Thursday, November 3, 2016

"A Possible 'Up-Side' To Getting Older"

I could be wrong about this.  I am grasping at straws here.

We recently attended a play written by Ken Levine, a good friend and writer of the funny and informative blog  (I don’t know if you need the “.com” part.  And leave out the period after the “com.  That period was for the end of the sentence.  I leave it out, and my computer deducts marks.)


Whether you like a guy or you don’t, whether you respect their work or you don’t – and with Ken I am one hundred percent on the “like” and “respect his work” side of the ledger…

There is still the issue of envy. 

A “Deadly Sin.”

Although, unlike “Gluttony”, you do not have to monitor your cholesterol or let the seams out on your pants.

You hear yourself complimenting their accomplishments while you are internally aflame.



It’s understandable, right?  I’m a writer; they’re a writer.  They did something I theoretically could have done myself.  But they went for it, and I didn’t.  And if it’s good – and Ken’s play is delightful… it simply adds insult to injury.

He did something successfully I could just as easily have done but didn’t”?

You see where that inevitably leads to, don’t you?

Well, you’re wrong.

Sorry.  I took a little too much pleasure in saying that.  It’s not really your fault.  I laid out the obvious scenario, knowing you would reflexively jump to the bait, while keeping an undisclosed “hole card” in reserve, that undisclosed “hole card” being…

I do not envy writers.

I admire writers, the best of them, tremendously.  Mark Twain, Neil Simon, Bruce J. Friedman (among numerous others) – their flights of genius rumble past and I stand awestruck on the sidelines, my cap thrown triumphantly in the air.

“One of ‘us’ did it!” I’d enthusiastically proclaim.  And by “us” I mean writers, and by “did it” I mean – in whatever literary genre they attempted – got it gloriously correct. 

Write it down.  I do not envy writers.  I am inspired by their accomplishments.

I heard somebody say “Bullshit!”  Possibly a grimier aspect of myself.

Sorry, “Grimier Aspect of Myself.”  It’s true.

I have never envied a writer.

I have, on the other hand, always envied performers.

Frequently Offered Explanation:  The guy who makes the suit versus the guy who wears the suit in public, garnering adoration and applause.   

Duh.  Which one of those sounds better to you?

ACCOUNTANT:  “I saved them a fortune.”

CLIENT:  “I just bought a Tesla!

(READ IN, IF YOU REMEMBER IT, A JACKIE MASON DIALECT):  You know what I’m tohking about?

Okay.  So I am going to this play, knowing – because it happens every time – that I will envy the performers. 

I watch the play – including a character who, at some point I’d have been eminently suited to portray – and – swear to Gosh – astonishing both Gosh (if He were interested) and myself…

… I feel no envy for the performers. 

That rush of adrenalin fueled by poisoned competitiveness?  I keep expecting it.  But it never shows up.  And it dramatically occurs to me…

“Someone has severed the wires to my ‘Envy’.”

Instead of torturous covetousness, I am appreciating the production, applauding enthusiastically during the “Curtain Calls”, I compliment the playwright sincerely on his achievement… and that’s it.

No envy whatsoever.  Even afterwards.  In the car.

Well… that’s different.

Please forgive the analogy – but something seems to have neutralized my envy.  (I backed away from “seems to have neutered” at the last minute.  Although not completely.)

A RECENTLY “FIXED” MALE DOG, PASSING A FEMALE DOG ON THE STREET:  “I have this vestigial sense that I am supposed to feel something, but… (COURTEOUSLY)… “Hello.”

And there you have it.  I had a wonderful night at the theater, envying no one and enjoying the show.  And, being mistrustful of positivity, I am asking myself,


Was it indeed “emotional maturity”?

Or did I pass away and nobody told me?

I don’t know.  Maybe getting old isn’t all terrible.

Wait!  Did I just feel nerve pain in my receding gum line?


By Ken Levine said...


So glad you enjoyed the play. Not sure I'll use that as a blurb "You won't envy the actors" but I see what you're saying. And I think you're right. The older we get, the more we just want to be entertained and appreciate the time devoted to watching a creative endeavor.

And once we're old enough to know what really goes into what the actors do, the hard work and effort and dedication and memorization, we're way more apt to say "Enjoy your curtain call" then go out for a nice drink.

For those who would still like to see the play, you can click here for details. This weekend is sold out, but tickets remain for the next two weekends.

Thanks, Earl,

Ken Levine

frank said...

Great recommendation to see a baseball play!

Go Cubs said...

Woot, woot!