Posts Tagged ‘imagination’

Across The Water

March 3, 2014

Saturday March 1st, 2014 – Muskegon, MI

From my earliest memory of seeing a large body of water first hand, the first thought that pops into my mind is wondering what’s on the other side. Growing up in Milwaukee, the water I saw was Lake Michigan and I was with my grandfather when I saw it. I was probably six or seven.

I remember asking Gramps “What’s over there on the other side?”

“Muskegon, Michigan.”

‘What’s that?”

“It’s another city in another state.”

My imagination took it from there. From that moment I began crafting a vivid mental image of what I purported to be an exotic faraway Mecca abuzz with rabid excitement and swashbuckling adventure. It was to Milwaukee what the New World was to Columbus – and I wanted to sample a spoon full of its charms. Surely it had to be better than the mundane boredom of my birthplace.

I don’t know why the thought of going there attacked my fancy so much, but it did. The legend of what I pictured Muskegon to be grew as fast or faster than I did, and somewhere in the back of my mind I always knew I would walk upon that soil. There was even a ferry boat that went there.

I assumed a ride on that boat would either be an Ellis Island immigration in reverse situation or a scary sequel to the Titanic or Edmund Fitzgerald. Neither appealed to me, and in all the years I had the chance to take that ferry I just never did. Somebody must have, as it is still operational.

After several years of getting out there as a road comedian, my professional trail eventually did go through Muskegon, MI – and the level of all out crushing disappointment was right up there in my life’s dumpster with finding out professional wrestling was fake and/or that I wasn’t going to ever receive the ten million dollars Ed McMahon promised. Baseball bat blows to the skull, all.

Muskegon, MI turned out to be just another town. Not a bustling city, but not a deserted island either. It’s a lot smaller than Milwaukee, and a lot less exciting – and I find Milwaukee to be not exciting whatsoever. It’s a blue collar working class city that tries to shine in Chicago’s shadow.

Muskegon is like a distant cousin we always heard about, but didn’t get to meet in person until a forced family get together like a wedding, funeral or reading of a will. It wasn’t a very moving experience, and when it was over everyone went their separate ways. That’s how this turned out, but I’m still glad I went there. It wasn’t the raucous thrill packed place I thought, but I got there.

Tonight I had a show in Muskegon at an old movie theatre. They have new owners and want to add live entertainment to the mix. They’ve only done a few shows, but it’s a nice facility. There was a smaller turnout tonight because of bad weather, and I never like to see that. It was a rough drive around the lake to get there, and a LOT longer than if I could have taken that ferry instead. But I couldn’t. Disappointment all around. But I did get paid, and made it home safely. Victory.

No offense to anyone from there, but Muskegon, MI was a lot more exciting in my imagination as a kid than it ever was in real life when I finally got there.

No offense to anyone from there, but Muskegon, MI was a lot more fun and exciting in my imagination as a kid than it ever was in real life when I finally arrived there. BORRR-ring!

$2,739.73

June 7, 2013

Wednesday June 5th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I have a calculator I bought years ago at a rummage sale for a quarter, and I happened to find it in an old box today. I don’t think I’ve ever used it even one time since I bought it, so I decided to play around and crunch a few numbers to get my quarter’s worth. I let my imagination run wild.

   Does anyone even use calculators anymore? Other than trying to figure out how much it would cost to fill my gas tank, I can’t think of a time I’d use one. If I really needed it, I think there’s one on my phone, right? I think so anyway. I’m still trying to figure out how to make it ring properly. It tweets and beeps and farts and does everything more than what I bought it for – to make calls.

   The world is passing me by on a daily basis, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. I’m trying to keep up, but it’s not even close. I am getting smoked like smuggled marijuana in prison. Hey, there’s a funny thought – a joint in the joint! Ok, back to reality. I’m a big human dinosaur. 

   Technology is in charge, and that’s how it is. It’s frustrating, but it’s too late to turn back now. It’s all here to stay, like it or not. Some of it I really like, but there’s too much to keep up with on a daily basis, and I feel so lost I don’t know who to complain to. Our humanity is being neutered.

   I think the era when it was the ideal mix between Flintstones and Jetsons has passed. There are a lot of great things about technology and the modern era, but there are drawbacks too. The same is true for the ‘good old days’ as well. I don’t think prairie life was the ultimate thrill ride either.

   Hunting for my dinner and sleeping in a cabin with my unshaven wife and eight melon headed offspring I need as farm hands doesn’t tickle my doo dad at all. Yes, there were no preservatives or genetic altering added to my food and it probably tasted better than McNuggets, but that’s it.

