all things serve some purpose to someone

creature comforts is a concept that may seem to be obvious, but is in fact highly subjective. what leads one to feel more at ease, what provides even a small sense of familiarity, can be anything. literally. the way that word is really meant. our proclivities may be seen as errant to some, yet are perfectly logical to others. the inaneness that comes about from making some of the more generic choices can simultaneously bring up laughter and sadness as the roots of what is actually being sought come to light. once cultivating joy in a moment becomes the goal, the shared tether between us, the differing details matter less.

it is a human thing to make judgements about odd makeups, though, and the dichotomy of what things appear to be versus what transpires from what is triggered can be staggering. souls without the maturity that comes from surviving discomfort are apt to make light of certain security blankets, and we may never fully realize the fallout from not addressing them. as the population has homogenized, that which is assumed to be soothing seems to be more obvious.

individual nuances are overlooked as broader, more arduous efforts are accommodated in hopes of attaining a temporarily more copasetic setting. but once we’re removed from the masses, true feelings get aired. and as actions are rotely repeated as templates of what passes as “good enough,” even if it didn’t work perfectly, are used as guidelines for the next one, the same grievances get made over and over. uncomfortable feelings aren’t a calculable metric, and in many cases, participants now matter more on paper by their numbers alone. having or providing an enjoyable experience is no longer the priority, and all we endeavor to make suffers.

like the slime under manhattan in ghostbusters 2, all energy transmits. whatever it is. aligning with lackluster offerings without honestly honoring our truths can easily lead to negative experiences. we become increasingly dull as we allow mediocrity to become more palatable, and what we miss out on is immeasurable. what is fun to one is not always fun for all. if only we had a pneumonic device to consistently remember that. apparently, we need one.

running into people whom i knew through various parts of lives i once had has been comical. in the way that old sitcom misunderstandings once were. people’s expectations of my approval are obvious. and, highly unnecessary. what we may superficially show to have in common now rarely matches up with the underlying motivations. while my person is otherwise engaged when we’re out, i am regaled with stories of actions clearly assumed to be joyously shared by all present. my quietude feels usually to be taken as a more secret kind of high-five. it is not intended as such. candor isn’t always welcome, so my natural aloofness has its benefits. especially, i suppose, in such moments. not all people who like to go on drives also like to pull over as a group and loudly rev engines through a tunnel. conversation about mechanical parts is not enlivening to all. having a kind awareness of conversation partners encourages us to appreciate all the differences there are. we live and learn, and find respite in each other eventually. when we want it more than a feeling of winning.

if i’ve learned anything over the years of my various dealings, it is that it behooves us all to adopt a purview of “to each his own.” we all have our things, and what isn’t for me may be for another. it only matters when it really matters. and that is far rarer than we act like it is.

los angeles life was once described to me as high school with money. while stereotypes need not always remain, they generally begin from a truth we can find somewhere. what got glossed over in that judgmental assessment was the individual meanings of what it means to have resources. the different fears that arise with different accesses to wealth. spoken fiercely by someone who finds fear to be a requisite ingredient to life colors that statement more darkly to me. when i explained how my own thoughts of fear differ from hers now, how trying to get to the bathroom without falling on my face and breaking my teeth is of genuine concern, she dismissed that notion as relevant in comparison to my changed financial standing. to each his own, i remind myself as i hold back sad wails and ugly cries. to each his own.

on an international work trip once, one of my charges appeared uncomfortable. in what was designed to make the underground museum look like posh surroundings, the minions around me were flummoxed. colleagues scurried to find their walkie talkies to complain. how dare he act that way, they crowed. they lamented about all the money they’d spent to make this look perfect as if the monies were their own.

knowing that he had a penchant for french fries, despite being at a nice local setting in france, i arranged to send someone to a nearby fast food joint well known in the states when breakfast time was over. without care for the star-power of his colleague, while those around me nervously skirted what was, to me,
the common decency of asking him if he also wanted a sense of home by way of an inexpensive fast food offering, we went to him at the end of an interview and were met with a quiet gratitude. his known industry persona was curmudgeonly, but that we treated him as casually personably as the situation warranted without the hushed hubbub he had so long ago acquiesced to went a long way.

when they arrived a short time later, we halted the press for a break and quietly moved to another room. the men eagerly grasped at the overly-salted, thin strands of potato we were more accustomed to. their faces strained with an appreciation and calm none of us expected, and the remainder of the day operated smoothly. without incident. the foreign museum operators masked their confusion as best they could as we all marched to another interview location later that day.

why what was viewed by some to be such schlock would warrant such glee surprised many. but sensing how out of place some felt among things that many see as standard desires seems to have meant the world. righted the energy. that we really don’t know what we don’t know was cemented in my psyche on that trip. and as i find with most things now, instincts and information feel different even if they look the same. and it’s up to each of us to knowingly make that distinction.

there are always stories beneath the stories

at first, most of the people who came to us already had long-standing public identities. that elements of it were in jeopardy was where we came in. cheating spouses, the driver or passenger in transportation mishaps. abating whatever clouds that cast shadows on parts of famous personas was our primary purpose. while identities had already been made, they weren’t always necessarily chosen, but for whatever reason in said famous person’s lair, they needed to be maintained. the visible misalignments could be staggering, the subtleties more so, but we continued on as if whatever disparities we saw were normal. perpetuated the normalcy of hiding problems, perceived or otherwise. but, it looks like the joke’s on us as it all comes out. and it is, in one way or another.

being found out for indiscretions of any kind was tantamount to eradication from that landscape, and the accompanying fear brought about all kinds of actions to distract from the momentarily detriments. if we knew then how few actually cared, things may have been done differently. but those who did were loudly vocal, and behind the scenes, the professional ramifications were often more harsh than they are now. the culture of cancellation was always looming over us all, and with it being more quiet, it oftentimes cut quite deep. many times it was deemed appropriate, at least financially, to be safe rather than sorry, so plans to publicize projects were executed accordingly. blemishes of all kinds were covered up and hidden. there are a lot of kinds of makeup artists.

when that paradigm shifted, though, the publicist role transformed. we went from masking torrid realities to finding opportunities to publicly celebrate them. hiding in plain sight was easier many times as fans cared less and less about the leaders in their entertainment circles. bottom lines took precedence as corporations became the more visible kings, and talent of all kinds was quickly pushed aside in lieu of a more generic and uniform salability.

