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

Problems? What Problems?

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Tuesday March12th, 2013 – Arlington Heights, IL

   Just when I think I have problems, something comes along to tell me I don’t. Every day any of us is above ground is a good day, at least in theory and on paper. Yes, things do go wrong for all of us but no matter who we are there always seems to be someone else suffering just a bit more.

   I had lunch today with one of my former comedy students Vince Carone. Vince took my class more than ten years ago now, and we’ve kept in touch off and on. He’s a smart hardworking kid who is not a kid anymore. He’s a grown man and has been making progress in the comedy game.

   Right from the start, I could see good things for Vince. His parents had a sports card shop of all things, and he understood the business angle a whole lot sooner than I ever did. He also happens to have an outstanding work ethic along with being a good looking kid and natural for the stage.

   I watched Vince climb the ranks, and it didn’t surprise me at all that he started to close shows a lot sooner than I ever did. He really has a grasp for the big picture, and he doesn’t expect to get a break without working for it. Not a lot of comedians have all that going for them, but Vince did.

   I hadn’t heard from him in quite a while, but that happens. It’s impossible to keep current with everybody, as I’ve had more than 2000 students alone. That doesn’t count booking agents, comic friends and regular friends in general. People cross paths when they do, and that’s how it goes.

   I was wondering how Vince was doing as I hadn’t heard a peep for a long time, and last week I received a startling email informing me how he’d been having severe health issues for the better part of the last year and had dropped out of sight to almost everyone. It took me by total surprise.

   At first it was thought he had Hodgkins lymphoma, and that’s no small prognosis. Vince said it was a mind blower, but he was never bitter about it. He had resigned himself to the fact he would be uncomfortable during his chemotherapy and then recover after that. Then it turned into a giant circus as they weren’t able to locate the cancer and he wasn’t sure what was up or what to think.

   He was in the hospital for a couple of weeks and the whole story sounded like a nightmare that even Mr. Lucky hasn’t had to live through – even though I’ve had my own health issues to worry about. Vince has gone through some surgeries and is taking medication now and feeling better.

   He told the story at lunch with remarkable resolve, and is not letting it get him down. He’s on a medication plan that’s making him feel better, and he may or may not have to deal with this hell anymore. Nobody knows, and that’s got to be frustrating too. One just never knows how life will work out. We all get surprises thrown in front of our life’s path, and it’s up to us to sort it all out.

   I was really sorry to hear of this, but if anyone can handle it it’s Vince. He’s got a solid family and is really grounded in good values. I wish he didn’t have to go through this, but who has any choice as to the sufferings we all have to go through in life? Whenever I think I have problems, I think of stories like Vince’s and know that I don’t. Nobody ever said life was fair - and it isn’t.

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