Notes to myself. A journey down memory lane…(This shall be a series of parts of my life, parts long ago, and newly revisited. )

1951. A good year to be born. My parents had much experience with babies, they had 10 of them before me (and a few still borns) and one more after. I was the only one in 1951.

I was tiny. Not as tiny as my brother Bobby, who was brought home in a cigar box!  I wasn’t much over five pounds, and a Frank’s Breach Birth, which, my mother informed me, is not how you want to come into this world- ass backwards. Yep, I put my tush out first, and then my head. No wonder my journey through life has been a bit less than ordinary. I learned to talk early, walked about on time, and – legend has it- clobbered my brother in law with a glass milk bottle , after climbing out of a crib that was supposedly escape proof. He was a tad drunk, and sleeping on the couch, only to be awakened by repeated blows to the head from a tiny red headed baby, who could barely crawl, yelling at him: “Mill …mill…mill…”  THAT is the earliest story in my family mythology.  I was told that story so often, and the family recounted it so often, that I thought it was a memory. It is one now. LOL

I spent the next four years, like most little people, learning not to poop in my own pants, nor pee in them. To ask for things without simply pointing at them. To share. Then right around four years of age, I had three big things happen all in the same year:

I got a concussion, I got the croup, and almost died, and …I set the house on fire. Yes, it was a busy year. They didn’t happen exactly in that order…so let’s start with the concussion, because that may explain a lot about me then, and now. LOL

I was running in the backyard, when I tripped on a baseball bat. That should have been no big deal, but, someone had left a rake, one of those with the thick metal tines for stripping weeds , laying face up. Four of the prongs managed to pierce my skull. My forehead swelled up like Frankenstein’s, and for about six weeks, that is what folks called me. It was hideous. I think it rewired my brain, in fact, I am sure of it. My parents were truly worried, and took me back to the Hospital several times, but the Doc’s back then told them to give it some time for the swelling to go away. Nobody wanted to do brain surgery on me. It was wise advise.  I did, eventually, heal. At least outwardly.  But the concussion may explain the next bit- setting the house on fire.

When I was four, I loved Army Men, not real Army men, plastic, and metal Army men. Play Army men. I turned five that September, so I was almost five when this happened. I played with them like the little autistic kid I was (didn’t know it back then- but who else plays Army at four, by taking the battle plans from a book, and arranging the soldiers according to actual battlefield deployment? lol).  I had two huge armies set up on the back porch. Little tanks, cannons, and jeeps were everywhere. I had two forts, and wanted realism. So, I went and got my Dad’s Ronco Lighter fluid can ( six ounces of liquid volatile fuel) and some paper to make it look more realistic. Well, our back porch was old, dry, and had paint on it. Once it was soaked with lighter fluid, well, when the first wooden match hit the fluid, a flame started that was so big, I couldn’t put it out. I went around the back of the house to get the garden hose. When I came back around the corner , with said hose in hand, well … the flames were above the window  and hitting the roof. I put the hose down, walked across the street to a neighbor’s house, and she gave me a donut and chocolate milk.  A few minutes later, she came running from her living room: “Kevin, your house is on fire, is your Mom home?”  “Yes, Ma’am.”  She ran out and yelled at my Mom to get out of the house. We lost most of the back porch. Once they figured out I started it, completely by accident…the adults all laughed. No harm, no foul.  However, since I left my Mom in a burning house, stole my Dad’s lighter fluid, and set the porch on fire…it seemed like every adult male related to me was allowed to spank me on principal alone. I still remember the donut. Glazed.

