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.

knowing the ingredients we are

intimately getting to know our pasts illuminates our real selves probably better than we think we do when we talk about ourselves. seamlessly in our live-time interactions, we overthink and edit our realities constantly. which likely stems primarily from our secret efforts to attract and please, even ourselves. but upkeep of the altered truths we pretend we live by can lead us to blindly engage in behaviors and speak things we would likely shun when viewed under a more cognizant light. truth can be painful at times, but a lifetime of unawareness is just as brutal.

while they seemed to be temporary and surmountable at the time, the growing pains we experienced as more youthful children don’t actually ever end. they change form and bodily location as we age, and often they morph and disguise as archipelago-like cartilages form in our bodies and add to our personalities. unlike before, though, most of the later structural modification is mental rather than physical. the growth process is never complete while we’re alive. and, maybe not even just until then, either. we don’t know yet.

when i was younger, a teacher reprimanded me in a math class for not showing my work. it was really early, maybe third grade, but i knew even then that what she really wanted was to see the tacit regurgitation of her lessons. since that wasn’t how i got to the solutions, my correct answers were thusly deemed irrelevant. despite my loud huffs of frustration, i quickly relearned the teachings and mastered how to get by using whatever her math language was instead. while i excelled, it took me far longer than did my own methodology. but the understandings of what success required to those who made decisions was engrained early, and my agile ability to mentally rework things in a format different than mine became its own skillset.

also being good at that served me well enough in most settings. but in hindsight, perhaps it did too well. viewed in the same way that i had found previous successes, the people and demands of a life in personal public relations eventually took up too much mental space. outdated pieces of intellectual paths to success broke, got stuck, or were now scattered out of order and with no semblance of design. like if you were to accidentally drop and break a bowl of rice you were holding.

conversely, my natural intuition became blocked and dulled over years of non-use. in so many situations, i ignored what i knew it was telling me in lieu of following how i was being instructed. and now, with my intellect demyelinating away, when i need my intuitive abilities more than ever to just survive, they have become so scrambled that they don’t even know how to read or adhere to their own legends sometimes. it is a confusing mess.

when people come up to me as if they know me, in their fervor to reconnect with what they think they know, panic often overwhelms me as my brain quickly scans through all of their possible life placements. they’re perhaps people i know from one job or another, different states, or apartments here that i’ve lived in. workout classes, dance classes, spin classes. days used to be filled to the brim with activities. somehow there was always time to shower and do my hair. that i could meet my person anywhere was obviously at the forefront of my priorities. and that when i eventually did was after a spin class on a weekend in old cargo shorts was a moment of intense awakening.

the memories that spring forth from going through mid-aged photos are unforeseen happy accidents of this memoir-writing process. that i can determine from what i look like what stage of mental connections i was feeling at the time is something doctors focused on only numbers don’t ask about. tests weren’t taken or done before, when all seemed by the superficial assessments and numbers to be fine. there was nothing they told me that was more amiss than annual colds. had they ever asked about what my life was like, what i would have known to articulate about the fluctuations in my physical abilities is truthfully unknown. this whole thing encompasses more of my body at once, but is not wholly dissimilar to pains from camps or the feeling of eyeballs on you at new jobs. it is for now just without the advil and wiser elders to guide me, so i am learning the spectrums of discomfort and successes myself.

but all that plagues auto-immune disorder sufferers is plain as day in the photos. as i imagine it also was in real life. especially with all the 3-d interactions i had. which tells me even louder how little even i paid attention. to everything but myself, i had a sharp eagle eye. not everyone traveled with security guards, and while it was more of a human sensibility than professional duty, client safety was added to the list of responsibilities. the stresses of both the physical and mental parts of that role are leading factors of what i bodily deal with now everyday.

seeing a reason for this all is the optimistic vantage point from which i gaze on good days. in the neatest catch-22 i can conjure, perhaps i’m still here to be a cautionary tale. as i’m pretty sure i was merely a decade-long human placeholder for our cat. she and i love each other dearly, and the times we spent together were precious. but we have a lot more to learn more from each other now. and as i see in photos, that same warmth used to exist among all of us humans easier, too. as if we knew inherently that we’re all just part of a big puzzle.

