Posts Tagged ‘frustration’

Overnight Frustration

September 27, 2013

Wednesday September 25th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

Less than 24 hours ago, I was feeling pretty good about myself for putting time in working on a part of my job that has traditionally been my least favorite. I sucked it up, plowed through, and at the end of the day I thought I had myself some tangible results. Overnight, most of it is no more.

This is why I get so unbelievably frustrated with the business end of comedy, and it never ends. The names change, but the situations stay the same. Everything is a hair triggered house of cards, and it doesn’t take more than a tiny ripple to make everything come crashing down. It’s a bitch.

Of the five days I thought I booked solid yesterday, two of the them (a weekend) were stricken from my calendar when someone from the booking agency called and said someone else working in the office gave it to another comedian and didn’t cross it off the list of open dates. So I’m out.

I don’t know who the other comedian is, but it really doesn’t matter. He or she is farther up the food chain than me, and that’s how it is. There’s no warning, no substitute backup gig, and worst of all no pay. It happens all too often, and booking agents can do it because they know we are all looking for work and don’t want to burn any bridges these days. I have to shut my yap and eat it.

There never seems to be a two way street with these kinds of situations. If I happened to find a higher paying booking for the same date and backed out, chances are the agency would be angry and vengeful go the point where they may not ever use me again. I have seen it happen before.

Another one of the dates was a fill in I thought I’d picked up, but it turned out there was a mix up with the actual date. The comedian who asked me to fill in told me one date, and it wasn’t the actual date of the gig. It was an honest mistake, but I am not available to do the date that’s open.

That booking agent had no choice but to look for someone else and now I’m out that money as well. I already had it spent, but now it’s not coming. I am already booked on the date in question, but it would have been a sweet little bonus to pick up the extra cash in the same week. Not now.

Then, one of the other dates that pays via direct deposit into my checking account sent an email and said I have to reconfirm my banking info with routing numbers and all that, and I had to take time to go to the bank and get someone to fill everything in and fax it to the gig. They faxed it to the wrong number, and the person in charge didn’t get it so I had to do everything all over today.

The people at the bank were nice about it, but it was a hassle to wait in line and have to have it all done over again. It took about two hours out of my day after everything was done, and there’s still no guarantee I did it right. The person at the gig told me I’d hear back when it was received.

Stuff like this drives me up the wall, across the ceiling and back down the other wall across the room. No matter how hard I try to psyche myself up, things like this happen and it kicks me right in my self esteem and makes me feel like I’m small potatoes. This isn’t what I was born to do.

I was born to be on a standup comedy stage or behind a radio microphone entertaining a large audience. Making booking calls and faxing bank account numbers was never what I aspired to.

Frustration is a big part of the entertainment game.

Frustration is a big part of the entertainment game.

My life in a nutshell.

My life in a nutshell.

Hey, it might help. After today I'll try just about anything.

Hey, it might help. After today I’ll try just about anything.

Auto Correct

May 22, 2013

Sunday May 19th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   In the continuing education program that is called life, I think I can cross off yet another lesson I have learned painfully and in the most difficult way. That seems to be the only way to really get the message, and this time I have certainly gotten it and then some. This one will stay with me.

   I have learned and learned well that there is a big difference between being ‘thrifty’ and being a flat out cheapskate, and also that there is NOTHING ‘free’. I thought I had known that already, but apparently I needed a refresher course from the universe. Hopefully this will be the last one.

   What a humongous mistake it turned out to be to accept the ‘free’ 1994 Nissan Sentra from my friend Richard Caan. Richard is a great guy and only had the best of intentions, but his gesture of friendship turned out to be a painful kick square in my ball joints that kept kicking for months.

   On paper, it looked to be a win/win situation. He had just been paid out a healthy chunk from a fender bender his sister had that wasn’t her fault, but the car was still drivable. They had planned on donating it to charity, but Richard knew I put a lot of miles driving to gigs and thought I could benefit from a low mile Japanese car that had never given his mother a problem while she had it.

   In theory, he was correct. Nissan Sentras are supposed to be notoriously dependable and have a stellar track record from all I heard and read. For whatever reason, I got the exception to that rule and I had nothing but one incredibly painful and ridiculously expensive crisis after the next with that rolling turd for as long as I had it and it sucked both my wallet and my spirit completely dry.

   The body work before I could drive it cost $750 for a replacement hood and right fender. If that would have been it – and Richard and I both thought it was – that would have been a sweetheart deal. The car only had 105,000 miles on it, and by all estimation I could have driven it for years.

   Other than the fact the car was red and the hood and fender I had replaced were blue, it wasn’t a bad looking little roller skate. There was one hubcap missing when I got it, but I replaced it and even with the hillbilly two tone it wasn’t as bad as some of the tin cans I have owned in my life.

