Posts Tagged ‘Golden Corral’

The Sweetest Sound

December 5, 2012

Tuesday December 4th, 2012 – Gurnee, IL

   One of the few sounds I never get sick of hearing is laughter. I find it sweeter than any music -and I like music. But no song I’ve ever heard comes close to the melody of a solid laugh from an enthusiastic audience full of strangers. It has a cleansing effect right down to the core of the soul.

Even sweeter than that is the unbridled laughter of children. I first became addicted to hearing audiences laugh in grade school, and it hasn’t stopped. I have always had the ability to crack off a funny one liner or a smart ass comeback with little effort, and more often than not I’ll let it fly.

I used to get in all kinds of trouble for it in school, but I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. Life was one big sitcom, and I wasn’t going to let the opportunity to get a laugh pass me by. It drove some of my teachers up the wall, across the ceiling and down the other wall but too bad. I was hooked.

It started with my grandfather. He was by far the funniest person I knew as a kid, and he loved to get laughs from anywhere and anyone he could. I happened to be an appreciative audience, so he’d put extra effort into making me laugh as often as he could. I will always love him for that.

Gramps wasn’t afraid to do it in public, and anyone walking the earth was a possible partner in his comedic endeavors from sales clerks to bus drivers to my friends. My grandmother could not stand it, and I guess that’s what made him want to do it more. I loved it, so he aimed it my way.

If nothing else, it taught me how to think out of the box. Gramps would be fearless when he’d jump into a character in a restaurant or a grocery store, and he’d often toss it to me to see if I had a comeback. Sometimes I would and sometimes I wouldn’t, but I learned to be ready at any time.

It also taught me to not worry if something didn’t work. Sometimes Gramps would take it a bit too far, and people would just stare at him. I think he had a little Andy Kaufman in him, as that’s when he’d do it more. He just wanted to have the spotlight, and embarrassment wasn’t an issue.

What made me think of all this today was having lunch at the Golden Corral in Gurnee, IL, one of my regular hangouts. I can get a good salad at a good price, and it’s buffet style so I can get as much as I want. It’s a sweet deal, and it usually comes with a floor show of oddballs to observe.

There happened to be a group of a dozen or so kids there today between the ages of maybe 4 to 7 – a perfect scenario for getting big laughs. There were a few adults with them, but they were in deep conversation at their end of the table. One of the kids sneezed and sprayed in my direction.

I exaggerated my reaction and covered my plate and that’s all that it took to get them started. It was show time after that. It was the right day and the right time, and I had them all in the palm of my hand the rest of the meal. I could do no wrong, and their laughter was deep, loud and sincere.

Gramps would have been proud of the way I worked those kids today. I didn’t let up. I had the whole table giggling incessantly, and I’m sure they talked about it in the car. These moments are what life is about. It was a table of kids at The Golden Corral, but I felt like a comedy superstar.


Hot Fudge Hiatus

July 2, 2010

Thursday July 1st, 2010 – Stevens Point, WI

Here we go with the second half of 2010. Nobody works New Year’s Day, but I wanted to start laying a foundation for everything I want to get done in the next three months and then the next three months after that. Without a tight battle plan, all of this will fall apart.

The first thing on the docket is exercise. No matter what I do career wise, in a nutshell I need to move more and eat less. Period. And, I need to eat different things that don’t taste as good as what I’ve been eating, but won’t make a permanent home in my aorta or lower colon. Fruits, vegetables and water, get used to your new customer. Please be good to me.

I started it all off with an apple, and washed it down with a bottled water. I tried hard to imagine it as an Egg McMuffin and a Pepsi, but it didn’t work. It was an apple and water, but it felt good that I was consciously choosing to have that rather than what tastes good.

I also went back to the Gurnee Mills Mall for my first of hopefully many daily walking assignments. I like it there. The atmosphere is positive and there’s a lot of room to stretch out and lose myself in deep thought as I reflect on life. Nobody ever bothers me in there.

After my walk I went to meet up with Jerry Agar at a hotdog joint that’s about halfway between where each of us live. He’s back from Toronto for the week and we hadn’t seen each other in a while so we hung out and talked about each of our situations. I ordered the chopped salad, and Jerry laughed because we both love their chili dogs. But not today.

Jerry and his daughter Kaelin had hot fudge sundaes, and I ordered a bottled water to go with my salad. I’ve had lots of sundaes and I was fine with it, but they both raised a brow when I passed on one. I used to think life was short and to be enjoyed to the fullest. It may be true, but at this point that sundae would help to make my life shorter. Time for a break.

I then drove up to Stevens Point, WI to see my cousin Leah and her husband Rob. Their daughter Janine has been asking me to come up and visit and today was the day. I told her I was going to be busy for the next few months, so we made time to hang out for a dinner at the Golden Corral. Again, I had lots of vegetables and a water and didn’t go nuts at all.

I know it’s only one day, but I see how it works. It’s not all that hard, but it does take an effort and some discipline to choose to eat the right things, even when the other stuff is all over the place in plain site. I’ve had years of going nuts with it, now it’s time to taper off.

All the way up and back I planned and tweaked and thought of what I need to do to with these next three months. My priority is getting the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show up and ready  for October 1st at The Schauer Center in Hartford, WI. That’s the main point of my focus.

I also have Uranus Factory Outlet, comedy classes and my comedy career itself to get to as well. That’s a whole lot of projects, and any one could take my focus for three months. This is no easy task, but I took it on willingly. No excuses. Day trip over. Back to work.