Contributed by Guest Blogger of the Week, Jeffrey Keenan.
I’ve known about this gig for Shay for months—honestly, since last year’s successful first week. But in typical Jeffrey fashion, I decided the best approach to this—and frankly, every aspect of my life—is to essentially wing it. To trust the winds of inspiration will come blowing up my skirt at just the right moment to take me and my keyboard soaring over the Off-Off-Broadway landscapes below, offering questionable entertainment and insight into how one produces ancient, live theater in this new digitized media age.
But right now, I’m stuck. The only wind blowing around my skirt is exit only. The only inspiration I’ve felt in the last week is the fellatio scene in the BBC series Skins that I plowed through on Netflix last week when I was home sick with the flu.
So I’ve decided, right here and right now, that THAT is going to be my topic: the flu, and how my recent brush with mortality is somehow in any way relatable to producing on Off-Off-Broadway.
Not so much the persistent body aches, the delusion-inducing fevers, the chills and quakes or the persistent hacking as your lungs try to leave your body, but the rather adult idea that all of that fun—all of that lost income from not going to work, all of the pain and sleeplessness, all of the discomfort and monies spent on marginally effective over-the-counter remedies could have been avoided with just a little tiny bit of planning known commonly as the flu shot. (This should be good—go pop some popcorn or grab a bottle of wine. If nothing else, my flailing should be comical to watch.)
Firstly, there is nothing flimsy about me at all. I’m 6’3”, shoulders like a bison, legs that could best be described as Bunyonesque, and I weigh slightly more than one of those two-seater Smart cars. I am a robust man. Nothing as small as flu virus, shaped in my mind like the Flying Spaghetti Monster, would have the power to bring me to my knees! That takes something much larger and far more powerful—like a European tourist in chaps and armbands on the roof of the Eagle. His name was Andreanus and he made my New Year’s Eve quite the memorable experience—just ask Ron Bopst.
Had I taken the threat seriously, I would have chosen to be inoculated and marched into a Rite Aid, or a Walgreens, or a Duane Reade, or a CVS, or any one of the thousands of pharmacies that litter the streets of New York and gotten poked by a well-meaning pharmacist—a much more productive poking than any other I may have referenced preciously in this post. Or to that end, gone to my physician and had him or one of his staff members do it. I realize that I’m quite fortunate to have a physician (and insurance) in this economy, but even for those who don’t, the $20 or so that it would cost to get a flu shot off the street is definitely worth it.
How does any of this relate to producing? How is my “mewling and puking” supposed to translate into inspirational, beginning-of-the-year, ‘throw your chin to heaven in affirmation of your gifts and purpose to mankind’ advice?
(Twenty points to the first person to correctly identify the Shakespearean reference in that last paragraph.)
Recognize that regardless of what you THINK you know, you can NEVER be prepared for everything. UNLESS you have PLANNED to prepare for everything!
Talent is easy. Type “dancing parrot” into YouTube and you’ll get more examples of talent than you’ll ever, ever need. But planning is much more difficult. Planning requires a maturity and patience that separates the merely inspired from the truly driven. Planning teaches you humility by demonstrating exactly how much you don’t know. Planning saves you money, saves you time, saves you effort and saves you embarrassment.
And planning, should you bow your head and allow yourself to learn from it, will teach you that given the option between new gloves or a flu shot, go with the damn flu shot.