What’s a little public humiliation?…

Well, it happened again. Another very public anxiety attack. We can laugh about it now.

Or not.

Sigh.

The attack actually happened back in August. It has taken me this long to recover enough to write about it.

In August I rallied the courage to emcee for the first time at the major comedy club in the area. I had been putting this off… I had never done this before and I’m only just now, a couple of years into stand up, beginning to get over my severe stage fright. Hosting the show is an entirely different animal. As a comic, you must perform first, warming up the crowd, and then introduce each subsequent comic, making sure they stay to the set given minutes, give any announcements, and keep the flow of the show going.

I was already extremely nervous. My anxiety was beginning to climb days ahead of this show. I practiced my set, and my friend met me before the show to rehearse what to say to the audience–he had hosted several times. I was as ready as I was going to be.

I walked into the club and my friend that works there showed me the list of comics performing that night. At the end of the list were several names–add ons. My friend said that some headliner’s had shown up and asked to be on the show that night…and now the show was going to run long…and now we had to figure out how much time to allow everyone…and this is about the time my anxiety began to really escalate.

I went behind the stage and said hello to the comics back there and began to deep breathe. It didn’t help. Another friend came backstage to say hello before the show–he is a fairly well-known headliner–and pointed out a name on the list was a former winner of Star Search.

SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT

The show began and I went out first. I did my set but because I was so nervous I lost my shit. My voice was all squeaky. I began to shake. I could barely hold the microphone. I was dying on stage. And I had a whole, now really long show, to get through.

SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT

My friend, who was there to support me, the one that had practiced with me, kept running back to help me between comics. He was offering advice, like “Smile more!” and “More energy!” I heard “You are totally sucking it!!!” and became even more nervous–which I didn’t know was possible. I began to have tunnel vision. I was shaking so hard I had to hold the podium back stage to stand up. I almost vomited. On stage I very nearly backed into the wall, away from the audience. I don’t even know what the audience thought. I forgot a comic’s name on stage–and he had to yell it to me through the door. Jesus. I said to my supportive friend backstage, well, the worst just happened. Nothing else can go wrong now. He said oh, no–something else can always go wrong. NOT THE THING TO SAY TO ME ASSHOLE!!!!!! And just like that I went from extreme anxiety, to Thelma and Louise, over the cliff, not coming back, down the rabbit hole panic attack PTSD mode. It was over for me.

I had put so much pressure on myself as I knew that the owner of the club watched the show and determined if he would hire an emcee or feature act for the following year. I didn’t want to let him down, my friends down, or myself down. In the end–I did all of the above.

After the show, my friend that runs the club came back stage and asked me how I thought I had done. I knew instantly what that meant. I just started bawling. Like, ugly girl crying. It was horrible.

I ended up in the green room, on the couch with my supportive friend trying to calm me. It went like this:

Him: You know, I also suffer from depression and anxiety. You can’t let this get to you.
Me:(in my head) Not like this. And if you don’t shut up, I will punch you.
Him: Hey, the good news–you got to perform on one of the top four most important comedy stages in the United States! Not many people get to say that!
Me: (in my head) SHIT!! I JUST SCREWED UP ON ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT STAGES IN THE U.S.!!!!

My friend that runs the club came back to check on me and also tried to comfort me. He said well, maybe you just weren’t meant to emcee… I heard YOU SUCK AND CAN’T EVEN BE AN EMCEE and started hyperventilating again. I had two men staring at the girl bawling on the couch, staring at each other, and you could just see they were trying to figure out what the F*** to do. Like, do we just kill her? Do we call someone? Ummmm….

The good news out of all of this is that I have really good friends. Friends that I can bawl in front of and they will still love me. I love them for this.

And, I have licked my wounded ego and gotten back up on stage. I haven’t hosted again, yet, but I will. Eventually. Someday.

Peace people.

 

Summer Fun (just pass the bottle)

It’s August, and that means summer vacation time. We took our yearly trek up to northern Michigan last week. My husband and I get into a “discourse” before every long car trip. By long, I mean anything longer than the distance of our short driveway. He offered to drive. I suggested (read-strongly refused to let him) that I do so instead as he could probably use the rest.

