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2:47 pm - Sunday, Jan. 07, 2007
My Life Needs A Great Theme Song
Sun 1/7/07 (12:04 p.m.)

My Life Needs A Great Theme Song

Just finished watching Neil Simon getting the 2006 Mark Twain Award at the Kennedy Center (Last night after work, I watched Steve Martin getting the same award, I’m assuming for 2005).

It was a bit of a nostalgia trip, since I’ve done a number of Simon plays over the course of my acting life–Come Blow Your Horn, Star-Spangled Girl, The Odd Couple, Barefoot In The Park, and Broadway Bound–taking me, in the course of some twenty-five or thirty years, from high-school to community theater to summer stock, and I basically recall all those experiences as “good times”.

(Oddly enough–since I can be a pretty funny guy onstage-- I don’t see any of my work in those shows as being particularly distinguished. I got laughs, don’t get me wrong, but I wouldn’t pull out any of those roles and say “That’s amongst the best stuff I ever did”. Though I’ll always have a special fondness for Star-Spangled Girl, since that’s when I met and became friends with Jane Z.)

When you add the Simon plays I’ve performed to the Simon plays I’ve seen, and the Simon-penned movies I’ve watched...well, that’s a lot of Neil Simon.

And while I may not feel I “distinguished myself” in the Neil Simon work I’ve done, I’m way more “Neil Simon” than “Shakespeare” as an actor, if you know what I mean. Certainly he’s had more of an impact on my life as an actor, my sense of humor, and my sensibilities.

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Had an absolutely miserable time at work last night (As I said to one of the QC’s–ArcLight-speak for “Supervisors”–if I could have quit, I would have quit).

I don’t want to spend a lot of time hashing over what went wrong...but I will say this–I never wanted to work “Guest Services” (I was recently drafted and “trained” for the position. And I put “trained” in quotes because the training at ArcLight, in a word, sucks). And last night was the reason I never wanted to work Guest Services.

The ArcLight website stinks. The automated phone system stinks. The outside kiosks stink. When required to actually perform their ostensible function–to make things easier for our “guests”--they respond by overloading and shutting down (This has been happening pretty much every weekend since shortly before the holidays, and with a couple of big movies playing at the theater right now–Pan’s Labryinth, and Children Of Men in particular–last night was more of the same).

And when that happens, many, many unhappy, frustrated, often downright angry guests come where?

You guessed it–to Guest Services. Where we get to be the helpless, underpaid, overworked recipients of their unhappiness and frustration and anger.

But I’ll spare you an extended rant, cause I think you get the idea (In addition to the fact that ArcLight doesn’t have the services to successfully handle a busy weekend–which seems like a big problem in an industry where you do your most business on the weekends--when the services do “work”, they seem to be tremendously user-unfriendly; I know there are a lot of stupid people out there, but so many people can’t figure out how to do what you’re supposed to be able to do on the website–buy tickets, pick your seat numbers, log in as an ArcLight “member”, etc.–that I have to believe a piss-poor website design in the problem.Which leads to more of the unhappiness, frustration, and anger I mentioned previously)

I don’t like to fail (That’s one of the reasons I’ve often failed to even try in life. But that’s the subject for another journal entry). And I particularly don’t like to be set up to fail, by a system that seems almost specifically designed to piss people off, then lead them to me.

I don’t want to be the front-man for ArcLight if ArcLight can’t do it’s fucking business right.

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When I got home from work last night, I’d calmed down a bit (The second set of the night was not as bad as the first), but was still feeling pretty angry and depressed; my anger often leads to depression, since when I’m angry, I pretty much always end up feeling impotent, and trapped in the situation that’s making me angry.

And if you can imagine, if I’d jumped on Diaryland at that point, the entry I would have written would have been quite a bit darker than what I just wrote. My fury in a situation like last night, since it has no safe/productive outlet, can easily turn into self-loathing–Basically, the message becomes “Fuck me, I’m an asshole for messing up my life so bad I’m in the position I’m in in the first place, 45 years old, and working in a fucking snooty movie theater for chump change and no benefits”.

But obviously, you don’t care to hear that, and I don’t really care to write it (Though I think if I’m feeling it, I should at least address it). So instead of giving full-on vent to a load of anger and frustration and helplessness and self-loathing, I watched some tv (The Steve Martin thing I mentioned earlier), and surfed the web.

And in my web-surfing, I stumbled on a site–speaking of “nostalgia”--that I got a big kick out of. It’s called Toon-Tracker, and it’s basically sound files of cartoon theme music, from the 30's and 40's on.

My own big cartoon-watching era was from around the mid-60s to the early-70s, and it was fun listening to music I hadn’t heard, in many cases, since I first listened to it on Saturday mornings as a child.

And I realized, once again, that while I was watching cartoons as a kid (And this applies to the live-action tv I watched as well), what was really staying with me for a lifetime was the theme music; I can’t tell you a single “plot line” of most of the shows I watched back then, but I remember almost all the music.

I don’t know what that “says”, if it says anything, but I find it interesting.

Well, I could write more, but I imagine I’ve taxed your stamina enough at this point (I know I’ve certainly taxed mine, cause I’m going back to bed).


 

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