An Almost Hope-Filled Message For The New Normal
Death Is But A Heartbeat Away
Used by permission from Katzenfee50 via Pixabay
I am dying.
I mean it: about 8 different colds seem to have joined forces and ceaselessly attacked me, gleefully laying waste to my health since end of November. Please do not worry though: I have taken my at-home Covid-19 nasal swabs and have maintained the single-line-negative status each time, assuring me that I am not in fact pregnant. Whew. But there have been mornings in December where I literally felt like Walking Dead meets the ghost of Sam Elliott. During those lovely times I have been able to savor the experience of:
- The Dry Cough Of Death...where my brain has literally just exploded inside my skull, pounding for the next half-hour like a soothing Dubstep mix.
- lounging around the house because every one of my joints is pleading for Dorothy to apply some oil.
- watching several auditions pass me by because my body keeps playing the same tape on a loop: YOU MUST SIT NOW. YOU ARE OLD AND FRAIL. YOU MUST SIT NOW. YOU ARE OLD AND FRAIL.
- When I HAVE gotten out and gone to the store, testing out my cough and watching people scramble as I yell reassuringly after them, "Oh don't worry, it's not Covid!" Although I genuinely like to try out this scene.
- Laying through Snapped marathons, which is a show about how women kill their husbands. My wife watches it with me and takes notes.
Alright, enough. I am not REALLY dying, but I am told that I need to feature at least one clickbait blog title per year. I am also told there is no time like the present, so I have decided to decidedly get it out there and be decidedly done with it. I am also told that it is not proper etiquette to tell people you are dying when you are not in fact dying, and that lawsuits are on the way. And, finally, I was actually told off the last time I wrote a blog article with such a headline - and that exchange was so enjoyable that I decided to do it again. What the heck – everyone is bound to be offended by something these days, so why not stir the pot a little?
Are we not all dying? Like, all the time, I mean? Betty White would say so. RIP, and stay Golden, Girl.
A nasty cold makes me feel like the Walking Dead, sure. But the truth is that I can drive out my driveway, forget to look left, and get broadsided by a logging truck. Or a tree can fall on my new studio because we get wind speeds here that are only ever mentioned in The Book of Revelation and other Armageddon-based fare. Or while I am petting my wife's cat, he can decide to be a cat, and without warning suddenly remove my face with his claws. Actually that last one would never happen because he is a cat and therefore I would not be petting him. Curse you and your cat blogs and your cat shirts, Jon Gardner. Curse you.
The bottom line is that we are only a heartbeat away from dying anyway. Or from owning cats, which is like having a deathwish, as they genuinely would like nothing more in life than to watch you die.
Used by permission from nmvala2003 via Pixabay
Now that I have imparted so much joyful optimism and filled your day with dread, let us talk plainly.
We can make all kinds of resolutions, but resolve does not mitigate chance. You can start exercising on January 1st and still have an unexpected stroke on January 2nd. I do not wish to have a stroke, so this is why I do not exercise.
I jest. I am all for exercise and I plan on starting soon, as soon as I finish this tub of hot molten butter.
We all struggle with vices. The person who says that they do not struggle with vices is either
- lying about not struggling with vices, or
- a ghost who has died from struggling with vices
I myself struggle with vices here and there, like eating, or candy, or eating candy, and I sometimes find no escape. But wonder of wonders! Just the other day I was browsing through The National Enquirer and came across this ad:
Reading the National Enquirer while struggling with vices here and there like eating, or candy, or eating candy, and you sometimes find no escape, but wonder of wonders, then you came across this ad?
I found their advertisement suspiciously specific. By the way, "suspiciously specific" are two words that no voiceover artist ever wants to see back to back in a script.
Needless to say, I brought that issue up to the counter along with my thirty-seven bags of Reese's Pieces. Poring over it later, I remembered what I already knew and what my wife continues to remind me of:
Remember to pick up a rotisserie chicken from Safeway when you're out this time, bonehead!
As I did an about-face and headed back in to the rotisserie chicken aisle, I realized that I meant the other thing:
I have issues.
I have numerous issues that may kill me:
- I have had approximately 87 colds in the past 30 days
- I am overweight and vowed at the beginning of 2021 to lose an extra 50 pounds. I am doing well! I only have 75 more to go.