Here’s the reason. My husband suffers from what I like to call “Driving Induced Narcolepsy.” It doesn’t matter if he is the driver or the passenger. He will fall asleep in a matter of seconds once the car motor is started. Now, I’m usually a very liberal girl….but on this occasion, well, I’m very decidedly PRO LIFE. I’m driving. My husband can be driving, and nodding off, and driving…and nodding off….the kids, frantic in the back seat….my daughter, texting me frantic messages to wake her dad the (blank) up… next the kids start recording farewell messages to their classmates…to be played on what would have been their graduation days…. my husband, still driving and nodding…..irritated if I suggest he pull the F*** OVER NOW!!

Anyway, this will go on…and then suddenly, some dude in a car will try to pass on the right. My husband will shoot to consciousness like a rocket, his foot instantly pressing on the gas. Seriously???? It’s the man rule: Thou shalt not let another car pass in front of you. It’s unbelievable. Now it’s on and my husband has gone all Nascar on me. Except he hates Nascar. Except for this instance. Jesus.

And I’m thinking how the (blank) tough do you really think you look (asshole) driving the six-year-old Explorer, with dents on the side, three kids in the back, adorned with bumper stickers??? And how far do you think we are going to get when we are surrounded by ORANGE BARRELS AS IT IS SUMMER IN MICHIGAN????

Day three of the vacation I staggered up to the food kiosk at the beach to order food. My youngest son had thrown me into the lake. Michiganders like to refer to the temperature of the Great Lakes as “refreshing.” Bullshit. I’m from Michigan and I am here to tell you that even on a ninety degree day the water was bloody damn cold. I hadn’t brought a brush with me to the beach…because why would I… As the guy at the lunch place leaned into the window to take my order I caught sight of my shadow. My hair had dried into a pattern that can only be described as “Medusa like.” The guy asked me what I wanted. I think I may have spoken in a voice normally reserved for serial killers in movies when I replied: Vodka. But only the good stuff–like Grey Goose. And no mixer. Just the damn bottle. And a bunch of limes.

The guy looked at me and said huh. He then proceeded to tell me all about the local variety of vodka made up in Traverse City…and then we had quite the conversation about the different types of vodka. I think he would have given me a free drink/bottle had he any vodka on him. I think he sensed my desperation. Maybe the hair was a give away. Hard to tell, really…

The drive home only took a short six hours. It is normally a three and a half hour jaunt, but it’s Michigan and summer, which means road construction. Which means some asshat decided to close one lane of the main highway pretty much all the way home…

You know, when you’re stuck in a car for that long, you start to think about things, like teleporting, and flying cars, and running away and assuming a new identity. And why the hell can’t they make a more comfortable car seat. Seriously.

We’re home now and I’m happy to report I’m not an alcoholic. I am counting down the days until school begins again…

Peace people

 

 

 

 

OH (my!) Canada..(or, I’ll take the enhanced version…)

Dear gentle readers…I have to share my latest adventure with you. As some of you know, I am a struggling stand up comic. This means that much of my time is spent at comedy shows performing in front of other comics and occasionally audience members. Once in a while I get paid by actual money for a performance and not just the standard free drink.

This week I performed in (OH!) Canada. This is just across the border from where I live, so normally this isn’t a problem. However, the night of my chosen performance, was also the night of the fireworks display across Great Lakes. Shit.

I was stopped by border control in Canada and my car searched. Apparently I meet the criteria for either terrorist or drug runner. Good to know.

Two and a half hours later (which is normally a forty minute trip…) I made it to the venue. The club was a marijuana vape lounge. It was legal. No weed is sold there, but a patron is allowed to bring their own and smoke at will.

Turns out I was the headliner, so it was a good thing I actually made it to this hazy room. Some of my comic friends were there and were very happy to give me an in service on all the devices used for pot these days. Things sure have changed since the 1980s. There are all sorts of contraptions, digital things–crazy man. High tech. Bunch of wimps. Just saying.

I was anxious to perform as I wanted to get on the road to home and try to beat the traffic. My GPS did not work in Canada (asshole) and I had used up my phone battery getting there. I went up last and did my routine…and as part of it I mention menopause.

There was a guy sitting at the vape bar (no alcohol is served…what the hell kind of bar is this???) and he looked at me and shouted “What you need is CANNALUBE!!!”

WTF??

