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Back in March of 1999, when I sat down to write my very first
column for SHECKYmagazine.com on my Toshiba Satellite T1850C--otherwise
known as my crappy laptop--I decided to tell the cyber-world about a
comedy nightmare that I had been having for years. My reasons for
doing so were twofold: First I had hoped that by allowing my peers
to peek into my
psyche, they would in turn peek into their psyche and
we would form a common bond based purely on insecurity and fear.
Secondly, I thought that putting fingers to keyboard would be
cathartic and that perhaps once I exorcised these demons, the
dream would simply go away.
The response from my comedy brethren, I suppose, was to be
"What the hell have you been eating before you go to bed?,"
said as they backed away from me slowly. So much for bonding. But,
I'm happy to say, did stop. If this were baseball, I'd be
batting .500. Of course, if
this were baseball, I'd be making $2 million a year and
answering to the name "Sparky."
Why am I bringing this up now? Because here it is, almost
23 months later,
and once again, my nightime brain is being haunted. It started
a few weeks ago,
seems to be gaining momentum and, while this dream does not directly
revolve around standup comedy, my half-educated mind tells me that the
standup business is the reason for its existence.
Lately--I hate to admit it--I have been dreaming about being
beaten-up by thugs.
Somtimes it's by a large group, other times it's by a smaller
group of three or four
and once it was by a guy who alternately punched me in the face
and tickled me
while two of his friends looked on and laughed maniacally. (Ok,
you can stop
backing away slowly now!) The criminals in these dreams never
resemble anyone that I know during my waking hours. In fact,
they look ludicrously
like a group of actors out of central casting. They particulary
remind me of the
gang in that horrific 1979 movie "The Warriors" (at the time,
my teenage friends dragged me to it against my will). I still remember
sitting in the theater
and not being able to take my eyes off the actors' teeth. Here
was a group of
supposedly underprivledged youths and each had a blinding set
I kept thinking to myself, "These guys need to knock off a
liquor store a day
just to pay for their dental work."
It is this striking resemblance to Walter Hill's directorial
leads me to believe that these nightmares are a direct result of my
frustration with the comedy business. In other words, I'm feeling
pretty beat up these days, so why shouldn't I feel beat up when I
sleep. It makes me realize that I have to start
taking my search for inner peace a bit more seriously. But how
does a person
who is cynical by nature find
solace without losing my edge and turning into Oprah Winfrey?
I don't want to turn into Oprah Winfrey. First of all, I
couldn't take the
yo-yo dieting. I especially don't want to fall prey to that
Remember Your Spirit--Angel Network,
"Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus"
pseudo-cult nonsense. Self-help gurus make me nervous and
until one of them writes a book called "Ipecac® for the
Soul" I don't want to be part
of their weepy little world.
In all fairness, Ms. Winfrey has made one suggestion in
the past that I find
quite sensible. She suggests that everyone keep a
into which you daily enter a list of things for which
you are grateful. I don't
like the name "gratitude journal." It sounds too, well,
too Oprah-esque. I've decided to call mine an attitude
instead of writing in it daily, I turn to it on a weekly
basis. My hope is that I'll
eliminate the negative and start to accentuate the positive.
So far, it seems to be working. I find that when I list
accomplishments from the previous week, I spend less time obsessing
over the cancelled gig or the bounced check and more time congratulating
myself on my progress. I can then carry that positive outlook
over to the next
piece of business. This way, while I am trying to convince
other people that I
am wonderful, I can simultaneously convince myself. I guess
I'm trying to
impress myself with my own life resumé.
Admittedly, I still can't get myself to write anything
sappy in my attitude
journal such as "Today I enjoyed the laughter of a child,"
I think I ever will. But, I'm hoping that with dilligence, I
will be able to regain the perspective that I once had.
I don't expect a quick fix, but I have to start somewhere.
The other day, I decided to take a nap in the middle of the afternoon. (There's one for the attitude journal!) Three minutes into sleeping, I dreamt that someone threw me out of a plane. Like I said, this is going to take awhile.
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