Hopefully The Sun will Come Out Tomorrow

I was in the third grade when my parents split up and we moved from a small town in Texas to a Texas town not quite as small.

My mom, big brother and I moved into a two-bedroom duplex that my grandparent’s owned and where my great-grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert See, lived in the adjoining house.

The See’s (unfortunately not the ones of the See’s Candy fortune) were Quaker tenant farmers from Illinois who’d come to live with my grandma and grandpa when they got too old to work the farm.

Robert, my great-grandfather, was in his 90’s. Tall, gangly, always wore a cardigan, work boots and pants slightly too big which were held up by suspenders. Every afternoon he’d get his cane, don a fedora, and slowly take a walk around the block.

My great-grandmother was eleven years his junior although you couldn’t tell it. I loved her even though she wasn’t very warm or grandma-y. She also didn’t seem to be a big fan of my brother or boy cousins (it’s okay, they know) but did have a soft spot for me and my cousin, Celia.

At least she was smart.

To be fair, there were always windmill shaped ginger snaps in her cookie jar, which was bright yellow and shaped like a beehive. I realize cookies are a grandma thing, but they were ginger snaps so I do believe the latter may cancel out the former.

She always prepared three meals a day. Breakfast, lunch and then usually breakfast again for supper.

Thornton was my great-grandma’s maiden name. Her great uncle (actually, not sure how many greats before uncle) was Matthew Thornton, the dude who signed the Declaration of Independence. So, I guess in a way that makes up for the lack of a candy empire that I should be running at this very moment. Because it’s my birthright. Even though it isn’t.

Matthew was the last of 56 people to sign this document. Hey, better late than never, right? Which happens to be a motto I have also adopted in my life and is a trait that obviously runs in our family.

She went by Lula but her full name was Lula Lavina, which she hated. (Not certain about the “Lula” but definitely the “Lavina”.) I liked to pretend I’d forgotten and would try to make her say it.

“Grandma, what’s your name again?”

“Oh you know my name.” she’d say sternly with a half-smile.

My mom was an emergency room nurse and also had several side hustles to support us (including working the medevac air ambulance, despite being deathly afraid of flying. Something else that runs in our family) so, I spent a lot of time on their side of the duplex.

They’d sit beside each other on the love seat holding hands, doing crosswords and resting their eyes. I’d sit in a chair across the room with my nose buried in a Harlequin romance novel and dreaming of escape.

The days seemed endless.

After my grandpa See passed our routine didn’t change.

I’ve been thinking a lot about them and that time in my life as I sit and read and the days seem endless.

Maybe it’s silly but that’s okay.

It’s what you’re supposed to do when the universe gives you time to reflect and figure your shit out.

Do what you have to do and feel what you need to feel until things return to some semblance of normal.

Until then I will read, rest my eyes, miss my grandparents and occasionally, I will have breakfast for supper.

One

                                     


The solitary life of a comedian has always been a perfect fit for me and one of the few things I miss about the road. I’ve always been a loner, which tends to get a bad rap. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a serial killer or the Unabomber. It just means you like quiet and nothingness and thinking. I do enjoy talking to people, but only until I’d rather not.

So, believe me when I tell you that I’m handling isolation like a champ.

To quote my very funny friend, (don’t tell him I said that) Murray Valeriano, “Comics have been training for this moment our whole lives.”

I’m not gonna lie, the extremes and uncertainty are scary but I’m trying to just focus on being grateful for this time to rest, reflect, and figure out what’s out of balance in my life and the entire fucking world. And, somehow, make the changes needed to fix them.

The madness isn’t going away overnight, so let’s not waste more time.

Is this the life I want to live?

Am I the person I want to be?

To be honest, not really. I came out of the gate strong but ran out of steam somewhere along the way.

But, thankfully, after lots of recent quiet and nothingness and thinking I’m starting to remember it’s never too late to course-correct.

Dear Mother Earth, Point Taken.

Day four of the Covid-19 quarantine. Here’s some stuff I’ve learned so far:

Call your parents.

Gratitude and faith.

Yelp is evil.

Eat real food.

Pray. Meditate. Laugh.

Do push-ups every day. Even if they’re girl push-ups.

Be kind. Be silly. Be brave.

Wash your hands.

Know that you’re loved. (If you already know, then let somebody else know that they are.)

