|My "Five Star" Hotel Room|
Sunday, September 21, 2014
I have stayed in fine hotels and have seen many great sights. From the Puget Sound to the Niagara Falls, to quote Johnny Cash, “I've been everywhere man.” I recently had my first trip to Canada and have swam in the Caribbean. This, many believe is the norm, but it isn't, at least for me it’s not. I think many celebrities feel the same way. What you consider a vacation is our job. I know we aren’t building cars in Detroit or farming tobacco in Kentucky but its work still the same. For the most part, all most see is the escape from real life, i.e. a vacation. Flashing bulbs of cameras, nice clothes and fancy cars, that’s the life.
Well, today I’m in another city and I’m not even sure I can remember the name. My “Five Star” hotel is a block room painted diarrhea green with one wall that’s orange. The complementary mouthwash has something floating in it and there is no coffee. I didn't even know they made hotels with no coffee anymore. I have been on the road or as some call it, vacation, for 9 days and I have 2 more to go. On Monday I’ll be up at 4am to drive to the airport to drop the car off (yep I drive myself everywhere) and catch a flight back to Florida where I will wash clothes to get ready to do it again.
I’m not complaining, you see, it’s the life I chose…rather, it’s the life that chose me. To not be touring, traveling the friendly skies or driving the country’s highways would be denying what I was made to do. I've never been a homebody and I have always wanted to see the world from a windshield and in some cases, a rear-view mirror. Dreams and the pursuit of those dreams have been my driving force for as long as I can remember. Standing in front of a mirror, hairbrush in hand, singing Elvis songs complete with guitar (no strings on it by the way) I dreamed of being on the road…being a star. But chasing a dream as I have come to find out is hard work.
Waking up each morning full of hopes and promise only to fall asleep at night wondering if there is still more to do then you begin again the next day. Each time you get a gig or even an interest you count it as a good day but those days you hear nothing provides you with a choice. Do you doubt yourself leading to giving up or do you wake up that next morning, no matter how tired, with hope and promise ready to grab that dream? If this life chose you, then you wake up ready.
Life on the road is no vacation, but for me it’s a dream coming true.
Friday, September 12, 2014
Here I am at over 30,000 feet in the air and all my mind is thinking about is, “air travel is barely 100 years old.” I remember learning in history class even one of the Wright brothers flew planes in World War 1. This is just fascinating to me. With every bump in the…wait, how does air have bumps? They call it turbulence which I guess is air pockets, rough weather and nothing to be concerned about, so they tell us when it happens. All because two brothers from Ohio took an idea of air travel and made it a reality. For which I thank them and my pilot. For me air travel is the best way to go. Always an adventure worth experiencing and fodder for stories.
I remember one flight we hit one of those air pockets and dropped a several feet. Just how many feet I don’t know but we fell none the less. The little boy in the seat in front of me turned to his mother and asked her a question just as sincere as it was loud, “Hey Mom. If we fell from this high would we die?” The mother, obviously embarrassed, tried to quiet him while answering his question. Every few minutes and until we landed, the curious toddler continued to ask, “How about this high, Mom?” The mom knew she was fighting a losing battle trying to teach him talking about crashing in a plane isn’t a great topic for conversation. As for me, I laughed and hoped he would ask it louder. It was more entertaining than an in-flight movie.
Air travel does has its ups and downs though. The lay overs in towns you don’t know and not enough time to leave the airport to experience them. Recently coming home from some shows in upstate New York my wife and I had a delayed flight which erased any time to grab something to eat and almost erased our being able to get to our connecting flight. I hate running through airports. Well, I don’t run…ever. I may walk fast but never run. There is always a story to relay when asked how was my trip.
Once I was getting ready to head through security and got fast passed. They had chosen me to get pre-screened which bumped me to the head of the line. I didn’t have to take off my shoes or anything. Through security I headed to Starbucks as is my ritual. When I got there the guy in line said, “Here, go ahead of me, I’m waiting for someone.” This is turning out to be a great flight. Arrived to my seat on the Boeing 737, removed my flip flops and settled in to relax while reading my book. As we took off on my perfect flight sent to me from the Lord above I heard a young child say, “Uh Oh.” I’m the father of two girls and I’ve heard enough “Uh Oh’s” to know this wasn’t good. Soon my bare feet discovered the source of this “Uh Oh” as they were covered in slushy. Almost on cue, another child began to cry. My perfect flight quickly became less than perfect to say the least.
But today I am having a great flight to Michigan. Other than my head plugging up, it’s perfect (the two children on the plane are behind me and quiet). It’s the 13th Anniversary of 9/11 so I am feeling patriotic, proud to be an American and grateful to those brothers from the Buckeye state for developing this mode of transportation. In spite of the kid asking his mom if we would die or my slushy covered feet, I love to fly. This has taught me to take the good with the bad. The good is always better but without the slushy feet and layovers, I may not appreciate the good as much. This is such a great lesson to remember for our everyday walk in life. All because two bicycle repairing brothers made the dream of air travel a reality.
So today, at 30,000 feet, all I can say is, “Nice job Mr. Pilot. But if we were to fall from here…”
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
I hated school. There I said it. I said what almost every student thinks and how they feel each time they wake up at 6am so they can be at school by the time class starts. My youngest daughter is actually up at 5:30am getting dressed, putting together her own lunch all while hollering at me to hurry so I can drive her to her “job.” When she arrives home she’ll watch a little TV then its homework. Supper time allows her a little break but then she is right back at it until bed time, which for her is about 8:30ish. No wonder she dreads Mondays through Fridays. I did to, except I wasn’t near as studious as her. For me I enjoyed being at school to see all my buddies but those dang classes got in our way. As a result I was an average student scooting by on barley enough. Not my daughters, for which I am both grateful and extremely proud.
As I get older, though, I realize what I missed by not being a student. To me it was a classification of what I was but it wasn’t who I was. It’s that distinction that kept me from being as successful as I could have been. I still may have never been Valedictorian or Salutatorian but I certainly could have done better, perhaps even have earned some scholarships for college. I was content to show up and just fill the seat until I got to see my buddies between classes. If I could go back with what I know now, things would certainly be different. I would have studied more played less, well maybe not played less certainly loafed less. Making better use of my time.
I have now applied that “study more loaf less” concept to my work as an entertainer. I still like hanging out with my buddies or sit on a boat fishing but it all has its place. Because if it doesn’t I will remain a no name comic among other no name comics all of us hanging out talking about when we “make it” not really doing what it takes to get where we want to go. Too many of us take our good time high school/college living into our career life then wonder why some make it and we don’t. This came home to me a while back when I was hanging out with a comic who got “the call.”
We were all hanging out when this comic was invited by a friend of ours to come over to the house to watch sports. A great invitation. Food, drinks and sports on TV how could you turn this down? Not to mention the opportunity to hang out with a great friend he’s not seen in a while. What would your response have been? If you’re like most of us you would have said, “I’ll be there as soon as I get up and shower.” Not this comic. He simply declined the invite. He wanted to go. He wanted to spend the day watching football but there was something more pressing, his career. In order for him to reach his goals, he needed to chill in his hotel room, alone, to write. To be creative. To prepare. To research. Because he knows to reach his goals, he needs to be a student and that requires some sacrifices.
Every successful entertainer, CEO or sports figure is a student. They are a student of their craft. They know sacrifices will need to be made in order to be in the top of their class. Do they play? Do they loaf or have down time? Of course they do. The difference is knowing when play time is and it’s not all the time. They realize the need for rest and when it’s the proper time. This is the mark of successful students.
Hello. My name is Vic. I’m a student.