Posts Tagged ‘universe’

Scratching And Clawing

April 16, 2014

Monday April 14th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I don’t often give myself credit for a lot of things, but one thing I have always been able to do better than almost anyone is absorb an inordinate amount of life’s punches. I have had more than the average journeyman’s share of lumps to take starting from my earliest memories, and it’s not getting any easier. I know everyone has their own batch of problems, but not many are like mine.

I have never thought I was better than anyone else and I still don’t, but I do think that I’ve been able to last longer in the line of fire than almost anyone I know. It’s a wonder I am not constantly sucking a crack pipe or guzzling moonshine by the jug. Had I gone that route, I would be dead.

Sometimes when I’ve been at my lowest points, I would get a giddy feeling of impenetrability that made me feel like Superman’s big brother. I would laugh at everything that was crumbling around me, and march through the rubble to continue my journey. “Is THAT all ya got, life?”

Then there were other times that for no reason I’d just turn into a giant ball of nerve endings of the most sensitive kind, and any little thing would cause severe pain and agony. All I would want is to curl up in the fetal position and go to sleep for eternity. There has rarely been an in between.

At the moment, I’m feeling the in between. Part of me doesn’t care if I live or die this very day, but another part of me is laughing inside and mocking life for thinking it can defeat me. It’s quite an odd mix I admit, but it’s what I feel. It’s like I’m caught in between gears and stuck in neutral.

Inside there’s a lost little boy cluelessly wandering through life all by himself like he’s gotten left behind in a big Kmart and can’t find his parents or anyone to ask to make an announcement to look for them. It’s intimidating as hell, and I have no idea if I’ll ever find my way to safety.

There’s also a bad ass ape like creature in there that could stomp The Incredible Hulk in a fight with one arm tied behind his back. He is not afraid of man or beast, and has a crystal clear vision of what he wants and where he wants to go. He’s sitting alone in a cage, just waiting to cut loose.

All he needs is an invitation, but that’s the problem. Very few seem to know or care that he’s in there, and even though he would never do any harm those few that do seem to be deathly afraid of having him anywhere around. So there he sits, loaded with potential – but not using any of it.

I guess I’m just suffering from a total shortage of self esteem. Everyone wants to feel wanted by somebody, and I’m just not feeling it from anywhere right now. I scratch and claw furiously each week to barely stay afloat, and as humbling as it is to accept the world is not waiting on pins and needles for the King of Uranus to arrive. I’m going to have to scratch and claw that into life also.

Scratching and clawing is not what I want to be doing right now. Creating and enjoying would be much more to my liking. I’ve suffered enough – at least in my mind. At least a short run in the sun should be in order, shouldn’t it? I’ve hung in there this long, it would be a total shame not to score my payoff. I could really use a little shot in the arm from the universe right now. I’m tired.

Sometimes even now I feel like a lost little boy wandering through life with no direction or guidance.

Sometimes I feel like a lost little boy wandering through life without any direction or guidance.

Other times I feel like I'm bullet proof and can take anything life can dish out.

Other times I feel like I’m bullet proof and can absorb absolutely anything life can dish out.

It sure would be nice not to have to scratch and claw my way through each and every week. How about some relief soon?

It sure would be nice not to have to scratch and claw my way through each and every week. How about some relief soon?

Two Months Torched

March 1, 2014

Friday February 28th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

It’s hard to believe two months of 2014 are gone already, but they are. Wow. Now I’m starting to see how the universe can be billions of years old. The clock keeps ticking no matter what, and nothing can stop it. First it’s the big bang, and before everybody knows it stars start burning out.

If I am ever going to do anything significant with my life, this would be the time to kick things into high gear. Time isn’t promised to any of us, and that universal clock is ticking against us all. I thought I had been putting my time in wisely in 2014, but I look up and tomorrow is March 1st.

It would be March 1st even if I didn’t put my time in wisely, and that’s part of the problem. I’m doing pretty well this year, but it’s the 25 or so before this one that have left me hog tied. I didn’t have nearly the focus and direction I feel now, and I’m paying for it. Everything has a price tag.

