Barry Smith: Irrelativity
September 22, 2008
(Barry has completed his summer tour. Todays dispatch comes from somewhere between Vancouver, Canada, and home …)The final show of the summer tour is done, and it ended in the most perfect way imaginable. Packed house, great crowd, good performance, even a standing ovation all of it came together on a Saturday night in Vancouver.Now I have a short break before the fall tour begins. A short break to reflect on my summer. Id like to think I learned a few things, but that may be a bit presumptuous. I suspect that I may have learned the same thing over and over, month after month. Though thats not technically learning, now is it? Thats just embarrassing.Heres a list of things I think I may have learned: If you were to stand on stage, take a big dump, then sculpt it into a bust of your mother, and get enough people to watch you do it, somebody is bound to think its a fabulous bit of theater. If that somebody happens to write for an important art magazine, then youre set. I have lots more to say on this topic, but I might already have given away too much about my next show. Last summer I got the biggest zit of my life right on my cheek where it was dead obvious. I think theres even a scar. This year I didnt get such a zit. So progress is being made, right? Mary Tyler Morphine. This isnt really something I learned, just something I scribbled in my notebook at some point during the summer. Not sure when. Or why. Or what. When its good, its really, really good. When its bad, its still better than being at work. Ive just spent a summer living in my van and on the couches, floors and spare rooms of friends and strangers. Exactly like I was doing 20 years ago. Cool. Sometimes people like to read your program notes while youre doing your show. Dont they know that they get to take the programs home? Sometimes they like to send text messages. Sometimes they like to sleep. It will always be this way, forever. Get used to it. Come now, is your teriyaki sauce REALLY famous … ? Another thing I wrote in my notebook. I wrote it with a gold calligraphy pen, so it must have had some meaning at the time. After two consecutive summers spent in Canada, Im still unable to pinpoint the specific differences between us and our northern neighbors. This is the best Ive come up with this year: Canadians sometimes just say done, rather than done with. So, instead of Im done with my tour, it would be Im done my tour. Its as if Canadians are seeking their identities, one dropped preposition at a time. Sushi is really cheap in Vancouver. And good. You can have sushi for lunch, even if youre on a budget. Actual bumper sticker I saw in Edmonton: Im Not Afraid of Terrorism, So Please Dont Form A Police State On My Account. This is a fine sentiment, but it seems to be lacking that bit of pith often associated with bumper stickers. For all I know, it was continued on the front bumper. Always leave them wanting more, even in traffic. Ive lived in and visited some dodgy places in my life, but nobody has ever thrown a beer bottle at me from a moving car. Not until Winnipeg. They threw it at my feet instead of my head. Thats how I knew I was in Canada. Books cost more in Canada, and I dont understand why. But this didnt stop me from buying comic books. Nothing can stop me from buying comic books, it seems. Not even global economic collapse. It was the absolute final moment of the tour Id just loaded my stuff out of the theater and into my van and was about to drive away when a woman ran up to tell me how much she enjoyed my show. It was a perfectly timed dramatic ending to an intensely wonderful summer. After months of ups and downs and triumphs and frustrations and ego and humility and insights and shortsightedness and hindsight, it all came down to that one last moment. I thanked her, and meant it more than she could possibly know.Then I closed the door, started the van, and drove away.The end.Barry Smiths Irrelativity appears Mondays.