Then, on my fifth birthday, I got the Croup, or Whooping Cough. It sometimes was fatal for us little tykes. It nearly did me in. The hospital was full, and there wasn’t anything they could do for me, so, they sent me home in an oxygen tent. They told my parents:

“Have somebody watch him all the time. He is so little, and he has to fight for every breath. He may get to tired to breathe. It is up to how much fight he has in him… if he makes it through the next 48 hours or so, you can take him out of the oxygen tent and bring him back for a check up.”  My parents set me up in the living room, with the tent covering me. I only remember the little zipper, and how the plastic would fog up if I sat up to close to it. There was always someone watching me. Then, I got better. I got the croup – for some reason, almost every year-from age four to age ten- but never as bad as that time. My Dad and Mom were so happy I made it, they bought me a toy boat. Toys were rare in our house, and to get one- for no apparent reason- was a big deal. How big? I have a picture of that toy, and me- to this day.  Here I am , so tiny, so proud, and such a big head!  I had made it to Five years of age.


I can breath.  I got a toy boat. How cool is that.

I can breath.
I got a toy boat.
How cool is that.

A very quick conversation with a 98 year old man. In just a few sentences this man told me a lot.

Okay, I hold the door for a 98 Year old man at the grocery store. He says:

“Thank you, but I didn’t need the help. Maybe when I am 100.”

I laugh. “How old are you?”

“I turned 98 in the Spring. ”

“Wow, I would have guessed you as a man in his seventies.”

“What? Not my sixties?”

“Well, No.”

“You are kind and honest, that is a tough double to pull off. I am glad you didn’t try. Being honest is much more important than being kind.”

“You believe that? ”

“Yes, I do. Because stating facts should never be considered unkind, as if the truth should never hurt.”

“Oh, I see what you mean, I think.”

“Take me, I have lived long enough to see my wife pass away, all four of my kids, and two of their children too. All my friends , but one, are gone. Unkind would have been never having been married, or having children, or friends. It hurts to see them all go before me, yet, I would gladly take the loneliness now, as the price I paid for having all that joy, for more than 70 years. Life can look like a tragedy from one angle, and a gift or miracle from another. ”

“How long would you like to live?”

” Until I get bored. ”

“What would you consider being bored?”

“When the most I get out of life is watching TV, then, I will know I am bored.”

“I hate TV. I even write blogs to get people to stop watching the news.”

“Well, keep that up. It might help.”

And then, the van pulled up to take him home.  I thought of the old Mark Twain quote on my way home: ” No one could take 100% honesty from another human being, and luckily, no one ever will. “

“Sex is dirty, disgusting, immoral, and wrong…save it for someone you love. The real message from society. Oh, but show us more violence please. “

Well, I got this one sentence reply from a reader: “We can’t see a nipple on TV, but we can see someone’s son beheaded.” ”

I have to tell you I didn’t know what he was talking about, until my wife’s friends commented on Facebook. I don’t watch the News for a reason, and now, I can’t even browse my wife’s facebook, because I don’t know what crap or political diatribe folks will put up on their postings. I just want to see pics of family, or friends, or neat things they have done in their lives…but, no. Folks vent ugly thoughts, and diatribes or polemics about their favorite party, or political affiliation, and it drives me bonkers. I find myself ready to just stop. The world is different than when I was in High School. What happened to the four hour work week? The life of leisure, and the font of free energy? The hope? Where did it go?

Beats me.

She: ” I don’t want to have sex anymore.” He: “You don’t get to make that decision for both of us. ” Sex and marriage…oh dear. This is not for young people under sixty!

We were just chatting when the subject of late in life sex came up. No pun intended, but, I put that in your hands, er…lap, doggone it, you know what I meant. LOL

We talked about how age, menopause, Erectile Dysfunction, and disease, and injury, and yes, an ebbing of desire, all contribute to a much curtailed sex life. Oh, not for everyone, the number of folks who continue to have a truly active sex life, and match the numbers of their youth- well, they are out there. like everything else in life though: age, time, body, mind, spirit either slows down, stops, or breaks. LOL  Yet, this fella was adamant. He told us the subject bar quote, and that led to a lively and interesting, painful, sometimes -personal- emotional exchange between the women, and the men.

His point was simply this: “I still want it. I can still perform. I still desire it. I like it, I want it, and I will get it. If you don’t want to have it anymore, fine. I respect that. But, don’t dare say a word to me when I go out and find someone who wants to share sex with me. I don’t confuse sex with love. I love you, and I am not leaving you. But, don’t ask me where I am getting it, or from whom. It isn’t any of your business.”

