Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Wedding (part 1 of 3)

                Over this past week, I’ve experienced an odd spectrum of experiences. It just so happens that two different couples I know were going through their processes of getting married. One couple got married this Friday, while the other was having their bachelor and bachelorette parties on Saturday.
                So, in essence, I witnessed the final celebration of my friend’s life as a single man, and the first moment of my other friend’s life as a married woman. But, I saw them in reverse order, so it gave me an odd perspective.
                First, let’s talk about the wedding.
                I’m at the point in my life where many my friends are graduating college and moving on to the next phase of their lives, adulthood. Yes, the time in your life that you stop thinking about essays, drink specials, and getting laid. And you starting worrying about taxes, blood pressure, and some horrific thing called a “colonoscopy.” I’m not quite there yet, and I’m not sure if I ever will. I just don’t see a time in my life that I wouldn’t love cartoons.
                The wedding was preceded by me having to rush out and go buy a gift for the soon-to-be newlyweds. I’m not sure what made me feel more adult, buying a coffee maker, or printing off a registry at a Macy’s. The answer is neither, I felt more adult when I got really excited about the coffee maker being on sale.
                The wedding was beautiful, of course. The bride was gorgeous, of course. And the dance floor was an absolute train-wreck, of course. It’s a celebration.
                Looking out on the dance floor, I continued to ask myself, “will I ever be that uncool?” At what point in your life do you lose all rhythm and start dancing like you just found out you had functioning arms and legs. I’m guessing it’s the same time you decide to have the same haircut the rest of your life. But, who am I to judge? After a few (19) trips to the free bar, I became one of those dopes.
                I also had the pleasure of bringing a date to the event, my girlfriend. And thanks to having so many photographers as friends, I now have clear visual evidence that I can show my friends to prove I’m not gay. These are the sorts of things you value after being single for a while.
                There was a moment in the night when the reception was just winding down and the aforementioned abomination of a dance floor had pretty much cleared out. People were paying little attention to the music at this point, and people were ready to head home for the most part. The bride and groom were practically the only ones left on the dance floor, because the DJ had finally put on a song the bride actually requested, Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.” The smiles on their faces were like something you’ve seen in a picture frame at Target. The only difference was that these two people were experiencing real, genuine happiness, unlike the models.
                The groom picks up the bride from behind her knees and lays a big dramatic kiss on his wife. There is something moving about seeing love that up close. I know it sounds a bit cheesy, but it’s true. They didn’t do that because a photographer told them to, or because they thought it would be cute for everyone to see, they did it because they just decided to spend the rest of their lives together and couldn’t be more excited.
                That’s really what it comes down to. When all the hoopla of being young and in love and surrounded by people is over, what matters most is the two of them. If I’ve learned anything from watching my parents be together, it’s that making a relationship work is far from the easiest thing in the world, but it’s worth it if you’re right for each other.
                I know, allow me to give you a moment while you grab a tissue…
                If you’ve had enough of my clear influences from romantic comedies, the look for the next post in the next couple days. We will be discussing a bachelor party that… well… got a little weird.
                In the mean time, I will ask you to join me in my hunt to destroy the people responsible for claiming that Amy Winehouse is in any way comparable to Janis Joplin or Jimi Hendrix.
                And remember, it’s not all a joke, but it’s all funny.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Jokes > Scholarships

I wish I could say that I’ve been away from the blog for so long because I actually had better things to do, but that would be a lie. The truth is that I have stared at blank word documents periodically over the last month and wondered what I have to say that is even worth reading. Which sounds too cathartic for a comedian’s blog, no doubt, but I’ll choose to not care.
It’s a frustrating feeling, knowing that writing is really the only thing you’re any good at, and it doesn’t come to you naturally for such a long period of time.
This feeling is not one that is entirely new to me.
You see, there was a time in my life when my head wasn’t used to create these usually clever, at times racist little lines. It was more often used for attempting to give and receive concussions.
That’s right, I was once a college football player. Only a mediocre one at best, but I suckered the school into paying for half of my tuition (which I probably could have covered with an on campus job, but didn’t have time because the coaching staff didn’t appreciate their players having “lives”).
In high school, the sport was different. It was a game. It was something you did because you loved it and in my case because all of my best friends played right alongside me. It was worth it to work hard at because you knew that at the end of the week, your hard work would be rewarded with your performance in the game.
When college came around, I understood that I wasn’t going to be the star right away. I was too short, and not all that fast. So I knew I’d have to work my way to the top.
What I didn’t realize, was that on the way to the top there would be shoulder injuries, coaches that decided they didn’t like me the second they saw my face, and meatheads that seemed to think any weekend not spent trying to cheat on their orange-faced girlfriend was a weekend wasted.
Now, this isn’t to say that everyone I knew on that team fits these descriptions. There are a plethora of decent, intelligent, and interesting people that I only know because of my short-lived athletic career.  Unfortunately, these people were the exception and not the rule.
Every practice players would speak in front of the team about how we are all “family” and how much they love each other like “brothers.” Well, as a person that has three real brothers, it would take more than one of my brothers quitting a sports team for me to stop all communication with them overnight. I would also never utter the phrase “no faggots on the team” to one of my brothers.
I still frequently speak with some of my coaches from high school and I enjoy going back to the alma mater and seeing how the team is doing. What I took away from my experience with coaches in the college ranks, was that they generally treat their players like products, and not people.
Any time the coaching staff did show any hint of interest in my state of mind, it wasn’t because they were actually concerned for my well-being, it was because they wanted to make sure they were getting their money’s worth.
What I love most about doing comedy is the sense of accomplishment I get when I walk off stage, whether the show went well or not. When you’re on stage, it’s all on you to perform well. It’s your material, it’s your show, and it’s your responsibility.
 If the show goes well, it’s because you worked hard at it and were rewarded. If it doesn’t go well, then it’s your fault, and ask any comic what it feels like to walk off stage knowing the crowd didn’t like you. It’s a sickening feeling.
But if the crowd doesn’t like me, I don’t get benched. I don’t have to sit in someone’s office and watch tape of me dying on stage and hear them tell me how disappointed they are. I get to move on to the next gig and try to do better.
Quitting football wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but saying goodbye to concussions and Keystone Light was the best decision I ever made.
I’ve only recently discovered the things I love doing most, and the people I know I want to be around. My advice to you is that if you have something in your life that you know in your heart is not right for you, find a way to let it go.