Sep 14 2017

I have an OFFICIAL Parental Advisory!

Yep, we did it!  Episode 1 of Brick Wit House is up and on display for all the world to hear!  We got approved on iTunes on Sunday, Stitcher on Tuesday and today we went up on Google Play.  Everything is falling right in line and Leo and I are already discussing the topic for Episode 2.

Admittedly, Episode 1 is kind of all over the place and fairly disorganized, I think it came out ok being that we were just trying to get it done before Irma did whatever she was gonna do around here and we had a hell of a good time recording it, but we’ve promised ourselves to stick to just a subject or two with each episode.

As for Irma, I personally came out pretty damn lucky.  I spent Sunday night in a shelter and it was quite the experience which I’d love to tell you ALL about, but I don’t want to ruin Episode 2 of our podcast, because I’ll describe it in fine detail there.

The storm came through here late Sunday night/early Monday morning and I didn’t hear a thing.  Upon waking up Monday morning, things didn’t look too bad out there so I went on home to find no damage and still had electricity.  As I said, pretty damn lucky.

That’s not to say nothing happened.  Somehow or another they decided that we should go back to work on Tuesday, which meant I got to drive a truck around St. Petersburg to see what happened on the coastal side.  As of this writing (Thursday Night) there are still a lot of people without power out that way and a whole lot of traffic lights were out even up until today.  Of course, a lot of the stuff I took out to deliver ended up coming back because businesses without power tend to stay closed.

I’ve seen several large trees that were downed and a few fences blown to pieces, but by and large, not really as much as I would have expected to see.  I haven’t seen a lot of flooding at this point and honestly, St Pete looks REALLY good considering what we thought we were looking at on Friday.

I can’t speak for the further South areas of the state, but I know from people that I am friends with down that way that everyone seems to have come out alright in the Miami and Sarasota areas too.  Some are only just getting their power back, but they seem to be in otherwise pretty good shape.

The Keys and USVI on the other hand seem to have been absolutely destroyed, but I’m going to leave the damage reports for those areas to someone more qualified and informed than I.  My thoughts are with everyone down that way.

Moving forward, I’m looking forward to doing a lot more work on the podcast.  I want to keep using this blog as my personal outlet and make Brick Wit House be a separate entity.  I did add a box in the sidebar on the right ———–> where you can listen to the most recent episode of the podcast right from here, but I hope you all will come and subscribe at the podcast listening device of your choice and at the Brick Wit House website.

Most importantly, if you have iTunes, please, please, PLEASE come over there and give us a 5 star review . . . even if you don’t listen to it on iTunes, but you have an iTunes account, take a few minutes to come over there and give us a 5 star review and it will help us get more and more visible to attract more and more listeners.

Also, folllow us on Twitter @brickwithouse to get regular updates on what we are doing and what is coming up!  Follow us on our Facebook Page too!

On our next episode, we’re going to talk about the aftermath of Irma and then get into Social Anxiety and how it has effected both of us.  Subscribe and come join us!!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2017/09/i-have-an-official-parental-advisory/

Sep 07 2017

I’m already tired of your shit, Irma!

There is nothing more annoying than preparing and planning and getting yourself all revved up for a new, maybe even life-changing adventure and having it completely screwed with by a new, maybe even life-changing catastrophic event.

This coming weekend was the intended release of our first podcast episode for Brick Wit House and Hurricane Irma is trying to . . . rain on my parade.

Sorry.

I’m sure by now most of you know I live in Florida.  Tampa to be precise and I’ve indicated my current location on the image above with a little purple dot.  (For those of you who have shitty monitors or are colorblind, it’s on the west side of the state, about halfway up.)

We may still record Episode 001 tomorrow (Friday) night.  We’re going to sit down and get our yap on in front of the mics tomorrow night.  Being the first episode and the general “off the cuff” approach we plan on taking with it, I’m sure there is going to be a large amount of editing that needs to be done to have it in any kind of shape to lay at iTunes feet for their approval.

Knowing that our little Irma Shitshow starts early Sunday morning in our part of the state, that may delay the release of the episode until well into next week or later.

Hell, we don’t even know if we’ll have power after Sunday, or for how long we’ll be without it.  Some areas of the state may be without power for months even, according to some predictions.

I’m going to stay here in Tampa although I’m not sure where yet.  There are three shelters within a couple of miles of me which may very well be where I end up.  Unless the storm slows down considerably between now and then, staying in the house I live in is not an option.

This storm is unquestionably dangerous and definitely of historical proportions, so while I will maintain my sense of humor about the situation as I am naturally inclined to do, by no means take that as an indication that I do not understand the scope and seriousness of the situation for everyone here in Florida and in particular those down in the Miami area that will take the full force of this storm right in the face.  I genuinely fear for what will be left behind in Miami on Monday morning.

For those of you that don’t live down here and are looking forward to hearing our premier, it’s coming and we are REALLY looking forward to recording it tomorrow night.  Hopefully, we’ll have an episode up that you can at least listen to from the website at www.brickwithouse.com even if it hasn’t cleared through the iTunes process yet.

Even with the delay, keep in mind that we are a bit preoccupied down here and I’ll probably have several posts written about the whole storm experience complete with pics in the next few weeks.

Follow us on Twitter @brickwithouse for regular updates about the storm and the episode.

Keep all of us in your thoughts this weekend as well as the people of Houston still trying to recover from Harvey.

(It just occurred to me that the only other time I have written about being in a hurricane, it was the same alphabetical storm 6 years ago . . . Hurricane Irene)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2017/09/im-already-tired-of-your-shit-irma/

Aug 21 2017

The Transition is Complete. Time to Podcast!

The mayhem of the move is over and I’m settling in at the new place just great.  Really nice place and I’m here by myself almost ALL the time, which, as you all know, it exactly how I like it.

3 years at Liz’s place, almost exactly.  3 years and a month.  So many things happened over those 3 years and I struggled through some rough times in the middle of it, but at the end of the story, my life has changed and improved because of the help and friendship that Liz gave me during this time.  There is nothing I could do to repay the generosity Liz showed to me.  The things I have learned and gained as a result, quite literally, saved my life.

As all things eventually do, the need to move on to a new chapter of our lives came, and here I am, a resident of Valrico, Florida while Liz begins her new chapter as a Georgia resident, and The Boy . . . he’s out on his own now too.  He’s living near the USF campus along with Bella the dog.

True to form, we made sure to leave the neighborhood with a little bit of flare.  I never really got into telling you all about the problems we had with the Home Owners Association in that neighborhood, but suffice it to say, we exchanged several letters with them (right down to the DAY BEFORE Liz closed on the house and didn’t own it anymore!) and our passive/aggressive email responses didn’t take long to start including threats of lawyers.