I’m still on my marketing kick, and will be for the foreseeable future. It’s going to have to be a lot more than a kick to make a difference though, but I’m in it for the long haul. I feel I’m on the right road, but so far behind the pack I’ll have to buy rocket powered roller skates to catch up.

All I’m looking to do is establish a reliable source of income that will let me not have to worry about paying my bills each and every month to the point of exhaustion. Tomorrow starts another new month, and I still find myself scratching and clawing to come up with the rent. It gets old.

I’ve been working extra hard at learning about all things marketing, which includes subscribing to several online newsletters written by guru types I’d never heard of until recently. A lot of their information seems legit, but other parts are pie in the sky insanity that’s way too good to be true.

Multi level marketing is the same way. I’m sure someone has made a million dollars in Amway or Mary Kay, but the majority of people that get in it fail miserably. They haul out the diamonds and pink Cadillacs to sign people up, but nobody ever wants to admit there’s more to it than that.

The same is true with what I’m trying to do. I get blasted every day with emails that say things like “INCREASE YOUR MONTHLY INCOME BY $25,000”. Great! Then I’ll have $25,500. Seriously, it sounds good but it isn’t realistic. It takes baby steps to get things rolling properly.

It’s just like those weight loss claims where people say they lost 58 pounds in four days from drinking milkshakes laced with sawdust and chalk water. It’s not realistic to expect such miracles overnight, and I’m absolutely not. I just want to establish a pattern that eventually turns a buck.

Realistically, I’d like to be booked as many weeks as I can working decent venues that can pay a living wage. If it’s a comedy club or corporate function it’s not important right now. Both will work at the moment, and having back of the room merchandise to sell should be ready as well. If I can pull that off consistently – and I’m close – then I’ll be able to go after the $25,000 months.

All these things take time unfortunately. I got myself in some financial trouble, but it could not be avoided. I had health issues in 2011, and I had to spend my savings on living expenses. Now I have an IRS bill to pay off and credit card debt. That slows it down even more. Welcome to life.

Actually, welcome to existence. Life would be so much more – at least in my vision of it. Life would be having the financial machine well oiled and running so smoothly I wouldn’t even think about it. I’d have my bills and living expenses handled every month, and be able to invest all my energy into making life better for others. THAT would be living to me, and I crave it every day.

I have flashes here and there, especially when I’m on stage or on the air. That’s when I feel like I’m living, and not just existing. I feel like I’m making a positive contribution to the collective of humankind, and that’s how I always thought life should be. Then I get off stage and into my ratty old car to do 23 hours of living a cockroach life until my next time on stage or air – if I’m lucky.

That’s just not acceptable, and I’m going to fight it until I win or die trying. Some people have trust funds or people that leave them something in a will. I won’t have that option, so why waste time thinking about it? Everyone that could have died and left me money has now checked out.

I’m not looking for a handout or a free ride. I’m fine with earning it, and in fact I’d rather make my own way. That’s what I’ve always wanted. I had flashes of it when I had radio jobs, but then it ended and I’d be back into cockroach mode. After all this angst, I just crave a bit of stability.

That’s why I’m so interested in marketing. Marketing makes MONEY – at least it does when it gets executed properly. The people that have amassed fortunes have had one teeny weeny thing I have lacked for so long – a solid battle plan. That’s what I’m putting together, and it’s working.

I just have to give it time to manifest itself and keep growing. I get up every day and work on it a little more, and I’m also slowly incorporating others into the mix as well. I’ve got my days full from early morning to early the next morning, and that’s making them disappear even quicker. It went from “Thanksgiving is coming soon” to “It’s March 1st already” at all time record speed.

I have more on my plate now than I ever have, and I think about how to manage it better every single day. I’m enjoying what I’m doing, but I’m still struggling with financial things. Taxes are due soon, and that’s another smoldering nightmare in waiting. I never enjoy slaying that dragon. I’m doing the best I can with the resources I have, but it never seems like it’s enough. It stinks.

