Three and a half years ago, in Dallas, Texas, at the age of thirty-six, I stepped on stage, to tell jokes for the first time ever. There was only one event that led me to doing that: I had a dream. It was a literal dream, not the one that you tell people about, in the hopes that they all decide to get along.
In this dream, I was with a co-worker and the two of us were walking around an upper-middle class neighborhood, knocking on every door we could find. If the door opened, we introduced ourselves, pointed at the woman standing behind us and said, “Do you have anything that Jane Curtain can do? She hasn’t worked in a while and we would like to see her working again.”
The morning that I awoke from that dream, I was a thirty-six year old banker. I had a wife, to whom I had been married to for almost three years. We were renting a nice house in Plano, Texas. In that house, we had only two children: our first daughter, who was about four months old, and my son from a previous relationship, who was about thirteen years old. We also had my wife’s dog. He was a wolf of a dog that was half German Shepherd and half psychopath.
I awoke from that dream laughing, “That is going to be the show that replaces The Office!” And that night, I started writing what, I would come to find out, is an original spec script.
(I thought that it was just called “a script”.)
I went on stage to test the jokes in my script.
I was the same age, as I was that morning, when I started writing the original spec script for what would become nothing more than a web series called Fully Staffed. I wanted it to be a TV show. The amount of failures that were spawned by that dream are almost countless. I say “almost” because I actually can count them: Every last one of them.
In story telling, there is a moment when the protagonist, formerly known to me as the hero, thinks that he has lost everything, only to be proven wrong when he loses one more thing. That moment is called the “all is lost moment”. If you’re like me, you probably thought that moment was called “the part where the plot thickens”. Nope, it’s called the “all is lost moment”.
It’s three and a half years later, I’m broke, homeless and alone in Los Angeles, California. I’ve lost everything that I possessed the morning that I awoke from that dream. My wife left me, citing my depression.
(I once joked, on stage, that I wasn’t depressed, she was just making me sad. I remember being the only one laughing.)
Two days ago, she and our two daughters moved to Seattle, Washington. They stopped at Disneyland on their way out of Cali.
My son is living with a loving family in San Diego. Right now, he’s visiting my family in Chicago where he got to see the Jay-Z and Beyoncé Tour.
(Why is no one calling the two of them “Jay-Oncé?)
My dog, who I had to get back from someone who felt that my dog would be better off in a home, is now with my buddy until I get “back on my feet.”
(Those are my everything.)
And after so many losses, I’m thinking that I should stop and ask myself, “Am I God?”