presumably this was not the first time such a shift occurred, but those of us new to the game responded as daftly as youth who haven’t faced a war-time draft. maybe that mentality of innocence is what keeps us moving as a species, or what encourages new innovations to spring up, but suffice it to say, a lot gets lost in re-figuring out what we think we collectively don’t know. even if we think our role in all this is harmless, it turns out that it isn’t. the concept of a butterfly effect has implications far beyond what we saw on the big screen. and even that concept itself has likely been addressed many times before, but we aren’t apt to investigate further unless we are attracted by the bait. like fishing.

as with dating, we like what we like. we usually can’t explain it, and likability isn’t necessarily an immediate prerequisite. whatever spark that ignites is the result of a combination of invisible energies. the man who brought us mac products publicly orated that people don’t always know what they want. once they see it, there’s a better idea maybe, and he never relied on what the market research said. but his sentiment, too, was literalized. ones and zeros gave us a way to think we could analyze everything, but do we even know what we’re studying anymore?

test screenings were something that we knew happened, and until marketers orchestrated outcomes, didn’t attend. but soon the public faces changed, and who was playing the game became more obvious. we could tell who took orders. see who cared less about the impact of the product than getting to the next step. the landscape of creativity changed drastically as people saw the shelf life of iconic characters and for the first time had an ability to preserve them. actors proudly touted that they had become brands, and formed business entities. as more produced projects they were involved with, they used what they had learned from being inside the business so far and acted fast to protect their name sakes. their own personal ones, and crafted characters alike.

a man i worked with once told me that he liked talking to me about work dilemmas because i didn’t get paid more whatever he decided to do. he is one of the most real people i’ve ever known, and like me, doesn’t feel comfortable showboating either his failures or his successes. he’s had plenty of both, and if you get a moment to speak with him frankly, he candidly admits that he’s a work in progress. as we walked behind a stage somewhere nondescript once, he slowed. awe and curiosity brimming from his otherwise stoic visage, he murmured to himself that it was all happening. while i overheard him, the spoken awareness wasn’t for me. his dad was a preacher, so the words may not even have been his, either. life is far headier for me now, but who ever knows where the messages that stick really originate.

his tenacity and perseverance over the years has shown me the strength that we can all have, too. if you ask him, while there can be glorious perks to be found, his path to them has been not at all easy or soft. there are many days that this route is treacherous, and he has sacrificed a lot to be where he is. what got covered in interviews wasn’t the average superficial fluff, but he also didn’t add superfluous information. answered just the questions that were asked. until his recent special, his personal life was ignored as if he didn’t have one. but that i know better leads me to apply that aptitude to any statement i see from his cohorts.

the elements of any good story are the same, regardless of the subject. or subject matter. and that’s all we all are sometimes. there are a defined number of archetypes for humans, and while we are all vastly unique, there is far more that is the same between us. it is only by our unions that change is made. we get to learn from everyone, but pairings showcase our personalities. individualities. obstacles get overcome as they impair coalescence. smiles erupt as insides get tweaked from the outside. so there’s still a tremendous amount to take in. when we are ourselves, at least.

the bliss that comes from not checking the boxes

a gift of working with comedians for so long was that a lot of joy and laughter came with us most everywhere we went. the attention required that went with that was mostly exhausting, but at the end of whatever journey we were on, we reminisced most about the smiles we made along the way. internationally, that’s really all we could count on as approval. but anywhere we went, even as names were misremembered and forgotten by fans shocked at the encounter, that exuberant glee was what mattered. when i am given a hard time for not remembering names now, i have to laugh to myself. memories of all the famous types i’ve met and worked with instantly flood my brain. as if on demand, recollections spring forth of their bashful nods and waves at praise after they were repeatedly called their brother’s name. or that of another similarly funny person. it serves as a great reminder that identity is never really about who or what we see, but rather our internal reaction to the encounter. the more notable among us seem to accept that easier.

being desirable to be around is apparently much harder than it seems it would be. comedians used to talk about who were good hangs, and that is also the most accurate non-description description of wantable hangers-on that i can get to myself. fewer care to be one these days, but everyone seems to still want the access that comes with it. to do what with it is still a big question mark to me, but i care less now. visitors to my life are just that. repeat guests are comprised of the ones who actually want to be there, and there are gratefully some of those. but thankfully, i am no longer in charge of green room or vip lists. gullibility isn’t cute or rewarded in that setting, and that is usually, scarily, my default these days.

comedians brought their friends with them when they could. to write jokes with when they had time, and when they didn’t, to shield them from whatever they feared by having to be more visibly social. but as time became dominated by mostly financial demands, despite our lack of involvement with those arrangements, publicists took over that spot in their worlds, too. or we were fired. by the company, the client, or our actual bosses. there were a lot of options to be ousted if you were disliked.

when i started, some clients used multi-member, at times bi-coastal, teams of public relations personnel, and whether you got to accompany them as part of the tiny traveling entourage depended on being known to have that comfortable, hang-able quality. bosses more looped in with the corporate demands could direct us via blackberries and cell phones. but they never figured out a way to ask us to be less annoying. speaking aloud that subjective judgement was frowned upon even then. few of us adopted the modified behaviors that came with our experiential lessons for the long-run, but early on, i must have qualified somehow. pretty sure the movie “dick” was based on people like old me. we ended up in the bizarrest of circumstances, but being so in the dark, many times we were the best of the mandated companions to be there to make people follow rules. inciting genuine laughter goes a long way, whatever the reasoning.

being able to casually make people chortle who make people laugh for a living is perhaps one of the greatest accomplishments i think i have had. naivety blossoms when we don’t try to control everything, and the unknown that comes from that is charming when all that exists otherwise is a warm intent. the comedy club rooms our clients performed in were safe in comparison to the borage of humans we encountered in the promotional life, so travel companions laughingly slayed whatever human barriers were around so they didn’t have to. teamwork looks different to different people.

having an outlet where you can be yourself is highly underrated, and we are seeing all around us the broadest effects that can come with lower-priced and non-existent safety nets. in personal lives, it gets fulfilled in part by marriages or families, but living beyond that often requires another layer. one person can’t do it all, whatever we want to tell ourselves. we all need others to funnel life for us sometimes. and it’s often what lets this ride on the rock be the most fun.

people i met along the way are the accidental architects of some of my most cherished happenings in my history. from icons i’ve dined with early mornings on the road to girlfriends who’ve wanted a certain kind of sight-seeing experience, those unplanned moments made the trips the most enjoyable sometimes. being amongst a group of people you can be yourself around is probably the rarest of respites, but it’s clearly palpable in the most entertaining entertainment. seasons in, their unwritten banter supersedes the boxes the characters formed for them. when you feel it, if you look for it, it’s there. and we can bring it into our daily existence, too. most efficiently, when we stop trying to. not orchestrating each moment is freeing. for us all. hopefully, i can remember that again. but in the meantime, i thank the authentic characters around me. being weird is not easy. whatever that means, whatever status quo we breach. but we certainly have a lot of fun not trying to fit a mold. which is maybe all we can strive for.