I asked what the hell that was and if that is what the cool kids were calling cannabis these days.

Nope. Turns out it is a vaginal lubricant with cannabis oil in it.

You heard it here first, folks.

I asked him if it would make my vagina high. I asked him if I could have a free sample. I told the room this was the single best day of my life.

I finished my set and had a conversation with him. Turns out not only can Cannalube be used as a personal lubricant, you can cook with it (he told me some recipes) and he also puts it in his coffee. It was quite the conversation. He would have given me a free sample, but as I had already been searched going over, I decided not to chance it going back to the States.

So my postmenopausal ladyparts that can’talube by themselves could have gotten free Cannalube.

Damn.

Peace People

 

 

 

 

Waiting for (African) Superman (or, How To Blow Your Child’s Mind In One Easy Step…)

I don’t think anything gives a parent more pleasure than driving their children crazy. At least for me anyway.

This weekend I drove my youngest son to the brink of madness. And it was AWESOME.

It started with a conversation about Superman. Earlier I had read an online article about how Superman’s skin should actually be dark as he derives his energy from the sun. The argument then went on to state that Superman should actually have brown or black skin. Now, one would think that my son, the AFRICAN, would embrace this idea.

Not so much.

Quite frankly, the thought of that blew his mind.

We argued back and forth for quite some time. He yelled that changing Superman would alter all the comics for the last seventy years. I yelled that they had changed Green Lantern to a darker toned person… my son grew angrier and said that Green Lantern was NOT a major superhero… I said to tell that to Green Lantern… I accused HIM of being a superhero racist…He told me I was IMPOSSIBLE…and that if I wanted to change superheroes so much, what about BATMAN?? COULD BATMAN BE BLACK???

I replied probably not because Batman was rich and had a butler (and then I cracked up…waiting for his wrath…)

This drove him blind with fury and he accused ME of being a racist…

For the record, neither one of us is racist. Just to be clear.

And shortly after this heated exchange my husband drove my son to the comic book store to buy the new Black Panther comic (which I looked through quickly just to make sure it wasn’t pornographic, only to have my son inform me that it wasn’t and tell me the name of the graphic novel that was. Good to know that he knows these things. Sigh…)

If you have children, go have a debate with them. Make them stand their ground. Drive them a little bit crazy. It will make them critical thinkers and maybe develop a sense of humor. It will also be a bit fun for you…

Later that night we all watched the “Captain America”movie, blanket pulled up, arms all over each other.

Family.

Peace people.

 

 

 

Driving For Direction (or, Pandas Gone Bad..)

I took my two sons and a visiting friend on a short vacation down to North Carolina to visit my oldest daughter last week. I wanted to see her, I wanted to see some sunshine, and I needed to clear my head.

A ten-hour drive, each direction, will give you some time to think.

I needed to figure out where I am going with my life, my career…was it worth putting the effort into comedy or should I quit now before I get too invested… I was feeling stressed from trying to do it all, from trying to break into formed social groups, from watching the hatred being spewed out on political television… I needed a break.

I drove from Michigan, through the farm lands of Ohio, then through the gentle mountains of West Virginia. We stopped for lunch somewhere there… at some small roadside “town.” We flipped a coin over the two restaurant choices and walked into the winner.

As we pushed open the doors and entered, we found ourselves facing┬áthe largest display of the Ten Commandments I had ever seen. Ever. I mean, I have seen smaller billboards on the highway. They were displayed on a table, filled with all sorts of religious artifacts… I wasn’t sure if I had stumbled into a makeshift altar and a sacrifice was about to take place, or a spontaneous Baptism–all I knew was that it freaked me the hell out and before I could stop myself I burst out loudly “HOLY SHIT!!!”

In my defense, at least I said holy. Just saying.

My youngest son’s eyes were as big as saucers… he started to dart them back and forth…clearly out of his comfort zone as well… he whispered to me that he was concerned for his safety… I assured him that we were fine…although I wasn’t entirely convinced myself..

We ate our crappy lunches and beat it. Lesson learned.

Later I was nearly pushed off the road by a semi truck that failed to see me…I drove onto the shoulder and somehow managed to speed up and zip in front of him without rear ending the semi in front of me…this still in the mountains…all very exciting…as my Mighty Explorer is well-known as being a performance automobile (insert sarcasm here..).

