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

Weather Advisory

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Tuesday February 26th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   It snowed today, and that got me to thinking about how much something as random as weather can have a very real impact on someone’s business. I guess I’ve always known it, but it really hit home today as I was cleaning off my car so I could get to the grocery store before it got too bad.

   It’s inevitable that snow will happen in this part of the country. If anyone who lives here hasn’t figured it out by now, they deserve to turn into human popsicles. That being said, when the snow comes exactly is a matter of random chance. We know it starts right around early November and stays until March or April, but exactly how often and on what days is a matter of random chance.

   I happen to have had the night off tonight, but if I was working somewhere local this weather’s impact could severely cramp my style. I would have had to leave several hours early, and there’d probably be a lot fewer buttocks in the seats than usual – even though Tuesdays are usually slow anyway. There aren’t many places that do shows on Tuesdays, so I dodged the bullet for tonight.

   Tomorrow through Saturday however, I’m booked at Zanies in Chicago. That’s about 50 miles from where I live, so I’ll have to make sure I get a super early start and get there so I can secure a parking spot and get to the club by show time so I can get paid. It all revolves around the scratch.

   Snow isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it sure can be a downer in the comedy business. It tends to keep people from going out at night, at least a percentage of them. Even in a place that knows all about winter, it’s a fact of life. Tonight I caught a break, but tomorrow and all other dates are up for grabs. Maybe people will show up, and maybe they won’t. Filling any room is never easy.

   Then there are the people that need the snow to survive. Plowing services and ski resorts come to mind. They’re happy whenever the snow shows up, even though most of the rest of us are not. If there’s a mild winter, we’re in heaven but they hate every minute of it. It’s never unanimous.

   I’m not sure if a perfect business exists, but I know being a road comic isn’t it. Too many small things can turn into big things as far as having an audience show up, and when it goes south it’s a major disaster. Weather is never a small thing to think about, and both good and bad weather can keep customers away. Bad weather keeps them at home and good weather chases them outside.

   Today I used the time indoors to finally get to the tax receipts I’ve been meaning to get to for a few weeks now. I’ve been all over the road and once again let them pile up, but I refuse to return to my habits of old. I’ve had too much pain in that department, and am going to find a way to get better if it’s the last thing I do. It’s getting close to filing time and I want to avoid the extension.

   I also spent a few hours sorting out my projects into tangible piles that I intend to organize into a three ring binder so I can keep better track of everything I’ve got going. I probably should have done something like this years ago, but I was too busy working on everything else. Weather isn’t the only factor that makes a difference as to how things turn out. There are all kinds of things the self employed person discovers and has to deal with that aren’t thought of at the start. Surprise!

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