all to know is there for the asking

as it turns out, fewer people correctly absorb what they hear than we once thought. we don’t always listen to what is really being stated, or take in what actually holds the meaning. and perhaps most importantly in some cases, few assimilate the “why” of any of it with the choices that get made. messages are put out in the wild, usually with a direct intent, but they are instead individually picked up and interpreted by each of the intakers. all the effort spent to modulate what gets received is ultimately wasted as we can’t control anyone or their perceptions, and whatever actions they end up taking are solely their own. even if they don’t appear to be. or affect others. but we all get to choose our reactions, and even when the options presented aren’t great, what we decide to do is only our call.

that the number of adults said to be afflicted by adhd has increased so fervently in the past bunch of years says more about the number of medical doctors who think they understand the workings of the brain and take insurance than it does about human nature. what was once deemed a childhood defect is now spoken about casually, said often in jest rather than as the result of a diagnostic evaluation. as a person who grew up needing to ascertain the actually implied meanings behind sarcasm, it is oddly reassuring to see that i’m not alone in having skewed understandings of things sometimes. but, if my experience is a template for anything, we are all in for a world of hurt when we find out what is really being meant. 

in the lifestyle that came with a decades-long career in public relations, it is second nature to see how elocution and word choices proffer weighted meanings. different assertions are put forth using the same verbiage. men, women. national, international. all take things drastically differently. but as the avenues for public expression expanded, subtleties got lost in the fight to grab the attention of the lowest common denominator. en mass, we followed suit, and now if any artifacts are ever to be found, i cringe for the soul who need make distinction between the ways the word “fire” is used. 

after a while, studio marketing teams took to simply bringing us their desired wordings to pass along to our clients rather than giving stars the opportunity to provide any bonafide input. meetings once held to gather at least the lead famous person’s ideas to more authentically tout the films were summarily dismantled. thusly, all overarching ideologies were also dismantled, and soon what we had read in the lord of the flies novel (or what the non-readers among us saw on “lost”) wasn’t nearly as haunting. compared to reality, fiction rarely is.  

one marketer had the pushy audacity to insist that across all social media outlets, the cast utilize the same phrasing to promote a film. the nuances of the story being told were immediately lost, and my client’s chagrin at the ghastly oversight brought him to reevaluate his participation in the campaign. we were quickly deemed unpopular in those circles. but, his immature attitude aside, it is small-sighted to think that way at all. for a stand-up specifically, that is a profoundly disconcerting perspective to abide by. their livings and personas are built on sharing their unique perspectives, and butts don’t end up in seats to idolize generic viewpoints. 

when one gets sick, we glaringly see our worst faults when we pause and step back. zoom out. see a bigger picture, and the parts we play in it. as with tales of the hidden figures who have come before us, a lot exists that doesn’t get listened to at the time. if what is being described doesn’t overtly match the leading narrative, in many cases it is dismissed or devalued. actual happenings are ignored or not seen to be in conjunction with other occurrences. but as with the feeling of true, deep love, when you know, you know. and the curt dismissal of what presents as off-brand symptoms is belittling and damaging. if we can learn anything from our celluloid history, that people are so easily disbelieved despite visible threads of connective logic is a paramount notion that we really can’t continue to ignore. 

as i researched autoimmune disorders, when i was told i had one, i was led on wild goose chase after wild goose chase. some of the basics are known, but how they display varies, and some of the simplest, most obvious issues we have get overlooked in misguided efforts to fix what isn’t broken. we don’t see until much later how the missteps taken can exacerbate any smaller crevices that already exist, and soon, any former attention and grace we had is gone as energy is refocused to ostensibly fix something else. all over again, so much gets missed. 

quotable movie lines are only so if they resonate. and as that dinosaur movie blatantly shows us, life always finds a way. with all medical occurrences, there are contingencies and variances. human-developed or otherwise. and like any technology, the previously-determined solve is outdated far before it gets rolled out. the process of testing is rarely thorough or fast, and experiential dealings with anything are not even included in the metrics. so we don’t even know all that we can miss.

in embarrassing confrontations with reality,
my looking mostly normal on the surface is proving to be accidentally sneaky in most of my encounters. what truly commandeers my day-to-day gets glossed over by snap judgements made about my personality. while i could simply leave such settings before, a wheelchair makes that prospect laughable. that i have never been a fan of smalltalk and don’t partake when possible is at times now erroneously assumed to be sheerly an unconscious reflex. that i stay in the car when we have to move to a more arduous location is to oblivious passerby observed as just a telltale sign of the girly, bratty bitchiness they offhandedly assign to me.

while i was once extremely good at surveying situations for potential dangers to others, that skillset has yet to turn inward. i am constantly caught in a world that feels like opposite day, and having a brain caught between phases, in its perpetual state of paradoxical insomnia, means that everything feels like it could be just a dream. the concept of nightmares takes on a whole new meaning given that, and i sometimes sense the requisite sensibilities in the people who appear in them. but, fear wears me out, and with a newfound awareness of my own ability to be unkind, my once-revered skill of being able to fit in with anyone is now a glaring detriment. seeking out safe haven from untoward judgements has become more treacherous than ever. 

too many of us make what is unlike ourselves an automatic negative, and a mentality like that is unsightly. no matter how you spin it. other than solitude, which brings with it its own downfalls, it sometimes feels like there is no clear way to discern the good from the bad, the proper from the improper. situationally or otherwise. patience is the only saving grace from this perhaps, and i myself often lack it in spades. but clearly, i am not alone in that either. we all have and take less time for things in general, and having had it beaten into us that faster is better has done us all a great disservice. 

this is perhaps most apparent to me when i am faced with genuine awareness. which is an innate quality of those with bents of autism. but, as a streaming show on a life lived around that kind of abrupt candor extolls, they’re perhaps the ones of all of us who have it the most figured out. how they say what they say is not always pleasant to hear, but it usually isn’t wrong. so while it’s not at all easy to switch perspectives, to see things as their benevolence instead of harm, i can only hope that i don’t run out of time to assimilate that cordiality into myself. in all honesty, it would behoove us all to do so. and thankfully, i guess that makes me not alone in that, either.