how we go together may not be for us to decide, but looking out for each other is just the price of doing business. wherever you go. and looking out for yourself is a built-in part of that, too. we all may get waylaid in our objectives at times, and we aren’t too fun then. myself included, speaking from embarrassing experience upon embarrassing experience. but if i have gleaned anything from my time near hollywood, when the focus isn’t on ourselves, we all prosper. even if it appears to be, it’s never about just one of us, so it seems like we’re all in this soup together. and i wonder what kind it is going to be.

relevance of a life recycled

unsurprisingly, the true origins of some of the most broadly known and famous quotes have been grossly revamped over the years. usually it is to fit pop culture reimaginations of events and their stories, but without the originally positioned context, the true impetus behind visible changes in action are easy to misconstrue. as a collective, especially as we get more busy and distracted, we are usually none the wiser. fearless about sounding foolish, we unabashedly spout the repurposed knowledge we’ve consumed if we still can glean lessons from it. and sometimes we find, with a metaphysical dose of appreciation and calm, that the sensibility of the phrase still remains applicable.

the ideology behind a quote that i studied in college, was indoctrinated to utilize professionally, and still attempt and fail and try again to abide by in real life to more properly assess and align my ever-changing state of humanness is now attributed to the main ad-man character on “mad men.” changing the story when you don’t like what is being said can entail a gargantuan effort at times, but the freedom that comes from a presentation closer to authentic fact can be pretty rewarding. many of the people i cut my teeth working with have changed their scripts once again, and sometimes barely resemble the people i knew. some are publicly sober now. others pridefully celebrate their successful wives rather than solely seeking the attention for themselves. the obvious shift in their consciousness is remarkable from afar. knowing personally too much about them, as well as the work that goes into creating certain personas, such personal achievements are loudly applauded.

part of what made those pr jobs so entertaining and worthwhile was making something from what appeared to many to be nothing. what lies beneath human efforts can be breathtaking when we take the time to explore the deep crevices of the psyche. there’s a lot we keep hidden. sometimes on purpose, but more so by accident, as we remain steadfastly and stubbornly blind to what we don’t know. but having someone to call us out on our secrets, when they can do so with some grace and delicacy, provides us with a much needed respite in a landscape that has become awash of late with unpurposed oversharing. we aren’t our thoughts, but we aren’t our feelings, either. and while that distinction can be profoundly intimate, respecting and nurturing the individual pieces in that distinction appropriately is also critical to human salvation.

most of the time spent with clients and colleagues at those jobs required silent, non-verbal communication. before we all thought we could express ourselves cogently via email, each personality was unique then in their style of it. some refused to change their actions in the slightest between when others were present or not, while others always demanded stringent privacy. that was usually impossible given the situations we found ourselves in, and there were many quick scurries between closed doors. as if that didn’t perk up curious ears and bring up questions that normally wouldn’t require answers. red carpet premieres and press junkets had a lot of moving pieces. some took months to put together as we bounced around dates that made sense between the calendars of other theatrical releases, their stars, world events, and all other wayward industry and life happenings that came up. last minute upheavals still happened all the time, but when we did our jobs well, few outside our smaller circles knew of them. that wasn’t what we were there to talk about in the press, after all.

subtle tells of catching knowing expressions soon brought about loudly propositioned, irrelevant questions from nosey bystanders, though. both by those employed in the industry and otherwise. as that became its own sideshow, we learned to hide them away, too, and a lot of personal discomfort and fears got ignored or overlooked. as we all get older, though, we see that anything which gets sidestepped simply to keep a schedule moving always remains somewhere. our peccadillos and preferences need to be addressed and accommodated as best possible before tempers flare out of control. not all of us knew how to do that, and a lot of us were left holding the bag in that department. we took all the heat, from wherever and whomever it came. to keep the environment as copasetic as possible, and mostly, to allow those of higher rank or visibility to stay their charming outward selves. there’s a lot of nuance that goes into what appears to be effortlessly impeccable.

