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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Something Funny about Saturday Night Live

I’m probably one of the few remaining people who actually try to watch Saturday Night Live, live if possible.  I’m a stubborn fan.  In college while applying for an internship with SNL I wrote in my cover letter that, “I was the cool kid in elementary school whose parents let him stay up and watch SNL, and in high school I was lame kid who stayed home on Saturday nights to watch it”.  Today, I guess I’m a bit of both.

In any event this past Saturday was Kristin Wiig’s last show.  There was a nice farewell to Wiig at the end of the show with Mick Jagger, Arcade Fire, and the cast dancing to She’s a Rainbow.  It was very touching, but as when anyone leaves SNL I found myself wondering, why?

Marry me?  
Despite its ups and downs Saturday Night Live seems like the most fun thing of which anyone could hope to be a part.  With tears in her eyes, Wiig was clearly s ad to leave the show that made her a star as well as all of her cast mates who will stay behind to haphazardly attempt to fill the massive void left by the departures of such sketch icons as Penelope, the Target Lady, the third sister on the Lawrence Welke Show.  Clearly, good times were had so why leave? 

Because of the SNL precedent of peacing out after a cast member has achieved some modicum of fame.  Pretty much every successful cast member has done this, but whether Wiig will follow in the footsteps of Fey, Farrell, Sandler, and Murray or those of Forte, Oteri, Mohr, and Piscopo remains to be seen. It seems like unless you’re Tim Meadows, you have to move on. 

Tim Meadows was an average cast member who debuted on Saturday Night Live in 1991 and stuck around until 2000 when I think Lorne Michaels paid him $35 to leave.  You probably don’t remember him from anything aside from being the black guy on the show who wasn’t Chris Rock or Tracey Morgan.  For a long time I thought Meadows was a genius.  He refused to allow some obligatory social cue dictate his life.  He had a good thing going on SNL and he wasn’t going to leave.  But then everyone else did.

Whether by abdication, firing, or being Chris Farely (RIP), the cast around Meadows changed and continued to change until he probably felt like a less funny version of Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused.  As steadfast as he remained, the SNL Meadows loved still changed around him and by the time he realized it all he had was some nasty dreads and the unread script for The Lady’s Man 2: Ladying in DC, Slick Willy Returns.

How has this movie not been made yet?

Whether Wiig wanted to or not, she had to leave because her recent success has given her the best chance to achieve some personal goal.  If one of her goals had been to have stayed on SNL forever, it wouldn’t have been possible.  Old cast mates would have left, new ones would have arrived and it wouldn't have been the same SNL she had come to love.

I still haven’t signed anything for Mizzou (not that I’ve been asked) nor have I told my boss that I’m leaving, which has allowed me to harbor the possibility of staying in St. Louis if only as the faintest of options.  I know I won’t, but I often think about if I would and what I’m giving up here for an uncertain future there.  But like most things in life, this can be equated to Saturday Night Live.  

As much as I love my life and the people in it right now, it won’t stay the same forever.  That’s the simple and sometimes sad axiom of life.  People get married, they leave town to take dream jobs, they leave town to take not dream jobs, lives unabatedly change and as much as I might want to trap these moments inside of some diabolical snowglobe, I can’t.  The word spins madly on and we all must be willing and prepared, if not excited, to change with it.  All I can do is relentlessly pursue my dreams and hope that somewhere along the way there’s a place where things aren’t in such inevitable flux and that maybe I can get there some day.

Leave it to the lady who routinely vomits while dancing on camera to give me some perspective—or at least provide me with an analogy to continually restate my perspective…

Friday, May 18, 2012

Money, Money, Boo, Bah!

This week I found out that I did not receive the fellowship that would have paid me $10,000 over two years for attending Mizzou.  I guess you never know what you don’t got, until you realize that you don’t actually got it. 

That means I have a whopping $6,000 waiting for me next year and a job search to do this summer.  I’m far from rolling in  it now—one of the reasons  I can justify going to grad school—but my earnings next year are going to make Present Me look like Scrooge McDuck to Future Me.  And Future Me hates that guy, I’m assuming.

You just got it all figured out McDuck, don't you now?   I just can't wait until the fall of the Euro crashes you  to your smug, webbed, spatted feet!

