Friday Light: Our ‘Not Normal’ Creative Bents

 

Creatives are idiosyncratic. Allow me to peel back the orange peel of my “I’m normal” facade. . . (for other quirks and oddities see part 1 or part 2)

+Saying dumb things in meetings. Sometimes people try and act all “I’m important” and “I know stuff” and “I have the most amazing perspective.” Sometimes I act that way. Sometimes meetings are great. But sometimes they don’t accomplish much. In a road-to-nowhere meeting this week, I found myself contributing this: “man, I need a cigarette and I don’t even smoke.” Laughter? Yes. Productive? Naaaahsooomuch.

+Midday Treats. I’ve written about my problem with the McDouble, but I have another problem: hot cocoa. I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve had HOT hot cocoa. Yes, I eat it dry when I need something sweet. As in powder. As in crunchy, dry mini-marshmallows. Who does this? Really? Anyone else? It’s not really all that weird. Think of those Lik-M-Aid things. Same thing. Same thing?

+Eyebrows Matter. Somewhere along the journey from kiddo to adult eyebrows became somewhat important to me. They should be balanced yet not too carefully tended as if to say ‘these eyebrows are perfect.” I can’t believe I just typed that. Anywho, it’s really the first thing I notice about people. Andy Roony’s are terrible. . . were terrible.

+Human GPS Time Estimator. I love to make predictions. Often I challenge my wife. “I’m betting we get there at 4:37. Whaddyou say?” She wagers 4:45. We took the rules from the showcase showdown rules on The Price is Right: whomever is closest to the actual time, without going over, wins. If you win, there’s no real prize. We might have to work something out to change that.

+Holding Breath. Similar to the GPS time thing, I’ll often hold my breath for a mile while driving. This only works when the speed limit is 65 mph or above. I’ll often have to speed up nearing the end of the mile. It’s such torture. No idea why I do it.

Tell me I’m not alone… please. Pretty please. Time to divulge some of your oddities. Leave a comment about so we can all feel more ‘normal.’

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Friday Light Humor: Shameless Creativity

I love to laugh. So does my wife. We love to make each other laugh. That’s one of the reasons our relationship is so fantastic: we’re constant entertainment for each another.

One of our rituals. Just before bed, whomever is the last person to get in bed must turn out the light. Yes, I know we should get The Clapper so we can turn off our electronics via applause. Remember that device? Here’s the commercial. (If you watch it, notice the elderly woman in the last scene. I’ve always loved her acting choices. She’s in bed. Has the TV and light on and she’s just furious. Probably thinking ‘dang it all to heck, that durn TV is so fuzzy and I wanna just bang my hands together to turn it off and go to bed!” So that’s exactly what she does. Brilliance.)

But we don’t have The Clapper. We turn off lights the old fashioned way: by dancing our way to the light switch so the other person can enjoy a few giggles before bed. And folks, these dances rival anything you’ve ever seen on So You Think You Can Dance or Dancing With the Stars. In fact, last night I picked a random song on my iPhone to play for Sarah’s dance: the karaoke track of Billy Joel’s “She’s Got a Way.” And yes indeed, Sarah had a way about her. Go Sarah go. So fun.

Shamelessness. Another way we get a few laughs is to be completely foolish. Go with our gut. Try something new. Not be afraid to be a clown. I’m about 49% embarrassed by the video I’m posting below, but the 51% that is proud of this random act of silly cancelled out the 49% enough to edit this, post it, and hope that you smile, and perhaps even guffaw, when you see it.

This video is what happened a couple weeks ago when a freak Saturday morning snowstorm dusted central Pennsylvania with several inches of white just before Halloween… and yes, it’s basically improv.


How does this happen? It began at breakfast and the conversation went something like this:

She: Crazy that it’s snowing like this in October!

Me: For reals. The kiddos are gonna be trick-or-treating in the snow.

She: It’s like Christmas only it’s Halloween. What if we did a video and dressed up like we were gonna go trick or treating in the snow.

Me: And we’d sing Christmas carols too right?

She: Sure. I could be a cowgirl… kinda like Jessie from Toy Story. What are you gonna do?

Me: A Japanese geisha.

We left the rest of the bacon on the table and rushed to play dress-up.

What do we have to lose? Besides our dignity.