The best part of the trip (besides spending time with my children) was going to the science center in Charlotte. There we innocently bought tickets to the IMAX panda movie–a documentary about preserving the pandas in China.

HOLY SHIT.

It began innocently enough. Panda preserve, female panda, needs to get pregnant to keep the panda population going. Ok, so far so good… They put her in a pen and brought out this young male panda, who is a bit rough, so she rejects him, so they brought out (and I quote) “an older, more experienced male.” At this point I’m giggling. No shit. The panda lady was like “Get that asshole young kid away from me with his cheap ass beer– I want the older guy with the stable job and the fine wine and a fully stocked liquor cabinet–with the GOOD STUFF–and a good retirement plan. AND that knows what the hell to do in bed.”

Jesus, even PANDAS know this shit.

So the female panda gets pregnant and has twins but she normally only takes care of one. This means that every two weeks some poor worker has to go in and take the panda baby from her and switch it with the other baby that they are caring for in the panda nursery. Except she can get a little testy about this and apparently pandas can kill you with one swipe. I wish you could have seen how fast this guy ran. I mean, Olympic fast. No kidding.

Fast forward–now one of the panda babies is grown up enough to make it and they want to get him ready to go out into the real world. To do this (wait-I have to laugh here…) to do this (laughing again…) a couple of guys put on these really shitty panda costumes, so the panda WON’T KNOW that they are humans coming in to hang out with him. Ummm..

At first I was like WHOA!!! Did this movie just take a wrong turn??? Is this some kind of sick furry sexual film?? WHAT THE HELL???

The costumes were so very bad. I mean, this is CHINA for godssakes. One would think they could find a better costume there for their beloved pandas!!! And, the panda dudes were walking upright! Like Yogi Bear! Or the Country Bear Jamboree! I mean, WTF people!! Even pandas aren’t that stupid!

The best part was that one of the panda guy’s had to smear panda feces and urine all over himself to help convince the real panda that he was legit. I kept thinking that the other guy probably had a double-headed coin for that coin toss…gee guy, sorry, you lost again, bummer but you have to smear that crap all over you again…wow…

The final test was getting the baby panda ready to handle predators. The two panda dudes, walking upright, carried a stuffed cat. This was to be the terrifying jaguar to teach the panda to fear for its life. They smeared the urine and feces all over it and hid behind some bushes…waiting…ummm….

The panda walked by (walking on all four legs, just to be clear…) looked at the stuffed cat (and probably thought “who the hell put a stuffed cat in the middle of this forest? Assholes…”) Just then the panda dudes hit this tape recorder circa 1979 and this loud YOWL was heard. The real panda was like, “HOLY SHIT what the HELL was THAT!!!” and promptly ran up a tree (because he thought “JUDAS PRIEST when did stuffed cats learn to make noises??!!”)

Apparently this was a big success and it was decided that the real panda could now be pushed out of the nest and into the real forest to deal with real predators.

The End.

I have to say that thru the entire movie, my asshole family was snorting and giggling and laughing. Nobody else in the theater was. Sigh. We just could not take this seriously. (Ok, my autistic son was not laughing. So one of us was well-behaved.)

Which brings me back to the beginning of this blog. I was thinking of walking away from comedy. I really was.

But after this trip all I could think about was how I could make this into a new bit. Or how I need to write a television series. Or how I need to write some new sketches for the sketch comedy group I joined.

And to clone myself so I can be a mom and do it all.  That would help too.

Peace people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Silly Quiz (or, How does your child REALLY feel about you…)

Today I read one of those lists that you are supposed to ask your children to learn what they think of you. Normally I ignore them, but I’m spending a wintery Michigan day with the boys and thought, oh what the hell. I called my twelve year old over and proceeded to quiz him. Here are the results….