It’s one thing to romantically declare that you’re following your dreams, money be damned; and it’s another to look at your bank account from a functional sense and start devising crazy schemes to buy groceries.  With a steady income currently coming in, I’m mostly filing these thoughts into the “I’ll figure something out” drawer; but I know now that even if I get a job, when I get a job, in Columbia there are still some niceties that I enjoy now that I won’t be able to enjoy then.

Now,  I live with five other people, drive my grandma’s old ’97 Ford Contour, and eat ValueTime brand foods so what those niceties are that I’ll have to forgo later, I can’t actually imagine, but I guess I’ll find out.  I'm just saying this whole, following-your-inherently-deep-seeded passions-to-quench your-burning-desires-so-you-can-sleep-at-night-and feel-good-about-yourself  thing had better pay off, with money.  Lots of it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wet Hot American Summer of Things To Do

When I finally chose a college in my senior year of high school I entered a period of ultimate relaxation that has not been seen since.  Aside from failing all of my classes or getting arrested, my plans for the fall were essentially set regardless of what happened in the months prior.  I was, I  believe the expression is, playing with house money.

The most fun you can have without actually spaying or neutering your pet.

Reason would dictate that based on this past experience I use the upcoming summer to cut class to watch The Price Is Right, prank my evil work supervisor, and concentrate on the summer swimming championships.   I was real rebel back then.  But alas, even these teenage hijinks might be out of my grasp.  Unlike college, which graciously equipped me with a dorm room—complete with asshole roommate—fancy meal plan, student worker position, and a built-in community of wide-eyed, geeky teens through the forced comradery of freshman orientation, grad school requires its students to be a scoche more independent.  

That brings me to;

Shit I got to do before going to grad school

1.)    Find Housing – Check

This one was actually pretty easy to address.  A good friend from my AmeriCorps days is currently finishing her masters at Mizzou and needs another roommate in the fall.  Yahtzee!  Nevermind that it’s actually  more rent than than I’m paying to live in St. Louis (not by much), it’s worth it to avoid the hassle of apartment hunting and to get to live with an incredible friend—God as my witness, I shall never live with an asshole again! 

2.)    Get a Job – Not Check

In my second year in the program I’ll be teaching a full load of freshman composition courses and getting paid $13,000/ academic year, but during my first year I’ll be working a half load in the student writing center where I’ll get paid $6,000/ academic year, which means I need another job.  I’m still eligible for a $5,000/ academic year fellowship—a fellowship for just being awesome—but in the not-so-oft chance that I’m not quite awesome enough, I’d better start scouring those want ads. 

3.)    Quit my Job – Not Check, clearly

At some point, maybe in October, my current job will probably start wondering why I haven’t been to work since August—I have a lot of sick days built up.  But when to drop the Q-Bomb?  Do it too soon and I risk them replacing me before I’d like to leave (I’d like to keep working/ getting paid right until I leave for Mizzou in mid August).  And though I think my chair would be pretty understanding of my situation, he’s also a bottom-line type of guy who could probably see the merit of hiring and training someone in the summer as opposed to right before classes begin.  On the other hand I don’t want to do them dirty two weeks prior-style either.  I really can’t afford to burn any bridges. 

4.)    Move to Columbia – Not check

When I arrive at my new place there won’t be a sweet bed/ desk/ dresser/ bookshelf/ dinner table combo waiting for me like there was in my freshman dorm room, along with an asshole roommate—I really hated that dickweed.  Though I moved to St. Louis with but two suitcases in tow, I’ve since accumulated a great deal of crap, crap which I now have figure out a way to get to Columbia.  I’m thinking a U-Haul.  Uh, so does anyone want to drive a U-Haul to Columbia, MO for me?

Worst roommate ever.

5.)    Find my Grad School Family – Not Check L

Now begins the sappy “I’m really going to miss my St. Louis friends and the community that I’ve nestled into here, and I can only hope that I find something even quazi-close to it at Mizzou” section.  And now concludes this section.

It is clear I have some serious shit to do before August, but I’m not too worried about it right now.  It’s only May, and honestly, these things really sound like issues for Future me.  Present me is too busy watching The Price Is Right and coming up with pranks for my co-workers anyway.