Saturday, June 7, 2014

Duck Soup

When I was a kid, my dad was obsessed with old movies. Because of my dad, I know about Mae West (visited her grave, hero worship) and the Marx Brothers. My first figure was a Groucho Marx figure. I still remember getting it under the Christmas Tree at the ripe old age of 13. It was my mom's present to me during a lost phase of my life. I had secretly been watching ventriloquists on TV, and looking them up on the internet, which was in it's infancy then. I also had been going to the library and reading about them.
Julius Henry Marx as a puppet

I was a weird kid, what can I say?

Truth: Loved the Marx Brothers. Brain Donors was a guilty pleasure of my sister Skipper and mine. During our brief careers as summer club swimmers, Michael Phelps we were not, we would watch the movie after swim practice. We knew it line for line for line. My dad pointed out it was a modern adaption of Night at the Opera. However, he told us the best Marx Brother's movie was Duck Soup.

I watched it as a kid, and feared it would be super, duper lame. Instead, it was funny. Very funny. The Marx Brothers were amazing as comedians. Groucho as a fast talking, verbal guy. Chico was just hysterical as the ethnic dude selling stuff and crashing the party. None could be complete without Harpo, the mute who stole every scene he was in by causing some sort of tomfoolery with Chico. Lastly there was Zeppo, the normal dude and love interest of the girl. "Hail, hail Freedonia." Note: I think this is similar to how the US does business sometimes.

When I was fifteen, I felt like my life was hell. I struggled with my weight. I yo-yoed like a bouncing ball and felt unpretty next to the bleach blonde cheerleader types I went to school with. I had a television show on cable access. Now people think it's cool I get on TV every once in a while. Back then, they made fun of you in school. I remember walking down the hall hearing how much I sucked. It was like being heckled in The Tunnel of Hate. Most of the time I would ignore them, but some days were easier than others.

I was also out as being a ventriloquist.  Doesn't exactly make you the most popular person to have at a party. I did shows at nursing homes and for kids. Some of my audience members thought my puppet was real, and asked Groucho to take them home. Maybe I wasn't the coolest girl in school, but one thing was for sure, I knew I was going to get the fuck out of there. I knew I was going to do bigger and better things than those idiots. In my mind and heart, I knew high school wasn't forever and I could get through. I was going to New York even if it was the last thing I ever did.
On TV as a kid in my hometown with Groucho. A little fatter and more awkward than I am now. Eh, screw it. I am less fat but still awkward. 
Some considered me a local sweetheart, and thought my adventures were cool. Other people thought I was weird because I wasn't obsessed with boys and other stupid teenage things. I had goals gosh darn it. Then there were those who outright hated me. I was too weird and didn't fit their standards for Middle American life. Or they were jealous of the things they could see coming to me. Either way, there were moments were I wanted to disappear but something told me hang in there. When I was seventeen, my sister's unused Charlie McCarthy became the first May Wilson. This is why I have the problems I do I suppose.

May after her first plastic surgery, Lynn Swann and myself. I couldn't rotate the photo. Yes, I am still an awkward failure in some ways. 

Years later I moved to the city as an old movie fan. One of the first guys to break my heart was a trust fund baby with a Murray Hill apartment. I hadn't dated much, and he was a lot older than I. What bonded us was our love of old movies, especially the Marx Brothers. I remember our first date, we went out and we both quoted Duck Soup. The relationship soured after that, because all I wanted was a boyfriend because I never had one and he was a jaded New York commitment phobe. Yet he would constantly talk about me to anyone who would listen, and would throw a hissy fit when I dated other guys. But whatever.....

After a lot of work, doors began to open for me. Last weekend, I headlined my first theatre. It was a two night thing. The first night was sparse, but the second night was packed. I killed both nights. Some of it was hard work, much of it was luck. On my way there, I saw a store where there was a Groucho Marx figure displayed in the window. Yes, it was the so called dummy I had as a child. I wish I had gotten a photo. I didn't know they still made them. It was a sighting that made my eyes well up. Either this was a crazy coincidence or an omen. I don't know.

Yeah kids, I followed Annie Ross and headlined a theatre. I just hope I remembered to shave my arm pits. 

When the second show was done, an audience member recognized me from TV. It was different than being a kid and going through the tunnel of hate. Instead, they thought it was cool. With that high, I booked something else. While I can't say too much it involves cameras and no, it's not a porno.

Yeah, May Wilson after the third plastic surgery. We got on national TV and got ourselves in some Duck Soup after this one, he he. 

Hint: In a month or two I will be back on national television. Basically, it's been an awesome last two weeks. I can't complain. And the sports broadcasting job is picking up. Getting paid to do what I love, becoming visible, and everything is coming together.

On TV again.

Then I got an email from my dad. All my mom has ever wanted since I was a kid was a pool. He is not a swimmer by the way. Anyway, it is warm and they just opened it up. Our neighbor's grandkids are there just about every chance they get. Well it rained the other day, and my mom had a covering on the pool. Some ducks took it upon themselves to get comfy because they thought it was a pond. While this was adorable and awesome, it was also awkward and problematic because ducks poop everywhere.

At that moment, I thought of everything in my life coming together. How things were happening. I thought of my journey with my first Groucho Marx figure and how my career was beginning to fly maybe US Air instead of Spirit.

Then I remembered Duck Soup. Then I remembered the Marx Brothers. Then I remembered the Tunnel of Hate that drove me to my dreams. And then I thought of the ducks on my parents pool cover.

No matter what happens in life, it is important never to take yourself too seriously. No one else does.

"Hail Freedonia."

Quack, quack, there are Donald and Daisy

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