the thinking evolves, too

before accolades were doled out as unceremoniously as they are now, when being a participant also implied the unspoken-but-known-about willingness to sacrifice short-term pleasures for long-term joys, the sought comfort of aloneness was often followed up with lively and candid interpersonal dissections and vibrant debates. whatever it was, we all knew that it took grit to be good at the thing you wanted, and the whole process, all that went into it, was more respected then. that we had attained some kind of education, regardless if it had been led by book smarts or street smarts, yet also partook in thoughtful consideration of current circumstances before making decisions, was par for the course. at the higher end of that food chain, though, as we rose in the ranks before stagnating unknowingly in mediocrity, some of us were grossly unaware as we slowly got bought. like live lobsters being boiled.

finger-pointing became another sword we soon also had to look out for and guard against as higher-up intellectual types set arbitrary conditions of popularity. those perspectives dictated the constructs of life, and we all became too aware and highly reactive. reputations became subject to others’ opinions as they had in junior high, and consequences of actions were no longer just an affliction faced by those whom we booked on talk shows. out of our control, the very personal soon became very public. those of us who grew up as adults in this business, who had been made acutely aware of the need for discretion, were pushed aside. a sea of unnecessary candor followed, and soon the emotional power of responses to unfiltered honesty, or the monies that came with it, to many became the primary motivation. a lot of falsehoods and created fears appeared as if from nowhere, and we all changed pretty drastically as we buttoned ourselves up and navigated the nuanced playing fields.

acclaim for achievements reeking of generic machismo were assumed to be internationally standard. and before we all feigned an understanding of politics, the realistic examples we faced in our daily lives sufficed for our applicable education on the subject. but instead of rising above the differences among us, collectively we got mired down by them. to play by the expanding cultural rules, organic things like gender took on a significance in places where they were rarely an existing problem, and the real life, innately humane treatment of people got ignored to accommodate by-the-book rules. none of us had or took the time to surmise who wrote them, but most of us diligently followed them anyway. like sheep.

there are always outliers, though, and in my experience, there is so much still to learn from the memories of them. gay friends who had for years remained corporately closeted quickly ascertained the benefits to be had by being out in fashion and entertainment circles. some of the earliest adopters of disobeying the status quo became quite successful as they brazenly followed their passions despite whatever pushback they got. quietly questioning folks took note, and the non-stated bisexuality and asexual motivations that existed among us became as commonplace as having a pet is now. none of those labels mattered, even as roles and the individual subtleties of the actors up to play them were picked apart ad nauseam.

outside of those work executions, no one cared. we knew we would all be affected somehow as the competition for inclusion became as narrow in the world of unpaid advertising as it has always been in casting. it’s just that more people were known to be involved as we earned or demanded titles. as our parents did from us so they could feel they did their due diligence to protect their understandings of the safety of our salaries. but the experiences we’d had told us differently. we’d witnessed shows about eccentric friends and their entourages be created, and in some cases, they became more realistic templates for how life worked. it’s just that both the maps and the legends are different than what we are taught sometimes and we had to relearn the necessary rules of engagement. what can at one time look to be opposite ideologies are in fact not always so, and despite the cookie-cutter logistical markers of semantic definitions, success looks and feels different to us all.

in the professional role i played in public relations, all walks of life were represented. from the big, open, kind hearts to those that had become blackened, all were welcomed. those in from the cold found a place of giddy warmth and ebullient patience as we tried to figure it out. life, our places in it. growing up, many of us were taught that california would fall into the ocean before now, while others grew up basking in all the seasons to be found in a day here. it takes years, sometimes generations, to see beyond the tangible. not be so literal all the time. and, sometimes by accident, we disjointedly showed one another what love looked like. how it isn’t one of the tangible things we could angle for, but regardless, how it is the most important. gossip outlets have always existed, but stories and sources at one time were harder to come by. and, presumably, like many before us, we slowly learned through trial and error that not everything is newsworthy. even if it dominates our days.

what still resonates years later is the personal work some did and are still doing. to be better humans, to function more suitably in general. to see everyone as peers, treat them as equals, whatever that setup looks like. something in us matches whatever we see that we both love and despise about another. all the qualities that we sense in others are borne of similarities in us somewhere, and in our unthought about efforts to commandeer them, or override them completely, sometimes we skip over that connective vibe. finding the roots of our triggers is important. avoiding sentiments because a word is off-putting is a ridiculous notion we’ve adopted that we all suffer for. while we all have expressions and concepts that rub us the wrong way, myself included, knowing the true crux of the demarcation is key to getting past them. looking at things with a critical eye is just the beginning, regardless whether they be personalities or foods. when we aren’t afraid of being misunderstood, and use uncomfortable moments as opportunities for enlightenment instead, as difficult as it may seem at the time, we see that it is all temporary. and eventually, that that too will pass.

before movies opened, despite our asked for holds and requested embargoes, reviews sometimes trickled out. who abided by them for insight was markedly telling. it was mostly done by those who thought they could spin something to make or protect a profit. but when some outside the industry took those opinionated cliff’s notes as bibles, winning over certain opinion generators became a necessary achievement. when using the internet as a destination was new, otherwise anti-social pajama people dominated the marketplace. and subsequently, they soon determined the fate of new entertainment fare.

as professional spin masters, at times we modified almost everything about ourselves, whatever was needed, to earn that approval. it was like a nightmare version of online dating. and considering few of us were successful at that, that we could mastermind parades of buoyant theatrical openings is a monumental feat. entrusting that job to minds that were happily single was perhaps our biggest mistake. even some of those among us who eventually got married maintained the professionally archaic mindset of a lone watcher, and didn’t take companions of any relation into much account. but if this international pandemic has veritably shown us anything, it is perhaps that such myopic thinking is no longer viable. that as we did when we were younger and newer, perhaps we need to relearn the rules of engagement. not simply apply our outdated thinking. encourage open minds. and like before, if we do, we will probably, hopefully, be better for it.

everything is made of metaphors

when we were deep in conversation, a woman said to me the other day that everything is a actually just a metaphor. at the time, she was making an off-hand comment about religion, but i quickly saw how that could aptly be applied to everything. and, with that sensibility, the world’s landscape again made much more sense. the brain exercise is in figuring out how things and analogies are used, and as metaphors for what. what “x” means, or what the substitutions are, mathematically speaking. the funny of more cerebral comedy is in the juxtapositions one forges when attempting to make relevent correlations, but those who are trying to be comedians in a “paint-by-numbers” kind of way gloss over that all the time. the good ones dance among those fine lines constantly, adding their own details to make it real. personal. and, when without agenda, they bring us to our own conclusions as we make our own parallels, too.

that my brain is now such a wonky mishmash of stored thoughts and felt feelings actually bodes well for such application. but in a catch-22 for the ages, now that i am no longer able to functionally hold my former position in the comedy representation landscape, it appears to be commonplace more than ever in daily life that most people are reverting to what they think are literalisms. the knowledge we miss out on as strained efforts are made to fall in line by remembering and regurgitating useless redundancies is sometimes astounding. which, good or bad, at times makes me laugh even harder.

