Friday, May 18, 2012


I was at the beach recently and remembered a story by JD Salinger called, A Perfect Day For Banannafish. Basically, the story is about Seymour, who is a shell shocked WWII vet talking about how bannana fish kill themselves to a little girl named Sybill. Sick it may be, but it is one of my favorites. In the end Seymour kills himself by the way.

Going to the beach though was a fun experience. I got to see my parents and I got to eat a lot of crab. Their house, The Grandview, was beautiful. Myrtle Beach is the post-Confederate secret. School is not yet out so the beach is not crowded with children or rowdy young men playing pig skin football or volleyball. The pier is not filled with men and women on the prowl. There is quiet, tranquility. When the sun shines on the ocean, it is the color of an emerald sapphire. Coming out of the clouds, the rays from the yellow orb emit a heavenly light. The birds fly below making you wonder if you are indeed in the Garden of Eden. It is a relief because there are no naked people running about on the beach. The people who feel the need to run about naked on the beach usually are the ones who should keep their clothes on.

Why can't they be like bannanafish, who crumble into the mud and die as Seymour describes? It would not only be good for our morale but our eyesight.

Of course it was bike week at the beach. When we were laying by the pool, a repairman came to fix a pump. His name was Roger, just like my deceased friend. Roger explained the oyster joint was named Suck, Bang, Blow not just because it was a dirty name; but that is the sound a bike makes as it is getting ready to go. I have never had a problem with bikers although they scare the locals at Myrtle. To me, I have always gotten along with these kindred spirits who are owned by no one. Once, when I was in my early twenties I did a show for a bunch of bikers who got into a fight after my set. We lost the venue, but they loved me. It was all my friend Rich Carucci's doing. There was once a woman on Unsolved Mysteries claiming her daughter got kidnapped by bikers, but she seemed like a space cadet.

My mother reported she saw an old biker on the beach collecting sea shells. Apparently, he waved to her and my mother had a gentle laugh with the man. I wonder if my biker friend John Clearly collects sea shells. I wonder if he has ever seen a bannanafish.

Walking along the beach I see jellyfish. They are spineless, ugly creatures who should be damned to the deep sea. One strung my sister once and it was a hellish experience for her. It was nothing compared to my father who got stung by a sting ray. I remember both had to go to the hospital, but they got my dad just in time before he got severe blood poisoning. In a way, I am glad the bannanafish got neither. Although the banannafish is supposedly fictional, I bet it's bite is poisonous and he is worse than Jaws. It didn't help matters that after a long day in the sun we saw a program where a woman was being mauled by flesh eating fish.

What would a bannanafish's bite be like? Dear God do I even want to know.

Seeing the jellyfish brought me back to this past week of my life, where I have gotten not one but two opportunities to talk about being a dating violence survivor. While I want to let young women know it will be okay, on the other hand it brings up some unwanted memories. The last guy I dated, well, I will admit I made him ditch me. He had some traits in common with my ex who was abusive. While the guy I was recently seeing was not abusive, he was becoming my ex's whipping boy. That was not fair to either one of us. After a nightmare where I saw him walking down the street and he ripped off his mask in order to reveal my ex, I blocked him online. Maybe one day I will rekindle the friendship with the gentlemen in question, but for now he needs to stay as far away as possible from me. There is no nice way to say, "You remind me of the prick that used to abuse me and stalk me."

Then I remember Seymour. At that moment it occurs to me, "Dear God, I would have dated him, ahhhh!!!!"

Yesterday I returned from the beach and ended up at a roof top party. The place was a comedy bash, and I just saw it was free. Apparently, there was a festival affiliated, and of course I was not a part of it. I saw some old friends which was fine, although the party didn't have many people. While I have been apart from the standup world for some time, I missed it in a way. During the party, while it was wonderful to make new friends I sort of felt alien. I hadn't been pandering for spots, and since my appearance on the reality show where many in the comedy world let me know that they felt my puppet children and I lied to get on TV, I really haven't bothered at the clubs. I don't feel like yelling and screaming, explaining I have done more than the male comic who is bumping me has in three months than he has in five years. I didn't feel like being the unwelcome guest in the boys club, and the thorn in the side of the female comedians because I wasn't an ugly gossip who refused to wear baggy clothing. I made one new friend, a noncomedienne, who was teaching in China for a year. There was one woman I met though, who seemed peppy, put on, and fake. Maybe she wasn't, maybe it was my tired speaking.

Either way I began to feel for Seymour. It was as if there was some sort of memo I didn't get. While I wouldn't make up a disgusting story about fish who die in the mud to tell a child and then blow my brains out, I felt like Seymour and like my uncle's brother who was a Vietnam combat vet. Sure, unlike Seymour and my uncle's brother I had never served in a foreign war, but like both I knew how it felt to be unwelcome in my own land and to be shunned because of a wrong I supposedly did. Either way, I ducked out of the roof top party.

Last night I began to wonder if I had spent my early twenties the right way. I had gone to college during the day, and my nights were spent pounding the stage. I thought I would defy the gender barrier and the male comedians who treated me like their personal sex object; believing I was stupid enough to be pried with drinks while making me simply the next joke in their bed. Much to their chagrin, neither happened. I took the drinks and walked away from those underemployed wannabes. Only after being a talking head on a website and getting fans around the world did I realize that unfortunately the standup clubs were more their home than mine. Only after my puppet children and I not only appeared on National TV not once but close to twelve times did my home club fire me from the open mic that I rescued and was quite profitable, but it seemed every freaking club closed their doors to me. Nevermind I have performed for royalty. Perhaps I should have been more like other female comedians, so loud and obnoxious albeit letting myself go that everyone assumed I had to be funny. Or I should have been pandering to men, doing sexual favors for stage time. It was rumored I did, but the rumor was not true. Another thing started by the male rumor mill and spread by the women who wanted to appease them.

No wonder Seymour was so damaged. The world leaves you wanting to be angry, wanting to fight back. Especially when the ambitions of those less talented are realized because either the world favors their gender identity or they are easier to fix into the proverbial box. Or it's because they follow the proverbial rules. Either way, the whole experience made me so bitter I refuse to do shows for the club system I left. In addition, it has left a terrible taste in my mouth when it comes to the so called community.

Then for as angry as I get, for as much as I feel like I wasted my life, it gets me no where. Yes, I put the name of my home club on National TV. Yes, they screwed me over. However, I was a talking head and cyberjockie and got kids who saw my puppet children and I all over the world following me. I have fans devoted until the end. I have had people fly in from all over the world to meet me. My song, "Stay," was number three on FJS Radio's countdown, and it is a well respected internet station. I am getting ready to publish an ebook in six weeks. I am also getting ready to be a part of a neat show in Times Square, keep you posted. In addition, I am also the poster girl for Panic Girl. My TV appearance got me all these things. Standup got me my TV appearances. Sure, it might not have fit in the narrow minded box the community constructs, especially for women, but eh. Perhaps in the end, standup was not the destination but rather the train that got me where I needed to go. This is not the end for me, merely the beginning. If I perform it is not to appease a structure that enslaves and a community so limited, but rather my fans who matter more than anything in the world. Maybe I will never be a part of some New Talent Best Of Series at some top club, but who cares? I have fan boys from Italy, Germany, Russia, England, and elsewhere telling me how beautiful I am. I bet no one in any Breakout Artist Series has that.

Maybe in the end, although Seymour felt like he was a bannanafish, damned to crawl in the mud and die, I feel like rewriting the story. I feel like telling him to dump his dippy wife and that way he won't have to tell scary stories to children. I feel like telling him it will be alright.


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