Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Fall Feast To Remember.

The weather has turned; I couldn't stop it.

And since it has, my mind turns back to a wonderful time in my life.

Grad school.

I'm being a bit sarcastic, of course.  The program at the Prairie School of the Arts (not its real name) was a two year program, which provided a tremendous amount of information in the classroom, and  more than several opportunities upon the various stages they used.

And that first semester was somewhat akin to being buried alive in a really cool place, surrounded by really nice people that are also being buried alive.

At one point, we had a list of things that were better than Grad School.

One of them was, "Having an umbrella rammed up your ass."

I assume that the payoff was having somebody OPEN the umbrella.  I'll just leave that image with you and move on.

A lot of things happened in that first semester.  I fell head over heels in like with a pretty red headed girl, and was dashed on the rocks of reality quickly.  I began to lose weight quickly and suffer from almost constant exhaustion, which the doctor worried was Leukemia.  That was a rough couple of weeks.  Shoved a lot of stuff into my head in diverse classes, and had a ball working on a show that semester that actually went a long way to relight my fire.  Met a LOT of people that continue to guide my life in the lessons taught and the lessons learned simply by marvelling at how those people worked, and lived.

It's a three year program now, it was two years back then.  I wonder if they still think they're being buried alive.

That was the first year; the second year was even......more wild.  Faster.  Busier.  I fell in like again, and met one guy that could make me laugh by coming into the room; I performed in front of a huge crowd in Madison, WI, barely able to talk and not really being able to focus due to God's own Sinus Infection....which lasted so long I thought I was going to have to charge it rent.  I did a couple of other plays, moved around the town, had one of the best roommates EVER and smoked and drank and ate bad food and attended a wedding six hours after I graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts Degree.  I was finally considered a Master, without actually being one.

Fall of that year was the best Thanksgiving I ever had outside of my Family.

We all met in a small town, at the home of the guy who could make me laugh by entering a room.  There seemed to be a ton of us that year, and the truth is, we didn't get that much of a break at we all gathered together to eat and drink and socialize and sing.

We stood around a piano and sang old songs.  And we laughed like fools.

And halfway through the longest movie ever made starring Babs, we went out on the front porch and did the Antler Dance.

I think I've taught the Antler Dance a couple of times in my life; you basically put your hands on your head in the shape of Antlers, and you dance around in a circle.  And you laugh your head off.

At least we did.  Your actions may vary.

And we drove home at the end of the night, sated and exhausted and with visions of our friends and co-workers with their hands on their heads, dancing circles and laughing their heads off.

The Graduate School version of Howling at the Moon.

I really love those people. 

Always will.

Cuz that's how I roll.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hope in the Face of It.

There are thousands of men and women showing up for work today.

They're putting on their uniforms and attaching their identifications and adding, for today and a few days after that, a small black band over their DHS badge.

A tribute to TSO Hernandez, who lost his life in the service of his country yesterday to a sorry sonofabitch with problems of his own.  Officer Hernandez would have been 40 next week.

And there are probably more than a few of them who wonder now; could it happen again?  Could it happen here?  To me?

And still they go to do the job.

If you're at an airport today, take the time to thank them.

They have a thankless job, a job that is successful only in the LACK of things; the lack of weapons and dangerous people on aircraft.  And they are held to an almost impossible standard, to find everyone who seeks to do harm, every bullet, every plastic gun, every ceramic knife.  They are asked to be more than human; to not show fatigue or anger or outrage in the face of hostility and ignorance and long lines and furloughs.

They are unarmed and unloved.  Even the IRS is better respected.

And I wonder how long it will take for somebody to call the events at LAX yesterday morning as, like the old joke about 10,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean, "a good start."

And they come to work, every day....for the cause is noble and cause is just.

So, if you're at an airport today, you'll probably see the shiny metal badges dulled a bit by a black band; and our flags will be at half-staff for the time being.

And in the absence of fear, the job is done.

So, thank them today.

You can go back to the abuse tomorrow.

Or not.