Archive for November, 2009

profound trivialities

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Some of life’s more interesting moments are mundane, trivial events which somehow capture larger truths. Here are a couple of them from my life:

The Dressing Room Clock

I’ve done an awful lot of theatre over the years. If there’s one thing theatre people are good at, it’s complaining. I’m not sure we’re different from everybody else in that regard, but I digress.

During the run of one show I was acting in at our local theatre, I noticed that the clock in the dressing room had stopped. I was the only one around at the time, and it was Sunday, right before a few days off. “Dad-burned, dinkle-dorfing theatre,” I said silently to myself, “everything is always breaking around here.”

Thursday rolled around, and it was time to do another show. I soon noticed that the dressing room clock was still stopped. In retrospect, I’m not sure who was supposed to notice the problem and fix it, but still, I was annoyed. “Things never get fixed around here!” I grumbled to myself. Had there been anyone else around, I would have grumbled to him, too.

Of course, I’d never told anyone of this situation, and there was no reason to think that anyone other than the actors who use that dressing room would notice. But still, I was annoyed.

I looked back at the clock. I realized that clocks like that don’t plug into the wall, they take one AA battery. Furthermore, I had my camera bag with me. In that bag, there was a stash of AA batteries for the flash. It dawned on me that I had a few options:

  • I could continue to grumble ineffectually to myself
  • I could grumble ineffectually to other actors
  • I could point out the problem to the stage manager and actually get it fixed, OR
  • I could just fix the damn thing myself and be done with it.

The Handyman’s Curse

Another time, my girlfriend and I were having dinner with a couple of friends. The male component of the couple was celebrating; he’d just received his certification as an electrical contractor. “Why would anyone work as a $15/hr handyman, when they could work as a $75/hr contractor?” He said, looking forward to larger paychecks.

“Oh, poo-poo,” I said silently to myself. That $15/hr handyman is me… in a metaphorical sort of way. Our society does value specialists, with their intricate knowledge of esoteric topics, far more than generalists.

For better or worse, I’m a hopeless generalist. I can’t stand the idea of doing one narrowly defined thing over and over and over and over, regardless of what that particular thing is. Maybe I’m stuck for all eternity as a $15/hr handyman of sorts… a photo/graphics/video/web/text editing handyman.


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