   Back then, I’d be dead by the age I am now. Even in this era, I’m shocked I have lived as long as I have. Every day I’m alive is bonus time, and I’m trying to make the best of it but it’s getting tougher by the hour. I try to be blind to the insanity that’s going on everywhere, but I just can’t.

   I still say money would solve 95% or higher of my current problems. A windfall would put me in a much calmer mindset, and I wouldn’t have the constant stress of having to make decisions to pay my bills in the short run rather than be an asset to humanity in the long run. It’s exasperating. I’d only need a reasonable chunk, but today I pulled out the stops and went for a million bucks.

   I started farting around on the old calculator, and punched in 1,000,000 divided by 365 days of the year. It comes out to $2,739.726 so we’ll round it up to $2,739.73. That’s how much anybody would need to make every single day for a year to have a cool million. Leap year it’s $2,732.24.

   That number alone blows my mind, but that’s gnat poo. There are professional athletes that are not even in the starting lineups of their teams that make multiple millions a year, and they have a contract that’s guaranteed for more than one year. I couldn’t begin to imagine what that would be like. Well I guess I could imagine it, but I’d like to LIVE it. I truly believe I could handle it well.

   What is money anyway other than a manufactured shallow symbol of the exchange of energies from one party to another? Unfortunately, in this existence it’s absolutely EVERYTHING. That wasn’t my call, and I’m not saying I like it – but it’s the truth. I’m not going to lie, I’d love to get a million bucks legally and without hurting anyone. Right now I’d be delighted with $2,739.73.

"Got change for a million bucks?"

“Anyone got change for a million bucks?”

I've got the zeros part down.

They won’t take these at the thrift store. 😦

A Treat From Uranus

November 2, 2012

Wednesday October 31st, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’m a big fan of Halloween, but probably not for the same reason most people are. What I love the most is how the acceptance level of the public is raised exponentially, if only for a single day. Individual freedom of expression is not questioned, and is in fact encouraged and even rewarded.

If one should choose to dress in a diaper and nothing else today, nobody would bat an eye. The possibilities are endless. Imagination and ingenuity are placed in high esteem, and people are in a competitive mindset to try and outdo each other in a positive way. I find that vibe very attractive.

I wish every day could have that level of mass acceptance, but unfortunately it doesn’t. Would it not dramatically up the fun quotient in life if we could dress like Batman or a cowboy any time we felt like it just to get a charge out of people? I guess we could anyway, but it would get stares.

That’s why I find the whole ‘King of Uranus’ concept so much fun. Who wouldn’t love to be a king or a queen, or at least treated like one? I love everything about it – especially the amount of attention it gets for just walking in a room. The few times I’ve done it has been a fun adventure.

If I were to put on the getup today, it might not get a second look. If someone asked who I was, I’m sure “The King of Uranus” would fetch at least a tiny chuckle, but it might get watered down by the fact everybody else is vying for attention with their own costumes. I’d have competition.

Doing it next week or next month would allow me to have ALL attention focused on me – and that is exactly what winning the entertainment game is about. This isn’t a new concept. It’s been done to death in the music business by everyone from Alice Cooper to Kiss to Marilyn Manson.

George Clinton is my favorite example. He cultivated a look that turned heads, and he wore his costume all the time. Alice Cooper and Kiss take their makeup off after a show. George made his multicolored hairstyle the attraction, along with long flowing robes. He lived it offstage as well.

I don’t know if I need to dress like The King of Uranus offstage, but if I had to I could get used to it. I like the flowing robes part, as that’s what I’d picture a king to wear. That’s why I love this idea so much. Nobody really knows what The King of Uranus would wear. I’m calling the shots.

If I can pull this off like I picture it, every day will be Halloween. I’ll get to dress up in all sorts of goofy costumes I’d never wear anywhere else for any reason, and it will make people laugh or smile or at least give me a blank stare of disbelief. No matter what the reaction, at least it will be a source of entertainment and that’s what I’m going for. It won’t take much to attract attention.

It’s a good thing that people tend to be such creatures of habit, as I have a wide open canvas on which I can paint this character however I choose. It won’t take long to discover what works and what doesn’t, and before long The King of Uranus will become an actual fleshed out character to use whenever I need it. If I have fun with it – and I already have – it will be contagious. I haven’t put as much effort into this as I had intended, but today reminds me how much fun I’m missing.