Posts Tagged ‘The Golden Rule’

Be Good

March 26, 2014

Tuesday March 25th 2014 – Island Lake, IL

OK, enough with the downers already. I don’t want to dwell on it all the time, but when I get in a rut it feels overwhelming. I’m just being honest with how I feel. It makes me laugh when I hear “Hey, a lot of other people are hurting too. Be thankful for what you have and shut your mouth.”

I get the message, but it’s not that easy. I never thought I was the only one with problems, and I still don’t. I realize all of us struggle at some point with something, but it’s still laughable to hear people haul out the “other people are hurting too” angle. Sorry, but that doesn’t help in the least.

What if I walked up out of nowhere to randomly kick someone square in the crotch with a steel toed work boot? Then, as they’re writhing in pain on the ground I hover over them and say “Hey, quit your sniveling. A lot of other people are in pain too.” Yes it’s a fact, but how does that help?

Another fact is, life is unbelievably hard. It’s harder for some than others, but at some point we all feel as if we’ve just taken a steel toed work boot to the crotch. What determines our character is what we do after it happens. It’s easy to drop out of the game and make excuses, but that’s not how to win. The real winners in life dust themselves off and keep going – and that’s even harder.

My individual personality – or maybe it’s just ego in disguise – is not about to let me bow out now. For whatever reason, I have always been attracted to the biggest challenges in any field of endeavor, and I’m not satisfied unless I win at the very highest level. That’s just the way I think.

Nobody cares that anyone is hurting, and I get that as well. My grandpa used to say “The world doesn’t care about labor pains – they only want to see the baby.” I don’t have a baby to show and that puts me in a precarious position. I won’t be happy until I do, and that’s why I’m frustrated.

I feel like I have so much to give, but most of it is still inside. If I didn’t have to keep worrying about bills every month I could devote more to what I feel I was born to do. Driving 500 miles to entertain 14 people in a sports bar on a Thursday night isn’t it. Time to aim far higher – but how?

I really don’t have a clue. It sure would be nice to get a subsidy from somewhere, but I have no idea how to look for that either. Are there any available grants for artists? Were there ever any to be had in the first place? Am I an artist at all, or just some delusional lunatic with a pipe dream?

I guess it all remains to be seen, but one thing I know I need to do is press on. Even though it’s not comfortable, and even though right now I don’t feel like it in the least – that’s the right call. I have more than a little experience in being in this position before, so it’s not like it’s new ground.

Tomorrow is a new day, and I’m going to get back out there and start making calls and sending out avails and start the whole process over. It’s the last thing I want to do, but the first thing I am going to do because that’s how a winner would react. I’m in the depths of the dumpster, but that doesn’t mean I have to stay there forever. Three months ago I was riding high. Who says I can’t be even higher three months from now? Or, I could be dead. In this life, there are no guarantees.

After thinking and rethinking about all of this to the point of exhaustion, I have concluded that there are only three things that truly matter – pleasing one’s self, doing one’s best every day and showing kindness to as many others as possible. That’s it. Everything else is meaningless fluff.

That’s a simple formula, but “simple” should never be confused with “easy”. The Golden Rule is very simple, but how many fail to practice that? How much more could things be broken down so even the biggest of idiots can grasp the concept? How about just two little words? “Be good.”

Shouldn’t that be the main goal for us all? I know it is for me and always has been, and even if I blow it – which I often do – it’s always the point of reboot. Being good starts with surrounding one’s self with good people and I’ve been a collector of those for years. I’ve compiled a fine lot.

Several have reached out in the last few days, and I was delighted to hear from them all. One of many tendencies I could improve greatly upon is reaching out when I’m at a sticking point rather than holing up like a gopher, but I have a hard time bothering friends. They have their own lives.

Dave Metcalfe is a comedian friend of mine from Utah, and a very funny guy. We met several years ago when I lived out there, but I had no idea he not only followed my blog regularly but is also a fellow dented can. His story is much more dramatic than mine, and that says a lot. I had no idea I had touched his life at all other than trying to be friendly whenever we would cross paths.