Well, you can imagine the fireworks that set off. After all the couples left, not without some major yelling and shouting about marriage not being a sexual contract – (which, well, isn’t true. In the USA, the only place you can legally get sex is in marriage, or with someone you love. Having sex with anyone other than your partner, used to be grounds for divorce, mayhaps, it still is.) the rest of us talked about Societies Rules, the rights of each individual to their own body, and the differing needs of Men and Women. I once overheard a young mother telling other young women- …” sex for males is almost like medicine. Sometimes , you have to take one for the team.”  I also overheard several women over fifty say they would be fully happy never having sex again. Cuddling , when not suffering from hot flashes , was much more appealing to them. I also know several guys who have lost interest, as they said: “It is just to much work, my joints hurt, my erection is soft, and doesn’t last long enough to have a good time, and she needs way more foreplay than I am capable of giving, plus- we both have bad hips.”  LOL

These are all just glimpses, and there is no right answer. It is an individual choice, but, if you are a couple, two people have to agree, otherwise- you have friction. Not the slippery , fun, kind of friction, but that slow grinding guilt, shame, anger, frustration kind of friction that hides behind a “no big deal” comment, yet – is a big deal. My oldest friend ( in age, not years as a friend) says this: “I stopped having sex when I was 63, and it freed me up to have female friends. It probably stopped me from being a sexist male, for the first time in my life. On the other hand, almost every woman I met , who was more than sixty, was emotionally closer to my maleness, and farther away from my male libido. In other words, we could be friends, and a sense of humor, ease of companionship, and intelligence replaced the sexual urgency with a comforting power of friendship.”

Well said – I thought. Here is one last thought from another friend (and you may think, after reading it, it was a quote from a male. It was not. It was from a female speaking for herself)

“I think sex , without a partner, is quicker, cleaner, and done just the way you like it. It might be lonelier for some people, but, for me, it beats trying to please someone else, even someone who almost finds the right spot. It is like scratching your back, no one ever gets it right, no matter how close they come, or how good it feels. When you scratch what you can reach, it is done to your complete satisfaction. When I get a sexual itch…I scratch it. ”

Smiles, and enjoy the conversation this blog starts. Try not to be defensive, place blame, or rule out the whole opposite sex. Or, just go scratch. Okay, I have to leave you with this last comment by another friend”
“I get athlete’s feet on purpose. I scratch until I bleed, it feels so good. That and my itchy ass, are as close as I get to a sexual intensity. I use the cream to heal up my foot after a day or two. Then months later, I might need another fix, so I let my feet sweat. LOL”

Let the Music move you round. Man, the memories that come from old songs…it is like having your own time machine. Especially if you were in love…

Okay, here I am still frothing memories like an old fashioned soda fountain; Dream, dream, dream, Cruisin on a Sunday Afternoon, Unchained Melody, Green Onions, It’s a Summer Place, Sentimental Journey, and a host of others. The Young Rascals, The Everly Brothers, The Righteous Brothers, Sam Cooke, The Seekers, Bread , oh the list is endless. Some times, I recognized the song, and didn’t know the singer, or the band. Other times I didn’t know that the original artists wasn’t the singer I liked the best. Some songs, every version is unbelievable: Like with Cruisin, and Unchained Melody.  One thing they all had in common, is that they instantly took me back to a time, a place, or a person, and even, sometimes- a mood.

Ever broken up with someone? Then four different Bread Songs, will rip your heart out. Ever had unrequited love? Dream, dream, dream. Ever been in an existential mood? The answer to that, my friend, is blowing in the wind. Don’t think you like Opera? Listen to several versions of Unchained Melody, it sure seems to approach Opera in both range and vocal control. Want to be sixteen, free as a bird, driving your car with your special someone, or a gaggle of friends, headed to the lake? Well, then Cruisin on s Sunday Afternoon is your song. Who knows, it might turn out to be a beautiful morning. LOL

Want to slow dance? Sentimental journey is a good reason to just hold someone and ,well, sway. Yep. No steps needed. Just an excuse to hold each other in a prolonged hug. Enjoying being held. Loved. Remember slow dancing with someone you love, and when the music ended, neither of you stopped. Oh yeah. Good Vibrations there. LOL The last Waltz. Just my Imagination…running away with me. Can you get any sweeter? Holding your sweetie? LOL

Johnny Angel, how I loved him, how I tingled when he walked by me, other guys, call me up for a date, but I just sit and wait, I’d rather date….remember when going on a date made you TINGLE?