some of the smartest people i worked with took the time to figure out how various kinds of brains worked. in most cases, they silently analyzed them. our eyes are indeed windows, but especially when they’re not accessible, there is also much to be ascertained by paying attention to vocal distinctions. when clients and i small-talked as we waited for a boss of mine to have a clear phone line, the three minutes or less that we shared never included vacuity. our candidly explored observational awarenesses soon became bits, and i saw the conversations that were once just mine pop up on talk shows and in comedy specials.

characters based on my person were made into both film and television fare. selling that content in the press while maintaining my anonymity of involvement was a version of walking among landmines. if reporters knew, they graciously kept it out of the coverage for a while and i got to live another day as a non-distraction. a non-story. but a younger writer with whom i once worked on my essays asked if any other projects were based on me when i told him about a character of a popular mainstream sitcom with my maiden name, so while the reality is perhaps more hidden, the curiosity about origins isn’t gone. but, as i told him, it wasn’t couth then to discuss muses publicly, especially the non-famous ones, so while i often see certain things that ring very familiar to me, i am not totally sure.

on a trip back east once, there was need to accompany a boss’ political comedian client to something. before we parted ways, he paused for a moment to look at me quizzically. whispers have always swirled around me, and i see now how many were on their best behavior in my presence. but not until a photographer shot me recently have i seen that same inquisitive, halting, pondering expression in a professional setting. the shooter startled subtlety and paused just as he had years ago. while he went momentarily silent before trying to find appropriate sounding words to say that he saw more public paths for me, she quickly articulated her camera to capture my eyes from another angle and blatantly told me how she could see in them how sharply directed my thoughts were. her keen awareness and bold dissection let me know both that thankfully my brain still works sometimes, and that being aware to keep my inner thoughts positive is clearly imperative. of late especially, the veil shielding my own reflexive ideations has become spotty and weakened as if it had been eaten by moths in an old closet without mothballs. and questioning insights being so visible is socially precarious.

meeting him was an early job perk that i got to have accidentally. the thin line he held that separated reputable arrogance from an aware and talented verbal expression of logical sentiments had led him to make an appearance on a show that wasn’t his in an attempt to pull out some sorely needed candor. he and my boss spoke a lot then, but after our first in-person encounter, in all the subsequent times i worked with that political comedian guy, he treated me differently. that i could discern his thoughts so clearly before he made a move endeared me to him in that position, and as he became a different kind of famous that was new to him, having someone to lean on and speak with candidly in a work setting turned out to be a much-needed, unanticipated benefit. the widely public scrutiny that came from such a positively benign intention was unanticipated. to say he was thrown off-balance wouldn’t be fair to such an astute human too many of us look up to and admire, but with that awareness, he was never the same.

a movie we watched on a streamer recently that he both wrote and directed tells me that despite his more rural living surroundings now, he hasn’t left the game entirely. he isn’t one of the many who have succumbed to public pressures, and he remains a steadfast voice amidst the chaos. the logic pieces that he ascertains aren’t lost, but he still repositions things so they have the best shot at being heard and taken as he intends. years of being mistaken has taken their toll i imagine, and while he is far too nimble to get sidelined by the less prudent points, his place in the current landscape is perhaps more perilous than ever. staying more behind the scenes seems to suit his naturally acerbic nature, but without his daily doses of clarity, many among us seem quite lost.

the tenants of a life in smarter entertianment circles don’t always fit easily in what has become a more “wall-e” type world. he was one of the unicorns that let me be one, too, and that is special. seeing his parade of correspondents over the years, let alone personally having known some of his long-time staff, it is clear that i am far from the only one to benefit from knowing of his perspectives. the raucous intellectual debates he spawned made us all better. wiser, more shrewd. less eager to simply do as we’re told.

it’s been years since he parted ways with the need for that boss i had, but when i was promoted, that boss made a unique play to keep dealings with him in his stable. whether we know it or not, we all need realistic snark like his, i think. that of he and his late night mentors is missed. he honed his perspectives so poignantly that we all clamored for even the kernels that fell from his effortless wit. and there aren’t many whom i feel the same about currently. watching from afar, he is angling to be heard again. albeit differently, and in my opinion, this is a more suitable and advantageous avenue to make the waves he wants from his outlooks. interpersonal dealings are out of the way for the most part, and when we don’t make shortcomings a focus, they don’t become one. we can all still learn from him. and those whom he learned from. lineages aren’t only found in nuclear families, and he spawned a base for thinking that a whole lot of us used to see the forest for the trees. let’s hope with his public absence we don’t lose that. presumably, he won’t let us.

life before i knew even the outline of a bigger picture

for more years than are knowingly countable, time went by without a thought given to the bigger picture. how it would be, what it looked like, even. in the urgency to subsist within all i thought i knew, it never registered as something to think about. and while overthinking what i think i know is one of my most aggravating human faults, using only imagination instead has never been a strong suit of mine. certainly as an adult, at least. as with so many of the greatest pieces of my life, though, the universe thankfully has showed me that it is still adept at employing that skill, and when i finally got to meet my person, it was logically quite accidental.

through another, it was a chance encounter that stemmed from a long-standing relationship that was mostly friendly. she and i had worked together for years, and while in that setting there are almost always dissonant perspectives to be had, there was also always a strong undercurrent of love and appreciation that usurped any momentary tensions. ails and grievances big and small were always discussed openly with us, when we knew what they were, and regardless of that framework, all the needs of our own and those of our charges were unspokenly met and attended to.

she and i had a lifetimes-before-this-one kind of kinship. even when we couldn’t describe it, though we didn’t always trust each others’ verbal articulations of what were seen to be efforts at logic threads, deeper understandings existed in both our hearts that silently let us know that behind whatever we saw, the intentions of the other were only good. and, whatever the circumstances, we thusly acted accordingly. the magic we encouraged by that and what we made happen together spanned far beyond what we could conjure even in our dreams. and in a resounding testimony, a lot of what came out of it remains intact and strong to this very moment.

but to both my obvious and not-as-obvious detriment, what look to be the more standard, generic, logic-that-we-know-of-oriented notions of others have mired my own purview recently. an acute awareness of the fearful emotions i apparently should be feeling are aggressively pointed out to me time and time again, while those that i actually have are dismissed. the help i finally learned how to ask for gets ignored as it is overtaken by any differing thoughts of those from whom i seek aid. and while the caring sentiments are appreciated, their agendas aren’t mine. and what draws and stymies the attention has ultimately proven to be some of the most dastardly distractions from what i am endeavoring to accomplish before i vacate this life.

