The year was 1989 and Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign was in full effect. Weed was getting harder and harder to find and becoming a lot more expensive.
I had just started supporting myself doing standup fulltime and since I only had to work an hour a day (plus another hour or two writing new material and taking care of the business side), I decided I would grow my own.
Be careful what you wish for.
Like most things I do, I either get discouraged immediately and quit, or see a ray of light and go full bore. For some reason, I believed I could grow my own pot. Not sure why my self-confidence chose an illegal activity to make a rare appearance, but I was glad to feel inspired.
I tried using a fluorescent grow light that couldn’t have been more than about 50 watts. I’m not sure what that light was equipped to grow but it wasn’t weed. The seeds I had planted in Styrofoam cups barely sprouted then quickly died.
Have you ever made a multi-layered hate cake?
I made a monstrous one today. Ten delicious layers of built up resentment, fear and worry.
It’s really ridiculous. It was about nothing serious. Taking care of some business related to a support group.
But the woman who requested that I take care of this issue talks a lot, and is needy. And yes, she reminds me of my mom. So out of the gate, I have an uneasiness and impatience with having to deal with her. Layer one.
Then, the thing she requested me to do had hazy details, so I wasn’t sure how to respond. Gray area. I might make a mistake. Layer two.
I began to picture her hovering over my every move, questioning my handling of it. Future projecting. Layer three.
Then I contacted the business she had the problem with and I kept getting a message saying they were not taking calls at that time. What. The. FUCK!!!!! Layer four.
I waited a day. Called back. Same thing. I started imagining her hounding me for answers while I deal with a business that can’t get its fucking phones straight. Layer five.
Click on the link below to view the pictures. There are about 50 of them. You can also watch them as a slideshow.
Hope you enjoy them. Paul Click here to see Italy Photo Album.
The Power of Shame and Secrets
I’m in a funk. I don’t want help. I don’t want the healthy solution. I want the unhealthy distraction.
I want some fucking excitement.
I’m sad. Not suicidal. Just flat. Nebraska flat.
I felt so whole a while back and now I feel like a part of me is gone. I don’t know what happened. Am I doing something wrong or is it just my brain chemistry? I haven’t changed my meds.
This is the part of depression that really fucking sucks.
I ACHE to get out of this feeling. I can feel my inner-addict trying to break out of the healthy way I’ve been living – because sometimes it feels like jail. Most times it feels awesome. But today it feels like jail.
I know listening to other people’s shame and secrets is good for the show, but it’s addicting. It’s an escape for me. I can turn anything into a fantasy, and I often find myself triggered by people’s secrets. I feel like I’m walking a tightrope. It’s good for the show, but I can become addicted to it. I’m using it to jump-start my emotions. Being privy to other people’s secrets
I mentioned in a previous blog that there was a time in my career when I thought if I could get my face on a billboard on Sunset Blvd. I would know I had officially made it in show business.
Before I had a t.v. show, Sunset Blvd. was like a candy store and I was looking through the window. I could almost taste the candy. It looked so fantastic to be that person on the billboard – huge – everyone looking up at you. I was absolutely convinced there must be no greater feeling in the world than to be on one of those billboards, having your success broadcast 24 hours a day to the residents of Los Angeles, the capital of show business.
I eventually got a job co-hosting Dinner and a Movie on TBS. A couple of years into the show’s run they put on a pretty big ad campaign; People Magazine, the Today Show, our faces on the side of a building in Manhattan, and yes, a billboard on Sunset Blvd.
I lost respect for Sunset Blvd.
I’ve fucked up a lot in my life. I’ve embarrassed myself, hurt others, been selfish, self-centered, grandiose, irresponsible and manipulative – you name it – I’ve done it.
I didn’t realize at the time – and sometimes still forget – that this is how my mind compensates when my spirit sags. I try to inflate my deflated spirit with ego-based actions, created by my mind and not my soul.
My mind would be a terrible game-show contestant.
It always buzzes in first, never with the right answer. My soul always has the right answer, but it doesn’t answer as quickly, and that is not convenient for someone who is prone to impatience, selfishness and fear.
When I’m self-centered, I’m acting on the belief that I am separate from you, we cannot help each other, I’ve got to do things on my own, and your success is my failure. You are there for me to compare myself to, and then decide if I’m winning or losing.
I’m sitting here at my favorite coffee place, and not ten feet from me sits a guy whose name I don’t know, but whose face I recognize.
Our paths crossed about a year ago when we were hanging out around a group of mutual friends. I remember everyone giving him a wide berth because he seemed really edgy (not good edgy) and snapped at a few people. We were trying to help him, but he bristled at the thought that he needed anyone’s help. I remember thinking he had great hair, and how could anyone with such great hair be angry about anything.
Right now, he has a scab on his forehead, he no longer looks handsome. His tan is getting too “homelessy” and he looks like he hasn’t showered in days. He is talking to himself. And the saddest part is he is wearing coffee-stained pants. Not lightly stained. Stained like a big mug of coffee was murdered.
That probably sounds a little dramatic, but so many people are addicted to one of these; at least heroin addicts know they’re heading in the wrong direction. People trapped in self-pity sometimes live their whole lives never realizing they were addicted to feeling sorry for themselves.
When Dinner and a Movie (the show I co-hosted from 1995-2011) was in its heyday in the late 90’s, I started to get more offers to do stand-up. I was excited. Its what all stand-up comedians dream of; the clubs calling you, instead of you calling the clubs. Suddenly you have leverage. You make more money, your accommodations are better, and you can even choose who performs on the show with you.
My co-host at the time, Annabelle Gurwitch, was getting even more attention. Ford had given her money to not only appear in a campaign for their new car, the Focus, but they were letting her be a part of the creative process and use her friends in the ads. I was SO jealous.