One of the larger issues we had was with parking.  We had one spot in the driveway and one in the garage.  The problem we had was that for the better part of our time there, we had a minimum of three cars to park.  Near the beginning, there was a pass we could use to park our overflow cars in the visitor spots, but some clown decided they didn’t want to do that anymore and started threatening to tow . . . no wait . . . they didn’t threaten, they actually towed, and we had one shitty old dude in the neighborhood (coincidentally, the Treasurer of the HOA) who made it his calling in life to walk around the neighborhood and find cars that were “illegally” parked and get them towed, by one particular tow company nearby.

Anybody else smell a kickback scam going on?

The week before we moved out, I saw them tow a car out of an otherwise empty visitor parking lot.  It was the ONLY car there!

Over the last couple of years, we parked in driveways of homes that were empty and Liz had a friend down the street that was never there and she let us use her driveway.  We had even parked at the grocery store a mile away on many occasions.  Pretty sad considering we fucking LIVED there.

I, of course, did my part by creating interesting names for our Wifi network . . . because our shitbag old man was within range and could see it, and it entertained the shit out of our other neighbors.  I started off light and just called it “ImParkedInYourDriveway”.  This got a few chuckles, but by the time it was over, our most harsh and longest lasting network name was “FuckTheParkingNazi”.  That was the network we had right up until the day before the closing.

But, not wanting to insult all of our neighbors, and to let the ones that didn’t know who it was in on the joke, we posted a message to the neighborhood . . .

The sign lasted about a day, until, the HOA came and took it!  They didn’t knock on the door, they didn’t send an email, they didn’t do shit.  They just walked their ass up the driveway and took it!

Ok, so they did do something.  The next day they presented Liz with a notice that she was in violation for not having vertical blinds in her sliding glass doors.  It’s important to note here that in the 10+ years Liz has lived in this house, she has NEVER had vertical blinds in the sliding glass doors.

They also gave her one of these while she had her car parked in the visitors parking lot because there was a goddamn 28 foot moving truck parked in front of the house. . . .

Yep, that’s a tow warning.  Do you like how they even wrote on the warning that the car had Georgia tags while it was parked in the Florida visitors spot?  Yeah, I liked that too.

What’s also fun about the notice is that she had 48 hours to respond, and less than 24 hours after the notice was left on the car, the house had been closed on and she was no longer a “resident” or a “homeowner”  at all.

There’s your fucking response, HOA.  Go suck a fat one.

So all that fun is over, and I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest that the HOA was not mentioned in great detail during the sale of the house to the new owner.

It is this experience that has convinced me that if I have any way around it, I will never again live in a neighborhood with an HOA.  The whole experience has proved them to be nothing more than a money grubbing scam that seems to forget who the home “owners” are.  They can go screw themselves.

I’ll cut my own goddamn grass.

Liz left the state for the last time on Saturday afternoon, and I was spending my first quiet weekend at the new place, with all the parking space I could ask for . . .

Now the new chapter begins, and for me, you know what that means because I’ve been talking about it quite a bit.

It’s time to PODCAST!!

I’ve got my room and my desk all put together and my little podcast “studio” has been assembled, hooked up, wired and tested and it is ready to go.

Leo and I have a plan.  We have been online testing the equipment and despite some glitches, we have figured it out pretty well.  There is still the issue of Leo’s part having to be done over Skype and the sound quality from his end is less than ideal, but I’m thinking a good microphone will be enough to bring his quality up.  At the moment he’s just using the built-in mic on his laptop and that wasn’t exactly designed to give a studio quality sound.

I’ve been learning the editing software and listening to some podcasts about podcasting and editing and ALL the things podcast during my long days in the truck.  I have learned a lot about the editing software and can find my way around it pretty well at this point, but I know I have only learned about 5% of what it can actually do and I’m really looking forward to learning more about it.

I’ve also been working on the website which is basically just a blog with shorter posts.  (Yeah, I can write short posts, don’t fuckin’ look at me like that!)  In addition to the site itself, I’ve also installed a forum where you can sign up and get involved in conversations with us and we can respond directly to you through the podcast.  We want to be as interactive as possible and really engage with the people who listen to us and I think the forum is going to be an excellent way to do that.  It can also serve as a “live chat” situation when we do broadcast a live feed.

If ya’ll are interested in listening to us and becoming a part of what we think is going to be a great and hilarious podcast, subscribe at the website to get regular updates as we approach our first episode and get the weekly show notes thereafter.

www.brickwithouse.com

Also sign up at the forum and join in on our conversations and tell us what you want us to talk about and what you think of the show.  There are only three members there right now and all three of them are Leo and I.  (Don’t try to do the math on that, you’ll just hurt yourself.)  Chances are excellent you can have whatever screen name you want to have there.  There is a link at the top of the website (Just click on the “BWH Forum”) or you can use the direct link here ——————-> BWH Forum

Of course, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @brickwithouse and our Facebook page.

I think there is an Instagram too but I’m already forgetting what all social medias I have covered.  I’ll get it all ironed out soon.

Our intention right now is to have our first episode done, edited and ready to go live the weekend after labor day.  Once we have passed through the iTunes approval process, we’ll be announcing the release and diligently trying to get an episode out every week.

Finally, Leo and I tossed together a little promo this weekend if you’d like to get an idea of what you’ll be listening to (except with a better mic for Leo later on).  Click on the noise box below to check us out, and seriously, ya’ll, get involved and talk to us and let us know what you want to hear.  This is our show, but we really think that it is the listener that truly builds it and we can only do that with your input.  We’ll be posting our podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher for starters so that we cover all the formats and if you can think of anywhere else you’d like to see it, just let us know.

I’m really thrilled to be starting this new life chapter with everyone.  I think we’re gonna have a lot of fun!

This picture was taken while we recorded the promo, so just scroll down under Leo’s overexposed face and click on the media player to hear the promo.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2017/08/the-transition-is-complete-time-to-podcast/

Jul 29 2017

The Podcast, The Move and The Comedy

[This was too long to be a caption for that picture:  Once again, this image has nothing to do with the post, but I took this pic from my truck the other day. I delivered an engine (for a Bentley) to the Bentley/Rolls Royce/McLaren dealership .  (Yeah, we fucking have one of those here) That is a Ferrari parked next to that McLaren. There is more money in that picture than I have earned in my entire life.  Also, the value on the Bentley engine listed on the invoice . . . $40,000.  That’s just the engine.]

As things have done SO many times since I started this blog just over 6 years ago, they are changing.  Sometimes things have become better, sometimes worse . . . a couple of relationships have come and gone, but in the end, I’m alive.  Sober and alive, which, in and of itself, is a victory.

The search for a new home continues.  It has been a difficult and disappointing search because “can’t afford shit” doesn’t look too good on an application and I’ve been to a couple of places where they were clearly out of their fucking mind.

