The Sun will Come Out Tomorrow, Hopefully

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.

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.

Trigger-Happy

You know how sometimes something will happen that takes you back to a certain period in your life? A time that maybe wasn’t so great? And although you aren’t that person anymore, you react from that place in time? Suddenly you’re in the tenth grade again?

Yeah, me neither.

The other night I came home, turned on my computer and checked my Facebook page. There was a friend request from a seventeen-year-old girl who lives in Ohio. Now, when you’re a comic, this isn’t strange. People of all ages and walks of life Google you and want to be your friend, which couldn’t make me happier. Google away. Although, I do check out the profile first, and if there isn’t a picture of a burning cross or a Nazi violating a woman with a Swastika, welcome aboard.

So, I accepted the friend request and then went to her page and left a comment that said, “Hey”—just like I do to everyone. Then I went back to writing (aka playing Spider Solitaire).

A little while later, I checked my page again, and there was a comment from her that read, “Wow, do you have a program that automatically sends out a generic response? That’s pretty lame. Just a word of advice, that’s creepy. Blah, blah, blah. P.S. I’m really ironic and sarcastic.”

Creepy? Really kid? I’ll tell you what’s creepy: the fact that I’m on Facebook at my age. But hey, you contacted me.

So, I guess she had just sent it and I responded to quickly. I’m not sure. All I know is that I went into Heathers mode. I deleted my comment from her page. I deleted her comment from my page , and I blocked her from my site.

Hah! Take that! Let me show you how to be ironic and sarcastic, young lady.

So, hopefully this will teach her a lesson. And also cause her to develop an eating disorder. That might seem harsh, but that’s how you learn.

I do feel a little bad since she’s only had one year of experience behaving like a seventeen-year-old girl whilst I have had twenty-nine.

Too Bad, So Sad

Here are two things that most people don’t know about me:

First, I can tap dance. Actually, I’m not that good at it, although, I can “Shuffle off to Buffalo” like a motherfucker.

Second, I suffer from depression. I know, me and half of the people on the planet, right? Boring. That’s why I don’t talk about it. Nobody cares. I don’t even care, which, I believe, is a symptom of depression.

I don’t know that for sure because I didn’t go to medical school. However, I did learn a thing or two during my year and a half of junior college, which I went to on a dance scholarship, hence the tap dancing.

At least I’m not one of those depressed people who are on medication. Good grief, those people with their meds and the side effects like the spinal overgrowth and the bloody discharge. Nice. That’s who you want at your party.

Here’s an idea: instead of screwing up your body with crazy chemicals, how about dealing with it the old-fashioned way, as I do? Try staying in bed for three days while you ponder killing yourself, knowing you can’t because God will get mad at you and it will make your mom cry.

So you lie there in the dark with the covers over your head, just you and your own stink (because you haven’t showered in seventy-two hours), hoping someone will break in and end it for you.

And then one day, you just wake up and feel normal again. The sun will be shining, the birds will be singing, and you’ll think, “Man, I could fuck up a cheeseburger right about now.”

And then…life goes on.

Please Pass The Porn

Most of my life I’ve been “one of the guys.” My choice. Because to be honest, it’s just more fun.

I remember being a kid playing at my cousin’s house; the girls were inside, the boys outside. Suddenly, I became very frustrated with the situation, and the voice inside my head started screaming. (Everyone hears voices in their head at seven years old, right?) It was screaming,”What’s wrong with you people? Why are we sitting in this room with these stupid dolls when we could be up in that tree, with them? Good grief, what a bunch of pussies!”

The voice didn’t really call them pussies, but seriously, how funny would it be if it had?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not one of those women who don’t like other women. I have plenty of really cool girlfriends, but most of the time, you can find me hanging with my boys, gay or straight.

The downside to this is that I get stuck doing the dirty jobs that they would never have their girlfriends/wives/boyfriends/lovers/significant others do.

For example, I am the official “porn sweep” to four of my friends. That means if anything happens to them, I’m the person that has to go into their house first to clean out all of the porn so their family and loved ones don’t find it.

I guess they don’t want other people to know about their creepy, dark side after they’re dead. But apparently it’s perfectly okay if I do.

And…Sleep

I just spent the weekend in Palm Springs telling jokes and fighting bikers. Where should I begin?

First, let me say if you ever need a beautiful gay man or a very tan senior citizen, Palm Springs is the place. If there’s a more abundant supply elsewhere, then I’ve not found it.

My goal for the week was to record every show and then make a CD for both people who have asked if I have CD that they can buy. It’s so cute when I set a goal because “This time I’m really going to do it!”

Unfortunately, it wasn’t my crowd. It seemed as if they were waiting for me to get off stage so the MC could bring up Red Buttons.

And so I ended every show by saying, “Enjoy your headliner.”

Even though I was the headliner.

My favorite thing about the road is napping. Oh dear, do I love to nap. It’s the highlight of my day. I plan it while having my morning coffee, which is the other highlight.

The hotel they put us up in wasn’t the greatest, to say the least, but sometimes that can make napping even better. Because when you’re asleep, you don’t have to look at stuff and wonder where things went wrong.

So Saturday afternoon I was getting ready for my beloved nap.

Here’s how it works-

Air-conditioning set to 32 degrees below zero.

Phone turned off.

Blackout curtains were drawn so the room is pitch black, except for that one comforting stream of light coming through the bullet hole in the curtains.

And…sleep.

Then I usually wake up a few hours later, have more coffee and go to work.

Beautiful!

Not this time.

About fifteen minutes in, I heard the roar of motorcycles. Then I heard a woman who had smoked a lot of unfiltered Camels in her life say, “Go get some ice.”

Nap over.

The gang of hooligan bikers that had just checked in to the room next to mine stood in front of my window drinking beer. I think they were having a “Who has the best fake laugh” contest. (And for the record I would just like to say that I think they were all winners.)

Luckily, it only lasted about two and a half hours.

What happened next? Nothing. I just waited. At about three a.m., when I heard sweet, little, drunken snores through the paper-thin walls, I called their room. When they answered, I hung up. Then I waited for about twenty minutes so they could fall back asleep, and I called again.

And again.

And again.

Who’s the winner now? Huh, pussy bikers?

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