Sorry, it’s just Facebook Live. You don’t suddenly have a television show.

You can’t catch the virus from yourself. But still, wash your hands.

Be informed, not inundated.

“Do what you say you’re going to do.” –  Danielle LaPorte

We’re all good and also an asshole.

Coffee, wine, and garlic. Not necessarily in that order, but sort of.

Be here now.

Trust that you’re as amazing as you think.

Had I known this was going to happen I would’ve delayed renewing my food handlers license and used the fifty bucks towards black market toilet paper.

SASSY WAITRESS

Chapter One
It was day two of a two week run in Indiana and I was standing in the back of the room waiting to go up. The night before, while on stage, I’d gotten into it with an open mic guy who was sitting in the front row taking notes during my set. Which means he was stealing my jokes.

Yep, front row. At least sit in the back where I can’t see your dumb ass.

Also, I had to break up a fight between audience members because no one who worked at the club seemed at all interested in doing it. So, I said, to two big-ole hammered farm boys, “You, aren’t going anywhere. And, you, are not kicking anybody’s ass. Both of you sit down right now.”

And you know what they said? Nothing. They just sat down.

I have found that if you speak to an intoxicated man the way his mother would, he will immediately behave. I don’t recommend this if it’s someone you feel romantic about because it kinda sets a disturbing tone. However, if that’s your thing, then have at it.

So, as I stood watching the opening act being verbally pummeled by the audience, I decided that my life as a full-time road comic was finally approaching its end.

Never saw that coming.

But, after way too many years of slugging it out on the road, I was over it. Not stand-up, but definitely the lifestyle.

I’d grown weary of living out of a suitcase, driving all night to get to the next gig, sleeping in my car or some disgusting comedy condo and staying in shitty, scary motels. I no longer wanted to deal with drunks, rowdy audiences or idiots who only wanted to hear dick jokes and thought it perfectly civilized to yell, “Show us your tits!”

Who raised these people?

I was physically and emotionally worn out but didn’t realize, or maybe just didn’t want to acknowledge, how much until that very moment.

Plus, I was always broke.

Always.

Fuck!

I was so sick and tired of never having any money, fighting with my boyfriend because of it and worrying about how to pay my bills. And also, getting to choose between eating or putting gas in my car.

In case you were wondering, the whole “starving artist” thing is way more romantic when you’re talking about it over a big, fat, juicy steak as opposed to a pack of stale peanut butter crackers. Hence the F-word, followed by an exclamation point a few sentences ago. For the record, I don’t exclamation point lightly. But then again what lady does really?

The older I got, louder became the siren’s call of having a pot to piss in or two nickels to rub together.

Perhaps someday I’d even own my very own Frigidaire. “What must that be like?” I’d ponder yet dare not say aloud.

At twenty-two, I gave up any chance of normal by pledging my undying love for stand-up. I made my mom cry, burned the boats, plus all the other stuff you do to prove you ain’t fuckin around, and then headed off in my Canary yellow 1974 Ford Pinto to make the world laugh one comedy club, hotel lounge, and one-niter hell gig at a time.

Oh, and also to assuage some unspoken ache.

I am too good enough, you’ll see!

They never see.

In a nutshell: After several years of roaming around the country and not living anywhere, I moved to Los Angeles in my late twenty’s. Met my ex-boyfriend. We lived (out of wedlock, much to my mother’s chagrin) in a great apartment at the beach for about a year. He got a job offer in San Francisco. I dramatically refused to go.

I went.

We moved into an apartment in Tiburon. That’s in Marin County across the Golden Gate Bridge. We had an amazing view of the city and Alcatraz. Alcatraz sits in the middle of the Bay. There’s a light on top of the prison that goes around every six seconds warning ships that it’s there and so please don’t smash into it.

My boyfriend would sit on the couch and time the light as it went around. He’d say, visibly agitated, “It goes every 6 seconds. It’s making me crazy.”  I would respond, “Let’s not blame the light, shall we? How about you just go sit in that chair instead?” His job ended five years later and we returned to Southern California. Eight years later our relationship would follow suit.

Greetings Inhabitants Of Planet Earth

Hey all-

Just a quick note regarding a policy change taking effect immediately.

I will continue to say “Hello” or “Good morning” when we make eye contact, even if you don’t acknowledge me.