I looked at a place this morning and as the person showing it to me was walking me into the neighborhood, she actually said, “Keep an open mind.”

As it turned out, it was a freakin’ RV.  A one bedroom RV, with zero room for furniture and a bed that God knows who has slept in . . . or whatever.  The price for this opportunity of a lifetime?  $235

A week.

A fucking week.

$940 a month to live, basically, in a big vehicle.

I should have just turned around when she told me to keep an open mind.

Another place I visited, I actually did leave before I even saw anything.  Upon my arrival, there was a woman in the office screaming about her repeated attempts to get somebody to do something about the RATS that were eating holes in her children’s clothes.

Yeah, Peace out, Bitches.

All hope is not lost, though.  I am going tomorrow to look at a ROOM for rent in a house shared with one other person.  Decent price, with access to washer/dryer, kitchen, large living room, nice big yard, screened in back porch . . . basically I get to live in a pretty decent house, I just have to put up with a roommate.  It’s about a mile from where I am right now, nice area, and my commute to work only changes by a mile.  Despite not being the ideal situation I was looking for, it is certainly the one I feel the best about.  It’s quiet and it is my understanding that the roommate isn’t there very much, and most importantly, it has internet included.

[Edit:  (Sunday afternoon) I went to see this place this morning and I took it, because it’s friggin’ PERFECT!  It’s a nice house, the room is pretty big, it’s very quiet and private there and most importantly, the roommate is an over-the-road trucker and is rarely there, so 90% of the time, I’ll have the whole damn house to myself anyway.  Also, no rats or mystery mattresses.  It has been a HUGE relief to me as I was stressing more and more as time was running out.  Thanks to all of you who sent your well wishes and thoughts!]

Which is important because . . .

The Podcast is very, VERY close to be a real live thing that happens all the time!!

Equipment has been gathered.  Ideas have been discussed.  There is a plan in full motion.

Most importantly, and the reason most of you are here at this point because I teased your asses on Facebook . . . the podcast has a name.

I asked for help from my friends, and they came up with some really good ones, but as they often do, great ideas come to me as I travel the roads of Saint Petersburg in my big ass truck, and it did.

When I got home, I searched the internet to see if it had been used as I felt like I couldn’t possibly have got lucky enough to have thought of something original.

No Podcast had ever had the name.

No former Podcast had ever had the name.

No website had the name.

No blog had the name.

Google search came up with  . . .

NOTHING!

So, I came to two conclusions.

  • I had come up with some seriously genius shit that nobody had ever thought of and this was a sign from the various Gods of your choosing of the upcoming new and groundbreaking shit that was about to happen, OR
  • I had come up with the lamest shit ever in recorded history that was, in fact, so lame that Google wouldn’t waste its time on it and would rather spend more time on stuff like “why does my penis do that thing now that I have put a tattoo on it”.

At that point, I took the Twitter handle, Instagram account, Facebook page, and yeah, you got it . . . the fucking DOMAIN and snatched it all up.  The domain now belongs to me, it is up and it has a page you can visit already.

JUST TELL US THE FUCKING NAME, ERIC!!

Ok, fine. . . .

I KNOW, RIGHT?!

See what I did there?

Thinking back on what symbolizes comedy for me, one recurring theme was the brick wall that comics so often stand in front of, an image brought to most of us by “An Evening at the Improv” and has been followed by many clubs since, so the “Brick” part made complete sense.  Since both Leo and myself are aspiring Stand-Up comics, and at the very least, just funny motherfuckers, this is where I see us.  (I’m jealous of his proximity to one of my favorite places on earth, Charlie Goodnight’s Comedy Club in Raleigh, NC . . . as I’m sure he probably wouldn’t mind having several instances of The Improv like I have here in Florida.)

The word “Brick” led me in a couple of directions, one of them being Pink Floyd, who are awesome, but not even a little bit funny.

Then “Brick Shit House” hit me . . . and do you know, between Leo and I, which one of us is built like a brick shit house?

NEITHER ONE OF US!

So the overflowing irony of our old, flabby asses being in this particular house was too much to ignore.

. . . and Brick Wit House was born.

I threw that image together yesterday, and I like it, but I may run into copyright issues with the background image, so if there is anyone that wants to volunteer their graphical services to come up with something less . . . illegal, I’d appreciate all the help I can get.  I believe I’ve already stated my “can’t afford shit” status, so voluntary is well within my budget.

Honestly, at this point, I think the image would be more accurate if it was a table with two boom mics, mixer and laptop with some headphones in front of a brick wall, but who am I to be picky.

[By the way, anyone willing to offer their services in this matter will, of course, get credit given on the website, twitter, instagram and live via the podcast . . . I will most certainly brag on your ass and bring you business if I can.]

Enough begging.

Just so you all know that I am capable of brevity when necessary, let me summarize my last 1000 words like this:

I may have a new place to live.

My podcast has a name and I like it.

Let me end on this . . . if you love me . . . and I KNOW you do . . . connect with the podcast on your social medias at the following:

Twitter:  @brickwithouse

Facebook:  Brick Wit House

Instagram:  brickwithouse

and the webpage:  www.brickwithouse.com

I can not WAIT to see where this goes!

One of my favorite things to do in the whole world is to entertain people and make them laugh.  Just having stuck by this blog for the last 6 years is proof enough because I have NEVER stuck by anything for 6 years with the attachment that I have to this blog and the people that read it.  If I could make people laugh for a living, then my dreams for the perfect life would come true.

I’m chasing that dream and I’m going to keep on chasing it.

Thank you to all of you that have followed along with me!

Dammit . . . I got something in my eye.

Comment, for Chrissakes!!

Peace

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2017/07/the-podcast-the-move-and-the-comedy/

Jul 21 2017

If You Fear Change, Try Embracing It . . . Around It’s Throat

Things, they are a-changin’!

Not really the way I expected, but they are.  I skipped a week making a post . . . or was it two?  I don’t know, I’m too lazy to look at the date on the last post to figure it out.  Lazy?  Tired?  I just don’t care?

Yeah, all of those.

Let me try to sum this up as quickly as I can.  (I just heard all of you call me a long-winded fuck, just relax.)

With all the changes over the past year or more, with Liz taking a job and moving to Georgia . . . and then taking another job . . .and staying in Georgia.  Anyway, that’s a long story and not mine to tell, but what it came down to is that Liz has been thinking about selling this house in Florida.  A completely understandable and fully expected decision that I knew would happen.  It only makes sense.  I’d been toying around with looking for a place of my own finally anyway and it just plain needed to happen.

Here is the twist to that . . . the next door neighbor put his house up for sale, and as it turns out, got a pretty good price for it, so Liz gave a Real Estate agent a call just to see what he thought she could get for it.  Long story short, it went down like this . . .

