Friday, May 27, 2016

The Tao of Lion-O

So. This is how not meditating is like ThunderCats:

I watched a lot of ThunderCats in the late 80's. I was in my late 20's, so I don't think I was their target demographic, but the show came on between college classes and work, and, well, Cheetara.

The cats' main adversary was Mumm-Ra, an egyptian-style mummy who would transform from a desiccated figure straight from the sarcophagus to a freakishly-muscled mastermind who brought the fighting felines to the edge of ghastly defeat many times.

Sometimes, in the ThunderCats' most desperate moments, the wise mentor-ghost Jaga would appear to Lion-O (the team's leader), and remind him that if Mumm-Ra were to catch a glimpse of his reflection he would immediately whither down to his barely-animated mummy incarnation. Lion-O would find a way to show the dude a mirror, and game over.

...and I thought, "if you were fighting this guy all the time, wouldn't you maybe make a point of remembering that?"

And that's where the mediation comes in. There is nothing I do for my health that requires as little money, time, equipment and space but provides as much benefit as mediation. For some reason, though, I go years without setting aside the time to do it or even remembering its value.

I mean, JEEZ -- I run! I do pushups! I take stairs and ride a bike when I can! But a few minutes in a quite room doing nothing (or at least as close to nothing as possible), THAT's the thing that makes me shrug and say "meh -- I'll get around to it some day..."

I wonder if Jaga's available. I mean surely, Lion-O's got his "show the freaking mummy his reflection, for god's sake" habit in place by now. 

I need you Jaga. Help a cat out.

Friday, December 25, 2015

If you're wondering why those tales of my adventures in no-day-job comedy never showed up, it's because I went to back to work a month and a half later. The new job (at the same place) is more in line with my strengths, so I believe I'll be able to do it as hard as I can while I'm there and forget about it when I leave, meaning it and comedy won't have to duke it out.

I'm still a comic. Well. A comic with health insurance. Does that count?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Furniture Salesman No More!

So, this happened last week.
I left a job I'd held for 18 years, a lot of good friends, and a sense of security behind for an uncertain future. It was necessary for me to leave for complicated reasons (not all of which I'll share), but suffice it to say it was my call, on good terms and unavoidable.  
And now I'm out on this ledge, ready to pursue a career in comedy. And I keep thinking of Pauley's question when 60-year-old Rocky Balboa told him he'd be boxing again: "what -- you don't think you've peaked?"
I'm going to make it work. I'll either make my living making strangers laugh, or I'm going to make just enough money at a day job somewhere to make it work. What I'm not going to do is take a career that demands all my time and attention. If I work outside comedy, I'll be working to shore up the bills and support stand-up, not "doing comedy in my spare time."
It's scary. Fun. Uncertain. Fulfilling. And I'll be telling you about it here. Watch this space, and we'll cover the adventures of an ex-furniture salesman.
...because I haven't peaked. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

God damn it.

Family Research Council and innumerable others warned about this, and it has come to pass. The Supreme Court has failed to defend my "traditional" marriage, and now it is meaningless.

That January day in 1986 when my wife and I stood in front of a Greenville, NC magistrate and said tearful vows in front of two impromptu witnesses (another magistrate and a parking ticket lady) -- disappeared.

The time she called me with the news she'd felt our first baby move for the first time (she was at home watching Overboard, and I took the call at a Kmart service desk, in those days before cell phones) -- nothing.

Celebrating each other's triumphs and bolstering each other during failures, holding hands at tense hospital times, laughing at family in-jokes that no one else will ever get -- gone.

All of it gone.

Swept away by an activist court's evil choice to give same-sex couples a shot at those same experiences and memories.

You bastards. You should have defended my marriage. From the gays. And their gay "marriage wiping out" powers.

Now it's all over.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Laid-Back Hypochondria

I was bicycling in very cold weather recently, so I was wearing the assortment of layers and accessories necessary when your workout creates a personal wind-chill factor. I work hard during my bike rides, trying to keep my heart rate above 150 for at least a half hour.

Halfway through my ride, I noticed my right eyelid was drooping. I rubbed my eye a little, hoping the sagging would go away with a little massage, but no luck.

I thought about possible causes. I kicked around stroke and Bell's Palsy. I remembered the Ptosis that caused Stallone's drooping lids. I wondered if this was one of those seemingly-unrelated symptoms you have when you have a heart attack, like shooting pains in your arms.

I mulled it over for the rest of my ride and made up my mind to Google the condition and send my doctor a note.

As I was taking off gear, though, the condition went away. A little experimentation revealed that the headband that covers my ears on colder rides was pushing my brow downward, creating a little slack in my eyelid. Cured.

I'm not really surprised by my hypochondria. I've met me, and that's completely consistent with my past experience with myself. What surprises me is my completely nonplused attitude. I didn't react with "OH MY GOD, I'M HAVING A STROKE!", or "IT'S A HEART ATTACK!" My response was "crap. I have to deal with this now."

Ten-year-old me would have mixed feelings. I would have been appalled to learn that I'd grow up to be afraid a simple bike ride would take me down, but I think I'd have had a sense of pride at the manly way I faced that perceived mortal threat.

That's at least a little bit like being Batman, isn't it?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Nice Sweatshirt

Last night I slept in a Columbia motel that met my four comedy criteria: cheap, clean, safe, and wifi.

The night manager was wearing a heavy, tight-weave sweatshirt with an embroidered Louis L'Amour logo, so I asked him about it. Turns out his father couldn't read, and the only books that held his father's interest were L'Amour's westerns, so he used the books to teach his dad to read. The shirt... was a rare collectible -- one of only 18 ever made -- the man had bought for his dad, so when his dad died, he got it in the inheritance.

When I opined that a shirt like that probably means a lot to a guy, he said "yeah, and it's really warm, too."

If I'd spent $300 on a Westin room (let's pretend I have that kind of money), I would have had a pleasant, well-managed experience identical to the stay any other Westin would offer. I'd have missed paint-over-plywood repairs, splitting caulk and old (but clean) carpet.

I'd also have missed that story.