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

A Blueprint Of Dreams

Monday December 5th, 2011 - Chicago, IL

   Still thinking about everything I was thinking about yesterday. If I’m smart, I’ll keep on thinking and then add the secret ingredient that will make everything work - action. Ideas mean less than nothing on their own, but they are of ultimate importance in the process of success. And that’s another thing - I need to come up with a current definition of success.

   When I started in comedy, my goals weren’t well defined. All I wanted was to find paid work in comedy clubs until I didn‘t have to have a day job. I wanted to eventually become a headliner, and appear on national television and on major radio stations along the way.

   It was all pretty fuzzy and by seat of the pants, but I ended up doing it anyway. It wasn’t easy, but I stayed the course. There were a lot of unexpected distractions along my path to make it a lot more complicated than I thought it should be. But in the end, I hit my mark.

   Now that I’ve done all of it, it’s not even remotely close to anything like I’d imagined it to be. I assumed, very stupidly, that I’d be rich and famous and able to call the shots in all aspects of my life from what top level venues I’d be working to where I’d live, and which smoking hot sex goddess I’d choose to settle down with and raise that family I never had.

   If my act had had the comedic exaggeration of my assumptions, I might have gotten the things I mistakenly thought came with the territory. I thought that since I was going to be a comedian, massive success was somehow guaranteed just by printing up business cards.

   You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I still see the majority of aspiring comedians and all the other performer types from actors to improvisers to radio wannabes that keep on getting sucked into this same mistaken assumption. Dreams need a blueprint.

   American Idol is the epitome of this insanity, and that’s why I’ll never ever watch it for any reason. The message to every run of the mill ham and egger who mops floors or waits tables is, if they’ll just wait in line with thousands of others like them they’ll get their shot at impressing the judges, and from that moment on life will be perpetually problem free.

   Hard work never enters the equation, and it feeds the mass delusion that anybody is able to come off the street and be an instant star. For life. They think they’ll hang on to the top spot forever, and when the fairy dust gets sprinkled and they‘ll all live happily ever after.

   Reality has a not very subtle way of slapping the stupid out of anyone who thinks this is how life works. Yes, there are a precious few that have everything work out the way we’d all like it to, but that’s a lot rarer than finding Obama supporters at a Ku Klux Klan rally.

   Life is hard. Show business is harder. One is either really successful or really not. I have to get a clearer picture of what I think success is TO ME. What I thought it was before did not produce the results I wanted, even though I did end up achieving all I had set out to do when I started. Times are different, as am I. That’s why I need a different plan of action.

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