Thursday, October 25, 2018

"The New Landscape"

Which, if I’m finally noticing it, is probably not really that new. 

I recently attended a Bar Mitzvah that was celebrated on a boat.  The assigned Torah portion the Bar Mitzvah candidate chanted was about Noah, so a Bar Mitzvah on a boat was totally appropriate.  Lucky for him, it wasn’t the biblical portion about Jonah.

“Please move back in the whale.  We have a lot of people to fit in.”

The selection of a boat as a Bar Mitzvah venue related more to wanting to do something original.  The invitation called for “Navy Blue Attire.” Leading me to arrive, sporting a new pair of Navy Blue “Anchor Socks.”  (Socks with embroidered anchors on them.)  Which, I will, hopefully, be able to wear on subsequent Bar Mitzvahs-on-a- boat, “Anchor Socks” being sartorially questionable for less imaginative Bar Mitzvahs, held in synagogues.

Here’s the thing about a party on a boat:  You cannot get off in the middle.  You get on at the announced “Departure Time” and you stayon until they dock.  Uber sees you’re on water, and they’re not showing up.

“Your ride will arrive in seven minutes.  Look for Reynaldo in a brown rowboat.”

That is not happening. (Without the additional “nautical” app.)

Party on a boat, 

and you are there, 

for the duration.  

Which I actually did not mind for the first three or four hours, because it was  arguably the best Bar Mitzvah-on-a-boat I had ever attended. Of course, the comparative sample is statistically miniscule.  (Though a tick or two up from Bar Mitzvah-on-a-submarine.)

You learn a lot of interesting things attending a party on a boat, between checking your watch for “How long till they turn back?”  Not that it wasn’t enjoyable.  The “Bar Mitzvah Boy’s” recitation was soaringly spectacular.  If they have a special “Haftorah” episode on “The Voice”, there is no doubt he would win high praise as “definite ‘Cantor’ material.”  Or ‘Broadway’, if he were equally capable in English, which I am certain he is.  If you can dazzle ‘em “right-to-left”, you can dazzle ‘em, “left-to-right.”

Another gratifying “high point” of the experience was the realization that the actual service would take place, sitting still.  It was only afterthe ceremony that the boat would start moving.  Meaning, if you were rocking back and forth earlier, it was religious fervor, not seasickness.

Here, though, is the big“takeaway” from an evening, rocking on the Marina.

Since the father of the “Bar Mitzvah” is a successful television writer, many of the guests were themselves television writers, friends of the father, and/or workplace compatriots.  Though hailing from an earlier generation, I was invited because I had encouraged the father when he first came to town.  Our personal connection derived from the fact that I had gone to (a Toronto) high school with his father, who, upon this recent reunion, reminded me that we had known each other for sixty years.  

I wanted to throw up. And it had nothing to do with the boat.


I met five writers on that boat, the majority of them younger than me, although one of them, not so much.  And what I realized, conversing with them, was that all of them had jobs, working for Apple TVNetflix or Amazon.

Do you understand what that means?  did.  And you are at least as clever as am, that being an embarrassingly low bar.

Every writer I met on that boat was employed by an entity that did not exist during my long though abruptly terminated career.  Not a one of them worked for traditional television networks.  (Although a talented Amazon Prime show runner assured me that there was the same amount of “network interference” and that the meddling executives, many of them traditional network “transplants”, were still idiots.)

The undeniable fact is, there are more jobs today.  And not low-paying, terrible jobs.  You just have to look at the lavish “Promotional Box” I received for The Romanoffs.  Those people are loaded.

They may not have dreamed of working for less visited “streaming services”, but those dreams are now passé. These people are pioneering the Future. And, more importantly, they’re working. Which, possibly otherwise, they wouldn’t be.

Obvious Follow-Up Question:  “Were you envious?”

Of the negotiated paycheck, the respect of my peers, the creative synergy, the chance to work at the top of your abilities?  Plus a parking space with your name on it?  (Meaning I was actually leaving the house?)  Of the incomparable feeling of being nerve-endingly alive?


But envious of the schedule, the pressure, the executive oversight and the excruciating hours?

No, thanks.  I’m okay right where I am.

Of course, that answer is totally theoretical.

Nobody offered me a job.

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