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@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
And That Might Mean I’d Have To Say Goodbye Too, Just For A Little While
I get this sinking feeling that COVID is a dress rehearsal for something much worse. That all the signs the beginning of the end started long ago. That we’re in the middle now. Smack down in the middle. And I do believe things will get better. As much as I believe things will get worse before they get better again. More and more I have this feeling like this is Mother Nature’s way of restoring balance. The virus is not meant to be evil. Just as when you walk down the sidewalk and see a baby bird spattered on the sidewalk, drenched in its own yolk, shards of its once protective shell scattered… it was just gravity. It was just shit luck that that egg fell. With the overpopulation and pollution, it almost feels fair Mother Nature would strike back. Individually, we do not deserve the sickness. But humanity, collectively, this may be something we brought upon ourselves.
It makes some things matter so little, doesn’t it? And then other things matter so much. Often, I wonder, how long new leases on life actually last. Before we revert to old habits. It’s so hard for anything to change.
For what it’s worth, my life has been exponentially better than it was in 2020. And I’m grateful. But here we are, coming out of summer and still not out of the skeleton grip of the pandemonium of a pandemic. A lot of good has happened to me between this time last year and now. I’m not as scared of a lot of things I was. I have financially stability. A creative job. A new, perfect family member.
But my stand up career didn’t bounce back. And I know I’m not the only one. I’ve shared woes with other comedians who feel lost after the hiatus. Then, on social media, with all its toxicity, if feels like some people are just constantly working. Genuinely, I do not know how to get it back again.
At what point do you stop making excuses? Stop blaming industry or clubs and just accept that maybe it’s you? Maybe it’s just you? God knows how many times I suffered through some people complain and whine when I’ve thought to myself how they just weren’t that good and there wasn’t anything special about them. Only to nod and go, “yeah, I get it.”
I know I’ve some talent as a writer. If you read screenplays I’ve written, they are somewhere between good and great. Don’t get me wrong. This is my passion. It’s always been there and I truly believe it always will be. That’s no small thing. Most people don’t remain passionate about something their whole lives. Just as people don’t remain passionate about the same person their whole lives. Life, as short as it is, can also be too long.
So, you think to yourself, maybe it’s time to hang this part of your life on the shelf. To go, you know what, it’s been a hell of fucking ride. I did some really cool shit I’m proud of. I was brave. No, no… I was flat out ballsy. I’ve felt such great highs. Stood next to my heroes. Earned their respect and friendship. That’s not nothing to me.
There’s another thing, too, I fear. That if you cut something out of your life that you love, you have to cut it all out. Like if you go through a break up with someone you’re still in love with. You have to sever that limb clean— a lesson I’ve learned the hard way. That you can’t linger on old photographs or find yourself checking in on social media. It has to be cauterized. Or you’re essentially torturing yourself. So much of my social life has revolved around comedy that some of my best friends in the world are within this realm. While I could never ax them from my life entirely, nor would have any desire to, I believe this “break up” would involve a temporary goodbye. That just being around them and talking shop would make me bitter and summon pangs of what my life used to be.
One of my cousins went through what was probably the most amicable divorce I’ve ever witnessed. Not that it wasn’t hard. Certainly, there is inside information and hardships I don’t know about, nor is it really any of my business. Ultimately, they both decided the relationship ran its course, and it was time to split. The maturity of their divorce is a sign of how much they actually do love and respect each other, even if it was over. Her husband, however, was very close with the extended family. I loved seeing him at family gatherings. He had written us all a note after their divorce. It saddened me a great deal, knowing that this was not going to be a person in my life going forward. He was married to my cousin, but I saw him as cousin and bonded with him as such. I still miss him. But he was not part of our club any longer, said not with anger, but with a heavy heart.
There are comedians I talk to every day. There are comedians who I believe understand me more than anyone. There are comedians I have the best times with, whether I’m working with them or hitting the town, boozing, bitching about our careers and spitballing ideas for tv shows and screenplays.
And look. Maybe it’s just a phase. It’s not like I haven’t been here before. But the truth of the matter is, if I stepped away and channeled my creativity more heavily on screenplays and novels, I’d have to close the door on these people. I’d have to. Or there would be no moving on. These doors, they would not be locked. Not ever. And they wouldn’t remain closed. It’s not like if they came knocking I wouldn’t answer. I’d miss them as much as I’d miss the stage, if not more so.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m just depressed. Or lonely. Most days, I just want a companion who’ll drink on the beach with me. They can be my audience and we’ll just laugh together. Perhaps it’s always been a simple life that is the route to true happiness.
As much as I’m pulled one way, I still have a desire to record an album. At least one album. At least some collection of my best jokes to go, “yeah I did this. I spent a decade of my life and all my youth honing this.” Not for you. But for me.