  • Real Estate agent said he knew somebody that wanted to move down here and could he show him the house
  • House was cleaned and prepped in a single weekend for the showing on that Monday
  • Dude liked the house and made an offer
  • Liz made a counter offer, and it was accepted
  • They want to close on Aug. 17

In summary, the house was prepped, shown, and sold within a few days . . . and NEVER went on the market.  At a profit.

Can’t really blame her for that now, can ya?

At any rate, I think we’re all in kind of a panic.  I’ve got to find a place that I can afford in less than a month, which isn’t easy, because I can’t afford much.  I’m just a dude that values his being alone all the fucking time, so I just need a studio or 1 bedroom place for like $500.  $600 tops.  They are around and they exist, unfortunately my credit score makes this a bigger hurdle than I would like.  I’ll need a cosigner OR I can get a trailer in a meth riddled trailer park with no credit check.  In hurricane country.

Now Liz is also trying to figure out how to live in Georgia and be down here to pack up 10+ years of her life and either distribute or sell much of the furniture she has here and have this place emptied in less than a month.  On top of that, she’s been helping me to find a place during the day because my job doesn’t allow me the time to look very much myself.  She almost hit the jackpot today but then the “landlord” (an AirBnB host) said it was just for a month because of family obligations.  (The damn place would have been PERFECT) There are complications with her job and a new relationship she’s been enjoying up in Georgia and all this went down so fast, it has been a whirlwind for all of us.

We all know we’ll get it figured out and work through it and all will be well and good in the end, but at this point we all wish we could just fast-forward to somewhere around October where we’ve come out the other side and we’re facing all new and improved stresses over completely unrelated shit.

Personally, it’s something I had been planning on anyway . . . getting my ass out on my own, taking care of my own shit.  As life sometimes does, it sorta got tired of me taking my time and said “Let’s DO this shit already!”

For Liz, it was something she was planning on doing as well and the same shit went down for her.

So, here we are.  For the next month, I’ll help Liz out helping her get stuff sold and moving things to storage or wherever (the new boss is much more pleasant about letting me use the truck for personal shit) and she’ll help me looking for a new place and stuff.  A month from now, the dust will settle and we’ll all be . . . .

some-fuckin-where.

For those of you asking what this means for my quest for stand-up comedy, it doesn’t mean anything except a slight delay in the chase.  It’s been 30 years since it first occurred to me that I wanted to do it, so I suppose another month isn’t going to ruin it any more than it already has been.  I’m still searching the open-mic nights and still writing stuff in my little notebook (although I didn’t have it with me today and I thought of some shit that had me laughing my ass off in the truck today and I completely forgot what it was now . . . it’ll come back to me) and I’m listening to a lot of comics and their podcasts along the way.  I’ve been searching open-mics here in town and as far away as Orlando, Ft Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami.  (One thing I have learned from listening to how comics got where they are is, be prepared to drive . . . a LOT)  One podcast I’ve found in particular is called “The Comedian’s Comedian with Stuart Goldsmith” and he spends every episode interviewing comedians to find out their writing methods, techniques and how they get their ideas and it is an AMAZING resource.  The biggest problem with it at the moment is that I listen to it in the truck all day long and with the current situation I’m in, my mind is elsewhere and I have come to the end of full hour podcasts and realized that I didn’t hear a single friggin’ word of it because I’m all “dammit, where am I gonna find a place . . . there?  Maybe there?  Shit, I can’t afford that.”

All it means is that I just have to slow down a bit and focus.  Nobody became a comedian in a month, but people have found a place to live in that amount of time, so that’s what I gotta focus on now.

On that note, I’ve been thinking about starting a podcast myself, I’m just not sure where to go with it.  If any of you have an idea of what you might like to hear from me (and eventually see because they have all gone the way of YouTube as well), throw me some suggestions.  I’m sure you don’t want to hear me talk to myself for an hour (maybe you do, I don’t know.  My head gets fuckin’ weird sometimes), but I can think of a few people out there I would love to have a live chat with on a podcast because we have come up with some funny shit together (Hey LEO, you readin’ this?!)  I just need to come up with some kind of format.  All suggestions are welcome.

That’s my update, kids.  I look forward to hearing from you all.

Oh, and follow me on Twitter.  I’m trying to be more active there.  @eric_waechter  I’ll try to be funny.

I said “try”.

For those of you that know me and have followed me for the last few years . . . no, I don’t want to drink, and I am encouraged by that.

Why ruin chaos with insanity?

(That’s brilliant.  Consider that copyrighted immediately.)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2017/07/if-you-fear-change-try-embracing-it-around-its-throat/

Jul 02 2017

This Post is Offensive

Not because I want it to be offensive, but because it will be . . . to somebody, somewhere.

How do I know that?

Because EVERYTHING offends somebody.

I’d like to thank BarbaraM for inspiring this post.  She was the first (and at this point, the only) person to comment on my last post.’

Understand, I have nothing against Barbara or anything she said.  She simply brought up a point for me that is very potent.  How a single word can inspire offense, anger, disdain and downright outrage.  I’m glad she has taken an interest in my posts and in my endeavor to be a stand up comedian, and being one of the very, VERY few people to weigh in on my quest, I look forward to her input.

But her last comment inspired this post, and for that, I thank her, because it is a very important topic, particularly in our current political and apparently sensitive society.

At what point did we start to make everything everyone said about us as individuals?

The example Barbara brought up was the difference between “Handicapped” and “Disabled”.

Let’s break that down.

A golfer has a “handicap” . . . it’s a recognition of something they are unable to do or have a difficult time achieving.  If they were “disabled”, it would indicate that they couldn’t do it at all.

We don’t have to agree on that, it’s simple fact.

So, in defining a parking spot, should the disabled be given precedence over the handicapped?

In the end, they are simply words.

One person may need a cane, another may need a wheelchair, and yet one more may forget where they fuck they are once they are three steps from the car.  Are they all not handicapped in some way?  Does this not display a disability in all examples?

At what point did we become offended by a WORD?

I have a serious problem with this.  Not because I’m afraid I’ll offend someone, but because someone will be offended by what I say.

WHO THE FUCK AM I??

I’m just a dude that said a word.

A WORD.

I didn’t drive a truck through a crowd.  I didn’t open fire on a crowd of people.  I didn’t fly a plane into an American icon and change history forever.

I said a word.

I’ve said “retarded”, but I still have compassion for those that truly are.  It wasn’t ever a derogatory comment against anyone that falls into that category, it’s simply a descriptive term.

I’ve said “cunt” . . . with various intents.  Some in direct insult and a few others which shall not be discussed but let’s just say it was fun for all involved.

The point is, I have no idea where this current state of “Oh my, I’m so offended” came from.

