Funny4Money

Follow the wacked adventures of professional stand-up comic Richard Lett

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The Wallet

Okay originally I was planning to fly home TODAY but an extended run of Sober but Never Clean – the recording of a song and shooting its video – and Vancouver being so freaking awesome – my departure has moved to TBA. I will be in Niagara Falls July 31 so me and #thewallet will be home this month. from Facebook
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The Wallet

Status Update #72
Previously on “The Wallet” Richard realizes he has still a whole day to fill before his shows that night, and remembering some lessons of relapse prevention, decides he should get something to eat.
God I’m fat. Sometimes in small crowded venues I will begin my show by shouting “I’m too fat for this bar” as I take the stage. Now I realize all the excuses to not say that. I’m 6’1” and somewhere around 240 lbs. (Somehow when the metric system came to Canada, the old system stayed on when it came to height and weight. Not sure why. Don’t care.) Anyway, sometimes I just feel old and fat. It doesn’t matter how other people who are older, or fatter will scoff at my assessment, that’s how I feel. There will always be someone more than you. Even these guys that weigh a ton (literally) and they have to cut out a wall of their house to go out, even they must deal with the fact that someone out there weighs a ton plus one. Sometimes I feel old and fat. Usually when I am near reflective surfaces. Or looking at photographs. But everyone else sees me (unaided by mirrors or camera’s, without the advantage of gut-sucking and shirt-tucking), and nobody says “Wow – you are old and fat.” (maybe they say it behind my back, but my experience has been that people have said most of the mean stuff to my face!) I linger in this negativity for a bit as I lumber up the hill to Burger King. Then I remember what I have said to others about their insecurities. Negative self-talk is highly toxic. It’s this weird thing that we think if we don’t berate ourselves about our imperfections, they will go unchecked, and they will only get worse. So we HAVE to never be satisfied with how we look, or how much we make or what we are wearing or our hair or WHATEVER!! Here’s how it works for me. If I was younger and slimmer then I could get better gigs – make more money. With more money I could eat better, afford a personal trainer (probably hired by the Movie studio) and then I would look better and then I could get a girlfriend (who would encourage me to exercise or eat better, or both.) And then I would be LOVED. Wait – is this what this is about? Love? Really… So if tell myself that I’m too fat, that will somehow make me work to lose weight. And then I will be loved. Huh? If I say mean things to myself, then I’ll get love. Doesn’t make any fucking sense. Negative makes positive. Hate makes love. Sounds like something Einstein or Isaac Newton would go, ”Ah, no.” This thing they say at meetings, “We will love you until you can love yourself.” (gag). “Don’t leave until the miracle happens.” (Double gag). What miracle? Loving yourself. The miracle is learning to love yourself. Hmm. A stranger smiles at me. A woman gives me the once over, and smiles at me. She obviously has low standards. Or vision problems. I take a moment to consider what NICE things have been said to me. “You have nice hands.” “You have beautiful lips” “I love your voice.” “You and your bedroom eyes…” What is that feeling. Love? (maybe…) I walk into the Burger King. The girl at the counter smiles. “Can I take your order?” “I have a Whopper with Cheese.” “Would you like bacon on that?” “Ah, no thanks. Not today.” “Fries?” “Ya okay.” I smile at her. She smiles back.
TO BE CONTINUED
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The Wallet