having an expressive visage in those situations presented its own challenges. working with comedians, laughter is both sought and organically uncontrollable. genuinely funny people will work to make it happen, while those who are less-so often just expect an audibly favorable reaction. especially when they’re next to funny people. having a loud laugh does not bode well in small interview rooms, either, so hearing the repeated canned answers became a welcome din during weekends spent in hotel rooms selling comedies.

when actors were paired for interviews, many of the groups amused themselves by attempting to slip odd words into responses. like a mad libs game, rarely did their sentences make sense, but those naturally-borne experiences were always humorous. to those not in the know, it likely appeared odd. but promotional days are long, and after the same question is asked literally a hundred times, stir-crazy takes on new meaning. thankfully, it seems that for the most part, we all knew our places then. the roles we served. even behind my attempts to disguise them, present people could usually read my thoughts from the expressions i wore, so when i could lean into that double-edged sword, i did. and when not-really funny folks re-told bad jokes over and over, my wan expression tended to hush that quickly.

movies were often categorized, and if needed, we could fit them into whatever the bigger narrative was that was most relevant at the time. before everything became a ratings bonanza to grasp and such hefty monies were on the line, moods were lighter. why we all got into this land of make believe was more obvious. the joy we got by sharing it with others is addictive, and what is endearing about humanity shone brightly in movies that were both good and bad. growing pains of building talent were expected, and we knew that not all fare was award contending. that wasn’t always the point. but soon, popcorn movies were judged by the same standards as oscar nominees, and billboard placements unceremoniously touted what were once secret bastions of studio support.

karma, or whatever title it goes by now to not be scary, is nipping at our heels. life-rhymes and happy accidents are noticeably evident even in our short time living this story. the do-over so many of us clamored for is here, and the responsibility we all have is that every minute of every day we get to choose what message we impart. and how we do so. in a living amends kind of way, we have the opportunity to make right in the moment while still being forthright and honest with ourselves. we can choose to feel sanguine and optimistic, regardless of what we’re facing. and when we step back, zoom out, most of it it seems we have already gone through in one way or another, anyway. so ‘the chive’ motto continues to reign supreme. keep calm and carry on, it says. and mascot fandom aside, there is no 800 number needed.

lessons in humorously resonant analogy

there is juxtaposition to be found in everything. unfortunately, the more broadly used word of ‘duality’ has encouraged us to pit ourselves and our uniquenesses against one another for eons. but when it really comes down to it, there is an integral component of divisiveness to it that has become a heavily-leaned into tool to incite fear. thankfully, such antiquated sensibilities are now very thin, and have become horribly outdated as an overriding mindset of respect and kindness has evolved instead.

if now is a time for anything, it’s finding our similarities, harnessing what can be done from that position, and evolving our perceptions to include at least the idea that other realities may exist for some. whether or not we believe the same things is often irrelevant, and is wholly unnecessary to contentiously discuss if we aren’t seeking attainment of the same short-term goals. if not, the only thing then that makes any sense energetically is to celebrate what can be made from the widening agenda of a generically copasetic vibe of peace and love. which also means that embodying those qualities ourselves is paramount.

few of us hold onto factually stated information as it is given to us, and any underlying personal sentiments that we hold onto brazenly shine through the holes of the capricious logic pieces we regurgitate. let’s hope that the empty spaces in between are filled with goodness and strivings toward kind outcomes as there is really no need for any of us to add fuel to the fire at this point. but the components of what make up that underlying ether are not always known, and we jumble all the time the differences between what are felt feelings and what we believe them to mean about any accompanying linear thought.

the chaos this brings about, the resulting purview we live in, is a result of that mixture of our individualized combinations of fantastical delusions. like an ice cream creation run amok from coldstone creamery. whatever we put thought energy towards, whatever our deepest intentions ultimately are, is illuminated by what comes to exist in our own manifestations. in a the least malicious example, it is like how the stay puft marshmallow man is benignly conjured and yet still appears as a villain to defeat in “ghostbusters.” following that vein of thinking, it seems that we all mastermind our greatest feats we endeavor to accomplish. as well as our worst fears. we never know what anything we think about will look like, and we still are somehow always surprised to get what we asked for. but it seems finally that the human desire for control will be stricken from us all somehow. or at least the notion that we have any.

