There are fewer "degrees of separation" between myself and Stephen Colbert than he has honorary doctorates from various colleges and universities in the United States.
This "being a therapist" career path is really exhausting. We've been warned about empathy or compassion burnout, and while I love the people I'm helping and they are very grateful for my help, which I freely offer, I don't even HAVE my master's degree yet. Still, on average, I field at least 6 major emotional or mental crises among people I know per week which last hours. I'll still assist my dearests, because I'm loyal and committed. But! Others will have to simmer on the back burner once class starts Tuesday, because I'll have to manage my school work. Insanity defense, as usual. Psychology. All that whining to listen to again. Pull yourselves together, people.
Yes, I realize it's a little late in the game to have this realization that psychological counseling, while a helping profession and honorable field in which to enter, and apparently I'm very good at what I do, is making me feel like cashing in my chips. Of course, I have no chips with which to cash, because I've loaned myself and several generations of my offspring into crippling graduate debt. I can't even afford a plane ticket to New York City.
Writing is my real passion. I tried to be a "serious" writer just as Colbert tried to be a "serious" actor. Poetry was my concentration in college, which, while not a financially pragmatic path, gave me satisfaction and made me feel like an Artist. Most of the time, I was just playing with words. I'd take the thesaurus and randomly pick out words, and craft them into logopoeia, or language poetry. I'd draft and draft them until they made a semblance of sense to read. Trial and error. For every goofy, deep-fried word combo platter which worked, there were 100 that didn't, much the same as jokes.
I've written exactly one poem since I graduated 20 years ago. It was all in the name of love, and the noodlehead muse didn't understand it, when it wasn't just word play. Sure, it had metaphors and inner meanings if one were to read it logically and was really quite beautiful, but it failed to woo. Having typed out my writing for so long, it was created by handwriting, sitting outside in the sun one atypically warm March Chicago afternoon. Reminiscent of my early work, it was penciled out in scribbles and verses, with arrows reversing everything, scratching out fluffy words for fluffier words, or fluffier words exchanged for words the noodlehead might actually understand. (I had to explain to him what a "muse" was in the first place, so, since my feelings were hurt, I told him he was basically just a bowl of fruit I was trying to paint.)
While I've been writing this blog since 2008, there have been horrible entries, bitchy entries, moderately humorous entries, hysterically funny entries, and ones only I find funny and spend an hour just screeling to myself.
Having said that, I present a list of reasons to you, Stephen Colbert, as to why you should meet me and give 5 minutes of consideration as to letting me collaborate with you (after you give me a big hug):
1) I'm a graduate of Knox College. My major was English-Writing. I only graduated rite, by a hair, but got A's in all of my writing classes, except fiction. That's doubly embarrassing, given my professor is now emeritus and has become a nationally successful novelist. But give it up, Stephen. You, yourself, (er, your character) said Knox students were "geniuses" because we (I mean that collectively as a student body) gave you an indestructible honorary diploma and I take personal offense at you mocking my alma mater, but I forgive you because if I could find my diploma, certainly there have been times I've wanted to burn it.
2) We both know Steven Drozd and Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips. What a pair! They really like you, and Steven's an excellent judge of character. You autographed the back of his guitar. He was starstruck.
3) We're both Tauruses with birthdays four days apart. We can be bullish and get into a huge intellectual argument, if only for the sake of the fact that my best friend is convinced I can match wits with you, which is no small undertaking. I've picked a topic.
GO! And you can't steal the joke I probably stole, which is, "Rectum? I damn near killed him!"
4) I did a senior high school Literature of Chicago project on Second City which I copied from my brother 4 years before, pictures and all! Academic integrity is my #1 priority. And lest we forget, good artists copy. Great artists steal. (Unfortunately, I think I only got a C+ on it.)
Sometimes, when I'm particularly full of ideas, people will say, "You're on fire!" Half of the time, I take them literally, stop, drop and roll.
5) Speaking of Chicago, you graduated from Northwestern. That's in Evanston. I'd be extremely surprised if you have never heard of or have been to the nearby suburb where I live. I'm sure you know your way around downtown, probably better than I do. (Wouldn't you agree that taking the L is really scuzzy?)
6) We both have more than one pair of eyeglasses. I wrecked my bifocals (excuse me, "progressive lenses") falling over things and injuring myself too many times and they're too scratched up out of which to see. Wearing my old glasses is making this plea herdd oto othype.
7) Those Emmy Awards you won? I used to work for R.S. Owens & Co, their manufacturer. They also make the Oscars. Had I still been employed there the years you were victorious, I might have stupidly made the mistake of curiously seeing just how hot the award statuettes were when the base metal came out of the oven, as I did with one Oscar in particular in 1998. (Turns out, they're somewhere between 500-700 degrees.) While the awards are dipped after baking with layers of shiny, precious metal, some fortunate Oscar award winner owns a trophy bearing my severely singed thumbprint underneath all that golden glory.
8) A local radio station is having a contest. My guess is that neither of us would mind sitting on a sandy beach on a free trip to Mexico, but would cringe at the grand prize being a private concert performed by Starship.
9) Barring contributions to your show via my primary craft, I can reasonably play the drums in your house band.
10) I'm almost deaf in my right ear. You're deaf in your right ear. That would make it really awkward to try and stand side-by-side to talk, but maybe we could invent a yoga pose to make it simpler. Or just yell.
11) We've both met Al Franken. While you know him more personally, he told my son, who was very young at the time, and arrived at Franken's book signing wearing Spider-Man pajamas, to "grow up" in the wry way only Al Franken can away with.
12) I am also taller than Jon Stewart.
13) I declared myself a Democrat in 1992 with no prior knowledge of or interest in politics or world events. I was at Knox at the time, and my chief reason for siding with the Clinton/Gore ticket was that I thought Bill Clinton was hot. (Which hurts, given you ripped his foam likeness apart with your degree, you ingrate!) It took me a while to embrace the "liberal" of the liberal arts college. As I've matured, I've become well-educated and interested in the world around me and the future of America.
14) I idolize your pal, Neil deGrasse Tyson. I think you being a Sunday school teacher is very sweet, but if you're passing off the Earth as being 6,000 years old, um....wait! I can rattle off the books of the Bible in about 20 seconds. Your Bible has more books than mine. Please don't hold it against me that I'm Lutheran and not Catholic, though my late father was. My denomination is way more conservative than I am, hair-ripping-outly so, but my contribution to church is to play my drums in their contemporary praise band, even though the songs all sound the same and grate on my nerves. Because Jesus.
15) While never having read any "Lord of the Rings" books, so eloquently penned by Pope Pius XI, I did get through Keith Richards' "Life," however. I'm thinking of writing a literary critical article comparing the histories and similarities between "Life" and Betty White's last book. Their lives...astoundingly paralleled.
16) If you fronted a Rolling Stones cover band when you were younger, I personally challenge you to a Mick Jagger-off impression of the "Start Me Up" video, which I still sometimes perform during the 45 seconds I'm going through a car wash.
17) One of my hobbies is making up neologisms. My personal favorite is "shenaniganathon." (Definition: A series of shenanigans which go on for a lengthy period of time.) I missed making up "truthiness" by an inch.
18) The pronunciation of my first AND last name were both a) Chicagoized and b) Americanized.
19) I have questionable taste, tact, standards and methods, delusions of grandeur, and I have a habit of not giving up on things until I get what I want.
I'm limiting my list of reasons to 19, because 20 is just "Please?"
In the spare time between now and the start of your next project, why not come back to Chicago, visit the old haunts and let's talk.
Thank you for your time and consideration, though you probably stopped at #5.