Today is my 24th name day, and I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to be a man by now. Just this week I learned how to change my oil, so that was probably a step towards manhood. But, other than that, I haven’t been making much progress towards proving to the world that I’m anything more than a cat-loving “comedian” that has been wearing the same forest green, bulldog-print pajama pants for the last four years. And, if I’m being honest, I haven’t proven that to myself yet either.
Don’t worry; this won’t be another blog post where you’re wondering if it’s equal parts confessional and suicide note. The severe depression and sulkiness has since worn off, and I’ve moved on to a calm, manageable state of big dreams and small self-esteem. The latter is currently being balanced out by the number of people wishing me a happy birthday on Facebook. I’m up to almost 30 notifications, if I get any less than 50 today this will become a suicide note, due to the fact that it would matter to less than 50 people. If I get more than 100, my ego will cause my head to grow to such a size that it will become so swollen and heavy that it breaks my neck, paralyzing me from the collarbone down. So don’t overdo it. My life is in your hands, Dude.
Birthdays have never been that big of a deal in my family. And although I can say that I had a generally typical, happy childhood, I can’t honestly say that I’ve ever had a birthday party. I attended a few, they seemed great. Everyone gathers around and insists that you be the center of attention, it’s every middle child’s fantasy.
I can only complain about my childhood so much, and if never having a birthday party is my biggest gripe about my upbringing, then I have very little to be upset about. It goes without saying that there are people that have come from much less forgiving backgrounds that have accomplished more than me by a huge margin.
People, perhaps for good reason, have never seemed to feel bad for me. I remember a time in middle school when my brothers were driving me to school and we were listening to music. I can’t remember exactly what song we were listening to, but the lyrics had some reference to having a hard time getting through high school because of the way they were treated. I expressed to my brothers that I could sympathize with the sentiment and they looked at me like I had just told them they were both adopted.
“You have no idea what they’re talking about,” I recall one of them saying. They were probably right, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make. I’ve always found myself more easily identifying with the outsider, or the flawed hero. Which isn’t to say that I’m either of those things, I’m not. The problem is that I look like the total opposite of those things, so when a joke about how sad I am comes out on stage, people don’t buy it because they don’t think that the guy that looks like the quarterback of their high school football team can have any idea what self-loathing can feel like. What I look like on the outside has never really matched the person I feel like I am.
I know this is huge, earthshaking news I’m delivering to you. Tomorrow the front page of the New York Times will read “Minneapolis comic looks good, feels shitty.”
This has become a ramble, and I don’t feel sorry about that. This is what happens when I write before I even leave my bed in the morning. Outside of getting up to microwave leftover Chipotle, the most productive thing I’ve done today is watch my cat flip into fast forward mode when he discovered his new catnip toy. It’s my birthday, and this is how I’m choosing to spend it.
The night brings promise of laughter and merriment, with another comedy show at Stub and Herb’s. Doing comedy here in Minneapolis has changed me in ways that go beyond what people see on stage. You comics are a brilliant, amazing bunch of idiots and assholes that I love endlessly. So, thank you for allowing me to come along with you on this weird adventure that is comedy. I am inspired and humbled by you every time you make me laugh. Here’s to the many years to come of laughing with and at you.