when i began working in public relations, a peculiar irony was that despite being the public voice of direction for many, personally, we weren’t meant to look as if we existed ourselves. in client worlds certainly, as our presence alone signaled the aftermath of a transgression. but as the boundaries of journalistic integrity loosened, also having a more secret reality became impossible to maintain, and our roles felt increasingly fraudulent as the blunders we talked around grew in scope. when i was younger, there were hidden rules meant to be followed that made little real-world sense, and my brain sensors that ascertained those distinctions were some of the earliest of my human hardware to go. the hilarity that ensued from misaligned word-associations can be pretty hilarious in hindsight. when they’re not for a business function.

some rules i heard early and ignored as they flagrantly made no sense. we were supposed to wear black to events with clients so we could be more easily removed in photo edits. colleagues were taken off accounts if their attractiveness distracted from the clients they escorted down red carpets. in the comedy world colored brightly by comparison, references of all sorts got made. as direction for how to actualize a similar tone. in unspoken gestures in response to suggested adherences. what is similar in analogies is subjective and can mean a lot of different things. missteps along those lines can be harshly detrimental as identities are interwoven with words spoken, and kerfuffles from the hidden landmines could be severe.

when blogs became a popularly accepted form of written expression years back, there was an onslaught of comparison. how untrained writers described their circumstances often paled next to the wordings of professional wordsmiths we were familiar with, but we became more and more intrigued by unpolished accounts of life. others’ authentic moments dominated our interest over tested-to-be-palatable re-revised jargon. despite the obvious elements of my overly occupying profession, encouragement was doled out via comparisons. “your stories are like the ones that girl talks about on ‘30 rock!’”

while that is often humorously and painfully true, the dichotomy of our-then professional roles was also big part of what made that the case. our moments of laughable idiocy have different flavors, and are shaped by alternate sides of some of the same coins. people i met and got to spend time with by accident had no expectation of my sharing opinions. when the outspoken quality of my odd word associations wasn’t overlooked, though, aside from the comedians in my life, few corrected me, and i lived with those misalignments as my reality. for years.

there is a documentary series streaming now that slid my foot into my mouth before i realized how far off-base my thoughts had been. how our worlds can be so easily rearranged when we hear something is astounding, and while some of my most favorite comedians have highlighted similar phenomena, having such a moment in my own life was hilariously mind bending. another layer the of my mind’s veil had been yanked back, and in the best, most profound way, a world i prided myself on knowing in depth was shaken to its core.

a world renowned photographer with whom i’ve had the honor of working over the years as she’s shot some people i’ve worked for shares the same last name with a rather sardonic observationalist i admire. she was suggested once to be the writer for one of our client features and she came to the correlating photoshoot by the woman with the same last name. to see if she got on with the subject, discern if she could find anything of note relatable to the project at hand to talk about. especially when the reality struck us that this was obviously not her druthers, she and i openly joked and acerbically opined throughout the shoot.

someone mentioned in a passing remark that she was related to the photographer. they didn’t seem to act at all familiarly, but they’re both outwardly rather gruff and impersonal, so that narrative made sense to my overfilled brain and i went with it. recently, though, i was shown a compilation of some of her talk show appearances, and the austerely positioned declaration of what i thought i knew was met with that same quiet consternation that my comedian clients subtly chided me with as the educated me and softened my arrogance.

their same last name may be a harbinger for another piece of shared history, but they are in fact not related. that she and i knowingly laughed so strongly that day is an experience i thankfully get to share with the director of that docu-series. there are scenes captured in it that in a flash of the gleeful expression he has casually conversing with her bring me back to the hearty chuckles we also created and shared. we spent the downtime of the shoot finding the pleasure in the pain, and the humor in the absurd. the setting was ripe for such commentary, and we excelled as if we were to be graded. realizations like this dot my life now, and the only lesson i can find to grasp onto in such moments of confused despair is that we never know where similarities can be found, i guess. but, when you need them, they’re there. always.