Status Update #71
“Previously on “The Wallet” Richard on the way back to hotel is inspired by a comment on Facebook and cranks out a little poem about letting resentments go.”
It’s the down time that is a killer to an addict on the road. You can fill every second of your day, except for one, and that’ll do you in. I’ve got 8 hours to fill. 480 minutes. Ah, carry the four – 28,800 seconds to fill. Whenever you hear about a dead comedian/musician/actor it’s never backstage, or on set. It’s always in the hotel. The 5 star tomb they rent for us. I have heard too many stories of relapse with some of the addicts I work with. “I was bored.” And now they are trying to get back. They say it’s easier to stay sober than to get sober. So much shame. As hard as we try to cheer when someone “comes back” it’s hard to trust after them after that. One guy I help, every time he walks away, I wonder if I’ll see him alive again. It’s heart breaking. He calls me up when he’s drunk, which is a good sign, that he still has his phone. Cell phones are a big red flag. First thing an addict buys in sobriety is the latest version of a cell phone. And the first thing he loses or sells in relapse is that phone. If his phone is gone, he doesn’t need to tell me, I know. I’m not sure why it is that I know when someone’s lying, but I do. There’s a swagger, a phoney confidence that gives it away. It doesn’t make me mad, it makes me sad. One of the most rewarding things in sobriety is being a sponsor. It’s also one of the most painful. I am gifted with smart guys and young fathers. Usually they are both. If they have a little kid, it makes it hard to “lovingly detach”. They text me pictures of them with their three year old son playing joyfully in the park. An hour after they drop the child off to his mom, they are wasted again. WTF? Nothing shows what a nasty disease addiction is than that. Children. I have to admit I can get a little aggressive when there’s a kid in the picture. When guy starts complaining about wanting to see his kids, and how unfair it is, I point out WHO it is really unfair to – a three year old that has a child for a father. They say “Whose side are you on?” There are no sides. My own daughter was spared most of the drama, but not all. My guts twist with the memory. I’m gonna walk around a bit, need to get some food. They taught us in Relapse Prevention in Rehab the acronym HALT. Hungry-Angry-Lonely-Tired. Four conditions that make us vulnerable to relapse. And the questions that go with it. Hungry – for what? Angry – at what? Lonely – for what? Tired – of what? Tired of fighting this stupid disease. Hungry – for… Burger King.
TO BE CONTINUED
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The Wallet

The Wallet

The hardest part about writing your life story is coming up with and ending. Or a beginning…




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The Wallet

Status Update #70
“Previously on “The Wallet”. Richard uses a technique for relieving anxiety, EMDR, to process his feelings of fear and low self-worth.”
I check my facebook and someone has posted a status that says “The best revenge is success”. So then a bunch of people have posted on the thread saying “Ya – show them by screwing their wives” or “winning the lottery and buying their house” or some such stuff. My experience with revenge, like its best served cold and all the other approaches, is that it just doesn’t make anything better. In the world of recovery and the twelve steps, we are taught to see our part in things. To clean our side of the street. We make a list of all the people we think have done us wrong, and then we do an inventory to find our part in what happened. And when we finally are able to see the patterns in our own behavior than brought on so many of these long standing grudges, we face the obvious conclusion: all these things kept happening to one person – all these things had one thing in common – us. Shit. Takes all the fun out of holding a grudge. Like it was ever fun. For alcoholics like myself, it was making us sick. Resnetments, it has been said, are like drinking poison, thinking it will kill our enemy. No, the best revenge is to get over it. So I type I type in that the “Best revenge is forgiveness” in the “comment” part of the Facebook status. That comment pretty much kills the thread. I heard a Ted Talk by the woman who wrote “Eat, Pray, Love”, Elizabeth Gilbert, who talks about creative inspiration and how it comes upon people. I particularly related to a poet who would get the idea for a poem and she would need to race out of the fields where she worked and get a pen and catch the poem with her pen before it got away. I always have a note book to do that. I don’t always catch them in time, and of course, the capture is not always the biggest or best, but I just let it go. I feel that and so I get out my notebook, and sit on a planter on the street and write this. I don’t know what it’s called.
I’ve heard it said
the best revenge
is success.
But
If you fail
Does you enemy keep winning.
What if they’re successful
And you aren’t
Do they still rent
Room in your head
Till your dead?
The real revenge is forgiveness
To rise above the pettiness
And be the one whose brave.
This idea – that someone’s success
Is your failure,
And your success is their’s
Doesn’t leave much room
For change – or growth.
No the real revenge isn’t revenge at all
It’s love.
Love thy enemy –and you might see
That what you wanted from them
You didn’t want to be.
Be careful what you wish for
Cause it might just come true.
Set goals that aren’t worth reaching,
Soon you will be able to see
That everything of meaning -
anything worth it’s salt
is in the precious moment
when you let go of the fault.
Accept that human beings are flawed
and marked
and pocked.
Striving for perfection
Is how we end up mocked.
Put down the sword of retribution
Seek not the settling of the score
Open you heart
Give room for your soul
Holding hands with your rival
On love’s wings you’ll soar.
TO BE CONTINUED
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The Wallet

