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Readers Blog: Dobie Maxwell's 'Dented Can' Diary

A Cadillac Adventure

Saturday March 5th, 2011 - Ft. Wayne, IN/Pittsburgh, PA

   Back on the road. I had a weekend in Pittsburgh booked before being asked to perform at the benefit show last night for the Continental Showcase radio show. I wouldn’t cancel on a booker without calling, and I tried to make it right with the Pittsburgh club owner.

   I offered to either just come in on the Saturday, or postpone the weekend to a date down the road. He chose the Saturday, so I did it. If nothing else, I’m a man of my word. If I say I’ll do something, I’ll do my best to do it - even if it means losing money, which I’ll do.

   I wanted to rent a car, but I got to the place late and it was closed. I was going to head to Milwaukee last night and drive as far as I could and get a hotel rather than drive the entire way to Pittsburgh, which is a chunk of real estate. Instead, I had to press the old war horse Cadillac into service which is always a risk. Not only that, the gas it sucks is a money pit.

   After the Milwaukee show I got in the Caddy and rubbed the steering wheel for any bit of good luck I could squeeze out of it. Being stuck between Milwaukee and Pittsburgh is not my idea of adventure these days. I wanted to fulfill my commitment and come home.

   I made it to Ft. Wayne, IN and got a hotel room there. That’s another expense, but I will lose money anyway for the week so I wanted to be safe and get some sleep. I drifted off to sleep but got jarred awake with a phone call at 9:55 telling me it was time to check out.

   I get screwed out of an hour because of the time change, but that’s life. Then, there was a loud knock at my door at 9:59 my time telling me in no uncertain terms my time was up and it was time to go. I should have stayed at the Motel 6 across the street, but I wanted to help out the little guy. So much for that. The light they left on for me was an ‘EXIT’ sign.

   The Cadillac sucked gas as it usually does, but it rode smoothly the whole way. I do like the feel of riding in a big old road yacht, and if I was going to eat money anyway at least I had a comfortable ride. I had plenty of time to think, and I used my time the best I could.

   Pittsburgh will always have a special place in my heart comedy wise. It will always be a pleasant memory because it was the very first time I did a real live away from home week on the road and got paid for it. It was a thrill, but little did I know what I was getting into.

   That was January of 1986, and I remember it because it was the week the Space Shuttle blew up the first time. I don’t know if that was symbolic or not, but it does help me put it all into a time frame. I was so young and stupid then with a lot to prove to a lot of people. I was supposed to do 15 minutes as the opener, but I doubt I had that much solid material.

   Now, I was the wily veteran closer, and had more than enough material. There were two shows at the Radisson Hotel where the Funny Bone now is, and the crowds were the good solid laughers I remembered from all my years here. I ripped it up both shows, and didn’t even rub it in about the Super Bowl like I thought I would. These people were too nice.

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