in what is a heavy-handed mirror of a past life of mine from this lifetime, others’ itineraries of how they opine my existence to be have dominated far too much of my time and energy. in what is perhaps my greatest frustration, that i have neither to spare also somehow gets overlooked all the time. the sense that i am screaming for help alone in a fishbowl, and the depression that accompanies that blatant social dismissal, cycles and grows like a spiraled seashell with each occurrence. every time i gear up to try again, i watch my body deteriorate starkly with each failed attempt. but as long as i’m still here, i will push past as many dark days as i can to find and gather whatever strength i can muster to continue. how many more rungs i have left to climb isn’t pondered from a scared place, just a real one. my own emotional understanding of the situation is in tact, however bleak it appears to those coming from a place of the unknown. and in my personal experience at least, almost no one asks, so they can’t actually know. even when they say they do.

word choice has always had legitimate consequences to my life. with a career in entertainment public relations, before my world
became as small as it is now, we used language specifically to impart messages and direct attentions. but i see now especially, when transmissions have such a very personal bent, that nothing seems to have the meanings we used them for. academically, or professionally both. but isn’t life humorous how it rolls out. dictionaries were once used as the intellectual barometer of meaning. words, and their definitions, were used and valued as a currency of sorts. currently, though, it seems that we are imparting our deepest thoughts via images and twitterized sizings of text, but don’t know what we are actually saying or what is being said to us. even what we mimic.

messages are getting lost and becoming altered in their meanings, and how we can translate them is beyond my bandwidth to determine. emotional intelligence has always been wrapped into communications, but ironically now that we have none that is consistent, and lesser still that we outwardly share, that communal resonance is what we need more than ever.

stress and feelings of sadness and helplessness exacerbate autoimmune disorders, so with each need to restart, my condition worsens. listening and deductive reasoning in social interaction seem to be at an all-time low. in human evolution, our quietly built-in efforts that for whatever reason encourage us to play a subversive version of “beat the clock” in conversation, lead us to miss what we are literally being told. when the parameters to be worked within, especially those having been stated despite the most personal and vulnerable of circumstances, get summarily glossed over as an unproven shinier thing comes along, the results can be calamitous. there is a time and place for whimsey, but that doesn’t mean it’s to be focused on all the time.

hobbies to some are careers to others, which makes this a pretty cool place to live as well as
learn. but confusing the two can have disastrous outcomes. when responsibility chosen to be taken is shirked, for whatever reason, someone still has to rectify any fall-out. how to do that is not findable in a manual, whatever the cost or fancy coverings they have. what appears to be generosity to some is harmful to others, and vice versa. the accompanying emotional turmoil aside, our only true fault is in not adhering to the stated needs and desires of others.

writing this book has brought up all kinds of memories. parts of the life i led before were rough, but also vibrant. along with most of the aged population, i appreciate it more now than i did at the time. but while writing these accounts of the grueling nature of it and the fun we managed to find in it provide an amusing break for some, while the actual work of it is different than what i did before, it is still a job. and i’m more grateful with each moment to still be able to at least do that. asking for help to sustain it has been its own rollercoaster, and my stash of gentle kindnesses has waned greatly as people who claim a desire to be part of this ride have reneged on offers of all sorts. friendships have been tested, and many have been dismantled and my life rearranged, as they’ve shown to be fickle or false. there aren’t many left to draw from, which is difficult on some levels and freeing on others. but that puts only more pressure on myself and the very few i can count on. if there are even any left.

helping our fellow brethren is all we’re here to do. while that was a big part of my life before, i saw it completely differently as it was also the undefined part of my day job. but i am sure of that as a proper purpose now. this kind of existence isn’t for everyone, but neither was the one i had before. when i interviewed potential assistants over the years, every conversation revolved around the lifestyle the scope of it dictated. few realized all the facets of it, and hiring was as tedious and confounding as dating. that was not a position many could meet the challenges of. but, neither is this. at least i learned parts of what that public lifestyle entailed early. and luckily, before i knew i could just look around for it, i had fascinating human scenery to boot.

looking beyond why we think we like what we like

people with an innate love and ability to drive well have always delighted me for some reason. it started probably because i was never actually great behind the wheel myself, if i’m honest. fast does not equal good, i would implore my pig-headed younger self if i could. but movement of all kinds has always been a necessary part of the lives i’ve experienced, and when just being capable of doing something made it a passable life skill, that bar was easily met and surpassed.

whatever needed to be done was done. i drove back and forth to school a bunch, and across the country a few times. and my learning about what went into that as a physical endeavor ended there. as i got older, what probably truly fascinated me most by those around me as we shared our tales was the artistries of the soul sparks that the more unique hobbies encouraged. they created joys in many who entertain that carried over into everyday life, and knowing of that passion so viscerally myself, it purposes whatever i see differently. especially when i remember that purview is, in fact, an option.

laughter at jarring juxtapositions is what my brain set-up encourages. it likely always did, and that doesn’t prove to be as problematic in circles of creatives where making mistakes is more encouraged than it is where we all pretend to know everything. judgement and competition destruct that joyful proclivity, and the more common settings of rote call-and-response regurgitations zap joy from the equation by design. self-consciousness changes the focus we hold, and pit what are, truly, just our own feelings against ourselves. there is a lot we miss in lieu of that. and miss out on. we will never know what passes us by. hopefully we remember at some point that it is always our choice what we choose to look at. we just get easily get distracted from what can come of that fact all the time.

a guy came to us one time having had a life-changing appearance on a talk show that remained with him years later. the efforts he had taken to quell his nerves at meeting a personal idol, to avoid any potentially awkward interactions with the host, left him massively drunk and more arrogant than he’d intended. while he wasn’t overtly chastened by those at show he had been promoting, a rare breed in these parts then, he thoughtfully internalized the otherwise overwhelmingly negative response, and it shook him to his core. there was another movie coming out, and he aspired to be different than that. better in behavior, more adult. respectful.

hoping we could help him earn that chance, he worked diligently on himself behind the scenes as we put the steps we could in place. the change in him was marked. immaturities dissipated as much as possible, and he tried out stories on whatever audiences of humans he had. most of those he regaled with his stories of underaged driving and the experiences he had had navigating this weird business had no knowledge of the bigger role they played in his world. but those with an eagerness to listen, who showed care for the well-being his past childhood, visibly buoyed his spirits. the opportunity for him to play with those emotional pieces was priceless.