- Sometimes my memory just decides to stop working, and I inevitably call my wife Roger. She has begun answering to it just to mix things up a bit.
- There are occasions where I experience pains that I cannot locate, as if my body has become possessed by someone Shirley Maclaine has invoked.
- I can no longer type as fast, and Siri's autocorrect is determined to not help me. Just the other day I tried to type "that thing" and she turned it into "fat king." Before that I asked her to help - me - find - the - nearest - bowling - alley. I over-enunciated for clarity, but she still came back with, "I'm sorry, I don't understand 'find the nearest burrowing owl leave me.' "
As I am already dying with each minute passing, why make resolutions if I might not keep them? Why should I plan to begin my fitness on one specific day, when today is just as good as any to start?
Just after I finish my Reese’s Pieces of course. You should really try them with molten butter.
2.7 Seconds on a Bull Named Fumanchu
Used by permission from qimono via Pixabay
Are we as afraid of it as we were in March 2020 when it was officially declared a pandemic? Are we losing hope, or gaining optimism? At this writing, there have been 5,412,932 deaths, and 282,495,750 cases. However, there have been 9,025,869,799 vaccine doses administered, and 476,221,953,284,593,287 messages reminding us that we are all in this together. Our gray planet has been dotted red since March 2020, but I believe that we are truly on the way to herd immunity. Or mass vaccine clearance. Or impending invasion of locust mutants riding on asteroids. Whichever comes first. I am fairly certain we will be able to trace the locust mutants back to a lab in Wuhan.
How will we, as voiceover artists, continue to navigate any and all such plagues? Since we are dying a little each and every day anyway, I think it is only safe to proceed with a determinedly reckless pursuit of our dreams. Note that I did not say cavalier…no…we are still fighting an invisible and grave affliction that has robbed countless families of loved ones. If you are reading this, someone you know either:
- has Covid-19
- had Covid-19
- has died from Covid-19
- knows how to spell Covid-19, or
- had Siri autocorrect it to David-19
As a parent, my biggest fear was that my sons would catch the virus, unvaccinated. But our nearly-6-year-old Brennan is now vaccinated. Whew. Now we wait with baited breath for the vaccine to be amenable for 2-year-olds so that our toddler Asher can be equally protected. I am told the toddler vaccine currently in development is still causing small children to detonate, and after discussing it at length with my wife, we do not feel the time is right just yet for our son to explode. Until it is ready, we wait, and I will willingly endure all the hate and slurs from cowardly trolls who choose to call me evil for having my child vaccinated. I am not kidding - this actually happened. If they could just see that my only desire is to protect my children from being attacked by dangerous things like Polio. Rubella. Pertussis. Rotavirus. Measles. Amway Representatives.
But there is an even more deadly virus that we all need to be inoculated against.
If I were a Transformer, I would be Optimist Prime. Yes, nerds everywhere, I am aware I spelled his name incorrectly; I am making a play on words. I am the eternal optimist, and the one searching through the five-foot-high manure pile screaming, “I just KNOW there’s a pony in here somewhere!” Despair kills. Despair robs. The Bible says in John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Hope. May we be immunized from despair through hope.
How do we as voice talent maintain hope?
- Setting and monitoring goals
- Expectation of being awarded jobs
- Planting irons in the fire through marketing and continual auditioning
- Steps 1 through 4, rinse and repeat, every single day
The truth is that I truly am dying. Since the day of my birth, I have been inching daily toward my own death. So have you. The question is, what will we do with the short window of time allotted us? Will we start improving ourselves only once each calendar year says 1/1, and shortly plane away after that, "living lives of quiet desperation", as Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden in 1854?
No. Let us make like Olivia Newton-John and get physical, shall we? My heart just murmured, and I can hear Reese's pieces filling up my right aorta. Either that or my molten butter has dripped on Siri and I am about to be electrocuted.
Let us truly live like we are dying...and I will see you on the other side. Just watch out for locust mutants on the way.
YOU HAVE MADE IT ALL THE WAY TO THE END, AND I SALUTE YOU.
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Seattle Voice Actor & Voiceover Artist for hire