The Sixth Anniversary Sense
Six years. Huh.
Anybody here been around since the Fortune City
days? Really? By all means, have a little something from the Leftover
Halloween Bowl. I sure don't need any of it.
So I've been scarce for a while. Some of you have
even been nice enough to ask why. Since this space has often served
more as a recap of where I am in my life, rather than the site's
accomplishments (not so many this year, but a special thanks to
all you newcomers who took the time to write and serve me up a much-needed
ego boost), I suppose an explanation is in order.
I got old.
Yes, you are likely saying, Doc, you always complain
that you're old. Aren't you used to it by now?
Well, that's kinda the point.
Contract labor is a notoriously spotty thing; earlier
this year, I was hired by a local theater to direct a children's
show. You may snicker or gawp, but I used to do this quite a lot;
I'm good at it. I largely gave up theater to be around for
my boy's early childhood, and this production was my entrée
back into that particular world. Perfect show to get my sea
legs back, too, with only four actors to worry about.
As rehearsals were ready to gear up, one of my actors
was offered a job with Cirque de Soleil. And for some reason he
felt that employment with an internationally recognized troupe was
preferable to stage time at a small regional theatre. Go figure.
In any case, his role was fairly small, and having
nothing else on the job books for the next six weeks, I took over
the part. Hey, in this business, a steady paycheck for six weeks
is a very tasty carrot on a very short stick.
So. The show opens, and is quite successful. Very
very successful. Three shows a day, six days a week successful.
Now, I tend toward the physical in my comedy and directing. No problem
for my actors, all twenty-somethings in good shape. Ah, but myself,
At the end of the first week, I was walking across
stage, just walking across the stage, mind you now, when
I felt the soft pop in my knee and felt the line of pain
shoot down and then back my leg to my brain. Oh, hell.
Now, at most gatherings, I am made obvious by the
cane I carry, a legacy from a major auto accident back in the 80s
(exacerbated by a Lon Chaney self-torture stint as Long John Silver,
but that's another story). Over the last couple of years, I'd been
getting much stronger, to the point where I was doing without the
crutch. Walked over much of New Orlean's French Quarter with it
folded up in my wife's bag, just in case. Met Joe Opposable
Thumb Films Bannerman at Hobby Airport for a brief layover,
unencumbered by cane. (To my eternal shame, when he commented on
my lack of prop, I did not have the snap to shout, "Mein Fuehrer!
I can VALK!!!")
My ambulatory nature was likely due to the fact
that, when I finally bought a house (one-fifteenth mine, as of last
month), it had two stories. Having to walk up a flight of stairs
to get to my computer and bed had a strengthening effect.
Ah, but therein lies the pitfall to my sudden re-crippling:
the stairs. Stairs were once again my nemesis and this time,
it looks like they always will be But it quickly became clear
that going up or down them was now such an ordeal that whichever
floor was my destination, I was staying there for a while. No trotting
upstairs for a quick peek in at the B-Movie
Message Board. No running downstairs for a quick snack because
I was writing and had forgotten to eat lunch. No quick anything,
With the re-crippling came an almost inevitable
depression. Not only due to mundane things like still being contractually
obligated to finish the show (accomplished by dint of knee braces,
Ibuprofen, and re-blocking), or forcing my geriatric lawn mower
and stiff, groaning body to mow the yard one more time (my Home
Owner's Association and I have a relationship roughly equivalent
to that of Palestine and Israel), but there was also a deeper line
of black running down into the depths of my soul.
It was very clear I wasn't bouncing back from this
in a week or two, or even a month or two, and this led to a startling
revelation. It's a joke, how old I am in the company I usually keep
around these parts, people ten, fifteen, twenty years younger
than myself. If I had been more of a ladies' man, I could be the
father of some of you. I've been saying "I'm not getting any younger"
for some time now. This time it was hammered home to me that I'm
also getting older. There is a difference. Not getting younger,
yeah, okay. No more acne, don't get carded for booze, you actually
think about things like school bonds. Older on the other
hand, that's bad. That means decay, debilitation and the fact that
there are things you simply can't do anymore. Ever.
That's a profound, life-altering moment, having
your mortality hit you in the face like a bag of railroad spikes.
It produced one of those funks where you ask yourself What the
hell am I doing? And why the hell am I doing it? What have I accomplished?
What do I have to show for all this?
And suddenly it occurs to you that this must be
that Mid-Life Crisis thing you've heard so much about.
So that's what it's all about! Having the
concept of old age and eventual death move from the abstract into
the concrete. Hell, why didn't they just say so, instead of dressing
it up in psycho-babble? I might have been a little better prepared.
(I'm lying, of course. I was still twenty years old and bulletproof
in my head before this happened)
Buying a red Ferrari was rather beyond my means,
not to mention my credit rating, so I bought a Gameboy
Advance instead. Final
Fantasy Tactics Advance, incidentally, rules.
But another of the side-effects of the soul-searching
(nope, still haven't found it) and the enforced separation from
the computer was the realization of how much time I was not
spending with my family, but was instead receiving an anti-tan from
my computer monitor. The was reinforced by a recent tragedy on the
BMMB, and I realized that situation had to change.
Another effect of the depression had to do with
old, old feelings I had about the Net, exacerbated by the deep,
dark place I found myself. I've never liked the way anonymity gives
rise to puerile behavior and displays of outright, naked hatred;
I've grown to loathe the automatic nay-saying and hip cynical posturing
by self-proclaimed misanthropes who do not have a fraction of the
life experience true misanthropy requires. Most places on the Web
are like being trapped in a room full of teenagers, all haughtily
trying to establish their maturity by their universal disdain and
inability to describe anything they don't like in less than apocalyptic
terms. Well, come to think of it, most of them probably are
roomfuls of teenagers, but that only underscores the fact that I
have, in fact, become a middle-aged man and old fogey. My Gameboy
Advance and collection of Chemical Brothers and Rob Zombie notwithstanding.
I've started coming back, somewhat. Returned, however
sporadically, to my duties as moderator at the BMMB (hello, old
friends); it, the other B-Masters
sites and FARK.com are about
the only places I care to visit anymore (and that likely because
I avoid the forums at Fark). I used to watch two or three movies
a week. I watched maybe three movies in the entire month of October.
I'm afraid this entry doesn't have a very strong
ending, simply because I have no idea where things are going, and
what shape my life will take. I've taken on a new job as a salesman,
despite the fact that I suck at sales, simply trying to wreak some
change into the stony strata into which my existence has reified.
Will I write again for the BMR? Certainly. I just can't tell you
when. Hopefully soon.
Ha! Heard that before, haven't you? Psych!