At what point did we stop letting shit “roll off our back”?

We have become a generation of absolute PUSSIES.

I’ve learned something very important in my exploration of the comedy world.  I’ve found what works and what makes the biggest names.

Your anger.

Look at the big names:

Bill Burr:  Screams at everyone, jokes are misogynistic, foul fucking language and “cunt” is his favorite word, but learn his background and he’s a goddamn sweetheart.

Louis CK:  Hates his life and his divorce and pretty much everything that ever happened ever . . . and you laugh at it, because he makes it funny and look at his website and buy his series and this man is actually an incredibly sensitive genius.

The thing these dudes have in common is that they give ZERO shits that you are offended.  They’re over it.

And they are successful.

Because there is a large portion of us that GIVE ZERO SHITS that people get offended, and I do NOT apologize that I am taking the exact same stance.

I’ll sum it up like this . . .

Sorry, not sorry.

My intent is not to offend, but if you are, the problem is YOURS, not mine.

I’m here to bring humor to your life, as well as mine.  I grew up with bullshit and judgement.  It designed my sense of humor and helped me survive to where I am now.  I grew up under alcoholism and narcissism and nothing I ever did was right.  I grew up being told that if I didn’t wear a tie and work for the man, that I was a piece of shit.

I’m over that.  I grew past that.  I’m proud of who I am and who I became DESPITE the bullshit I was told.  I have my issues and I have accepted them and I use them to grow, even as I enter my 50’s.

My childhood and my upbringing SUCKED, but I’m not blaming you or me for it.  I’m going to use it to entertain you and anyone else that wants to listen.

I’m a child of an alcoholic narcissist.  I’m also a recovering alcoholic.

So, I’m telling you now, I’m going to offend you.  Maybe not today.  Maybe not a year from now.

But I will.

Understand this . . .

It is never personal.

It is just me.

At the end of the day, that is really all we look for in entertainment.

Things that are not what we are.

Or things that are EXACTLY like we are.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2017/07/this-post-is-offensive/

Jun 30 2017

The Plunge into Stand-up Comedy, Part 3

I don’t know what to do here.  I want to get on the stage and make people laugh.  I want to get things rolling.  I HAVE to do this because I will not leave this as a regret.

I’m fucking exhausted.

I’m working . . .and working . . .and working . . . and it’s not something I should be complaining about.  God knows, I’ve spent enough time unemployed and fighting for jobs that never come and living off of the kindness of others.  I’m working and I should be glad.

But . . . it’s in the way of what I want to do and I don’t know how to weave it in to what is my “regular” everyday life.

I leave the house at 7:00 in the morning and most nights I get home between 6 and 7.  By the time I shower and eat and finally sit down, it’s 8:30 and all I want to do is crash.

The question here is, who in the fuck decided that Wednesday is the only night of the week anyone will do Open Mic nights?

I expanded my search to comedy clubs throughout the state of Florida.  It’s the same everywhere.  The Improv in Orlando . . . every Wednesday night, at 8:00.  Given that is an hour drive from my house, I couldn’t make it even on a good day.

When the weekend comes, I have the time and I can muster up the energy, but there is nowhere to go to take the stab.

Let me take that back.  There are places to go that have open mic nights.  They take open mics for musicians, poets and comics, with the majority of them ending up being musicians, and in front of crowds that tend to be drunken kids just looking for a cheap place to get wasted.  (I Ubered people to a great many of these places and I wouldn’t stand in front of them trying to be funny if my life depended on it)

Having just started this job, I kinda have to go until I get some kind of shitty legs under me again, but it’s looking more and more like I’m going to have to take a day off here and there just to get some stage time in a real comedy setting.  If it’s what I have to do, it’s what I have to do and I’m going to do it.

Damn if I don’t need your encouragement though.  I’m tired and there are days I feel that shitty attitude come back.  The shitty attitude that comes from spinning my wheels, working my ass off and living paycheck to paycheck and wondering what the fuck it’s all for.  I keep going so I can eat chicken in the 50 various ways I know how to cook it and have a steak once every three months.

The life of a new comic always starts out slow, poor, broke.  Ask any comic that has ever made it to the big stage selling out venues.  The trick here is that I’ve been slow, poor and broke for YEARS and it kinda scares the shit out of me to be slower, poorer and broker than I am now.  That, and most of those guys started in their late teens, early 20’s and the idea of sleeping in my car in my late 40’s makes my back hurt just thinking about it.

I am fully aware that my position in life is the result of really shitty life decisions with some mental defects thrown in for good measure.

I did not live up to my “potential” as they used to like to say.  There is a whole book being written about that and I’m the author, but that’s for later.

So here’s the deal.  I’m looking to my readers for some help.  I have NOT lost the desire to make the Stand-Up happen.  I have not lost the drive and I have not let go of the dream.  Where I am stuck is where I always get stuck.  I have a decent job, I’m not living on the street and I’m living clean and sober and I’m happy being that way.

I. Just. Have. No. Time.

Any decrease in my income is devastating.  I have a home ONLY because I’ve been given one and thank God for Liz otherwise I don’t know where I’d be . . .

How the fuck do I make this happen?

All suggestions, I’m taking all of them.  Help me out.

I’m looking into a life supplement that I’ve seen some good results from and it looks like it might be a great plan for me . . . problem is, it’s more expensive than I can handle right now, but I want to try it.  It may be worth it in the end, but we’ll see.  I’m going to take a stab at a month of it.  (This is what I’m looking into.)

What am I looking at for the stage?  I know some of you suggested that I make this my testing grounds, so I’ll throw a couple at you . . .

*So what made me decide to get into comedy in my late 40’s?  Well, I been disappointing my father for years, so I’m perfectly capable of disappointing a whole room in 3 minutes.

*I’ve been searching for the perfect woman my whole life and I”m starting to think that a short, skinny, redheaded, jewish, vietnamese girls just doesn’t exist.

*I busted my ass in the rain in the parking lot of the convenience store the other day and laid there soaking wet laughing out loud at the irony of being paralyzed by slipping on the slick, wet paint of the handicapped parking spot.

*I’ve been married twice, and both times I said “until death do us part”.  I stand before you single.  You do the math.

.Thanks, my faithful people!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2017/06/the-plunge-into-stand-up-comedy-part-3/

Jun 16 2017

The Plunge into Stand-up Comedy, Part 2

 

I’m kinda diggin’ this weekly update thing I’ve pressured myself into.  It keeps me on my toes, keeps me motivated and *deep breath* continue to face down my fear of failing miserably.

You folks that have commented, both here and on my Facebook page . . . Goddamn, I love the support, encouragement and downright faith that I don’t even have in myself.  You’re all awesome and if you could gather a couple hundred of your friends and plan a trip to Tampa to be my first audience, that’d be great.

