Day 441: I'm Useless

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Okay, well, it's pretty much the opposite title from the blog yesterday where I gave myself the title of hero. How quickly things can change during the course of 24 hours. So why useless then? Why would I call myself useless when I'm sitting here, at my office desk, at 3:59, getting the entry down only a few hours later than yesterday? Why so hard on ourselves today, priminions? 

The truth is I'm not sure. It's just one of those days. We got up early, as per, in response to the awakening of the little beast now permanently in our midst. We went downstairs and fed him, then ate ourselves, then relaxed for a bit as he played. That's pretty much how we begin every day up here on the mountain, so there's no indication as to why I'm useless quite yet. It was raining when we woke up, which created a bit of a dismal scene outside, and further served to assure that my wood guy wouldn't be coming up today; but that's no big deal.

I suppose the nap I took with Blaze and Jeannette during their usual nap time this afternoon didn't help matters. Usually that's when dear old dad sets to work on whatever project he's trying to get ahead on, and relishes the peace and quiet of his work space as the demon spawn slumbers. But not today. Instead of doing anything productive I just crawled in bed next to them and slept, while Jeannette took a number of questionable pictures of both me and Blaze, while we weren't looking our best and couldn't defend ourselves. 

Another day of waking up with very little energy. But it's not just that I don't feel like working, it's that I don't even know what to work on. I have a lot of projects bouncing around my head and computer, and trying to juggle them all, at times, can be a little daunting. It's an old MO that I'm desperately trying to get the better of, and have been succeeding for the most part since moving back home. But every once in a while... overwhelmed! 

That's part of the point of the memory work of course, to help keep it all straight up in my head so I don't have to rely on things like my phone, or white board, or calendar, or computer. I'm convinced that the mind is a much more reliable assistant than any of those external things, and that despite the beliefs of most, is something that can be dramatically improved upon at any age... and yet success continues to elude me. 

It's a tricky business, re-training the mind of a 38 year old. Some might even consider it impossible. Thankfully I'm not one of those people, though I do appreciate with each passing day just how difficult it is. A high mountain to climb, this work I'm up to, and only a few examples of people who have done it and done it successfully. All the rest of you punks with your great memories and knack for storage and retrieval seem to have been blessed with a good birth and pre-existing system that works well for you. Well fancy that! 

Not this guy. This guy grew up thinking he had a shit memory, no knack for math or numbers, and instead of fixing up any of those weaknesses, I instead chose the path of charm and comedy which, you might be surprised to learn, gets you out of a lot of unwanted situations; especially in school. I remember one history class in grade 12 where we had to do a major project at the end of the year that would be worth 40% of our mark. Students worried about this project years before even getting to it, it was such an intense and well known requirement. Yeah, well I didn't have to write it. Instead, the teacher of that class was quite enamoured with my cartooning skills and just had me do caricatures for the project, a total of 12 of them if I'm not mistaken, focusing on the rise and fall of Hitler. Since this was something I'd be doing anyway -drawing I should say, not documenting the rise and fall of one of humanities greatest monsters- it was a pretty sweet deal. I believe I got an A, and inspired the ire of most of my peers. 

The point is this, we are drawn to the path of least resistance in this life, and if the things that we don't feel we're good at can be avoided, we will do so at all costs. For the animal kingdom this is an evolutionary fact of nature. Organisms are drawn to what is less difficult, dangerous, etc. So this latest goal of mine, to go back and try to fix the issues I developed as a child -through social damage more than any inherent problems with brain meat- is certainly going AGAINST that grain. And whenever you go against the grain there are going to be times when you sit at your desk, on a rainy day, and wonder what the hell you are doing! Especially when there's no one FORCING me to do this. No boss. No warden. No tyrannical government of any kind, beyond the voice in my head that never lets me coast! 

Why not just forget all this self-betterment nonsense, call an agent or manager somewhere tomorrow, and get back on the wheel of auditioning and doing projects that mean absolutely nothing to me but afford me a very comfortable life? Why not I say??

But that's not me anymore. I can't explain it... well, I can, but not in a blog entry... but the easy explanation is that I seem quite incapable of going backwards, of putting pandora back in her box. Wait, it was Pandora's box that was opened wasn't it? It wasn't a box that was opened causing some chick named Pandora to escape. Was it? I don't know. I CAN'T REMEMBER!!

It's important work, the path I'm currently on, of that I have no doubt. It really and truly is. I know this like I knew the jokes I wrote would get laughs from the people in the audience, or that I'll go about 80% success rate on a breakaway in hockey, or that I won't be intimidated by doing scenes all day with Pamela Anderson. It's a deep, internal knowledge, that defies most attempts at description, but in the end is something I just have to follow. I'm selfishly using today's entry as a form of self-motivation, I realize this, but what can I say, it's the mood I'm currently in. And I'm nothing if not honest with you guys, surely if we can agree on nothing else we can agree on that. 

Compounding the difficulties with the memory work, currently, right now, in my big stupid head, are the other projects I've got on the go; you know, the ones a man who doesn't presently have a job concocts in his head to assure that his wife and two kids will have food to eat and a roof over their heads and all that. I mean sure, being called to a higher and more worthy path in your life is very humbling and at the same time, quite exciting, but it also has to be balanced with the reality of life and what you have to do to get by. 

Or does it?? I've read enough on the topic by now, and followed the writings of enough teachers, both ancient and modern, to know that the above assumption may be completely wrong. I do know that in my own life I've done things that 98% of the population would say is foolish and will never pan out, a comedy career first and foremost among them, and yet things always had a way of working out. I remember being in Los Angeles, one or two years in, and having a full on panic attack on my shitty apartment floor because I was almost completely out of money and had nothing even percolating on the back burner. A day later I got a call from my agent saying the people at Verizon wanted me back for another commercial; one I didn't even audition for. 

There have been many examples of these types of events, things that happen that are just enough to keep you on the path forward. Joseph Campbell would say that when you're following your bliss the universe will do what needs to be done to keep you on that path.

I suppose it's a little like very recently, when Jeannette started to get a little nervous about how we're going to get some money rolling in again, and then the next day we found out about the bonus from the sale of Package Deal to a US network. Just enough cash to keep me up in this office staring at the numbers 00-99 for another few months at least. 

Okay, I think I've done what needed to be done here. Again, selfishly using this entry to talk myself up, quite aside from giving you all something to be entertained by. Unless perhaps hearing about the deep, internal doubts of a former sitcom actor and witnessing the attempt to come out that tangled mire provided you with something other than entertainment: in which case, I suppose this entry wasn't a total bust!

Have a good day munks. I am now once again off to go try to make sense of the inordinate amount of projects I have on the go, while at the same time making sure to be present whenever I'm with Jeannette or the kid. I didn't do a great job of that this morning but all mortals, I belive, are due for a shit day every once in a while.

Unless you're the Buddha. 

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