  1. What is something mom always says to you?
    READ!
  2. What makes mom happy?
    The beach or SNL (Saturday Night Live, just in case that wasn’t clear…)
  3. What makes mom sad?
    Snow (so very, very true…)
  4. How does your mom make you laugh?
    By telling jokes that I can relate to
  5. What was your mom like as a child?
    A punk/talked back/smart (ok, so guilty as charged…)
  6. How old is your mom?
    49 (and I just vomited a little bit writing that…)
  7. How tall is your mom?
    5’10” (insert me laughing now…as that is about 4″ taller than I am…)
  8. What is her favorite thing to do?
    Go to the gym, comedy, or to the beach
  9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
    Errands
  10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
    Comedy
  11. What is your mom really good at?
    Being a nurse, awareness of everything going on around, reading
  12. What is your mom not very good at?
    Swimming (sigh, very true…)
  13. What does your mom do for a job?
    Comedy (now if I could only get paid for this….)
  14. What is your mom’s favorite food?
    Salad with prosciutto on top
  15. What makes you proud of your mom?
    That I am the only one that graduated from college in my family (I must insert here that my parents did go to junior college and obtained associate degrees)
  16. If your mom were a character, who would she be?
    Will Ferrell (hahahahaha!!!!)
  17. What do you and your mom do together?
    Watch “Heroes” and play Star Wars by fighting with light sabers
  18. How are you and your mom the same?
    We both love to argue and are very competitive (ok, this is true. Uno can become a blood bath…as can Nerf archery–we shoot each other–or any other event…)
  19. How are you and your mom different?
    I couldn’t care less about sports (this is true…although when he plays soccer, I am fixated on that field…)
  20. How do you know your mom loves you?
    Because I cook for him and I went to Africa to get him (choking up a bit here..)
  21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
    He is loyal and doesn’t lie and is smart
  22. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?
    Key West or anyplace warm (I’m sensing a theme here…)

I had fun asking him all of these questions. I loved that he thinks that I am always aware of everything…that’s going to help me as his teen years loom in the near future. It also may have helped that I discovered his Nintendo DS hidden under his mattress today…that he took without asking from my room so he could stay up at night and play. Busted.

I should also add in that when I first asked him how we were alike he started to answer physical features… like our toes, and widow’s peaks…which I found just so dang sweet as he is adopted and yet he was still finding physical similarities. Again, tearful here.

Take the time to ask your children questions. Get to know them. Look under their mattresses. Look into their eyes and their hearts.

They will look back.

And if we are very lucky, they will continue to do so…their entire lives.

Peace people.

 

 

(Comedy) Walk of Shame…(or, Why I need a mute button)

Ok, so sometimes I screw up. I make a tremendous ass out of myself, and generally when I do this, it’s in a very public manner.

Yesterday was an epic example of this.

Last night I was asked to guest on a podcast to help promote the comedy show I’m performing in tonight. It was my first podcast, and I wanted to help out my friend that arranged the show tonight.

I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into the recording studio. The host introduced himself to us and offered us food and drink. My friend casually asked him how large the listening audience was. I was expecting a smaller number, like a few hundred. The host casually answered that the last podcast had sixteen thousand listeners.

HOLY SHIT.

I could feel my anxiety attack starting. I tried to slow my breathing…too late.

We sat at our microphones and the host began asking us questions about our lives…I opened my mouth and verbal diarrhea came out. I entered a fugue state…I was rambling…they all began staring at me…which only made me more nervous…I began rambling even more…it was awful…we cut to a music break and I discovered that there was a person standing behind me–the reason (partly) for some of the stares. SHIT.

I became even more nervous…I started talking about my family…and for some reason told the story of how my “Marital Aid” was mistaken for a possible bomb by TSA at the airport–in front of my children–and taken out of my suitcase–in front of my children–all of this for an audience of possibly SIXTEEN THOUSAND PEOPLE. My husband will be so proud.

At one point we switched to a trivia contest…names were tossed about…my mind went completely BLANK… I tried to punt… I was clearly sounding like the village idiot…AWESOME….

I’m fairly certain that I am now a comedy pariah and my friend is wishing like hell he hadn’t asked me to be on his show tonight.

SIGH.

So tonight, instead of hiding under my covers, crying into fists of tissue, continuously reliving every horrible moment of my public humiliation, I am going to pull myself up and just deliver it on stage.

Someday we will all laugh about this.

Ha.

For now, just learn from my mistakes. Be prepared. Don’t take “Marital Aids” with cords and batteries in your carry on bags. Possibly bring a public relations handler with you if you are prone to attacks of verbal diarrhea in public.  Pick yourself up and keep fighting the good fight.

Peace all.