Posts Tagged ‘problems’

Buffet Of Danger

July 30, 2014

Saturday July 26th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

Does life ever get even a little easier for any of us at any time? I’m beginning to think it never does, and that scares me. Well maybe not scares, but absolutely disappoints. I’d hate to think we plow through the treacherous jungle this planet can be, only to leave with no payoff. That stinks.

The human experience as I have observed it is a constant evolution of change, and each change brings with it a spanking new set of ominous obstacles to have to figure out a way to get over. It would certainly be nice to have at least a little time to enjoy the scenery, but the intense struggle always seems to require more than just casual attention – at least for me anyway. It never rests.

My problems have always been different than most everyone else’s in my immediate circle, but I always assumed I would receive a higher payoff. When I was a kid I knew other kids that came from various levels of dysfunction, but nobody was close to my situation and it was a distraction.

I really struggled through childhood when I should have been just enjoying being a kid. I never had that chance, but I assumed adulthood would be easier. Then I chose to get into THE craziest business around, filled with instability at every turn. Adulthood has been a buffet of danger also.

Again, I assumed I’d meet a great woman and build a good life anyway. Well, I met a bunch of women that may or may not have been great but I knew inside that I wasn’t ready to put together the life I always dreamed of. That’s why I got into radio, assuming it would bring along stability.

Boy, do I have to quit assuming. Nothing could have been more unstable, and life has been one crisis after another for as long as I can remember. I know everyone has problems, but not quite as unique or complex as mine. I don’t know anyone else that has had to testify in court against their best friend from childhood for robbing the same bank twice. Those kinds of events leave scars.

I wouldn’t wish anyone that mental torture, and I still have nightmares about it. Another rotten feeling is moving across the country for a job, then having that job taken away with zero backup. I know that has happened to others, but I’ve had it happen five times. I’m still hurting from that too, and I never had anyone to go to for help or support. I’ve made it this far without a safety net.

Now I’m reconnecting with the siblings I never got to grow up with as a kid, and it has opened up a tremendous window of hope. It feels SO good to begin this process – even this late into the game. It is what I have always wanted, and I feel it only getting better. Meeting a woman I could spend quality time with is still on the bucket list, but that’s extremely difficult in my current situation.

I thought for sure I would be financially secure by now and on my way but I’m a shopping cart and cardboard sign away from vagrancy, and I’m living week to week despite the fact I’m trying harder than I ever have. Life is constantly changing, and now that I finally figured out my craft it seems like nobody wants it anymore. I am a master blacksmith but nobody is buying horseshoes.

On top of that, I’m still dealing with depression and diabetes issues. Both of those require a lot of attention and effort, but how can I do that when I’ve got to focus on survival? There aren’t any trust funds with my name on it, and I’m screwed. No wonder old people are salty. Life is HARD.

Life seems to get harder as it goes. No wonder old people can be so crabby.

Life seems to get harder as it goes. No wonder old people can be so crabby.

She doesn't look crabby. I wonder if she wants to have lunch.

She doesn’t look crabby. I wonder if she wants to have lunch?


Embracing The Struggle

June 23, 2014

Friday June 20th, 2014 – Sparta, WI

Yet another life lesson I continue to learn is that life lessons never stop at any age – and neither do problems. I’m sure my grandfather told me that at some point in my youth, but I was probably preoccupied with thinking I would be the exception to the rule and missed it. We all think that.

When we’re kids, we assume that life gets better and at some point everything is problem free. I remember being around seven or eight and knowing a couple of families in our neighborhood that had a house full of kids that were all older than me. The Lutes family lived on my block and the McCauleys lived across the street. They were friendly to me, and I knew most of them well.

I still remember walking around in the neighborhood talking with them and thinking how great their lives were. They all seemed so much older and fully matured at the time, but in reality they totally weren’t. They were regular people going through the same problems everybody else does.

Tim Lutes worked at Sears. I remember thinking he was a borderline celebrity because I’d seen him there on the sales floor with his name badge on when my grandparents were shopping. I was really impressed, and in my mind he had totally ‘made it’. He could buy all the candy he wanted.

His brother Cliff was into cars, and that was my greatest love besides sports. Cliff would work on his old Ford Fairlane in the driveway, and I would often wander over and keep him company. Looking back, he had the patience of a saint and would answer my deep probing dumb questions about how cars worked. He could have chased me away, but he didn’t. I thought he was a genius.

