It Takes a Village: the 2nd Surprise

I’ll come clean here, I’ve never had a “real job.” I’ve waited tables, slung booze, meticulously catalogued low-grade porn (production values count, people), and played midnight chauffeur to Mongolian acrobats.

That’s not an innuendo. I have actually driven around Mongolian acrobats in the dead of night.

The closest I’ve ever come was sorting personnel files in a box factory for a week as a temp. I’ll take the Mongolian acrobats, thank you.

But so I’m not qualified to comment on the daily grind of corporate America. But I imagine it’s a lot like high school: same people, same desk, same graffiti in the bathroom, just with less acne and better coffee.

Freelance theater’s not like this. There’s a lot of turnover. Dozens of people change with every gig. Every couple of months it’s a new commute, new hours, new opportunities to mooch food off the front office. It’s not that big of a town, though, so there’s a pool of a few hundred over-educated, underpaid people who stay the same, but the roles do change- bosses become subordinates, interns become managers, high-maintenance-energy-vampires become someone else’s problem…

It’s a social business, is what I’m saying. You never know who’s gonna land you your next gig, and you’re probably gonna work with everybody again at some point, so it pays to be nice.

Cynics like me see most of it as superficial. Not inherently bad, just convenient. Out of 20 people you work with, maybe you’ll hang out with 2 of them when the show closes. Maybe none. Again, not bad in itself, just how it is.

And then we had a kid.

Well, first there was hot action, and then we had a kid.

And I had this 2nd surprise of fatherhood I’ve referred to: the incredible outpouring of excitement and love and support from the people around us. Baby showers, food, books, advice, really really good scotch (aka Daddy’s night-time coffee) I swear this child’s feet have yet to be clothed by anything not handmade.

And most, not all, but by far most of this is from these dirt-broke, fringe-livin, lunatic, ‘professional acquaintances’ of ours. I mean, these are people who come over and just do dishes and leave. People who will hold a shrieking infant for over an hour, and the kid isn’t in any way related to them (and as someone who’d logged a fair amount of hours wrestling 15lbs of diaper covered fury, I can tell you that’s no small thing). One person in particular will be getting a state park, or commemorative fountain, or a ziggurat or some such the next time I’m governor of something (Wyoming 2014? They might just be that desperate).

And beyond even all that, you loopy bastards have no idea what you do for me. Parenting’s hard. Chuck Norris hard. You don’t get real breaks, you don’t get days off, your body hurts and your mind can’t focus, and when things get their lowest I go back and read your comments and messages and emails from August. It helps remind me why I’m doing this.

And did I mention that somebody gave me scotch? Holy Shatners, did that ever make my winter.

There can be no reckoning of this. I’ll give Russia an uncorrupted government before I could begin to repay the kindness that has been shown us, the gifts of time and service. I have been humbled, brought to tears, by this outpouring of love and support so simply and freely given. And there’s very little that can bring me to tears outside of “Dog the Bounty Hunter.” (it’s about redemption, bra).

I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t all that.

So, thanks. A long-winded way of saying thanks.

For more long-winded ways of saying simple things, consult your local legislation

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