Ever sat on a picnic table? With you sitting on the table with your feet on the bench while your honey sat on the bench with her feet on the ground? Sometimes, most times, facing away from you, so you could both watch other folks, and sometimes, well, looking up at you so you could gaze into each other’s eyes, and talk quietly. Or you and your best friend, just sitting on swings talking about the things in your life, your girls, or the future? Shooting hoops in the dark, but mostly talking. A blanket on the grass, with a little transistor radio blaring away, or sitting on a towel, or warming up on hot cement…music still near you, but not blocking out all that was around you. It added to the life around you, it didn’t exclude your surroundings, but embraced them, focused them. added to them.

Remember making up? Making out? Making plans? When tomorrow was a good thing. When a single button on a blouse, made both of you nervous, hopeful, and gentle? When kisses were soft, long, and passion often simmered before it exploded. Often a good night kiss, lingered, long after you said : “Good night my love.” Which somebody cleverly turned into a song. Some songs made you want to hold hands. Others, made you want to walk, and talk about your future. Others, well, they wanted you to hold each other, and let the tears spill down to be kissed, or left to dry. Breaking up, is very hard to do…..

I am awash with so many memories. Some are bitter, some sweet, some both; bittersweet is a separate word for a reason. Some songs sing of innocence: wake up little Susie…nowadays, if you wake her up, you are already living together. LOL Some songs just make you smile, like today’s “Happy”, back then, it was: What a Wonderful World- good old Louie Armstrong, or perhaps you preferred a summer place- with lyrics, or without. Oh, what a stroll I am taking. From sunburns, to rubbing lotion on smooth skin, the skin of someone near to you. Or maybe it was a family chore. My family is of Irish descent – so, Mom, or one of my sisters, or an Aunt, got the job of rubbing sun lotion on me. It is much, much, much more fun, when you have a girlfriend do it, or, you get to run it on her back…and many a layer of lotion was applied unnecessarily – but with reason. Maybe the last time men – who were still boys then, approached a task with patience, gentleness, and slow hands. LOL

So many memories. Let the music you loved, let you love again. Let the music put you back in your car without seat belts, two bucks in your wallet, a half a tank of gas, and nowhere to go…but on your way , anyway. Just cruisin, on a sunny ride down memory lane.

Late night musings: From Parking lot poles of my youth, to WW I, to votive candles in a church…memories and thoughts brought about by the Muse.


Aloha All,

  I got to watch a singer named Rosie, from the band: Lake Street Dive- sing an original song: What am I doing here?  I sent it along to many of my singer/entertainer friends, and they were as wowed as I was. In fact, some of them pasted the link to their social media sites. I watched/listened to it about a dozen times – a gift from being autistic. LOL

Here is the link, if you want to give her a listen:

  I signed up to get the History of World War I, one email a week, with all the actual reports of the Great War, as it was happening back then. The London Times Editor, a genius, decided to save every single thing written for the whole war, along with maps, photos, and first person accounts. It is a mind boggling six million words of History- as it Happened. To my knowledge, the only project of its kind, and light years ahead of any other History project ever conceived. After just two weeks, I had to unsubscribe. The slaughter is already overwhelming. It does show you what Europe looked like in 1914- and it was barely recognizable to us today. What passed for a country, was really a loosely connected set of Baronies, City States, and Feudal Counties. It is amazing in its scope, depth, and reporting. But so sad, I had to stop. Even with a History degree…

I was thinking today about dirt or gravel parking lots when I was a kid. They had telephone poles laying on the ground to stop the cars from going on the grass. Not cement poles, or fences, or concrete bumps, like today. We often sat on them, but the pine tar (or whatever that sticky black substance was on them) would often stain your clothes, unless it was worn off. They were fun to walk on, balance on, and jump over, and, of course, sit on.  They were the perfect height for sitting if you were a child; so you could drink your tom thumb pop, or RC Cola, or Coke. Pepsi hadn’t made it to my neck of the woods yet. But, Grape Nehi did! My favorite childhood drink. Orange was next, and then…cream soda!

