I went on an audition this week, a casting call on craigslist for a print ad for cookies. I’m pretty crazy about cookies, so in the spirit of this whole reinvention thing, I took the bait.
I sat in a cramped anteroom for twenty minutes as a handful of people went in but oddly, no one came back out. I was a little suspicious, I always am – daddy was a con man, after all, and okay, I’ve been guilty of a bit of the bait & switch as well - but I try to dismiss that innate prejudice and just show up.
It was exactly the kind of scam I warned tadpole actors about when I was an agent. The “casting director” talked fast, shuffled papers and running a vocal version of three card monte, offered to get me work immediately. Immediately after I paid $99 for headshots they’d shoot themselves, right then, right that very second, c’mon, c’cmon when do you want to start, let’s go, let’s get things moving…
I didn’t come here to spend money.
In any good scam, it’s important to keep marks clear of each other. I was hustled out through a labyrinth of back hallways to a door on the other side of the building. Shades of P.T. Barnum. This way to the Egress, indeed.
One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to show you a brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken. Then this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of this brand-new deck of cards and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not accept this bet, because as sure as you stand there, you’re going to wind up with an ear full of cider.
When something sounds too good to be true, it’s because it is. It’s classic Damon Runyon, but my dad told me that story and I believed they were his words for years.
The Big F, gave me a lot of stuff, he was all about survival, all about not getting taken advantage of. Guys like Sky Masterson were his heroes & they became mine for better or worse. I learned to be skeptical, to trust slowly, if at all, and thanks to that I’ve made it through life with a minimal of cider in my ears.
My friend Leah’s dad says “All you have to do is dream the dream and do it. The rest will work itself out.”
The Big F made sure I’d never go hungry, or be homeless. His feet were firmly planted on the ground, I don’t think he ever felt safe enough to dream. He gave me all he had to give.
I’m going to borrow a bit of Leah’s dad. I don’t think anyone will mind….
TELL ME: Are faith and dreams survival skills? Post your thoughts below, talk to me.