My new blog hits 500 views. It is kinda cool that “The Wallet” continues to be something people like reading, on Facebook or on the blog. #thewallet from Facebook
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Status Update #69
“Previously on “The Wallet” Richard walks back to his hotel, feeling lonely and a tad hopeless about his love life, and his phone’s role in it.”
Going for a walk has actual therapeutic value. The alternating stimulus of brain electricity allows our thought to process. I deliberately swing my arms as I walk up the hill to my hotel. I was in treatment a while ago for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Or PTSD, as we like to call it. (It’s faster, and less traumatizing to say.) The procedure used commonly to deal with PTSD is called Eye Movement Displacement Reprocessing or EMDR (phew.) This technique addresses the belief that talk therapy, when dealing with trauma – isn’t very affective – in fact it can make the person worse. Basically, talking about shitty things, makes people feel shitty. EMDR allows people to look at how their brain has been working, from a detached place, or displacement. By alternately stimulating the left and right side of the brains (originally through eye movement – but generally through hand buzzers now) you can follow your thoughts past the memories of trauma, and into a more peaceful place – thus reprocessing these thoughts. My traumatizing by my mentally ill grandmother is a place I would return to when I would get triggered, but through EMDR, my thoughts would not get stuck there, and I was able to move through the nasty past and into a more peaceful present. This process was very effective for me, and many people who suffered from PTSD. But it didn’t really address the question I had about why my grandmother would treat me that way, when I was not yet three years old. Budha apparently had said, “If you have been shot with an arrow, don’t worry who shot you, or why – just get the arrow out.” The problem is that the who and the why – ARE the arrow. Or at least part of it. What did she know that I didn’t – was I really that bad, is that why I can’t get a girlfriend? She committed suicide before I was six – so I never got a chance to ask her, or forgive her. Forgiveness, it seemed, was the key.
I saw a documentary a few years back called “The Green River Killer”.
It was about a guy named Gary Ridgeway. He killed a couple dozen prostitutes in the Seattle area, took their bodies down to the Green River, where he would go back and fuck them until the cops found them – and the news would announce another victim of the Green River Killer.
It was a long, horrible, terrifying year in Washington State until they caught him, and announced that The Green River Killer was Gary Ridgeway.
He confessed to everything, and took the cops to a few bodies they hadn’t found yet. The trial was quick. Ridgeway pled guilty and they sentenced him to about a billion years in prison – no death sentence in Washington State. Well not for Ridgeway. His victims… not so much.
At the end of the documentary they showed video of the Victims Impact Statements – where families of his victims could speak to Ridgeway, tell him what he’d done to them.
And what a spectacle it was as Black mothers, and White sisters, Hispanic nieces and nephews, husbands, sons and daughters got their chance to confront their tormentor.
The pain was palpable through my TV screen. The rage was unfettered as these women screamed at Ridgeway, tears and phlegm flying as they were pulling from the courtroom, clawing at the doorjams, “I HATE YOU – I HOPE YOUR BURN IN HELL YOU MOTHER FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT – FUCK YOU – FUCK YOU – FUCK YOU.
The whole time Gary Ridgeway stood there placid, a pudgy little office-manager looking guy in his glasses and orange coveralls, unaffected.
And then…
A little old man walked up to the mic. Pot belly, suspenders and a little leather cap, he pulled the mic down to his height and said, “Mr. Ridgeway, my God teaches me to forgive everyone. Not just the people I want to forgive, but everyone. So I must tell you Mr. Ridgeway, you are forgiven.”
The tears instantly began streaming from Gary Ridgeway’s eyes – and the Green River Killer sobbed uncontrollably.
This monster, the man to whom people had begged for their lives and he did not relent, cracked open, and a terrified little boy stood there sobbing. The person, who had calmly led police to grave sites and body dumps, with no sign of remorse, humbled by those three words, “You are forgiven.” None of the other families wanted that, they wanted their pound of flesh, their revenge, but all their screaming and ranting paled in comparison to those words.
