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

Every Single Day

Thursday March 24th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   It takes a truly rare breed of human animal to thoroughly enjoy being famous and all the strains that go with it. We’ve all dreamt of walking down the red carpet at the Oscars with cameras flashing and screaming fans begging for autographs. That actually might be fun!

   Fun for how long though, maybe a half hour tops? And, dreams can easily be turned on and off in the mind instantly and at will. True fame cannot, and people become prisoners of it depending on their individual personalities. Some are better equipped mentally for it than others, but eventually even the best of the best have to get sick of always being ‘on‘.

   Technology doesn’t help either. Today being famous is a 24/7 gig, with no time off for good behavior. Paparazzi are squatting in the driveway waiting to snap pics of celebrities taking out their garbage these days, and I don’t think I’d ever enjoy that, however big of a ham I might be. I’m actually more of a bacon slice, one little piece usually takes care of it.

   It can be flattering to be recognized in public, especially when the person is a fan. I just had it happen a few days ago when I went to get a haircut. I got a sandwich afterward and the lady behind the counter had seen me at Zanies. When I first walked in she stared right at me and locked in her gaze. It was odd. I thought maybe my haircut looked extra goofy.

   I made my order, and we joked back and forth a little, and it was only then she asked if I was a comedian at Zanies. I asked her if she thought I looked funny and she launched into “My husband and I couldn’t stop laughing. We think you’re the funniest guy EVER!”

   I thanked her and meant it, and that made everyone else in the restaurant turn and gawk at me while I waited for my sandwich to be made. I’m sure nobody else probably had any clue of who I was, and that makes it even more awkward. I smiled and waited, but I could totally feel eyes on me as I picked up my food and went and ate it. It was uncomfortable.

   After I was done eating I made sure to make eye contact and smile and wave on the way out. Usually I carry pairs of free tickets with me for Zanies but of course I didn’t have any with me that day, nor did I have a copy of my ‘Hard Luck Jollies’ CD either. I usually do.

  That particular situation I handled well though, and I could tell by the look on the lady’s face she really did recognize me and in a positive way. I was nice to her and really meant it, and I made a point of acknowledging her before I left. I wanted her to feel appreciated.

   I’m not even close to being what could be legitimately called ‘famous‘, and I wouldn’t be able to begin to imagine what it must be like to be someone truly known like a Charlie Sheen or a Lady Gaga. Whether I like them or not, they’re about as recognized as it gets.

   Who was the most famous person of the 20th Century? Elvis? Michael Jackson? Hitler? Muhammad Ali? Richard Simmons? Carrot Top? Whoever it was, I bet they were sick of getting asked to sign autographs every time they walked out in public. I know I would.

   The reason I’m bringing any of this up at all is, believe it or not I get a healthy share of hate mail on a semi regular basis. I can’t believe why I’d matter that much for anybody to want to dash me off a nasty note, but apparently there are some restless souls out there.

   I’m not talking about those I may have had run ins with in the past for whatever reason, I’m talking about total strangers taking time to seek me out and send me emails telling me in lurid detail just how much my blog sucks and that I should stop writing it immediately.
 
  There’s usually some form of the statement “I read your blankety-blank little diary every single day and it’s SO blankety-blank terrible it makes me puke…” Really? Terrible I can handle, that’s an opinion and you’re entitled to one. But, you read it “every single day?”

   Am I over at your trailer forcing you at gunpoint to do that? Not “every single day” I’m not. Not once a week or once a month. Not ever. YOU are the one who CHOOSES to put yourself through the self torture of reading it that often, so I can’t say I feel any sympathy.

   Do I think I’m some self important hotshot writer now? Not in the least. I don’t claim to be a writer at all actually. I’m a journeyman road comic, still out here hacking out a living after a lifetime of dumb mistakes and rotten breaks. And - I’m a whiner, a kook, a student of humanity, but most of all I’m a dented can cataloging the events of my life. That’s it.

   I don’t claim to be better than anyone else, or even that my opinions are right. I just take a few minutes every day and jot down what I’m feeling, warts and all. I do it for me, and I don’t think about who reads it or if anyone even reads it at all. It‘s a daily exercise for me.

   Hopefully I can help aspiring comedians and entertainers in general both now and after I’m dead have an idea they’re not the only ones out there struggling or getting their teeth kicked in by idiots and scumbags. This is a difficult business, and not many will ever talk about what a grind it can be. I want to let the curious know what it’s like from the inside.

   Truth be told, I wanted this to be the comedy version of Jim Bouton’s book “Ball Four”, of which I’m still a huge fan. He spoke of what it’s like to be a major league ball player, something a lot of people want to do but never get the chance. The same is true with life on the road as a comedian. People think they want it but have no idea of what it entails.

   So, if you’re one of those who read my ramblings “every single day” and hate it beyond words, I’ve got two well chosen words just for you - PISS OFF. I couldn’t care less if you don’t like my diary or even if you don’t like me personally. A lot of people don’t like me, and it’s always been that way. The good thing is, a lot of others do, and that’s my saver.

   I don’t claim to be perfect, and never have. I don’t even claim to be good at writing this diary, even though I’m into my sixth full year now. I just want to have something to show for my time on this planet after I leave it other than an abused corpse filled with red meat and sugar, and a lengthy line of creditors searching for some mysterious stash of cash I’ve managed to hide from everyone. Sorry, it’s not there. All I have that’s really mine is this.

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