   Then, the gates of hell opened wide and everything went wrong. First it was the exhaust system that fell off in Springfield, IL. That cost a ridiculous $825. I still can’t believe the exhaust system for a golf cart like that costs that much, but at the Midas Muffler Shop in Springfield, IL it does.

   I didn’t think the exhaust systems of Air Force One or the Space Shuttle would cost that much, but I thought since I planned on keeping it a while I’d invest and that would be it. HA! That was just the beginning. The brakes were a bit spongy, and that cost $350. I needed a new battery and battery cables, and that cost $125. The right headlight blew out and that was $45. It didn’t stop.

   Then I had a problem with the driver’s door. It wouldn’t stay closed in the dead of winter, and for a while I had to crawl in through the passenger side and get sodomized by my own gear shift. It was $150 to fix that. Then the alternator blew on my way to a gig and that was another $250 – plus a tow.

   I don’t even want to add all that up, because it would just depress me more. I was being flat out cheap rather than thrifty, and it was a big mistake to think I’d be able to get a free car. I really do appreciate Richard’s kind offer, but if I ever get another one from anyone I’m going to run in the opposite direction as fast as I can. I have learned my lesson. NOTHING in this life is ever ‘free’.

Out with the old...

Out with the old…

...in with the next one. This is my 124th vehicle.

…in with the next one. This is my 124th vehicle.

Tweaks And Quirks

February 1, 2013

Monday January 28th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   Everyone on this planet is at least a wee bit crazy to a certain degree, and I have yet to hear of or personally meet any exceptions. We’ve all got tweaks and quirks of some sort, and it becomes an issue of whether we choose to either embrace or fight them. Whatever the case, they’re there.

I freely admit to several my own, even though I haven’t decided whether I’m going to embrace or fight. All I know is certain things get under my skin even when I know they shouldn’t. We all have our own individual demons, and I guess that’s what makes life interesting – or maddening.

One of my longest running tweaks has been the insane need to have my gasoline purchases end up at a round number. I’ll try to always hit it on an even dollar amount, but in a pinch I can settle for .50 or .25. What I absolutely CANNOT deal with is an ‘.01’. It drives me out of my mind.

I know in the scheme of life it shouldn’t make even the slightest difference – but it totally does. I can’t stand going over the even dollar amount, and often I’ll keep pumping to the next one even if my tank is already full. I’ll get out a gas can from my trunk and fill that, and if I blow it again I find other cars and top off their tanks. I know full well this is meaningless, but I can’t get over it.

I can’t be the only one to have this be an issue, as I swear some gas pumps don’t even have the ability to stop on the ‘.00’. I’ve had hair trigger pumps that have been impossible to master and it has become a lifelong crusade to avoid them like the plague. Give me accuracy or give me death.

Another deep dent in my personal can is having to wait at a red light longer than those going in the other direction while there is an arrow for them to turn left. This frustrates me to the point of full on mouth foamage, even though I know there’s not one thing I can do but wait for it to pass.

I know I should just turn up my radio and whistle a tune, but it goes deeper than that. I feel like I’ve chosen the wrong life path whenever this happens, and those going the other direction are on the road to success while my opportunities slowly leak away like the water in the baggie holding the goldfish I won at the carnival when I was nine. Is there a pill I can take to make this stop?

Again, I don’t know why this particular situation should be so annoying to me but it is. It goes on every day, and if it were an even split I’d be a lot better with it but it isn’t. I’ve counted  how many times I’ve gotten the arrow in my direction versus the times I’ve had to wait and it’s never been close to being even. Usually it’s about ten to one against me, and that makes it even worse.

I keep thinking the time I have to wait for the other side to go dips into my cosmic rhythm and causes me to be even more off track than I already am. How do I know I wouldn’t miss meeting the woman of my dreams by just a few seconds because I was stuck waiting at a traffic signal?

This is all wasted energy, and sadly I totally know it. In a perfect world, we’d all be able to get over these eccentric issues, but everyone has them and they’re not going away any time soon. It’s a matter of choice as to whether anyone embraces or fights, and I still haven’t made up my mind.

Door Jammed

January 9, 2013

Wednesday January 9th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

Comedians as a rule will tend to use our most painful and/or stressful life situations to craft our comedy material. It’s what we do. I can say first hand from all too much bitter experience there’s absolutely NOTHING more unfunny or torturous than having to live one of those bits in reverse.

This ‘free’ car I have is becoming a total nightmare. It’s been one ridiculously outrageous high cost problem after the next, and I stopped laughing a long time ago. It’s becoming a major hassle as I’m so deep into it financially I don’t know what to do. It’s a swift kick right in my ball joints.