 My brother wrote me today, about the changes to my childhood hangouts, and favorite places. Fences were put up, stairs added to steep hills, and pools emptied and turned into entrances for Zoo exhibits, lots of changes, I even have to go to a mall, if I want to see what is left of a favorite childhood park (Euclid Beach). Three of my favorite lakes to swim in, are now privately owned, and closed. One of them- Wildwood lake- has a giant house on it, and they own the lake all to themselves. A place where more than a thousand people would go a day –  I wanted to lifeguard there for a summer-it is now owned by one rich guy, for his delight only. The other two lakes are now parts of Apartment Complex’s or Condo’s, and you can’t swim in them anymore for some reason. My memories of them are still fresh. So, I swam around in my memory, in deep clear water, because all three lakes were former quarries. Quarry water was always clear and cold, because it came from a hidden spring that sprung when some construction equipment like a bulldozer broke into the stream, or an explosion allowed the water to find a way out.

  I thought about young love too. Not just physical young love, meaning both of you were young, but, young as in: new love. There are many differences between a young love, and a new love…yet, the basics stay the same. It is lovely to be in love. LOL

  I am having many more musings than these few, but most of you have tired eyes by now. So, I shall sally forth into more of my memory, and let you folks rest. Funny, a memory just flashed into my mind. It is (surprisingly) a full on flashback to my favorite statue of Mary- in the alcove of St. Michaels Church in Cleveland, Ohio. With all the red votive candles flickering and jumping, and the long wax covered stick you used to light them. I can feel the kneeler, and see her looking down on me. I loved the wine red candle cups, and the contrast between their deep red glowing light, and her blue garments. It was peaceful there. What a funny memory/flashback to have.

Kevin musing along…


re: It is not the ice bucket challenge, and no money is needed, the only cause is your own self interest. Want to take the : TV7X challenge?

Okay, here is the deal:

You must spend one week (7days) with no TV of any kind. NONE.  No NEWS of any kind- so you can’t “Cheat” by listening to radio talk shows, PBS, or reading newspapers or magazines.

Rule Two.  You must do two of the following activities in that seven days: Make one meal, where everyone helps prepare it, everyone eats it, and everyone helps clean up after words.

When you and your friends/family, have finished dinner, and desert comes out; each member must tell their fondest childhood memory, or a story of their first kiss, or their first kiss of their first true love.

You must visit a museum, pick your favorite exhibit, and then find : an artist from that period, a map of a town, the pay scale, the most popular book, and what music was being played at that time. If possible, find an artifact from that year, or decade.

You must play outdoors. Any kind of play counts. Climbing, frisbee, walking, swimming, BUT- it can’t be organized. Nope. Only you and the other participants make up the rules, and what you shall do.

Take a day to read your favorite book – again.

Take a day, to listen to one song, from each decade of your life. Let the memories flow.

Tell someone you love them.

Help someone in a small way, without having to ask them. Just do it.

Smile, at least once each day, at someone you don’t know

Tell someone, each day that they did a good job, and why.

Rule three: No conversations over any News Story for that week. No matter how passionate you, or the person talking to you is. Say to them: “I have taken the TV7X challenge, and cannot talk about any of those subjects. What was your favorite childhood memory?”


If you make it through the whole week. Challenge someone you care about to take the TV7X  challenge.

