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TRACI SKENE has appeared on VH-1's Standup Spotlight, A&E's Comedy On The Road and Lifetime's Girls Night Out, all of which has done her absolutely no good.

Traci Skene


Traci Skene

SHECKYmagazine Chief

Eastern Standard

From the moment winter began on December 22, my husband has been counting the days until the beginning of spring. "It's 89 days!" he blurted out for no apparent reason. "Eighty-nine days until what?" I foolishly asked. "Eighty-nine days until the first day of spring!" He performs this little ritual calculation every year, yet each year I am caught off guard. Sometime around the end of January, I finally catch on to his vernal equinox countdown which, admittedly, makes his life much easier. By then, he can cut out the "It's" and the "days" parts and just say, "54." I nod knowingly and our lives move on until the next update.

He only began this eccentric practice when we moved back to New Jersey after a five-year stint in Los Angeles. Unlike New York transplants who make hating the City of Angels their life's work, we surrendered easily. Together we rolled over on our backs, pointed our bellies towards the sky and said, "Go ahead LA, give us good scratch!"

We absolutley loved sunny Southern California and the sunny part was just one of the reasons we were so enamoured of our adopted burg. In Los Angeles springtime is eternal. Each day is filled with fragrant flowers, flitting hummingbirds and endless possibilities. That is, of course, until your career comes to a screeching halt and the endless possiblities are replaced with a fear so paralyzing that you can no longer lift your head to appreciate the flora or the fauna.

The day we packed up our U-Haul and headed east was one of the saddest days of our lives. At the time, the comedy business had imploded and clubs were disappearing faster than a Dennis Quaid movie. A few comics were positioned to survive the crash, but we weren't two of the lucky ones. We fought the good fight, raised the white flag and retreated.

The next few years were an interesting mix of death, disappointment, disillusionment and demoralization. It seemed as if we were in a constant state of mourning. Together we mourned the loss of many of our loved ones and together we mourned the loss of our career in standup. We both became the stereotypical clown who is laughing on the outside, but crying on the inside. I've always despised the stereotypical emotionally damaged clown, yet here I was turning into one. Talk about depressing!

At the risk of sounding like Oprah Winfrey, we learned many important life lessons during those years, none of which I'll bore you with now. Perhaps the most important lesson we learned is that life always seems better in warm weather. ("Oh sure," you say, "Tell that to the folks in Somalia!") Relocating to a four-season, marine climate reminded me that my problems in May never seemed quite as bad as my problems in February. And living once again on the east coast reminded me that my problems in California never seemed quite as bad as my problems in New Jersey.

So, when my husband counts the days to the first day of spring, he's really counting the days until life will seem a bit easier. Either that or he just really hates the cold weather. Either that or he just does it to annoy me. Whatever the reason, once spring arrives, his countdown ends and my countdown begins...276 days 'til the first day of winter. HOME Back to the Top