Today I received the delightful news my driver’s door latch malfunction will only set me back a paltry $350 to fix – and that doesn’t come with any guarantees it will work as long as I keep the car. The body shop manager’s head snapped back as I laughed out loud heartily when he shot me the final number. “I didn’t expect that reaction,” he said. “I didn’t expect that price,” I countered.

He was actually a very nice guy and went on to explain how difficult it was to even find a latch for my particular door. He only found five in the entire country, and it would take several days to have one shipped in before they could even fix it. I don’t think the guy was lying, and he took the time to show me where all five of the latches were located and what work all needed to be done.

There’s no way I want to throw another $350 into this unending money sucking nightmare, but what else am I supposed to do? I already have way more than I ever wanted to stick into this ugly mess as it is, and it’s not anything I can ever get back out. I’m in a tight spot here, and it rots ass.

What I told them to try was to secure the latch somehow so the door can lock and not pop open in traffic. I don’t care if they have to weld it shut, I can’t see wasting another $350 on top of all I already spent. As inconvenient as it will be, I’ll crawl over from the passenger side and slide into the driver’s seat for the rest of the time I own the car – which I don’t expect to be for long now.

It kills me to have to eat such a heaping pile of manure, but I’m going to have to cut my losses and move on. I threw everything into this car, thinking it would last at least a year. Unfortunately the engine and transmission probably would have easily done that and more. It’s the other ton of glitches that are absolutely killing me. $825 for an exhaust system? Brakes? That money is shot.

The timing of this whole fiasco is what hurts the most. There have been times in my life when I could have weathered this kind of storm financially and laughed it off. Right now I am struggling harder than I ever have, and I really need that car to last the rest of the year. I was counting on it.

We’ll see how many times I can squeeze my fanny over the gear shift knob before I flip all the way out and set it on fire, but right now I can’t think of a better alternative. I have a rental car for the rest of this week, but next Monday I’m going to have to deal with this every day of my life.

I’m sure I can take it to other places and get other estimates, but the bottom line is I’m stuck in a horribly inconvenient situation I never planned for. On stage, it’s hilarious. In real life, it hurts.

Green Bay Pukers

October 8, 2012

Sunday October 7th, 2012 – Lake Villa, IL

   Enough is enough, and this is it. My aching arse, the Green Bay Packers have finally pissed me off so badly I am not going back for more. Like an abused spouse, I am packing my bags and I’m out the door. My can is dented enough from life. I don’t need this torture to make it any deeper.

Those clowns didn’t even look like they were trying in the second half of one of the bitterest of losses I can ever remember. It was bad enough they got robbed on the last play in Seattle just two weeks ago and barely scraped out a skin of the teeth win over a Saints team in turmoil last week.

It was frustrating, infuriating and just plain unacceptable. As a lifelong customer I have a right to stop buying a product whenever I decide – and I decide it’s going to be now. I have been loyal (translation: brainwashed) to these pinheads long enough. The camel’s back has been snapped.

Watching sports is supposed to be fun, and a diversion from the stressful pressures of daily life. When sports become the source of much of that stress, it’s time to do something else. I couldn’t care less if the NFL disbands tomorrow, and with all the problems they’re having it may happen.

Why am I wasting my time with this anymore? What inner itch is being scratched by watching someone else try to accomplish something when in fact it should be me who should be doing the winning on my own behalf? Having to depend on someone else to make my self esteem shine is not how I want to live my life. From now on, I will spend my Sundays doing something better.

There has to be something positive I could accomplish for three hours a week if I really look to find it. Maybe I could read a book or write an article or take time to answer emails or any of a lot of other things that don’t involve that helpless feeling of having to hope a bunch of overpaid oafs who I’ve never even met please me by defeating another group of overpaid oafs. How low am I?

I don’t know why, but this one really pushed all my buttons. If I performed that poorly on a job I have to believe I’d be fired immediately. Someone needs to lose a job over this, and it needs to happen immediately. How can a defense give up all those yards to an aging guy without figuring something out to stop him from flat out embarrassing them? I saw no heart there and it’s pitiful.

I would much rather go out and do something that I have at least some control over rather than have to go through this insanity every week. Fun had nothing to do with the last three weeks, and just like with comedy I always said I’d stop when it wasn’t fun anymore. Well, that time is now.

Those heartless bums don’t deserve my time, and I’m not going to give it to them. In the bigger picture of life, this all seems like a big waste of valuable time that could be used to do something on a lot higher level. There are millions of Packer fans who are feeling the exact same sting I do.

Billions more who aren’t even football fans at all could not care any less. I doubt if five people in China were upset after the game or even know what football is. They’ve got other problems to think about and so do I. The Green Bay Packers and the NFL don’t need me, and I’m moving on.