There is absolutely no comparison. The tanning booth is a substitute for the real thing, and quite often a career in show business serves the same purpose. I know it did for me, but this is so much better.

Would I have jumped head first into the rusty meat grinder of the entertainment business like I did had I had a tight bond with a family? I honestly can’t say. Usually having weak family ties is what keeps a person from turning back when the business gets tough. There are no alternatives.

That was definitely the case with me. I look back at all the dues I paid and the crap I swallowed from bully bar owners and slimy bookers, and had I had a loving family support structure I doubt I’d have lasted close to this long. This can be a brutal business, and I don’t know how I survived.

Now it’s to the point where I’m not surviving, even though that’s not my fault. It’s that way for just about everybody these days, and there are a lot of miserable people out there that have paid a lifetime of dues just like I have. There were never any guarantees anyone would be ‘successful’.

And what exactly is ‘success’? It’s different for everybody, and after a lifetime of thinking I’ve been a lowly bum I totally haven’t. I’ve accomplished a hell of a lot considering the place I came from, and I should be extremely proud of myself. But am I done? I don’t see why I have to be.

I’ll be the first to admit I have made some gargantuan goofs career wise. I’ve managed to piss off some people with power, but only on a certain level. I’m not a bad person, and the minute I’d get any heat whatsoever I know those people would come running to kiss my ass and book me.

I used to really want to please those people and get bookings so I could ‘show’ others – mainly my family – that I was indeed worth something after all. Well, now I don’t need to show anyone anything anymore and that has changed my whole viewpoint on life. Now I’m doing it for all the right reasons, and I have to believe the results will be better. And if they aren’t, that’s fine too.

‘Getting famous’ can be a motivator for a lot of people because they want to use it as a tool for revenge. That never has a happy ending. I want to use it as a tool to help people however I can or to help raise awareness for worthy causes. It’s taken a lifetime, but I’m finally starting to get it.

What is success? Everyone's definition is different.

What is success? Everyone’s definition is different.

I wonder what hers is?

I wonder what hers is?