Posts Tagged ‘roller coaster’

Roller Coaster Maintenance

June 18, 2014

Monday June 16th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

Life’s roller coaster ride continues, but I’m not sure if I want to be on a roller coaster. It would be nice to get off for a while and get a hot dog or something, and maybe take a leak. The ups and downs are starting to take their toll as I get older. How about a ride on something less violent?

I just experienced a super ‘up’ by patching things up with my siblings this year. It was a major victory to get them to all come out for one meal, but that was just the first step. Everything can’t be ‘fixed’ in one sitting, and just like in any long term human relationship work has to be done.

Getting together with my sister Tammy for our barbecue last Friday was nothing short of a life changing experience in a wonderful way. I’d wanted to air those issues out since childhood, and I finally got my chance. We didn’t leave any unfinished business, and it feels like I’m a new man.

Yesterday I called my brother Larry on the phone, and we had a great conversation as well. We never fought as kids, but we have been apart for too long and it felt fantastic to get back in touch and catch up. He’s going through some problems of his own, and I was glad to be able to listen.

Our other brother Bruce is in Florida, and I wrote him a long email updating him on how it all went at Tammy’s, and went down a list of things that I was truly sorry for. It’s hard to admit one is wrong, but I also feel it’s necessary when it’s true. He wrote back a very short response saying we’re all good and that there’s no need to dig up the past. All he wants is for us to look forward.

That’s three for three extremely positive outcomes with three individuals that could not be any more different. We managed to agree that we all came from a horrible place, but none of us want to stay there. We are all on our own individual roller coaster rides, but we still share blood ties.

It mystifies me how life tends to play itself out. When my career has been at its best, my family situation has been in absolute shambles. Now that my family situation is the best it has ever been my career is in the toilet. I find that part funny and part frustrating beyond belief. But there it is.

I am finding myself really in need of a major vocational change of direction. Being constantly on the road used to be what kept me going and I couldn’t get enough of it. Now, the thought of being more than 100 miles from home makes my poop shoot wink with disgust. I’m SO over it.

I’m also over trying to outshout drunks and deal with lowlife booking agents. I want to do this on my terms, and I think I’ve earned that right. The drunks and the bookers don’t think so, but it isn’t up to them. Neither party will miss me, nor will any of them ever care if I’m happy or not.

The choice is entirely up to me, and I’m choosing happiness – or at least the pursuit of it. I have never been an ass kisser, and that seems to be a requirement in the entertainment game. If I were to decide to acquiesce and kiss an ass, it sure wouldn’t be any of the ones I’ve been dealing with. I’d do it for someone that had real power in the business – not some mediocre gigs in Michigan.

In some ways, I’m sitting in the best position I’ve ever been in. The inner peace I have chased for a lifetime has been caught – just in time to have to find a new way to generate steady income. It’s like I can’t even enjoy what I have waited so long to experience, but right now I can’t. I have to get myself stable financially, and then I need to find a therapist and get myself stable mentally as well. I have put some hard miles on my body and brain, it’s time for a maintenance overhaul.

Life is a roller coaster ride, but after a while we can all use a break from the whiplash.

Life is a roller coaster ride, but after a while we can all use a break from the whiplash.


On An Upswing

March 7, 2013

Tuesday March 5th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   The entertainment business – and life itself – is a constant series of upswings and downswings. It’s a roller coaster ride, with the only constant being change. I remember meeting Kenny Rogers years ago when I was living in Salt Lake City, and he had the best attitude I’ve ever seen. He had been in the business for decades and learned to keep an even keel no matter what was happening.

“I’ve been around so long, I’ve experienced every possible kind of up and down anyone could ever imagine,” he said. “I never get too cocky when I’m up or depressed when I’m down because I know it never lasts either way. Sooner or later the tide will turn, and change will come again.”

I never forgot that, and meeting him was a real thrill. We got to spend time with him backstage, and it was very educational. I was working at a country radio station then, and we had the typical backstage meet and greet for listeners who had won tickets. Kenny handled it like the total pro he is, and made everyone – including my co-host and me – feel like we’d been his friend for years.

I’m on a major upswing now, and it couldn’t come at a better time. I haven’t experienced all of the amazing ups a Kenny Rogers has, but I’ve had some and they were fantastic. The times I had a radio job and was able to do comedy along with it were the best, as I had plenty of money to go around and that alone has a way of making life better on all levels. I could get used to that again.

I’ve had my share of down times too. Sometimes it seems like more than my share, but that’s a part of life as well. Bad breaks happen to everyone at some point, and it’s how a person reacts to them that determines how life will turn out in the long run. I’m seeing that now, and after all this time I’m finally feeling like I’m at least starting to have a clue as to how this big game is played.

This next little while is going to be crucial in determining how the rest of my life works out. If I play the game correctly – and I think I can – I’ll be able to finish strong and win. All of the ugly mistakes I made can be turned around, and rather than blame them I will use them as education.

Quite honestly, I did a lot of stupid things through the years and most were deeply rooted in my anger and need to ‘get even’ with the hand life dealt me. I was determined to show everyone who doubted (mainly my father) that I was indeed worth something and would show them in person.

What a waste of time and energy that all was, as my father died and never did think I amounted to anything that pleased him anyway. I could have gotten The Tonight Show instead of Jay Leno, and my father still would have thought I should have gotten a tattoo and been a biker like he was.

If there is any real ‘secret’ to life, I think it’s that we all have to please ourselves and hope that at some point we catch that lucky break everyone hopes for and our dreams come true. I’m about to do a run of ‘Schlitz Happened!’ shows in my hometown at the nicest venue there is. I am also going to get to be ‘The King of Uranus’ at a hockey game next week. If nobody else likes any of that, too bad. I’m ecstatic, and I think I can parlay both into more fun and income in the future if I handle myself correctly now. It’s taken a lifetime to get this far, I want to enjoy every minute.