what gets made as we all walk through our highs and lows

until the man i married, the people who saw me at both my best and worst as an adult person were usually souls i worked with. my boundary lines have always been blurry, and, looking back, the duties of my pr jobs didn’t help those matters much. everyone i came into contact with had a mission to accomplish, be it gossip mongering or creating high-line entertainment, and the premium on private information soon became the people themselves. having existing relationships were required for honest communication, and they came to replace outward trust in many cases. connections that could serve to tie people together were ignored, and most wilted in that climate of fear.

the human currency we brought to the table depreciated as the unwitting attainment of visibility and fame was misinterpreted as the same as the more insidious intent of wanting to be generically visible and famous. unfortunately, the latter took over the main spotlight, and few of us navigated that changing landscape ideally. colleagues we thought of as morally straight folk sold not-fully-factual stories and made a lot of money, while conversely, some of our human closenesses were maintained primarily as efforts to keep secrets of clients from being made public.

there were many times in the earlier days of that career where one of the lower team members was needed somewhere out of town. usually last minute. we leaned hard on each other then, and hurriedly forged plans to fill the time together when we could. some involved our heavy professional itineraries or rolodexes, while some were more casual. free time on any open evening was spent socializing out with friends at dinners, and more familial feeling connections with office mates across the country were furthered with sleepovers when we didn’t have hotel accommodations. cozy nights were spent lounging in, where we ate junk foods and binge watched entertainment projects we would likely soon be promoting. energy was never an issue, but the idiom about burning the candle at both ends would have been apropos with our travailles if ends were ever in sight.

we got coffees en route to the office in the mornings as if we belonged wherever we were. not to be savored or languidly enjoyed, coffees then were big espresso drinks tempered by too much non-fat milk, exclusively in to-go cups, and existed in our worlds solely to help us appear functional. we hoped to not spill them in cabs or on gloves as we moved at a manhattan clip without knowing exactly where we were headed, juggled clients, their emotions, the weather, the appearances we were in town for, our bosses, their emotional outbursts, and whatever else was thrown at us. that we were out of town seemed irrelevant to most, and our actual location became less and less a consideration as communication became more and more obsequious.

between us young assistant types, we worked with stand-up comedians, actors, magicians, athletes, authors, personalities, producers, and all the kinds of people that existed alongside of them. as well as significant others, all kinds of representation teams, and both friends and foes alike. everyone came out when clients did it seemed, and as vanilla as we were trained to be, we got on at least cordially with whomever we needed to.

eager, crazy-seeming actions and begging, impassioned pleas were harbingers of either deeply rooted love and closeness to the talent we looked after, or an extreme desire to have that which had been met with indifference. it was often left up to us to decide the levels of access that were granted, and being able to covertly translate that murky dichotomy of fandom and friendship to security guards became a highly treasured skill among us.

when the depths one will go to to reach certain odious goals are discovered, an immediate, visceral need to protect bubbles to the surface. the sense of urgency to extricate charges from any malignant efforts we saw in the making feels akin to stories of mothers who lift cars off toddlers in emergencies. relating that feeling to any inexperienced in the role sometimes sounds over-reactionary, and while our responses and actions at the time may indeed have been, what was avoided could have garnered much stronger reactions.

we’ll never know the past case by case, but if the current situation in the world shows us anything, negative slime wasn’t just an element made up to fit the “ghostbusters” ideology. we all emit energies, and we all have feelings. the children’s movie “inside out” showcases their interplay with whatever our learned acumen is designated to be, when you watch closely. there’s a lot we don’t know, even when we claim to or think we do. hopefully we remember that as we see more of what all this is. in my humble opinion, there’s a lot to find out when we explore. and while there has always been truth to the sentiment, to see what we’e made of, there really is no time like the present.

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