Then, if you want, write me about your experience, and I will post it here- sans name. Start today. TV7X challenge!!!

re: A funny thing happened to me…

 I found: peace. Not just peace, but a sense of soft contentment earned by hard tears. What I found , was this: I have loved, and been loved. I have failed, and succeeded. I have given my best and knew it. I have not given my best, and knew it. I have wronged, and asked for forgiveness. I have been wronged, and forgiven. I have been stupid, silly, daring, and courageous, often, in the same day. I have been kind, shallow, mean, and deep, often, in the same day. I am not the man I was, nor the man I could have been.I am not even the man I thought I would be, yet, I am still- a man. I have cried tears of happiness, and of sadness. I have lost while alive, and lost some to whatever is next. Grief has found me in many ways, but not in as many ways as joy has found me. I have comforted others in their hour of need, and held small babies so that their mother could sleep,  I had a mother who held me too. I have a family,  one of my own,  they like me just the way I am. Yes, a funny thing happened on the way through life, I found I had lived my life, with all that came my way-  if I screwed up a couple of things, or let them fester, I own them now. In fact, everything I am, is because of everything I did…and when I hug, it is open and honest, and trusting, even after sixty odd years. A funny thing happened o- I found peace. Smiles, Kevin

Change your attitude, change your mind: change your mind, change your life: in fact, a little change can do a lot of good.


It is everywhere. Even in couch cushions. LOL

Real change though, where a person, an outlook, or a way of doing things, changes, well that can be life changing. LOL

A change in attitude was taught to me early in my life by my Mother. She told me this after I fought a neighborhood kid at school:

“Kevin, if you knew one more thing about that kid, you could forgive him. If you knew one more thing than that, you could learn to like him.”

I did what she said, and wouldn’t you know it? He and I became friends.

My Dad told me this little gem, again after a fight in grade school ( I swear, I didn’t start them. I was small, as in truly really little, and bullies seemed to find me like the proverbial flies to honey.):

“Kevin, fighting doesn’t solve anything. Most people who fight, don’t fight out of anger, they fight out of fear, which looks like anger.”

I thought about that this week, when my friend sent me a whole story on that ugly incident in Missouri. As you all know, I do not watch the News for a reason. But big stories get through any of my defenses. Even if it is just a hint of what most folks watched, or read, or listened too. In Missouri, all they did was change the attitude of the people in “Authority” and suddenly, Peace. At least, so far. Why? They are still police. All that happened is the attitude went from one of complete control, with the crowds as the enemy to an attitude of : ” a wrong has been done, and people have the right to voice their opinions. A simple paradigm shift, the removal of displays of force, and the scene reverts from violence to sadness. My Dad was right, Fear often shows up as anger.

In my old world of Comedy, you only had so many minutes on stage, and when time got dolled out in three or five minute segments, well, lots of comics got angry. “I can’t do much with that short of time on stage. They won’t even know who I am.” I disagreed. Time wasn’t a constraint, it was an opportunity. I changed many a comics mindset with my advice- I know, because dozens of them thanked me for this little paradigm shift. Here is what I told them:
“You only have five minutes?  Great! You can practice your Television sets. Not only that, but you can practice the different lengths that a Carson, or Letterman, or Daytime Talk show would give you. How cool to have your “A” sets for TV, already polished, done, and your timing down pat. Not only that, you have an opportunity to develop your persona, your comedy voice, and your viewpoint, so that they all are apparent in five minutes on stage. Folks who like what they see, will want to see more. It isn’t a restraint, it is a gift to become a more condensed you. A chance to learn to sprint instead of doing a marathon. It is a chance to sparkle.”  A lot of comics listened, and doggone if they didn’t sparkle, and get more TV shots by just changing their attitudes from what they were giving up, to what they were getting.

