Every April 15th, I, like most good US citizens, fill out my tax forms and list my occupation as “Entertainer.”
Unlike accountants, gynecologists or coal miners, being an “Entertainer” can mean having a myriad of careers as an actor, singer, dancer, comic, writer, artist or any hyphenated combo of those.
Entertainer also includes street performers like those freaky frozen living statues, chainsaw jugglers or city kids pounding out percussion on plastic buckets. Oh, let’s not leave out New York’s famed “Naked Cowboy” who struts around Times Square playing the guitar wearing only a pair of tightie-whities, cowboy boots, and a ten-gallon hat. Call him crazy, but this crazy guy rakes in about $150,000 a year in tips from tourists who’ve only had, up till this moment, the excitement of getting their picture taken with the Easter Bunny at their local mall.
*NOTE TO READER: I have not included “reality stars” in the entertainment category out of personal disdain for their misleading oxymoron of a moniker. These stagnations of humanity, i.e. ALL the Kardashians, the Housewives, the Honey Boo-Boos, the Duck Dynasty Douchebags and ALL of the Duggers (and that’s a lot of Duggers), etc., do not exist in any form of reality in my world. They alone, and collectively, have no discernible talent to deign them a “star.” I hold the Naked Cowboy and his ilk in higher regard. At least he can play the guitar.
How is it then, that after 30 years of earning a living and paying taxes as an “Entertainer” that I can single-handedly lull my $150 an hour therapist to sleep?
No, he wasn’t just closing his eyes to better focus on my weekly “woe is me” diatribe and self-absorbed whining. This guy actually nodded off. I’m talking full chin to chest. Then I watched his lower lip, succumbing to gravity, fall limp. His pen rode a slow motion descent from his finger’s sleepy grip.
I had to assume he was in that first stage of sleep — which I Googled while he dozed.
It’s considered a very light sleep from which one is easily awakened. So I decided to blow my nose — gently. I just wanted to get his attention back on the task at hand…listening to my bullshit. But hey, it’s my bullshit. And, it’s real for me. Why else would I be blowing $150 an hour on therapy and not on the latest Nordstrom Rack deal?
My subtle nose blowing roused him. I pretended to be mopping up a case of the sniffles so he wouldn’t guess I’d witnessed his brief nap. He pushed his glasses back up his nose, retrieved his pen from the floor and jumped right back in, “So, how are you doing with your insomnia?”
“Not quite as good as you” started to form on my lips, but I controlled myself. Barely.
If this were the first time I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. Dear God, if I had to listen to people like me all day I’d need a nap — or maybe a bullet in the head. But it wasn’t the first time. And I guessed that if I didn’t get more “entertaining” it wouldn’t be the last.
I remember going to the beach for a girl’s day with a friend who is a therapist. I was so proud of her winning struggle to put herself through grad school which landed her a job working at a prestigious celebrity-studded rehab.
Yet, on our beach day, there she was, unloading a tote bag full of tabloid magazines onto the blanket. There they were…the Kardashians, the Boo-Boos, the Housewives… all those “entertainers” I refused to acknowledge above.
“Are those for research?” I asked since her clients often graced the covers of these rags.
“God no! It’s my day off.”
“So…you’re going to read them…for fun?”
“Marianne, do you have any idea what I listen to in my office hour after hour, day after day? Yes, I know it’s my job. But you try listening to people whining about their problems and how tough their lives are. It’s exhausting.”
“Yeah, I guess that would be exhausting.”
As she thumbed through the “Mama June’s Revenge Weight Loss” issue of US Magazine, I asked, “So, have you ever, you know, dozed off during a session? I mean even for a little bit?”
“Oh, my god, yes! At least a couple of times — that I remember.”
“That you remember?!”
Now she was on a roll. “Once, I nodded off and only woke up when I let out one of those loud snorts. Wow! That snapped me back to life. It was embarrassing but pretty hilarious.”
“You were snorting? Actually snorting?”
“My client didn’t even notice. When I came to she was still ranting about her blackouts…didn’t miss my blackout for a minute.”
With this in mind, I arrived at my next therapy session determined to entertain Dr. Freud. Keep him fully alert.
I’d already decided it would be my last session and I wanted to go out with a bang.
So I channeled my inner New York Naked Cowboy. I entered his office wearing a pair of tightie-whities, cowboy boots, and a ten-gallon hat — and, yes, donning a tube top to cover my backup singers. I strummed a kiddie guitar while I sang George Benson’s “On Broadway.”
I got a one-man standing ovation.
And, after signing my autograph on a check, I booked my next gig…on the couch… entertaining my therapist. (Note to reader: Yes, this was Photoshopped. Damn.)