I’ll still hold doors, the elevator, say “Please” & “Thank You” & “Pardon me” and offer to help carry something when your hands are full, even if you don’t extend the same courtesy.

However from this moment forward: When walking towards each other on the street, in a hallway, in the mall or anywhere one would walk towards another human being, I will no longer be the only person who steps aside so that we don’t smash into each other. I’m 6 feet tall and weigh 150lbs — I’m willing to take the hit.

Everyone was issued regulation manners and kindness when we were assigned to this post. If you can’t find yours—check in your ass. That’s usually where mine are when I forget that I’m not the only person on the planet.

Best,

Your fellow earthling

So This Boring Guy Walks Into A Bar…

Yesterday I got a text from a friend who’d just heard a comic talk shit about her on a podcast. Apparently they were naming “angry” woman comics. I agree, pretty innovative stuff.

Ironically this didn’t make her “angry” at all; instead, we just found it terribly silly and amusing. Wonder if the host actually wrote that down on his list of topics for the show? Maybe “angry women comics” was #3 after “How things change once you get married.” Good work. Way to push the envelope, dude.

However, I was thinking perhaps it might be more interesting and creative to try and name a comic who isn’t angry. (FYI— most people don’t get into stand-up because “Sunshine” is their middle name. ) Yeah, not a lot of ex- captain’s of the football team or chicks who had great skin in high school signing up for open mics.

I’ve been accused of being angry and it doesn’t bother me. Because sometimes I am and there’s nothing wrong it. Obviously I don’t feel that way all of the time. I’m not walking around saying, “And as for you, adorable chubby baby, stop your chortling and lighting up the room, you selfish little prick.”

Anger wears a lot of different hats—-

Sometimes it’s just feeling passionate about something, speaking your truth, or standing up for yourself or for someone who can’t. And sometimes it’s just a joke that certain people don’t like because they think its mean. Girls aren’t supposed to be mean, you know.

Doesn’t matter what race, religion or country you’re from, women are raised to be nice. Be nice! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD ALWAYS BE NICE!

On behalf of every woman on this planet may I just say, “ Fuck nice.”

And as for the boring “women aren’t funny” stereotype, I will just say this, it’s true, some woman are not funny. Some men aren’t funny. Some white folks can’t dance and some Asian people may not be the best drivers. I’m also sure that there are Jewish people who are quite frugal and perhaps some African American men have larger gentlemen parts than men of other ethnic backgrounds. So it doesn’t bother me at all if someone thinks, “women aren’t funny.” Because those people usually aren’t funny or very bright.

Dear Jerry Lewis,

Why not take the focus off of us and instead focus on writing a joke that’s relevant to this century or even the last 43 years, and then let’s meet for coffee and have this discussion.

Love, Becky

There’s nothing wrong with anger. Embrace it. Let it be a catalyst for positive change or a good joke, and not a just a tired topic on a tired podcast.

The British Zombies Are Coming! The British Zombies Are Coming!

Happy does not equal funny.

Funny does not equal happy.

Although you can feel happy when you’re being funny, I think it’s hard to be funny if you’re happy.

Not the kind that counts anyway. I’m not talking about “Why is it that you can put two socks in the dryer but only one sock comes out? Where’s the other sock, everybody?” I don’t mean that crap.

I mean real comedy. The kind that comes from the deep, dark pain that eats away at your esophagus.

It won’t let you sleep at night. It makes you break down in tears for no reason and spend seven nights a week in the bottom of a bottle of vodka. That’s the funny I’m talking about.

Some of the best comics I know are the most miserable people on the planet. Because they aren’t happy, and they aren’t afraid to admit it. They’re also the smartest.

Smart people are rarely happy. You know why? Because they’re surrounded by people who aren’t very smart.

I know this first hand. Does that sound arrogant? I don’t care. I can say that because I’m going to sat this: I’m not educated. I’m not well-read. I didn’t go to an Ivy League college. I didn’t even graduate from college. As a matter of fact, I actually spelled “college” with an a  in the first draft of writing this. Yea spell-check!

But I’m still smarter than most people. You know why? Because I have common sense.

Plus I have street smarts. I’m not really even sure what that means, but I played on the streets a lot when I was a kid, so I felt like I should throw that in there.