I understand that my lack of faith and fear are issues I have to deal with within myself and they stem from a whole bucket load of garbage I have picked up over a whole lot of years.  I understand it, I get it, and I know where it comes from . . . doesn’t make it any easier to get past at this point.  This is what I want and this is what I believe in.  I have years of being told that what I want and believe in is not important, unnecessary and “stupid”.

I’ll leave you to your intelligence to figure out where that came from.

Some of you may have noticed the title image to this post has two notebooks in it.  Yes, they are my notebooks and I carry them with me wherever I go.  You also probably noticed that one is titled “The Stage” and the other “The Book”.  I have plans for both, and yes, I’ve said many times that I wanted to write a book but could never settle on an idea.

Well, I’ve finally settled on an idea and I’m excited about it.  I’m not going to release the details as of yet, but it is not going to be comedic although it will have its funny moments here and there, and it is not going to be fiction.  That is where I will leave that.

“The Stage” on the other hand is where I slap down ideas, thoughts, events or whatever that could work as good stand-up stage material.

Ok, so it’s not all good, but I write it all down anyway in case I can make it good later.  It’s mostly just short phrases that remind me of where I was going with it.  I do ok when I’m putting together the story in my head.  I know where I want to go and how I want to create it to be funny . . . the problem lies in my shitty, late 40’s memory that allows me to remember all the words to “Don’t You Forget About Me” but also has me wandering WalMart for 45 minutes wondering what in the fuck I came in there for.  I’ll let you take a peek . . .

You can click it and make it bigger.  It’s mostly just a few ideas on the right and a little “goal oriented” encouragement on the left.  My way of reminding myself that I can do this and I can do it well despite my own insecurities and fears.

The funny thing is, I’m starting to find myself getting less annoyed lately and searching for the humor in the things that annoy me  The best example is when I recently came home from a long day at work and it was one of those Florida days that started hot, sunny, humid, bright and just . . .ugh, HOT.  About 2 hours before I got home, it started to rain – one of those HOLY FUCKING CHRIST Florida rains where the water is coming in through the bottom of the car door as you drive down your own street.  I stopped at the convenience store near my house and went in to grab a pack of smokes and get some gas.  As I walked quickly toward the door through the rain, I walked across the brightly painted blue handicapped parking spot and slipped, even in my heavily soled work boots, nearly busting my ass and catching myself with my hand on the ground.  It really hurt my wrist and given that it was the end of the day and I was tired, sweaty and now wet from the rain, for a brief moment I was really pissed.  The anger turned to amusement and eventually right out laughter as I stood and shivered in the freezing cold air conditioner of the convenience store.

I could have fallen and broken my neck and become paralyzed . . . because of the paint in the handicapped parking spot!

Honestly, that’s some shit that Wawa (the convenience store) should look into as that’s pretty fucking dangerous and leaves them open to some seriously litigious stuff . . . but HOLY SHIT was that irony at its finest!

Probably wasn’t great and may very well never make it to the stage, but shit, it was funny at the time so it made the notebook to be assessed and maybe tested later, but that’s the process.

My immediate plans, immediate as in – the next week or so – is to go to open mic night at The Improv – Ybor next Wednesday.  I’m not going to perform, but to observe.  I’ll probably do this several times.  I want to see what kind of crowd comes in.  Get a feel for the room, the atmosphere and the general attitude of the crowd.  I want to find out if they are typically young, middle aged, college poor or .com rich.  I’m going to need to see it a few times to see if there is any consistency.

Being Ybor City, it could be anything.  As my own son can attest after I dragged him through Ybor on a Friday night, Ybor City is a freakshow of epic proportions on the weekends.  It’s a collection of college kids, gay and lesbian pride night virtually every weekend, the Jesus-freak-loudspeaker-toting-you’re-all-going-to-hell preachers on the corners as the drunks go by and throw obscenities at them.  As an Uber driver, I once drove 4 “chicks with dicks” porn performers back to their hotel after their night on the Ybor strip.  This place is INSANE on the weekend . . . but during the week, it’s a historical landmark with the old Cigar factories and Coffee factories and the Cuban restaurants (Columbia Restaurant is expensive, fancy and worth every fucking dime) and it attracts tourists from all over the world of all ages.

Given that information, Ybor City on a Wednesday night could be a tad unpredictable.  I could end up being the old fuck trying to entertain a room full of millennials, in which case, I’m probably going to piss them all off.  I could be the child of the 80’s entertaining the new money, middle aged dot commers which may put me very much into my element.  I could be the middle aged comic trying to relate to the retirees visiting Florida to decide if they want to come here and drive slow and clog up I-275, in which case, I can probably make them laugh but I really don’t want them to stay and get comfortable.

What I’m saying is . . . anything can happen in Ybor City.

For you guys that wanna visit, check under the dress for the transmission.  You might think you have an automatic, but there’s a very good chance you found a stick shift.

The day is coming, kids.  I swear it is.  I’m going in prepared, studied and ready for anything . . .but this is going to happen.  Don’t be impatient.  I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and I’m going in prepared.

. . . and THANK YOU ALL for your love and encouragement!!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2017/06/the-plunge-into-stand-up-comedy-part-2/

Jun 09 2017

The Plunge into Stand-up Comedy, Part 1

Don’t be fooled by the title too much.  It’s not so much a “plunge” as it is a “dipping of toes into the cold pool like a bitch” into Stand-up comedy.  I’ve been thinking about this for a very long time and now I’ve put it out there to my public . . . and by “public” I mean the 6 of you that I beg to read this.  If anyone else comes by, then I am humbled and deeply grateful that my reach has gone any further.

When I first started this blog (Holy Shit!) 6 years ago, I briefly enjoyed a regular readership of several thousand people a month.  Over time and multiple ridiculous circumstances and my own laziness, repeated forays into depression and several unsuccessful location changes in an attempt to improve my situation, Opticynicism fell apart and now it’s just the struggling ramblings you see before you now.

I’ve learned so many things over the last few years and most of them have been about myself.  I like to think of this blog as my therapy.  It’s my place to vent, scream and just release all the bullshit in my head so I don’t have to carry it around, and it really, really has worked, but as I laid out in the previous post, it’s time to move onward and upward.

It’s no secret that I love to make people laugh.  Nothing, not one single thing, brings me more satisfaction than making someone else laugh.  It’s an art I’ve worked on my entire life and a skill that has helped me survive things that no one should have to endure.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t saved me from everything, but there is a pill I take twice a day that does the rest.