Actually, Dave’s wife wrote and thanked me for being kind to Dave and said he had been a fan of mine for years even though we hadn’t crossed paths in a while. Then Dave wrote himself and reiterated what his wife said. How flattering is it that I could touch someone without realizing it?

Dave is a funny cat, and his story is fascinating. Check him out on You Tube being interviewed by Kevin Nealon at . I would gladly work with him anytime, and I hope we do sooner than later. His reaching out really made me feel appreciated.

Another top of the line human that happens to be loaded with talent is James R. Zingelman aka ‘Comedy Hypnotist Rusty Z’. There’s another guy I met years ago that impressed me right away. He’s yet another reader I had no idea I had, and he has made some very kind comments of late.

One recent one that said it all in just a few words was “You’re not alone, Dobie.” Now I could get technical and say with a contraction divided into two words the total word count is five. Why make it an issue either way? The point is he took time to send needed words of encouragement.

My brother Bruce took the time to send some encouraging words too. How surreal is that? It’s taken decades to patch up that relationship, and seeing that was like the first tulip sprouting up at Nagasaki. What a dramatic example of hope for the future it is, and I couldn’t appreciate it more.

I think the world of the Dave Metcalfes and Rusty Zs of the world and so many more that have crossed my path through the years. I thank them for their kindness, and hope I can return it many times over not only to them but to those that can’t return it. Kindness is always worth the effort.

The Golden Rule is apparently not simple enough for some people. How about 'Be good'? Simple enough?

The Golden Rule is apparently not simple enough for some people. How about just ‘Be good’? Is that simple enough?

Dave Metcalfe is a very funny comedian from Utah. Find him on You Tube.

Dave Metcalfe is a very funny comedian (and dented can) from Utah. He’s on You Tube

James R. Zingelman aka Comedy Hypnotist Rusty Z is also a big time talent.

James R. Zingelman aka Comedy Hypnotist Rusty Z is also a big time talent, not to mention a good soul.


The Uphill Journey

November 20, 2013

Tuesday November 19th, 2013 – Rosemont, IL

I have a full week of quality work this week, and I couldn’t be happier. This is how every week used to be, and it was like that for so long I got used to it and assumed it would never end. That’s pretty stupid, but I wasn’t the only one. There are a lot of road comics in the same sinking boat.

It’s getting harder and harder to stay booked every week, and less and less comedians are doing it. I personally know comedians who have been at it longer than I have and have more TV credits and they’re working less than I am. It’s getting rough out there, and having a steady run is sweet.

November has been pleasantly busy, and I have some better paying work lined up in December with a run of “Schlitz Happened!” at the Northern Lights Theatre in Milwaukee along with a few holiday parties that have come up lately. Hopefully a few more will pop up, and they just might.

People book their parties late, and some companies even postpone until January. My January is looking ok, but after that it’s a snow white calendar. That’s never good, but something will come up as it always does. I just wish I could snag a stretch of high paid work that would last a while.

A radio gig would be great, and I’ve been pushing that of late. Art Bell has quit his new show on XM Sirius apparently, and word has it they are looking for a replacement. I know I could hit a home run with a gig like that, but I have to convince someone at Sirius. My old radio ally Kipper McGee happens to know a few people over there, and said he’d at least find out what he could.

The point is that the process of looking for work and keeping income flowing inward is never ending. The last several weeks have been good, as is this week. Next week isn’t so hot, and so it goes. Months are like that and so are years. After it’s all added up, self employment is unstable.

Tonight’s assignment was hosting the ’10 Comedians for $10’ show at Zanies Comedy Club in Rosemont, IL. It’s a lot like the Rising Star Showcase at the Chicago Zanies in that there are a lot of acts trying to work their way up the ranks and make it to that elusive ‘next level’. Not all do it.

