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

The Birth Of An Ulcer

Friday February 10th, 2012 - Manitowoc, WI

   When it rains, it pours. Or snows. Or something. All I know is, everything I did went as wrong as it could go today.  That happens some days, and today was one of them. I didn’t panic, as I’ve been through it all before, but I didn’t enjoy it either. The whole day was an unending series of annoying events, and a marathon of constant stress. I need a nice nap.

   I had a show tonight in Manitowoc, WI at a bar I don’t even want to name. I don’t have anything against the place or the person that booked it, but it wasn’t a place to do comedy for anyone that would happen to want to see a real show. It was a bar gig, and those aren’t what I’m looking to do at this time in my life. I want to play theatres, and this wasn’t it.

   The reason I took it was the person who set it up is a sharp lady and wants to book some shows to gain some experience. She aspires to be more of a humorous speaker rather than an actual comedian, and she’s putting a few shows together to get some stage experience.

   That’s fine, and I think she’ll do well. I just don’t think she’ll do it in this place. Not for the long run anyway. But this is her first attempt at booking a joint like that, and I’ve been doing it since the dawn of humanity. I have a rather different point of view than she does.

   It was an add on date to bridge the gap for Dwight York and myself between Janesville, WI last night and Kenosha tomorrow. This was the third and final piece of the puzzle, and expectations were low. We were just happy to have a place to be on a night we were off.

   Getting there was the problem. Of course, it had to snow like a blizzard and I stopped in Milwaukee to pick up Russ Martin who wanted to ride along and do a guest set. This was fine with me, and in fact my suggestion. I had a few errands to run in town before picking him up, and the weather slowed everything down to less than a crawl. It was a nightmare.

   The nightmare turned into a double feature when my car started making grinding noises as we finally got to I-43 North. I had a wheel bearing replaced a few months ago, and this sounded to me like the other one was going out. It couldn’t have come at a more annoying and inconvenient time, but this was just another day in Luckyland. I could feel it coming.

   To make it really difficult, the show was scheduled for a 7:30 start. How many times is a show scheduled for 7:30, especially at a bar gig? Very rarely, if ever. Too bad for me. It was tonight, and that put even more pressure on us to get there on time. It was total stress.

   Then, it got stressier as I had not had time to shower or shave and needed to get cleaned up before the show. I have a rule to never ever wear anything driving to the gig I wouldn’t wear on stage, but this one time I didn’t I had sweats on and needed to get that shower in.

   The hotel was twenty minutes away, and farther north in Mishicot. That made it a crazy race against the clock, and we ended up getting to the gig at 7:28. The crowd wouldn’t be quiet the whole night, and it was a typical rowdy bar gig. I think I have an ulcer brewing.                                                                          

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