@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
8 Days A Week
In what is a much needed win of 2020, I am proud to say I have landed a full time writing gig. Rejoice! It’s for a radio network I’ve been freelancer for for a couple years in their comedy department writing comedy bits.
I had hoped that one of my freelancing jobs would lead to something more consistent. And, behold! I could credit some of this to luck… and no doubt, as with anything, especially in show business, luck is involved. But also… fuck that! I’ve worked my ass off for years, lived basically in poverty, and have spent many, many hours hunched over notebooks or glued to computer screens. I’m owning this win. I deserve this.
It would be selfish of me not to credit some people, however. I originally got the freelance work because of fellow comedian and friend, Lenny Marcus, who recommended me. Additionally, my now boss, the head of the comedy department and his executive producer, are people I’ve worked with and I’ve enjoyed working with. Which feels very fortunate, to already know who you’re working for and with, to know that you already have a trust and comfortable familiarity.
This job was available for immediate hire. In many ways, this saves me. I’ve written and complained about my current financial position this year. Because of my part time work (assistant to the marketing director of a computing company), the state denied me financial assistance in the pandemic, despite the fact that I lost nearly half my income that was supplemented by stand-up comedy. With what I was pulling in starting in March, I basically was covering my rent only. The roof over my head. Gas and food ate into my (very little) savings. Until that was depleted, and then I started slowly accruing some credit card debt. And then I needed a new computer. So I opened a new credit card to pay for it. My parents had to help me with rent. So then I owed them money too. It was becoming a reality that I was going to have to move to a family member or friends basement to save money. A thought I very much dreaded. Losing my home, becoming a financial burden on those I love (although I was frequently showing up at family members houses all summer and eating all their food—haha— for whatever reason (being Italian, probably) meals are an acceptable charity), facing the failure I was consumed with, and burying my dream in a ditch and moving on to something else.
It’s been a heavy year. The darkness and I are no strangers. The shadows felt heavier than ever. They were all around. Suppressed by my own failures, self medicating and self loathing, matched by the fear of the uncontrollable year was all a madness closing in.
Close friends Katrina, Dennis and Mike were subjected to most of my rants about how much I hated everything, in my misery, and how much I wanted to escape and I was quitting and I was running away. In the moment, I meant all of it, but I think they were patient with me in the sense that they knew I was in the midst of mental crisis and a down swing so they tolerated my venting.
My family is very large and generous. Both of my parents are one of six. I have 19 first cousins. I’ve spent a lot of time on their couches and at their dinner tables. There was never a time where they weren’t reaching out to see if I needed help, which I respectfully declined, though I very much enjoyed their company and drinking and laughing with them. This was a huge help, as they have always been throughout my life.
But I didn’t know what I was going to do. Panic attacks increased. I cried a lot. A lot. Behind closed doors I was in tears so often. Regretful woes flowed in at night. Questioning many of my life choices. Limbo is a sort of hell.
A friend of mine recently said he admired me in the sense that I stuck to my north in these trying times and chewed away my savings and wasn’t afraid. I was like… wait a second. First of all I don’t know how admirable any of that is at all. It borders irresponsibility. I think it’s half insane. Secondly, I’ve been afraid the whole time. I’m terrified. I hate feeling this way. It’s truly awful. At no point in time was I confident that any of this was going to work out or turn around.
It’s not a high paying position, the writing gig, but a win is a win. And any writing job is hard to land. There’s a rejuvenation within me. A spark of hope. A writing regiment that I need to reintroduce to myself (previously, I’ve been one of the more self disciplined comedic writers I know, but I’ve sunk into self doubt and that has hindered my production level). The derailed train I’ve been on is on a track. I have no idea where that track will lead, but I don’t give a shit at this point, it’s moving and I like the fact that sparks aren’t perpetually flying in my face.
There was one little problem. Well, not problem, but a little ache. My part time job, for the computing company, I’d have to give very short notice. And while the work itself is definitely not my life’s desire, I have honed usable skills and most of all, my boss is the best boss I’ve ever had. He is as smart as he is sweet. Fair and patient. I’ve grown quite fond of the man, a bee keeper in hobby.
That job has been remote since March, with no in date in sight (probably 2021). I broke the news to him and he was very happy for me, knowing I’m a comic and writer and also knowing I’ve been in a financial pickle (I had lobbied for more hours with the company earlier in the year). The company, however, is in a hiring freeze because… well… I don’t feel like that needs explanation. Anyway, I decided/asked if I could stay on, just scale back my hours a bit, until they either need to hire someone to fill the work load or I get too burnt. Even though this came with little notice, I promised I wouldn’t leave them high and dry. This is not a result as my loyalty to the company, but rather him.
The arrangement was agreed to. And since the radio job is kind of late night hours, it works out. This is a lot for me. The days I’m doing both jobs are 14 hour days. But I figure, it’s all remote, stand up isn’t close to being in full swing so I’m not missing gigs, the winter we’ll be on lock down, and I would really, really, like to rid myself of debt— pay off my credit cards and redeem my parents earnings. In fact, my dad has frequently mocked me, saying the only people other than me that he knows who work as many jobs and still make such little money are Mexican immigrants (haha). And once I’m at zero again, I can go back to my life’s desire of traveling to surf destinations!
This past week, for example. I’d work all week and then have four shows over the weekend (like the before times!). No days off. It’s tiring but it feels good. It felt good to feel like a comedian again, and be reminded both that I love it and I’m pretty good at it. I can go back to my life as it was… having no life whatsoever just working and working (haha). But I feel like I can get my shit together now. I always said I wanted a full time writing gig by 30, so I guess 31 isn’t such a delay. And maybe, just maybe, better things are on their way. Maybe, just maybe, the belief driven into me my whole life– that hard work and being kind (or not a pain in the ass) pays off is actually true. Perhaps 2021 will be a better year after all.