Surprisingly, the thing that pulled me out of my depressive funk was a certain beauty pageant.
This month marked the first time I worked with the Miss USA/Universe organization as a stand-in over at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino (a phrase that I’ve said more than a few times over the years). Believe it or not, stand-in work is a fairly hard gig to get into. It’s surprisingly and very “Catch 22″. You can’t do stand-in work unless you’ve had experience, so if you haven’t had experience and want to do stand-in…. Well, you get the idea.
Still, surrounded by 51 absolutely beautiful and friendly girls from all over the country does tend to put a bit of cheer into a fellow’s step, especially after a month of.. well, not being cheerful. I didn’t really do the emcee position that year. I did more of the judge roles and lead guitarist for the band that they had.
I also worked on Scare Tactics as sort of a “Heaven’s Gate” sort of cult member. Fun fact about me: While living in San Diego, a friend and I tracked down the actual property where everything happened. The house is demolished, the street and address names are changed, but we managed to finagle our way in and take photos. There wasn’t much left: A broken spa, a hint of tennis courts and gazebos, and a few paths that go nowhere. Yes, it’s as creepy as you would imagine.
Anyway, we had to act like we drank the Kool-Aid, and were getting ready to transcend our own bodies. One of the hapless victims was actually fine drinking the punch “because his friend did it”. And they say free will is dead. This show was also important to me as it’s where I met my friend Shannon, an aspiring actress and an airline attendant on the side, building a friendship that has lasted for years.
I also auditioned for the musical Aida, and had to write more show reviews. Work was keeping me busy, with my mind off of the previous months. And for that, I was grateful. Dad had even left me some money, to which I was starting to not only get bills under control, but start to build a better life for myself.
And then the accident happened.
After pulling up in my new car, the Missus had tripped over a cable box, breaking her teeth, both arms, and dislodging some vertebrae in her back. The accident was nightmarish, and required a rush trip to the emergency room so the doctors could basically, well, rebuild her. It’s a hard event to describe. Outside of work, I was still not wanting to get out of bed most days. This required me to get up and take care of somebody else. And sometimes, I have a tendency to be better at doing just that. In any case, it began a long string of doctor visits, therapies, and lawyer visits.
It was here when I began to wonder if it was too late to return 2008 to the store for a refund….