Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Gratitude Rules

November 30, 2013

Thursday November 28th, 2013 – Chicago, IL

I tend to be a complainer. A bitcher. A whiner. A pisser. A moaner. Call it whatever you’d like, it can be a formula that goes over like gangbusters with a comedy audience. I can get in a groove and roll with the best of them, and when it happens there are few comedians who can touch me.

It can be a lot of fun to point out what’s not going right on any given topic, and it’s therapeutic as well. The best thing of all is that the supply of things to snivel about never gets low. There are always new targets to attack, and that means I’ll always have something to transform into jokes.

This is all convenient in a comedy context, but in real life gratitude is the magic elixir. I’m off stage a lot more than I’m on, and there’s much more time to think. There’s a mindset that sets in both with those that complain and those that are grateful, and I’m tiptoeing on that very fine line.

Unfortunately, I can’t go on stage as a comedian and brag about how fabulous my life is. Who would want to hear that? If Mr. Lucky always scored with hot babes and knew how to choose the sleeper stocks that would pay off huge returns, what would be funny about that? I’d be obsolete.

On the other hand, if I was a motivational speaker and only talked about how everything in my life was in flames and miserable, how could I get a message of hope across? I have to keep all of my thoughts in their proper order, and know where I am at any given time. Life can be complex.

Today is Thanksgiving and I wasn’t booked anywhere, so gratitude was the main course on my personal menu. It wasn’t a day to think funny, and that’s fine by me. I spend plenty of time every other day looking for faults to turn into comedy, and I’ll do it again soon. Today was for thanks.

I had so many invites to join people for dinner I lost count. That alone is extremely comforting, knowing I have so many people that cared enough to extend an invitation. I have to believe they meant it, or they wouldn’t have made a point to ask. It’s not like I was hinting that I had no place to go, or showing up at people’s houses out of the blue. These people made a point to invite me.

This year’s winner was Bill Gorgo. I love hanging out with Bill for many reasons, but he’s one of the best cooks anywhere and I’ve sampled his amazing work for years. He’s Italian, and that’s the tie breaker in any close call when it comes to food. Stereotypes wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t at least a grain of truth somewhere, and from my experience Italians are the champions of chow.

The Germans do well in the cuisine department as do Chinese and Mexicans, but Italians are in a class by themselves. Good Italian food is hard to beat, as is the company with Bill and his sister Geneva and the friends they invited. There was an Irish couple that had adopted two Guatemalan boys, and they were delightful people. They told fascinating stories of all their extensive travels.

It was relaxing to sit and listen to everyone else, and not have to be the source of entertainment all the time. I enjoyed being the audience for once, and I kept thinking of everything I have to be thankful for starting with health. Yes I had a kidney stone this year, but it’s not hurting now and I can still walk and talk and see – even if it’s with glasses. I have a lot of great friends, and I live a life a lot of people dream about. There’s plenty to go off on tomorrow, but today gratitude rules.

Every day should be Thanksgiving for all of us.

Every day should be Thanksgiving for all of us.

Pleasure Over Business

June 29, 2013

Thursday June 27th, 2013 – Milwaukee, WI

   In a perfect world, I would have spent the entire day hard at work. I would have gotten up early and hit the ground running. I would have gotten a little bit done on a lot or projects or maybe put a big dent in just one. I have a lot of things that need a lot of work. Today was ideal to get to it.

   But alas, I totally didn’t. I didn’t lift one single finger to do anything I intended to, and it made today a total zilch as far as professional productivity goes. I guess I can’t complain that I am not getting anything done as it was me who chose to blow it off, so I have to live with my decision.

  What happened was, my friend Rick Wey was in town from Nashville and he invited me to go to a Milwaukee Brewers game with his company. It’s a trucking freight company, and they have terminals all over the country. Rick comes up about once a year to do what he does and that has usually been in the summer. It’s become a tradition he goes to a ball game, and has invited me.

   The people who work at the Milwaukee terminal couldn’t be any nicer, and they have taken me in as one of their own. It doesn’t hurt that I am from there, but they’ve totally treated me like one of their family. I feel like an employee, without having to do that annoying thing called ‘work’.

   There’s a super nice lady named Joyce Brainard who puts out a pre game spread of food fit for royalty, and today was no exception. There were Usinger’s brats, which are the very top as far as sausages go, along with all the trimmings any tailgate party could want. It was an amazing meal, and everyone who came to the party was friendly and laid back. I felt completely at home there.

   Rick also brought his dad along from Nashville. He came up a couple of years ago, and he’s an extremely interesting fellow. I don’t know how old he is, but Rick is a couple of years older than me and I ain’t no teeny bopper. His dad is a sharp fun guy, and I can tell he was a great father by the way Rick is when he’s around him. I can feel the love and respect, and it’s a beautiful thing.

   The Brewers ended up getting stomped by the Cubs of all teams, but nobody cared. That’s not what this was about. It was about hanging out with nice people and not only enjoying a baseball game, but life itself. Yes things are hectic all over, but for one afternoon everything was perfect.

   We had delicious food and plenty of it, and perfect weather to enjoy a game. There were some of the sweetest people I can think of to enjoy it with, and we had unbelievable seats right behind third base that I know cost a lot. They didn’t have to include me, but they did. That’s why I went.

   Did I have work to do? Yes, but missing one more day wasn’t going to turn my life around. It’s days like today I’ll look at in the end and smile, so this was the right choice for today. Rick Wey is also a comedian and a very funny one, but he chose to keep a stable career for his family and I couldn’t respect him any more. I’ll take solid friends like him over showbiz B.S. every last time.

   Tonight I had an invitation from Marc Schultz to go to his house and watch the NBA College Draft. We’ve come to make a tradition of watching sports drafts, and it’s another fun evening to hang with a good friend. His wife Audrey always makes another great spread of food and we can hang out and talk sports all night. Again, was it productive? Probably not in the big scheme of it all, but it sure was fun for tonight. It was baseball all day and basketball all night, but it was a lot more than just that. The real highlights were being able to spend time with some absolutely super people who were nice enough to invite me to join them. That’s a high honor, and I appreciate it.

Nashville funnyman Rick Wey - a class act onstage and off.

Nashville funnyman Rick Wey – a class act onstage and off.