Exhale and Resume Living
I have a glorious job - it’s all about freedom and time. When I’m done writing comedy everyday my brain feels like it’s glowing. My radio clients and I have established nothing short of a lovefest. And check this out: They’re in another state and I’ve never even met them.
The woman I deal with in L.A. is so cool that I can’t even talk about her without getting emotional. She is a high-caliber individual. Somehow through years of following these crazy late-night comedy topics together, we have become great friends - even though we’ve never met. She is the comedy standard. I could write a lot of cruder material and it would sell, but I don’t do that out of respect for her having to read it. Sometimes – even when a joke makes it to national TV – I apologize to her for the subject matter, because she’s a decent person.
When all this fell in place, I would finish the “work” and head out the door. I would wander around, walking miles, hopping on a bus if it came by, going to whatever movie was next up at a movie theater. I would chat with Portlanders, and sometimes drop by where I used to work just to see my old friends. I remember sitting by the railroad tracks one time just because I was in the mood to see a freight train go by. And when one finally showed up, it was excellent.
At the end of the day, the finished sheet would come back from the radio company, and the monologue would play on TV and I’d see how I did. There were many times when a joke would get a big laugh or say something I thought was important, and I'd try to sleep but I’d be too excited. I’d go back to the computer and work on a script or write emails. I’d finally wind down and crash, and though I had tons of stressful dreams about working in banquets, I’ve never had a bad dream about writing comedy. Life was a quiet celebration.
The last few years haven’t been like that. I became so worried about the course the American government was taking that I no longer had the same joy. There was nothing carefree about these times.
Yesterday, it all came back. I finished the work, and felt compelled to go out there. I took a bus just because it came along, went to a movie without checking the times first – without planning it. I rode on the MAX train, which frankly was quite cool. Everything was amazing. Portland looked great, individual buildings looked intense and I wished I had brought my video camera. Later I got hit by a rainstorm so I took a cab home. The driver was brilliant – we had a great conversation about comedy and the close call America had just been through.
The only time I became sad was when I realized that these last 6 years didn’t have to be like they were. See, I’ve been thinking that I had just gotten too old to feel the joy, or too burned-out. Wrong. The Bush administration has been weighing on me. I saw this bunch as a threat to the fundamental greatness of our political system. I saw them as a threat to our liberty. I believe they wanted to use 9/11 to establish authoritarian rule and they almost pulled it off.
The election was a tremendous relief. My wife and I danced in the streets. I mean that. We literally danced in the streets. I feel like I can breathe again, and this country is once more a wonderful place. Yesterday I bounced around and it was just like the good old days. In fact it was better, because it was a good new day.