one of the stepping stones we were able to put in place was an appearance on another talkshow in that family. special care was taken with all interactions we had on his behalf. showing me just how life is mysterious with a cheeky wink sometimes, one of the people i met through that effort is more influential in my own life now more than i ever would have imagined. the anxiety levels of the man we worked with gearing up to that appearance was only seen by us closest to him, but it was palpable. especially as he retold his midwest car transport stories and sneaked to me as a non-public outlet those of the accompanying family drama.

a business journalist said recently that she has found the more specific she is with details, the more relatable her words tend to be. without articulating that verbatim then, we employed a similar logic, as relatability is usually what entices people to watch certain entertainment fare. as real as you can be with an audience, the more likable and lovable you tend to be. because it is actually about the feelings you evoke in them, which we couldn’t outright say at the time. probably we still can’t in some places, but in the island i gratefully live in again filled with creatives and idea makers, we’ve all been there. and that connective resonance speaks loudest in the softest, warmest ways sometimes.

it’s been years since i saw him personally, and while he has publicly made some profoundly awe-inspiring personal decisions, his professional choices seem to be a continuation of sorts on that same path. life rhymes are another, perhaps kinder, way to feel the effects of karma, and the repeating parallels to his path that i see in both myself and my person are alarmingly on point. excruciatingly similar, in some cases. we watched a streaming film he was in, and within moments, i just had a feeling that he had also written it. i saw that he had also shot parts of it where he had lived. the footwork he displayed as he drove was his own. and masterful and graceful. it showcased all that we couldn’t get across with words to some producers then, but what oozes out of him effortlessly. especially when he has creative freedom.

when we have people around us who genuinely are interested in the different nuances of what life can be like, perspectives shift and things seem brighter. hope springs up in places thought to be dorment. this man shows me too though, that the work is never done. his social media proffers images and videos of some of his deeply-rooted personal efforts. most are gleeful. another comedian/actor type i worked for once told me that making the movies is the fun part, while promoting them is the work he got paid for. and while that was perhaps once true, a lot of the pieces now at their core are the same. being a rea person, and all that comes with it, can not be cleanly compartmentalized, and so it behooves us to find ways to enjoy all of it as best we can. without question, making good content is usually important. but the nuts and bolts of any business aside, selling it comes down to more than that just having that.

despite what we hear and are being sold, there are no specifics to being likable. dry metrics tell me blatantly that i am not, and abiding by the arbitrary rules that come with any of them requires memory ram that i no longer have. but none of the people i worked with had it all figured out either, and we all keep trying. to make a go of this life somehow, regardless of what gets in the way or what we let keep us down for a spell. it is what it is. and that’s true for us all, whatever it looks like. the more thoroughly we embrace that, embody our quirks and adjust our behavior to what we want instead of what we think we are, the better we will all be. the choices are still always ours. time to act accordingly.

we can learn from anything and everything

the questions we fielded could be of any variety, any flavor. being at the ready to discuss anything and everything was paramount to our employment, as was silence and knowing the situational needs for the differences. groups split between roles and duties more then. age played a part, but it was really more for a lot of reasons that make far more sense now that we’re older and have lived a bit outside our profession. personalities, ages, bandwidths. we all needed a break sometimes, but what we all truly yearned for was to be understood and heard. in the office setting, that was rare especially on a communal level, but as the emotions expressed around us grew, our abilities to disarm our heated reactions to them needed to as well.

in our group of rag-tag assistants, we were all some version of social workaholics. we have all professionally meandered and most of us now do pretty different things from one another, but it appears that we all retain that same quality. i imagine it was part of why we were chosen to work at the company in the first place. it was a small and exclusive place, with implications that were quite far-reaching. a docuseries we watched recently on a pretty big cultural event of the 90s interviewed one of the company founders as the pr representative for the project. the fraught and harried energies my colleagues and i embodied, the shenanigans we unknowingly emulated, now have an entirely differing meaning than they once did.

when the assistants got together, topics for commiserations spanned wildly. people often thought whatever the situation was that they had encountered was worse than that of their friends’. they almost always were gobsmacked and filled with grave contrition when they heard of the other happenings. peoples’ shadow sides are at times endlessly fascinating, our own included, but having a professional accountability for how others covertly addressed their peccadillos in efforts to hide them quickly became disheartening.

a direct boss shared the account of an urban musician/actor type with a woman on the music team. i believe she was for a while the sole person who held a senior position focused in the business of music personalities, and she eventually helped to create that department there. much of what we now associate with the beginning of competition-based talent reality programming was spearheaded by her efforts. she was tall and gorgeous, and steadfastly opinionated, which rounded out the accidentally emasculating trademarks of the power she commanded. without effort, she intimidated me on about every level, but despite our decade of age difference and great height disparity, we were positively compared and correlated a lot. immature me was giddy at what i felt to be such high praise.

she and i sometimes ideologically butted heads, but what for most others amounted to frustrated tears sparked smirky laughter in us both, and we never parted ways angry. our mutual aggressiveness made us dominant forces on that team, and she made me better and stronger for it. as i sought success, i endeavored unconsciously at times to align with her prowess. there was no place for either real or perceived weakness in that field, and she helped indoctrinate me to that early. when she refused to go on a work trip for our shared client, i was the obvious next choice. the reasons for her refusal would soon be evident, but to my detriment in this case, her reasons for not wanting to go in the first place weren’t ever discussed openly.

late one night soon i was boarding a private jet carrying the cast of a film to new york city. on such excursions, the highest ranking famous person often chose the food that was to be brought and served on board, and the choice of cuisine for this flight was a favorite of the man i was traveling with and his entourage. all three of the men traveling with him, now existing as his security detail, had served time in prison for murder. their grilling of me about my asexual and non-racial past aggressively defied all the professional boundaries i thought i had, and the other cast members fearfully watched the interactions from behind their efforts to sleep. while we mercifully didn’t chat for too long, my reputation as an unflappable representative was thusly, sadly, cemented amongst the group. the bar for their efforts to break me had been raised, though, and i was none the wiser as i tended to my deflated ego.

as we landed and got into our waiting
car to take us to the hotel for a quick shower before our day set full of public appearances, i was gruffly advised to not share our location with any press. seeing as that was stating the obvious, i chortled demurely, assuming that my having passed the humiliation test the night before excluded me from having to endure more. mistaken in such logic, once checked in, they bolted, leaving me to explain their absence to producers, my boss back in la, the other actors, and among others, the on-site studio representatives. my chagrin was only emboldened when they appeared suddenly hours later, having had the driver of the chauffeured vehicle quietly take them sight-seeing without checking in. they were rumored to have gone to the statue of liberty.

