Posts Tagged ‘Traci Skene’

Still Working It All Out

September 25, 2010

Friday September 24th, 2010 – Las Vegas, NV

Had a bit of a detour today, but I’m not upset. This was supposed to be the ultimate day for networking, the highlight of the entire trip. There’s a meeting place at Hooters here in town for all working comedians who want to gather and it’s called “The Fryer’s Club”.

That’s a clever takeoff on the legendary Friar’s Club in New York, where comedians of past generations used to gather. I’ve heard about the tradition in Las Vegas and was going to attend with some comedian friends, but just as I was about to leave I got a call from my friend Dan Still informing me he’d just lost his day job and his life was in a major funk.

I’ve known Dan for twenty years, and there are few with a heart as big as his. He’s from Milwaukee, and decided to come out and test the waters of the contest in Las Vegas. I had no idea he’d be coming out here, and was glad to see him when he showed up Tuesday.

Dan tries harder than just about anyone I’ve ever met. He’s sincere, trustworthy, loyal to a fault and has a work ethic of a coked up mule. That guy will show up and keep plugging and slugging until the job is done – whatever it may be. He knows computers, machinery, auto and home repair and just about anything else you can think of. The guy is brilliant.

He’s similar to me in that he has a tendency to put people off at first, but after a while a person can’t help liking him. He’s kind and generous and I’ve always thought he was way underappreciated in the comedy world. He does second and third rate gigs because he has poor business and salesmanship skills, as do a lot of talented people. He deserves better.

He can do several celebrity voices dead on, and he always gives everything he’s got in a live show. I think the world of the guy and always have, and it pained me to see him in as much pain as he was. His wife has had some health issues and he needs a job to help get a handle on them. All he wants is a fair chance to work for a living wage to pay his bills.

Apparently his new employer didn’t agree, and now he’s out on his ass. What’s worse is Dan happened to lose an eye during his high school years. It’s funny to make jokes about stuff like that until someone really has to deal with it. Dan has been dealing with it for all the years I’ve known him, and I’ve never ONCE heard the guy complain. He’s a trooper.

What I do see is a guy who helps anyone and everyone, is honest as the day is long, and gets as little in return as anyone I’ve ever seen. I thought I was Mr. Lucky, but Dan has an life obstacle I hope I never have to experience. My respect for him is deep and sincere. He knows what pain and suffering are all about. My little life woes pale in comparison to his.

When a guy like that calls all bummed out, a schmoozing session can wait – even if it’s in Las Vegas with bigwigs. They can keep their wigs on another night and hopefully they can meet me another time. To me, sitting with a friend in need is much more important. I do have a heart, and know what it’s like to suffer myself. Dan was grateful I came, and it felt good to be there when a guy needed someone to talk to. Kindness is a noble pursuit.

To me, showing kindness is the only true pursuit that’s worthwhile in all of life. All else pales in comparison, and I’m ashamed of myself for failing as often as I have. I’d think by now I’d have things figured out, but I still blow all too often and that sure is frustrating.

An act of kindness shown to someone lasts forever. Dan was really bummed out tonight but he told me of things I allegedly did and said twenty years ago that he still remembers, and thanked me all over again. Quite honestly, I didn’t remember but Dan certainly did.

Dan is a kind soul himself and has helped me on many occasions over the years. I have a lot of kind souls in my circle like my cousin Brett and my friend Tim Marszalkowski in Michigan and a whole lot more that if I took time to list would look like a phone book.

These are the people that make me keep the gun out of my mouth every day. Hopefully I have shown enough kindness back to have earned my keep in my little time here on this ugly mean spirited planet full of hate and stupidity. Unfortunately, I’ve thrown my share of that around too, and I deeply regret it. That’s not what I’m about, but some think I am.

I know there are more than a few that think I’m a flaming ass pustule. I try to be good to all I cross paths with, but sometimes clashes occur. I’m not perfect, and not claiming that I am, but I really regret when things go sour with people. That’s why when things get off course, I prefer to just amputate the relationship rather than continue firing live ammo.

Maybe it’s right and maybe it’s wrong, but I’m still learning. Ultimately, I never mean to hurt anyone’s feelings, but sometimes they’re just too damn stupid to realize that and I go off on a tangent. That doesn’t make anything right, and I need to learn to curtail that.

This kind of stuff is way deeper than the shallowness of show business. I’d rather be an upstanding human being who shows kindness than a shallow wank with only money and material things. I’m starting to see what’s really important in life and it’s not anything any store sells. It comes from within, and I’m just now getting in touch with that inner power.

Some people I’m never going to reach, at least not in this life plane. My siblings are out of touch and probably out of reach for good, as are Bob and Tom. I’ve really tried to offer sincere apologies to all those people, but they’re not up for taking it. Now I can’t do much more and the ball is way out of my court. If they hate me, so be it. I’m not out of friends.

I’ve got a lot of people I really like and respect that I got to hang with this week. Two of them were Brian McKim and Traci Skene from Shecky Magazine. It’s an online comedy magazine and they’re very good at it. I like Brian and Traci very much and we got to hang out and visit for a while this week. I also saw quite a few comics I hadn’t seen in a while.

The more I plug along in my life, the more I realize I’m doing a lot better than I thought I was. I have a thick list of friends, I work doing what I love and have for my entire adult life. I came to Vegas to network and schmooze, but it turns out I hung out with someone from all the way back in Milwaukee. That’s ok. It’s always good to show some kindness.