And I said all that just to say this: if zombies invaded a comedy club, the comics would probably be killed first.

Depending on the line up.

If you don’t get that, listen here: Zombies eat brains… So congratulations, you’re safe.

She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Brother

So, here’s the thing with Jill. She’s been my best friend for about twenty years. I love and want to kill her more than anyone on the planet. Not including myself, of course. Well, of course.

We met on the road doing stand-up in the early nineties…I think.

I wish I couldn’t remember because the road was so crazy with partying and stuff. But if I’m going to be honest, I’ll have to say I don’t remember how long ago we met because I’m not good at math.

The first time I saw Jill was when I opened for her at The Punchline in Houston, Texas. It was a comedy club in the lounge of some hotel in Houston, Texas. Did I already say Houston, Texas?

It was a club just like they all were back during the comedy boom. Fake brick wall. Three people in the “crowd.” It was awesome. I think I made fifty dollars for the week. Sorry if it seems like I’m bragging.

Anyway, I remember she went on stage after seeing my act for the first time and said, “If you liked Becky or you didn’t, get ready because you’re going to feel the same way for the next forty-five minutes.”

In other words (not that I really need other words), we’re basically the same person with the same sense of humor.

Wow. I know. She is so lucky.

We’ve been through it all. Jill is the first person I call when I fall in love or get arrested. She’s the friend that if I walked up to her in a bar and said, ” You need to come with me right now because we’re going to kick somebody’s ass.”  She wouldn’t ask why. She’d just politely excuse herself from the table and go help me kick somebody’s ass.

Oh my heavens, we wouldn’t actually do that because we were not raised that way, thank you very much. But you know what I mean. Jill is that friend.

One weekend she was staying at my house, and we were talking about my breakup from my boyfriend of fourteen years. She was there from the beginning. I think she was more heartbroken over it than I was. Our relationship had been the one that she held all others up to. Yeah, sorry ’bout that.

So we were having drinks, and I was trying to console her with the typical reassurances: ” You’ll be okay. These things happen. I’ll find someone else.”

“But you guys seemed so perfect together.”  She said between sighs and sips of a dirty martini.

Well, obviously no relationship is perfect, but telling her that seemed like a lame way of getting the point across. So instead, I thought I’d tell an awkward story about our sex life that would make me seem great and him seem like a judgmental jerk. Then she would feel better about the breakup and we could just make fun of him all night.

Now, either I’m a bad storyteller (really?) or she just wasn’t paying attention (more likely), and somehow our wires got crossed along the way. This is how our conversation went:

I said, “So one time we were in New York and I was ‘downtown.’ ”

Now first let me clarify that by “downtown” I meant his “nether regions.”

Also, let me clarify that I’m euphemistic and put things in quotation marks whenever I’m talking about anything sexual. It makes me feel less like a whore.

So I said, “We were in New York and I was ‘downtown.’ ”

And she asked, ” Why were you downtown? Were you working?”

I said, “Well, I was sure trying.”

(Pregnant pause.)

“What?” she asked.

Jill didn’t realize, like you and I do, that I meant his downtown. Because of course, she wasn’t listening.

I said, “I was ‘DOWNTOWN!'”

(Pregnant-er pause.)

“Huh? Ohhhh!”

She and I both started laughing.

And she added, ” Why didn’t you just say that? So what was New York a euphemism for?”

As I thought,  Come on Jill, please don’t use “euphemism” just because I used it earlier. I said, “Uhhhhh….it was a euphemism for New York.”

Then she added, “Well, why’d you have to mention New York?”

“Because we were in New York!” I screamed.

Which made us start laughing again until she was wheezing and I thought I would wet my pants.

” Too bad I wasted fourteen years with that guy. Think of all the ‘downtowns’ I could have visited on the road.” I said.

“I know, ” she agreed. ” Becky’s Urban Renewal Plan.”

I said. ” I really regret not visiting ‘downtown Buffalo.'”

The giggling and wheezing went on into the night. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when two nice Texas girls try and have an adult conversation about a blowjob.

No, I love you more

My neighbors in the building across the street are fighting and screaming the “F” word at each other while their children cry in the background.

The good news is, when their son ends up in jail and the daughter is a pregnant stripper at seventeen years old, we’ll be able to pinpoint exactly where things went wrong.

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