years later i ended up working with another cast member from that movie who was on that flight. the expression on his face when we realized the overlap was one of fright and confusion. that he thought that was how men were to act in this business was appalling. his surprise that i still had a job was humorous to me, but really, another veiled demarcation for the industry at large. it brought back the whole experience, and i saw it how he must have, and the other women present. and the director and the studio execs. how young i had been aside, that was a harrowing experience. the jet not withstanding.

experiences are the spicy learning lessons of life to some. mine have run the gamut from horrible to kind, selfish to generous, depending on a myriad of subjective circumstances. part of what made that job so enticing was that you never knew what you were walking into on any given day. there were ideas of trajectories kf course, depending on what was coming out when, but before we lived in a non-pre-planned technological world of 1s and 0s then, and everyday was different. when i was first sidelined with my autoimmune disorder, that was how i described the life of deterioration i was living in. there was no rhyme or reason to my fluctuating musculature or neural paths, so things literally felt and seemed different all tbe time. what looked to be a lack of planning was really my effort to relax and be ready for anything. it took years to determine that, in fact, that wasn’t a known experience and i was essentially speaking gibberish. of course i sounded crazy.

the unknown is a scary concept for some, but not knowing is how i grew up in this business. probably before that, too, or excelling in this quagmire would have been nearly impossible. i see now though that while we may have to look hard, there is always some good to be found in with the bad. maybe lessons we succeed through are reassurances, reminders that this too shall pass. ms is far from the worst thing i thing i’ve lived through. some of the memories i have are dark and twisted, while others are light-filled and beckoning. time lets it all be just an experience. note to self: take it all in while you still can. and if someone wants to go sight seeing, set it up so it can still happen another day. we’ll all thank you.

there is so very much behind what we think we know

lately, a lot has been highlighted about negative effects of gossip. a new docuseries from one of the more venerable outlets is showcasing some of the wear and tear that can come from it, showing some of that which did to those we once idolized. it is humbling to watch. especially from this more outsider perspective. a one-time journalist colleague, with whom i had it out with over a malicious headline embarrassing another subject, took to her social media presence to apologize for her part of it all, how she contributed to the may-lay with her job at the time. and while the words were well-intentioned and heartfelt, their impact on the bigger situation is likely negligible. as with most newspaper retractions, far fewer see the corrections, or partake in any efforts made to right the ship.

as people became industries and those industries grew, many of the intrinsic rules of humanity got swallowed up by the less sanguine goal of success. what was business and personal got insanely muddled in desperate grasps to satiate a growing public want for private information. presumably so the masses felt more “normal,” as if that term points to anything concrete. but the emotional responsibility that comes with that level of intrusiveness is vast, and while some of us strove to reign it in at the time, we ultimately failed to do so. all of us, at least now, hold a piece. those of us who stood in the way usually did so for others’ protection, but we were often unaware of ulterior motives at play. now they’re all we see sometimes, and that shift in perspective has been dauntingly eye-opening.

an editor once angrily chided me when i brought a friend, a hot woman, to her offices. that my actress friend had once had a spread in “playboy” apparently should have been unspoken professional warning enough for me to heed and not bring her by. but as it turns out, though, my sensors are off-puttingly misaligned. as i have so disastrously found out of late. but in the resplendently glowing light of hindsight, that they were also so miswired before is apparently a big, happy accident. i watch her now on a popular streamer in a series that elaborates on film characters cherished from our youth. she and i were feminine mirrors for a while, preferences and assessments of brains and busts aside. we went to tv tapings and hockey games as we followed her crushes through my client rosters. we laughed and hugged and enjoyed the spoils of our positions together. we’re both older now, more grown up. she has children, and i hear they are growing robustly as i deteriorate daily into one, but clearly our writer suitors still see the same sparks.

by the time i was excelling in the business, the culture had devolved into what was mostly gossip-mongering. we tried to sidestep those landmines as we promoted the less serious fare, but tabloid stringers somehow got everywhere, and made up believable falsehoods from what they thought they saw with their access. the omissions of how they were granted access and the monies that exchanged hands were not made part of the stories. neither was our chagrin at the betrayals. but, despite our best efforts and intentions, us gatekeepers were soon made part of the story in another, less illuminating fashion, as our necessary and brief interactions with writers to arrange interviews were often taken negatively, and crafted into a usable context.

as we all know too well at this point, becoming an ancillary story, even accidentally, is not beneficial. a lot of us were publicly roasted and went down in flames for our once-hidden parts in the overall setting. replaced with younger “yes-men,” our staunch defense of our charges’ talent was deemed excessive. and while it is still gut-wrenching, it is no surprise to most of us when some of the brightest of lights pass away. the output demanded of them and what comes with it is not what any of us signed up for. and when having a talent got mixed up with the responsibility of providing the wealth required to sustain it, the dominoes that kept the machines running fell hard.

for years, likely decades, shows depicting what often led up to murderous intents was educational programming for me. without beating us over the head with it, the kind humanity that could also come from the horrendous circumstances was also shown. those who stepped in to counsel grieving parents when children were taken or murdered was perhaps the one good thing to come from some of the worst tragedies. emissions of gratitude after years of petty judgements that kept some apart was rewarding. but as television adopted the old newsprint adage of “if it bleeds, it leads,” the content became darker. more twisted.

once we idolized those who brought so much trauma to our world, culturally, we officially jumped the shark. that the unibomber attended my same college was not in the salesly admission literature, but we all knew he had gone there. wondered what courses he took that steered him so off course so we could avoid a similar spiral. as we hid our fears and attempted to secretly handle the myriad pressures, sarcasm became harder to distinguish from truth, and bad jokes became more acceptable as we sought not to offend.

the world has become increasingly out of whack as our barometers of what makes up reality have become so egregiously tainted. the social movements of late are perhaps to some too little, too late, and personally i find most of it to sound whiny when it is spoken out of context. but to find a positive, at least there is more awareness now. how people in any position are treated is part of the eventual effect. good or bad. a horrific tale with a plot involving a pizza delivery and a body in a freezer was positioned as a comedy. it thankfully didn’t do well at the box-office, but murder shows are commonly shown as entertainment now, while big bosoms are more
hidden so as to be less distracting. the tides have turned, and it truly is no wonder why so many of us are confused.

especially with such awareness, it again makes it our duty to straighten the vessel. it is, really, only us who can. thinking first before blindly following and taking automatic action is essential. as with so many of the headline-making cancel culture examples, all of the breadcrumbs are there. they always have been. and, finding a glimmer of positivity from what was for years a world-crushing experience, looking beyond the flashiness presented is usually where it all is. exploring those facets kindly makes all the difference. there are a lot of good stories to tell once we find them. and there is a lot more than the nostalgia to be had from remakes and sequels. perhaps it is time we explore those, too.

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