Grandma.
Forgiven.
You.
Are.
TO BE CONTINUED
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Status Update #68
“Previously on “The Wallet” Richard walks back up the hill to the hotel, and walks past the Planet Hollywood Restaurant and Gift Shop.”
I check my phone as I headed up the hill. Calling it a “phone” seems a bit inaccurate. I do many things with my phone. I text, I check my email, I take photographs, I check maps and I use GPS to get directions, I listen to music, I record poems I’m trying to memorize and I go on Facebook. What I almost never do on my phone is ah… phone. Besides talking to my 84 year old mother, I don’t talk to anyone on the phone. I suppose someday we will find a new name for them. I guess “mobile devices” is another name for them, but everyone still calls them “phones”. Everything has changed in a few years. In just a couple years I went from punching keys into a phone, with no data plan, to being inseparable from my phone. If I forget my phone, (which I almost never do) I have to go back and get it. I am a never more than a few feet from my phone. I didn’t mean to – it just happened. I’m not one of those geeks waiting in line for the new I-phone. I got a new phone when I moved to Toronto, and it was fancy enough. Had a keyboard that slid down to make it easier to type for texting. Unfortunately, before I had it a year, I lost it, I think, on a streetcar (I need to be more careful on those things). When I went to get a new one, they no longer had that kind, stopped making them, they were extinct. The phone with the little sliding keyboard was obsolete. For a rather small price, I could get a smart phone to replace it. Oh well, I had no choice. I didn’t think I would be able to use the touch screen, but they are called smart phones for a reason. They adapt. After a few days of the smart phone thinking, “Great – we had to get big fat shakey fingers.” the phone adapted. As time went on I became capable of dialing numbers, texting and taking pictures. It turns out phones are a status symbol. One day the girl Paige and I were hanging out. I had a crush on Paige, and Paige had a crush on shopping. While in Eaton’s Center I checked at the Koodo booth to see if I had enough credits to upgrade my phone. The prospect of buying something made Paige excited. Turned out for another twenty bucks I could get the new Samsung Galaxy. And so I did. Paige showed me things I could do with it, and I felt good because she was happy and my phone seemed to be the thing that made her happy. This was a VERY smart phone. Not only could it do all these different functions, it was also able to make Paige happy – something I had been trouble doing. And now I was in the cyborg world, inside the artificial intelligence, connected to the chronic communication of an Android. (Was the phone an android, or was I?) My world – the world – would never be the same. How soon before it would change again, leaving my “phone” in the dust. (The truth was the Galaxy Android was already obsolete when I got it, and the reason it was so affordable, is because they were trying to unload them. This obsolescence was very over-stated. I saw a documentary on YouTube about how they use old Nokia phones in the third world. Phones we have long since thrown away, they have little street repair shops where they can fix old phones. They have courses on cellphone repairs – using toothbrushes and acetate. And not only do these phones work, but they are used for many things including as a way to transfer currency to neighbouring villages. Societies that can make fuel out of cow shit, and jewelry and musical instruments out of old tin cans, can do a LOT with an old cell phone.) I suspect that how we communicate in a few years will be quite different again, from what it was a few years ago. Perhaps everything will be voice command, and we will stop typing, and go back to speaking again. Anyway, I do a couple things on the phone, including check Facebook. Damn, more comments about “The Wallet” statusodes I’ve been posting. I really don’t know why I do what I do, and why some people like it – and some don’t. I wonder if Paige is reading The Wallet. Or Jody. Or Genevieve. Paige and I haven’t talked for a while. Jody pulled the plug real fast, and Genevieve and I blew up real good. I’m starting to feel like an out of fashion cellphone. What would they do in a third world country with my broken down love life. Scrub off the dirt on the electrical connections with a toothbrush, and reboot. Hmm. Maybe I’ll send Paige a text.
TO BE CONTINUED
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