At the very least, I’m proud of myself for giving the effort. I’m trying my best, and working on what one is weakest at is always the most difficult task. That’s the only way to improve, so that’s what I’m doing. Business has never been my forte, but I am throwing everything I have into it.

Marketing is a huge arena, but I’m not thinking huge right now. I want to get my newsletter out to the immediate people that can book me every month. We’ve gotten two out so far, and it was a major effort to accomplish that. Talk to me five years from now, and I’m envisioning it to be one of my strong suits. I picture my finances to be in immaculate order, and to be in excellent health.

I never had a picture like that in my head before – or any other one now that I think of it. I was too busy trying to make it to the next month to have a plan for the long term future. Now that I’m planning long term, the future is getting here faster than I expected. I was looking forward to the football games at Thanksgiving what seemed like days ago. Now it’s almost baseball season and I’m wondering where the time went. March 1st already? I can’t worry about it. I have work to do.

March 1st already? Where DOES the time go?

March 1st already? Where DOES the time go? Life’s clock never stops.

Comedy Competition

June 9, 2013

Friday June 7th, 2013 – Rosemont, IL

   If the universe isn’t going to give me a break, I have to go out and make my own. I don’t know why life has gotten to be so difficult right now, but it is. I need to rustle up some work, and that’s one of many cold realities of self employment. Had I opted to suckle the civil service teat like the majority of my family, I’d be able to coast through life collecting  a check. I chose another route.

   While that route may be much more scenic and interesting, there are also a lot more potholes to dodge. Being in business for one’s self is a severe test of endurance, and several skill sets have to be polished to make it all work. Each and every penny any entrepreneur makes is well deserved.

   It’s no secret that right about now I could use a steady stream of income. Four or five would be better, but I’ll settle for a solid trickle for now. I’m willing to work for it, and in fact I’d prefer an opportunity to just practice my craft and make an honest living. That’s been rather tough of late.

   Trying to make lemons out of lemonade, I signed up for the World Series of Comedy contest at Zanies in Rosemont, IL this weekend. I absolutely abhor comedy contests as a rule, and there are many legitimate reasons for it. They can be demeaning, degrading, dysfunctional, humiliating to the bone and almost always the only one who isn’t thoroughly pissed off afterward is the winner.

   Still, I need to get in front of some bookers and that’s what this contest is about. A guy named Joe Lowers out of Pittsburgh moved to Las Vegas and started it from scratch. I give Joe a double thumbs up and all the credit in the world for putting something this big together , and it has been growing every year since he started a few years back. He’s worked like a maniac and it shows.

   I have no qualms with Joe or anyone else at the World Series of Comedy. The grand prize is an opportunity to work about 50 weeks as a feature in several clubs across the country. I’m a strong headliner, but if I get in front of the bookers they’d see I’ve got the chops. I just want the chance.

   Since I was off this week, Zanies manager Cyndi Nelson suggested I enter the contest. She said they had an extra slot, and if I wanted it it was mine. I thought long and hard about it due to all of the horrific experiences I’ve had in the past, but I decided to give it a run. A chance is a chance.

   On this particular show, I drew slot number 7 out of 8 contestants. The others weren’t bad acts, but they weren’t headliners either. No offense to any of them, but I’ve got more road experience than probably all of them put together. I know how to read an audience and how to bring a show to the next level. I have a passing gear those guys don’t have, but it didn’t come without a price.

   I sacrificed everything to acquire that skill, so I absolutely expected to win the contest. I had an excellent spot, and the audience was with me the whole time. I took it up a notch, and since I had seven minutes I packed as much as I could into it and closed on a big pop. I knew I threw heat.

   At the end of the show they announce the winners, and I took first place tonight. I could see the looks of disappointment on the others’ faces, and I’ve been there myself. I went over to each one and complimented them on their act, and meant every word. I’ve been in their position too often.

   This is not a time to gloat or brag. I am very flattered I won tonight, but I should have won. I’m far more experienced than all of these guys, and I’ve earned it. All I want is to get some attention from bookers so I can get back out and earn my living. Tonight went great, but it’s not over yet.