Duct Tape, Bulldog Clips and Cardboard: the good things in life!
Tomorrow, I start two weeks subbing for Mac King at Harrah’s in Las Vegas. Mac just completed his 10th year doing the show, I lasted about five and ended up on anti-depressants, high blood pressure medication and a host of other mental and physical goodies. I don’t know how you have done it Mac. I do really have fun filling in for you though!
It isn’t the shows I enjoy. I have done a lot of shows in my life and it certainly isn’t the audiences. In fact as Woody Allen (the funny one) once said; “I believe everything in life can be summed up in a Groucho Marx joke….. ” Well it’s not the same joke, it may not even have come from Groucho, but the principle is the same for me.
An elderly man goes to the doctor and says, “Doctor, I can’t pee.” The Dr. says, “How old are you?” The man says,”I’m 85!” The Doctor says, “You’ve peed enough!.” It kind of sums up my feelings about shows—–”I’ve done enough!” It’s not that I don’t enjoy them anymore (though in all honesty from a very early age, I have never finished a show without thinking, “Thank God nothing went terribly wrong.” I think I can honestly say my work has never been better. I have become so smooth, I sometimes slip on myself!
What I do still really relish is getting ready for a gig. Folding up the Torn & Restored Elmsley Newspaper, winding up my Gypsy Thread, setting my working case and making new holders and gizmos to secure props in it. I have been making up the same lists of tricks into minutely different orders for decades–now I have an iPhone App that pretty much does it for me. It is these quiet meditative moments that seem to give me my chief joys as a performer, these days. Maybe this is why I am starting to retire, “If you fold up an Elmsley Newspaper Tear and don’t ever tear it up, is it really ever restored?” These are deep thoughts though, I am off the Ace Hardware to by another big roll of black duct tape, I foolishly forgot to pinch one on the last ship I worked.
“Ah, the horror, the horror!!!” Captain Kurtz.”