Monday, September 2, 2013


If it bites you, resistance is of no avail. You are hooked.

Such was my inheritance, as I grappled with the challenge of choosing my life's course. My family was steeped in the undeniable lure of showbiz.

My cousin was a self-ordained vocalist. It was tough getting work, so fierce was the competition which necessitated coming up with something new, something that would distinguish him from the mob of talentless wannabees. And he found it. The road to uniqueness. He discovered a vocal modulation progression which few, if any, before him had even dreamed about, let alone attempt to sing it. He would begin a ballad and surge higher and higher with each chord, until he had perfected the highest pitched vocalization known to man. Although musically groundbreaking, it followed the trajectory of a rocket, so that by the song's dramatic finale, he was singing notes which only dogs could hear.

My uncle was a vaudeville contortionist who, constantly striving for greatness, and always trying to make himself more limber, had his backbone removed, and replaced with mercury. And it relaxed him. At room temperature, he stood about five-nine. On hot days, he'd shoot up to six-six. He was doing just fine until that last cold snap. Shriveled to an inch and a half. Dragged away by the cat.

As for me, my work as a stand-up comic was short lived. You see, I was in deep denial of a memory problem. I would begin a joke soundly and with confidence, but then I'd forget the ending.

"Good evening tables and chairs, I was walking down the street one day when a guy comes up to me and asks if I'm looking for trouble. I stared him straight in the eye, flexed every muscle in my body, and said,"-------------(NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING)----------." I just stood there, praying that the ground would open beneath me, allowing a plummet to China.

Desperate to resuscitate my career, I turned to dancing, forgetting or didmissing the fact that, since birth, I had been plagued with plantar fasciitis. The band would play the opening bars: dud-da-da-da-da-DA!, at which point I would extend my right leg out and DOWN (!) on the floor, scream out in pain and collapse, emotionally and physically. That's when I decided to try my hand at Brain Surgery.

"There's no people like show people, they smile when they are low
Even with a turkey that you know will fold, you may be stranded out in the cold
Still you wouldn't change it for a sack of gold, let's go on with the show."

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