It’s not always a matter of talent either. It’s a giant numbers game, and there are only so many spots available. The supply greatly outnumbers the demand, and it becomes a log jam. I’ve been lucky to have been on the right end of this particular version of it, but it’s a game I play as well.

A lot of rejection is involved in this game, so I always try to go out of my way to be friendly to the people showcasing. I give them a larger than life stellar introduction, and get the audience to focus on the stage as much as possible. Not every host does that, and it makes the acts feel good.

It’s really not all that difficult to treat people with respect, and I always find it worth the effort. It’s exactly how I’d like to be treated, but too often am not. It’s the old Golden Rule in action and living proof being nice can make a tangible difference. I find it important to set a good example.

It’s funny how the showcasers look at me like I have some kind of power because I’m ‘in’ with Zanies. I’m out there struggling week to week just like them, just on a different level. I hope they aren’t thinking it gets any easier, as it never does. An entertainer’s journey always travels uphill.

The entertainer's road always travels uphill.

The entertainer’s road always travels uphill.

Time Well Spent

October 1, 2013

Saturday September 28th, 2013 – Buffalo Grove, IL

No matter what anyone’s religious beliefs happen to be, there are a few concepts that fit in well across the board in all circumstances. These are not necessarily based in religion at all, but rather common sense principles that should be practiced by everyone who draws breath on this planet.

The Golden Rule is high on top of this list in my opinion. What a fantastic idea, and even more fantastic when it gets carried out. It doesn’t take any religious affiliation to practice this concept, and it’s a mystery to me why more people don’t do it. A wonderful world it would be if they did.

Tithing is another. That means to give at least ten percent of one’s income away to help others. This concept often gets abused on both sides. Givers try to weasel out of it, and takers view it as a bottomless party fund. Discretion needs to be used, but when it is tithing is good for everyone.

My grandfather wasn’t religious at all, but he taught me both of these concepts at an early age. I’m so glad he did, as they have both done me extremely well. The Golden Rule isn’t difficult to practice once one gets into the habit, and I’ve been doing it since childhood. I do slip up once in a while as we all do, but as a whole I think I’ve done pretty well. It has been a priority in my life.

Tithing has also been rewarding to the highest degree, and it’s not always money. Sometimes if I’m running lean I’ll make a point to donate 10% of my time instead. When times are good I will even do both. Giving has become a habit, and I’ve never regretted any time I’ve had the chance.

Today I had the chance to participate in a charity event for the American Diabetes Association. It was a four mile walk in Buffalo Grove, IL and I really had fun. My friend Marc Schultz called to ask if I wanted to walk with him and his family, and of course I said yes. Marc was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2012, the year after I was. It was a natural fit that we both did this walk.

Charity events always attract an upbeat group of people, and that alone makes it worth my time to show up. I’ve never once seen a fight break out, and that’s beyond refreshing. Everyone is laid back, and there are usually people of all races there who have lost someone to whatever disease.

Everyone involved is polite, friendly and courteous, and there’s always a good vibe associated with the entire event. Today was no exception, and the weather happened to be outstanding so it was an absolutely perfect day. If I had my way, I’d participate in a charity every single weekend.

One of my grandfather’s favorite quotes was from Abraham Lincoln who said “No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.” I realize everyone with type 2 diabetes isn’t a child, but the principle still holds true. Making the effort to help is never wasted, and I will always show up whenever possible. Without that, what is the purpose of life? Helping others is the highest honor.

If more people would make charity work part of their lives, it would dramatically improve life on so many levels. There wouldn’t be time to squabble about insignificant things – and it’s ALL insignificant if it doesn’t help others, at least in my opinion. I don’t think I’m better than anyone else, but when I participate in events like this it makes me feel like I’m doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. At the end of the day, it always feels like I received far more than I gave.

It was worth every step of today's four mile walk to be able to help the cause.

It was worth every step of today’s four mile walk to be able to help the cause.