I have another friend who is slightly overweight. All he did was remove sodas from his diet. That’s it. In one year, he lost 18 pounds. No other adjustments…he just quit sodas. I asked him how he felt. “Great Kevin. Just great. The secret is this, I stopped trying to lose weight immediately. I read a comment from a guy who said: “If you just quit drinking your calories through sodas or fruit drinks, or chocolate milk, in  a year, you will lose ten to twenty pounds. ” I thought: “That can’t be true. Who wants to wait a year to see results?” Then I thought: “What the heck. I didn’t lose any weight last year. Well…I did, but I put it right back on and ten more to boot! LOL  I challenged myself to just stop drinking calories, and then I would weigh myself one year later. One year later, just like the man said, I lost almost 20 pounds. This year, I am going off of fast food. Yep. Just fast food. If I lose as much as I think, I may simply disappear. LOL”  NOTE:  My friend lost another forty pounds in one year. Just by not going out for fast food. Want to know what his doing this year? He is not eating after 6 PM. That’s it. He is within 20 pounds of his High School weight , and he didn’t even diet. LOL

Now, for the one last bit of how powerful change is. This story is borrowed from someone who knew Stephen Covey (the Author of : Seven Habits of Highly Effective People). He said he saw Stephen give the most profound marriage advice he had ever heard. Apparently Stephen had given one of his mega seminars, and well wishers were crowded around, when an Old Friends of Stephen’s showed up to announce his divorce. Stephen pulled the guy aside, and said:

“Why are you ending a 25 year marriage?”

“I don’t love her anymore.”

“Then go home and love her.”

“But, Stephen, I don’t love her anymore.”

“Then go home and Love her!”

This , apparently, went on for some time. Stephen’s refrain to any of the guy’s complaints, grudges , and rants, remained the same: “Then go home and Love her!”

Exasperated, the guy did just that. 15 years later, at their 40th wedding Anniversary, the guy thanked his wife first of all, for not giving up on him. Then, very quietly, he thanked Stephen, turned to the Audience and said what Stephen said:

“Then go home and Love her.”  I did, and I do.”

Smiles, Kevin at home

re: A comic’s story. A tribute to Robin Williams…

When I heard about Robin Williams, I remembered a line from Stephen Fry’s documentary about Maniac Depression, or Bi Polar disorder, whatever the name, it sucks. In that documentary, a fellow walks in front of a lorry (what we would call a Semi Truck, or Mac Truck) and shatters his lower body, and legs. He has to many surgeries to count, and walking is agonizing for him. When Stephen asks about the pain of the multitude of surgeries, the man replied: “The pain I am in now, is nothing compared to the pain that drove me to step in front of the Lorry.”  For those trolls out there who want to bandy about the word “coward”, for people who suffer from depression, I ignore you. I shun you. I shall give you the silent treatment for life. You will never know the heroic effort a truly depressed person has to have to just make it through a day. Nuff said.

When I was a young comic, just coming up the club circuit, I worked a club in Cincinnati, Ohio. Robin had just done a two hour set at his own show, in a sold out Soft Seat Theater. Yet, he was still wired. So, he came to the Comedy Club I was working at. The second show (it was a Weekend Night) had just ended, about 11:30 PM.  Well, Robin shows up, and asks the Club Owner if he could maybe go up after the Headliner, and do a few minutes. YES!  I was the Middle Act, the MC had left already. I go up on stage and ask if the folks would mind if Robin Williams came up and did a few minutes? The place went nuts, people returned to their seats, and soon, it was a full room again. The waitresses and bar staff all came out to watch.  He did two hours. Yep. And he signed about two hundred autographs afterwords too.

Now, if you have never been on stage, especially after a two set night, you probably don’t realize how much energy it takes to keep an audiences attention and focus, with just your words and body. To do a two hour set, after the audience was already “burnt” by three acts , well, there is no comparison. Maybe a Pro Baseball player pitching both halves of a Double Header, and then doing it again the next day. I am not kidding , it is that difficult, both mentally and professionally to pull off. He took that audience on a spin through his world, as if they had just sat down to see a show. It was awesome. It was something I don’t think more than a handful of Comics I know, could have pulled off. I don’t even know more than three , who would have even tried.

It was just a single night in his life, just a way to “unwind” from his own show. One of many he did in his life. No big deal- to him. To me, well, it showed what was possible. That if you are talented, excited, and funny, your audience will get a second wind.

I hope, wherever he is now, he is having great sets.

Smiles, Kevin