Friday Light: A Craigslist Halloween Horror Story

Once upon a time there lived a happy husband and a happy wife who lived in a happy home. This happy couple made their living acting, singing, and (sometimes to the mild dismay of the happy husband) dancing. Being actors, they were frequently between jobs and needed their ingenuity and creativity to create revenue for their happy home. As their spooky story unfolds, we visit the happy couple exactly three years ago to the day.

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“This guy on Craigslist wants someone to do his makeup for his Halloween office party. He wants to go as an old man,” said the happy husband. “He’ll pay.”

“Go for it,” said the encouraging, happy wife.

The happy, and industrious, husband felt confident with his abilities having played numerous older characters in various theatrical productions. He knew he’d make this twenty-something office worker age 40-50 years with about forty-five minutes of makeup magic.

He contacted the office worker, they struck a deal, and made financial arrangements: $100 for about an hour or work. Jackpot. He couldn’t wait to tell his wife.

“Yeah, so he’ll pay $100 and we worked it all out. He’s gonna come over here at 6:00 Friday morning, I’ll do his makeup, and we’ll get some cash. Nice huh?” Her expression was clear. To him it read: what did you just say?

“So, if I hear you correctly, this guy from Craigslist is coming over to give you money so you can do his makeup? Is that right?”

Something about hearing his happy wife say it back to him cast doubt on the happy husband’s decision.

Three years ago today, that Friday morning plan entailed the following measures:

  • The happy wife would stay upstairs. She had the fire escape ladder at the ready if she heard any kind of skirmish.
  • The happy husband’s wallet was stripped of most of its valuables, except for a few items to make it appear ‘normal’ should the wallet be requested by wanting-to-look-old-office-guy.
  • All sharp objects were hidden.
  • The happy husband put one knife in his sock, resting against his right calf. . . just in case.

Preparations complete, the office worker arrived at the agreed time. He seemed nervous.

Why is he nervous? the happy husband thought. Maybe I’ll have to use that knife. Oh, dear.

The husband acted calmly. It was, after all, what he did: acting. With each new wrinkle formed on office-worker’s face via Ben Nye’s shadows and highlights, both the office worker and the happy husband got the results they wanted. Office worker looked old. Happy husband got paid. No one got hurt, and the happy husband was given an extra $20 tip from the happy office worker.

A happy Halloween.

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Today, to commemorate not being robbed (or worse) by an office worker pretending to be old, the happy husband reenacted the events of the day. But this time, it was without the aid of Craigslist, for HE become that wanting-to-look-old-office-guy.20111028-075759.jpg

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Friday Light: McDonald’s Dollar Menu Temptations

I’m weak. Like a girl at a hip-swiveling Elvis concert. Can’t say no. Willpower shot.

I hear from within me a whisper of sinister rationalization:

You deserve a break today.

To which I answer “yes. Yes indeed I DO deserve a break today.” And then another voice…

You want it, you need it.

Another answer of “I do want it, and yup, I do need it.” But then, the voice goes one too far with…

I’m lovin’ it.

Sitting here in my office, I realize I’m having an inner dialog with slogans from McDonald’s. Dang marketing department.

Generally, this self-talk happens in a matter of seconds and transpires just before lunch, which, of course, is already packed. I have an apple, a healthy wrap with 46 grams of fiber, and even some Greek Yogurt for dessert. Healthy, yes, but I want the trash food. I want the warm, gooey goodness that can only be found on a McMenu.

I’ll indulge in a McDouble from time to time, ordering it without cheese to make myself feel that I’m still cutting out some of the ‘unhealthy’ calories. Like I’m both auctioneer and buyer at the same time, the script often reads like this:

Auctioneer: I have a lovely McDouble on this pristine, plastic encased menu. I’ll start the bidding at one dollar.

Me: That’s not really even food. I’ll feel terrible after I eat whatever that thing is but I deserve a break today don’t I? Hmmmm. Ok I’ll take it.

Auctioneer: Going once, going twice….

Me: I’ll take it if I can have it without cheese. That’ll make it healthy. Right?!

Auctioneer: Sold to the man with weak willpower.

On my better days, I arrive having already eaten my healthy lunch. I’m just at McDonald’s to get out of the office for a wee bit. They have free wi-fi. They also have Diet Dr. Pepper. I’m a hero. I’m out of the office. I get a treat I love. I haven’t indulged in the McDouble McProblem.

After two (or three) free refills I have enough caffeine in me to levitate back to the office. Thanks Diet Dr. Pepper. Thanks McDonald’s.

Calorie Free McTreat at McDonalds

What are your midday temptations? What marketing department tantalizes your subconscious… and wins?

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