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. 

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?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Sturtebaker

The Noble Sturtebaker. It's motto: "...and miles to go before I sleep."

Monday, June 9, 2014

New Cards and New Habit

I was in the audience at a show recently, and afterwards my friend, Kelly, and I were hanging out. We met a woman who, after finding out we both perform, asked for our cards.

Neither of us were packin'. When we both fumbled around in our wallets and explained we don't always have cards when we're not going to be on stage, she was shocked and said "always have cards -- no matter what!"

You know what? She's right. I'll still fill up my shirt pocket when I perform, but now I'll also have a couple in my wallet at all times.

Here's the new card, updated today with new website and QR on back:

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Laugh Your Asheville Off 2014

Just got the news: I'll be joining many terrific comics in August's Laugh Your Asheville Off Festival! 

I always love LYAO. A zillion very talented comics descend on our fair city and light up the town for a fun weekend. Stories are told, friendships are forged and memories are made -- all in my adopted hometown, so I don't have to travel to see it all!

The festival runs August 12-16, and when they become available you'll be able to get tickets at LYAO's website:

I look forward to seeing you there!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Oo oo oo. I wanna be like you oo oo.

At one of my high school reunions, an old friend asked me to dance a half dozen times over the evening. I kept telling her I can't dance, but I finally acquiesced and we took the floor. Halfway through the song, she pulled me off the floor, wagged her finger in my face and said, "your wife could TEACH you how to dance."

I've never understood dancing, and sometimes that bums me out.

When I say I don't understand dancing, I don't mean I don't understand why -- I SO do. Who wouldn't want to be part of this unabashed celebration of... well, just having a body. And being around bodies. And music. And people. And friendship, and sweat and love. It looks wonderful, and when people are dancing around me, I find myself staring until I realize I'm being creepy. And then maybe a little more.

No, I understand why folks dance. I just don't understand how. I'm sure I could figure out dances with steps like Swing or Tango; I'm reasonably agile and have some sense of my body in space. But that thing that people do. That beautiful thing. When they hear music and run to an open floor and shout and move and laugh without plan or doubt. That I can't do.

When people ask me to dance, it's kind of like if you were a spectator at the Olympics and someone did a spectacular parallel bar routine, and then it was suddenly your turn.

Here's what happens in my head when I try: 

Ok, gonna do it this time. It's ok, it's just dancing. Low stakes here. Nobody's watching me.

So, first off why don't I watch the other humans and try to do what they're doing. No, the male ones. What the fuck? Why are they all doing different stuff? That's not gonna work.

It can't be that complicated. The music has an organization system -- "beats," I gather -- if I can move one or more of my feet each time one of those "beats" goes off... What the fuck??? Why has each of my feet gained 30 pounds? Conservation of matter and energy alone should preclude that phenomenon...

Wait, I have a partner here. How's she doing? Oh, that's not good. She doesn't have that joyful, "lost in the moment" look I've observed on her in the past. She seems to have a "when's the moment gonna be over" look instead...

How. How do you do it. Somebody tell me, and I will fill your life with tokens of my gratitude. In the meantime, I'll be on the sidelines watching you in the least creepy way I can muster.