I lovingly refer to that pill as the “one I take so that my father stays alive”.  (Potential stage line . . . for those of you paying attention)

Some of my favorite and funniest moments come from my interactions with my brother and with my friends that I regularly play games with on one of the game systems.  The laughs come spontaneously and we seem to surround ourselves with friends that have a quick wit and some amazing one-liners have come from it.  Anybody who enjoyed the show Mystery Science Theater 3000 would absolutely piss themselves sitting down to an episode of Swamp People with my brother and I, or an episode of anything for that matter.  A well timed, yet inappropriate “Choot ’em!” is invaluable.

The interactions with my friends online have resulted in many, many nights of crying with laughter at the stupidest shit ever, but damn, does it make you feel like nothing is wrong in the world.  Even text conversations have become the thing of legend.  My buddy  Tom in Vermont is the king of one-liners, and they don’t happen very often, but when they do, they are of epic proportion.

Me:  How did the estimate go with the plumber this morning?  How far up your ass did he go?

Tom:  He’s my dentist now.

Four words.  That’s all it took.  It was probably 5 years ago and just a passing conversation and the boy spit out four words and I’m still laughing my balls off 5 years later.

Here is where things get a little tense for me. . .

I like to tell a story.  A lot of the time, they are actual life experiences and many of those experiences are unpleasant, if not downright shitty.  In the telling of those stories, I make them funny in order to make them easier for ME to deal with.  Some of the most unpleasant experiences in my life involve my father.  The funny thing about that is that the MOST popular posts I have ever written on this blog, and were in fact responsible for my readership going into the thousands at the time, were the stories I told about my father.  The trick was, they weren’t “stories”.  They were shit that actually happened, but in telling it, I made it more comfortable for me and the result was . . . well, funny.

It’s now something I do every day.  It’s a habit and I don’t even consciously do it anymore.  It puts people off quite frequently and I’ve become accustomed to the weird looks I often get.  I am 100% certain it has cost me more than one job.

On the upside, it works in my favor more than it doesn’t.

At the VA hospital while setting up a supply closet early in the process, I once had 6 nurses trap me in the closet and they were all telling me all the shit they wanted me to stock the closet with, some of them talking at the same time and it got crazy in there for a minute and I just stood there, silent and something on my face made them all just stop talking and look at me.  I said, “I had this dream . . . but it wasn’t this aggressive and some of you had hats.”

There was silence . . . then hysterical laughter and I had the best relationship with every one of them after that.

It’s the spontaneous shit that works for me.  I once made Diet Coke come out of Liz’s nose because of my interpretation of what the dog would sound like if she had looked up at us from the couch and said “Go fuck yourself”.

And then Liz says to me after my last post, “Just go up there and ad-lib”.

So there is three to five minutes of me on stage with a microphone demonstrating uncomfortable silence.

As much as I appreciate her confidence in my ability, the reality just won’t allow that to happen.  I have, as I said, three to five minutes to make an impression and while I believe in my ability to be funny, to stand on stage, nervous, self-conscious and just a tad out of my element, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to just stand there and shit funny.

So before I start to get the “so where is the video” questions, I wanted to start this multi-part post to let you know what I’m doing to work toward this goal and that I’m not just talking out of my ass.

I’ve been listening to comedians of all sorts while I’ve been driving for the last year or more.  I’ve listened to the podcasts that some of them do, good or bad.  (Highly recommend Marc Maron’s podcast WTF if you haven’t heard it)  I have scoured the internet for tips, tricks, advice and experiences with starting out and open mic nights, etc from comedians old and young.  There are styles I like and styles I don’t, and at the same time, I want to have my own style and my own rhythm.   I love Bill Burr’s stage work, but his podcast is a rambling mess of “I’m doing this ’cause all the other guys are”.  Jim Gaffigan is hilarious to a point, but the “voice” gets real old, real fast.  Tom Segura . . . love the guy and can’t find a thing I don’t like about his act and the same goes for Kyle Kinane.  I think if I had someone to aspire to, it would be those two.

At the end of the day, I don’t want to be the “new insert-fading-comedian-here”.  I want to be me.  An individual that should an interview ever ensue, I could make a list of influences . . . with my father being number 1.

I don’t want to stroke his ego, so I’ll wait til he’s dead to proclaim that one.  He wouldn’t get the joke.

So here is the plunge.  There is a plan, of sorts.  I have a thousand ideas.  I have a thousand stories.  I have a thousand funny things to say.

I have no idea how to narrow that down to three to five minutes.  THAT is what I’m working on.

So far, my plan for an opening line is . . . “Let me start by saying that I am not (pause) young.”

My only planned response for a heckler is:

To:  “You suck!”

Me:  “I’d like to thank my dad for coming out tonight!”

I welcome your opinions, and for Christs’ sake, send ’em.

I’m gonna do this . . . *breathe* . . . it’s gonna happen.

I used to stand on stage in front of hundreds and not give a single shit.  In high school, I stood on stage and SANG in front of hundreds . . .several nights in a row, and I had no problem.

Now I’ve grown up and learned what a shitty, judgmental, easily offended, sensitive society we live in and for some stupid fucking reason, that bothers me.

But at the same time, I give zero fucks and I’m gonna do it.

Anyone with a couple Xanax to spare, I’ll be happy to give you my address.

In the meantime, I’ll sit here and see if Marc Maron and Bill Burr respond to my emails.

Venues I am currently exploring . . . .

Side-Splitters Tampa

The Improv – Ybor

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2017/06/the-plunge-into-stand-up-comedy-part-1/

Jun 02 2017

The Mid-Life Career Change Crisis

Sometimes I feel like I need to sit down and write something on here again and I get an idea.  I ponder it, come up with clever statements about it, form opinions and take in the opinions of others.  I toss the idea around in my head over and over again until finally, I decide I have nothing original to say about it and scrap it altogether.

Wash, rinse, repeat . . . and then days lead to weeks which lead to months and this blog that I have dedicated so many hours to, remains silent.  I get lazy.  I work my ass off during the day and at night sit down and find it easier to pick up the PS4 or Xbox controller than to open up the computer and start to type.

I’ve got plug-ins on the static page that don’t work anymore because of updates to how some sites work, etc and I’ve left them there to just be a reason for people to visit and then decide I’ve abandoned it and they don’t return.  I need to work on them and I’m declaring right here, right now that I’m going to make the time to do it.  Opticynicism needs a face lift and I have to get off my ass and do it.

To answer the one or two of you that might still be around, I’m doing pretty good.  I take my medications as directed religiously and I have had no slides back into depression or otherwise debilitating events.  I work.  I come home, I play games on one of the boxes for a while, I go to sleep and then I go back to work.  Weekends are just extended periods of playing games on the box.  As much as I enjoy that and it keeps my blood pressure and stress levels down in the “green”, it’s not enough and I need to do more.  I’m not “living”.  I’m “existing”.

To this very day, I am still banging on the doors of the VA, trying to get in as a Federal employee at that hospital.  Three years I’ve been banging and three years they won’t open the fucking door.  My stubborn personality is the only thing that has kept that effort going this long, and the anti-depression meds keep me stable so that my stubborn personality can thrive.