The McCauleys were my sports connection, and they were the first ones to let me play in their baseball games. I’m still not sure how many there were, but I do know they were all boys. I liked them all, and again they didn’t have to be nice to me but they were. They showed me how to not bat cross handed, and how to field a ground ball correctly. To me, they were all sports superstars.

They were all bigger than me, and could run faster, throw harder and hit better. I assumed they would all not only play Major League Baseball, but end up in the Hall of Fame. In reality, it was just a bunch of average kids that played baseball in summer just like the kids everywhere else.

Tim Lutes was never named CEO of Sears, nor was Cliff at Ford. None of the McCauleys ever played Major League Baseball, and as far as I know they’re all still alive and facing the same life problems everyone else does. They might be different problems, but they still need to be solved.

If and when they are, there will be a whole new set just around the corner and the process starts all over again. It’s the perpetual pile of problems that wear us all down, and I don’t see anything on the horizon to break the chain other than death. And who knows if that’s the end of the line?

The current lesson I am in the process of learning is that I will always have problems, and that I might as well learn to embrace them. The obstacles I faced as a kid seem pretty tame compared to what I’ve gone through in just these past few months, but they seemed insurmountable then.

I didn’t realize all I had going for me along with what I was trying to overcome, and I see now that none of us ever are without struggles – at least not for very long. Life is process of perpetual change and evolution, and then we each have to make our individual adjustments accordingly. It may not be fair, but that’s just the way life works. I’m receiving a new batch of problems. Yay!

Welcome to life, where everyone has problems to overcome. NO exceptions.

Welcome to life, where everyone has problems. NO exceptions.

I Give Up

April 21, 2014

Friday April 18th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

Not that I ever mistakenly thought I knew everything about anything, today wiped out anything and everything I might have thought I knew about the entertainment business. I thought I knew a lot more than I did, but now I realize I didn’t know a blithering thing. In short, I am a total idiot.

I received a phone call this afternoon from the person that booked me into the difficult country club gig I did last Saturday with my friend Bill Gorgo. Seeing that name light up on my caller ID made my tail pipe pucker instantly, because that usually means there’s trouble. There was no real reason to call since we’d been paid immediately after the show, so I was prepared for the riot act.

Private shows like this are always extremely delicate. It only takes ONE person upset to ruin the entire evening, and possibly put an end to comedy shows ever being done again. I have seen a lot of people overreact both on the client side and on the performing side, and I have enough time on the clock by now to know the only thing one can do is one’s best – and that’s exactly what I did.

Was I happy with it? Not in the least. That was a tight audience, and we were under extremely difficult circumstances with the lights and how the stage was set up in the room. Bill Gorgo is an excellent comedian and a seasoned performer. He knew the situation was going to be tough also.

The only thing we had going in our favor from the start was the person who booked us is also a performer – and a friend of ours. That can go either way though, as I’ve seen friendships dissolve like Alka-Seltzer tablets when somebody takes it upon themselves to break the rules agreed upon before the show. This particular show needed to be clean, and that was made clear from the start.

Bill went a little close to the edge, but he’s a pro and didn’t cross it. I’ve learned in my old age to stay far away from the edge line in shows like this, so if nothing else if they didn’t think I was funny at least that’s their only complaint. The number one deal killer is for a comic to work dirty or ‘blue’, and I can’t believe how many acts think that rule does not apply to them. Yes it does!

I don’t work blue as a rule, but once in a while some rants I do can tend to infuriate some folks – especially if they’re some crusading do gooder for the P.C. police. They can and do show up at any time completely at random, and again all it takes is one in a position of power to complain to the booker and it’s my head on a platter. And friend or not, that can mean losing future bookings.

I was going to take my medicine like a man, but I wimped out at the last second and let the call go to voicemail. I wasn’t up for defending myself, and I knew in my heart I really did give them my very best under the circumstances. I sweat all the way through my sport coat, and that should be proof enough. If they weren’t happy with it, there wasn’t a whole lot I could do as a remedy.

I waited a few minutes, but had to play the voice mail back because I didn’t want any problems to fester. If I needed to apologize, I was ready to do whatever was necessary. As it turned out, the call was to give me sincere kudos because the contact person said they loved the whole show, but especially my ending rant. Go figure. I thought I knew how to read audiences by now. I give up.

I thought I could read an audience after all this time, but I guess I can't. I give up.

I thought I could read an audience after all this time, but I guess I can’t. Those people loved me. I give up.