In the meantime, I have been working in a menial delivery job.  I’ve been driving a box truck and delivering heavy freight.  I was recently laid off at one company (all of us were, we all came back from our deliveries one Friday a couple weeks ago and they called us all up and said “Thanks, but we’re shutting that office down.  None of you work here anymore.”  and yes . . . that is word for word what they said.)  As luck would have it, my driving record, customer history and recommendations from my previous boss, I was only out of work for about a week and I’m now doing pretty much the same thing but for a little more money working for a better company and had to go through a TSA screening because I am actually contracted through UPS and deal with a lot of international freight.

As would be expected, however, I’ve repeatedly asked myself, “This can’t be it, right?”

I’m working and doing ok, but honestly, without the continued help of, Liz most tremendously, and others as well, I’d still not be doing very well, and at some point, I need to find myself in some kind of state of independence.  I’m not exactly tipping the scales in the salary department and if I were to apply, I’d actually qualify for government assistance.  I’m not homeless based solely on the fact that Liz is a caring and generous human being.  I do what I can to keep her house in order (since she doesn’t actually live in it at the moment after taking a job out of state), but it feels unbalanced to me and that I just don’t do enough.  She repeatedly expresses her gratitude for what I do and does her best to make me feel that I contribute sufficiently, but my own lifelong self-deprecating attitude doesn’t allow me to accept it.

To that end, I’m continuously looking for ways to improve myself, my situation and my life.  Driving freight around sounds like a shitty job, and make no mistake, it is indeed a shitty job, but it does give me something I’ve really not had a lot of.  It has given me a lot of time alone, SOBER, with my thoughts.  Thanks to the iPhone, podcasts, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube and Netflix (before you freak out, I listen to comedy shows on Netflix and YouTube, I’m not watching my phone while I drive), I also get a lot of time listening to others and what they have done to improve their lives.

I’ve had a lot of ideas for blog posts, podcasts, video podcasts, commentaries and even books.  I’ve spent literally days weighing my strengths and weaknesses.  Things I can do and things I can’t.  Can I go back to school?  Sure, I can.  It’ll be a pain in the ass and I’ll have to do all kinds of shit that I neither want nor need to do to complete a degree, but eventually I’ll have a degree and then be a dude in his 50’s trying to get jobs dudes and dudettes in their 20’s are trying to get.  Then the question remains whether I’ll manage to finish school before our current administration destroys any chances of me doing so for one reason or another.  (You have no idea how hard it was for me to type that last sentence without cussing or making blatant anti-Trump remarks.)

So . . .

I’ve busted out nearly 1000 words to come to this point.  This is where I’ve landed and a conclusion I have come to.

Am I looking for your opinion and thoughts on the matter?  Yeah, I kinda am.

Am I going to do it even if you tell me I’m an idiot and I will fail?  Yeah, I definitely am.

Because this is something I feel and I can’t ignore it.

I’ve thought about this since I was in my TEENS.

There is one thing that has always brought me infinite joy.  A feeling that shines a light in my chest and makes me feel that everything is ok in the world.  A feeling that lets me fall asleep at night with a smile on my face and get a long, uninterrupted, satisfying nights sleep.  I’ve been madly in love with someone only a few times in my life and it is an incredible feeling, and this comes nearly as close as that.

I love, more than anything else, to make people laugh.

To me, there is nothing more satisfying in the world.  I will make a fool of myself and beat on myself to make it happpen.  I will paint a glorious visual image of a drab situation to make it funny so that the mundane becomes interesting.  I can take an insult as easily as I can give one and in the same breath, give an incredible compliment to diffuse confrontation.

I have used and continue to use humor to survive.

I am going to take a stab at stand-up comedy.

I’ve found the local “open mic night”.  It’s a bit intimidating because Tampa is not a small town and it’s not a small venue and it has spit out a few pretty damn famous people . . . but why start small.

I have been studying and listening to comedians for . . . hell, forever.  I watched Seinfeld before he had a TV show.  I remember going to see Red Skelton as a kid.  I defied my parents as a teenager to stay up and watch An Evening at the Improv.  I have read the blogs, listened to the podcasts and simply followed the careers of comedians from their early years to the recent ones.

Very nearly all of them have the art of storytelling in common, and boy, do I have stories.

Comedy is timing and emphasis and the ability to be relatable.

Comedy is the ability to take the things that make you miserable, or drive you crazy and make them funny so they are easier to swallow.

To me, comedy is not a job or something I have to work at.  It is a defense mechanism that I have used to survive.

I can tell a story and I can make the miserable funny.  I have done it right here.  I have made you (and others that have probably decided I abandoned the place) laugh at things that made me absolutely miserable.  Do the stories about my father ring any bells?  They should.  My readership went from the hundreds to the thousands on those stories alone.  By my own fault, those are numbers I have not seen in several years, but nonetheless, it worked then, it’ll work now.

Will I have to bash my father to make it happen?  Yeah, probably, but I give zero fucks.

I’ve asked myself if 49 is too old to try to start something like that.  I know I’m not the 24 year old stud I was as a fresh Marine Corps boot camp graduate.  I know the camera adds 10 pounds to the 40 pounds too much I already have.

I have also found that successful comedians are also intelligent, as am I .  They have solid and definitive opinions despite those that oppose them, as do I . . . and the number one, most important feature of all is that every single successful comedian is deeply and profoundly troubled for one reason or another, and if you think I might not qualify for that one . . . perhaps you may wanna read over the last few years of this blog.

If you think I’m looking for encouragement and positive words, you’re absolutely right, I am.  I am virtually incapable of giving them to myself, so I need the outside help to get them.  At the same time, I’m not looking for bullshit either.  If you think I’m an idiot for even trying, then say so.  God knows, I’ve said it to myself and even if I don’t want to believe it, I’m going to try it anyway and I have to be prepared for hecklers.  I’d like your honest opinions and encouragement if you have it.

When I was in my teens, I found it easy to get on stage and speak in front of hundreds of people.  It was easy for me and I loved it.  I haven’t done it since then and my anti-social, general hatred of the public that has developed since then is going to make trying to do it again even more difficult.

It scares the shit out of me.

But, by God, I’m going to do it.

I will not allow this to pass as a regret of something I wish I had always done.

I might fail, but I’m going to try.  Every successful comedian failed at some point, and many, more than once.  But they were persistent.  They had a passion and a desire and they pushed through and they succeeded despite the failures.

Funny thing is, the moment I’m actually successful at it . . .

. . . the goddamn VA will probably call with the job offer.

 

Peace, my friends . . . . please speak up!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2017/06/the-mid-life-career-change-crisis/

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