I live in a town that loves money as much as a burning bottom loves Preparation H. The currency around here is front, center and sideways and all of the Rodeo driving and celebri-sightings seem to fuel the fire that those Benjamins built. $600 sloppy haircuts, $2000 wrinkled handbags, $50,000 drug-sprinkled private schools and $3,000,000 houses that look like a Kabul Koo Koo Roo.
When I arrived in L.A. many crescent moons ago my mind was littered with gold bathtub wishes and Hammer Time dreams. Within minutes of landing at LAX I knew I would be on my way to rich and famous. Maybe I would hit it bug after being discovered walking down Sunset Boulevard carrying a baby backpack filled with laundry quarters and a tattered deck of positive affirmation playing cards. If that didn’t happen then surely I would be plucked out of obscurity by a kind and gentle pimp who loved me for my personality and political conviction or at least coddled by a C-list television extra that just wanted to be friends.
Rusty, my extra in shining denim, would flag me down with his one good arm and tell me that I was the most beautiful person he’d talked to that day. Since he lived under the bus stop bench outside the only local DMV to have a working toilet and a water fountain, I would understandably agree with him and shake his non-working arm while thanking him for his compliment. He would then write down my number on his thigh with a dull golf pencil he’d saved from high school and promise to call his agent on my behalf as soon as he found a dime and his other sneaker.
Rusty would then skitter off toward a taco truck that smelled like farts and garlic salt while singing “One” from A Chorus Line, leaving me to wonder if my life was indeed about to change forever.
In my twisted fantasy Rusty made that fateful call at a sticky payphone on Cahuenga and Melrose and procured for me a part-time extra job on Blossom. In my lucky reality, my first boss in Los Angeles, who was a failed writer and a bi-polar positive personal assistant to a slew of celebrities, called her agent and set up a meeting for me. His name was Jerry and when he opened his lips a mouthful of yellow piano keys sang back at you in cracked high notes and flat C’s. He signed me out of pity, boredom and senility and by the grace of godlessness I booked my first and only audition under his aged and angry tutelage.
You can read about that fateful audition HERE but the reason I am writing today is as follows. Last month I took a leap of lazy and bowed out of the actor’s union for good. I then called my one remaining agent and told him I quit the bitch of the business and planned on writing more four-lettered poems and finger-painted book proposals. Going on random calls for toxic pain medication, frozen pizza pockets and ill-fitting wash and wear jeggings amounted to hours of wasted time and laborious actor eavesdropping.
A few weeks passed and just when I began to feel like all those awkward and insignificant credits on my resume were just a series of bad dreams I opened the mailbox and found a residual check worth less than the envelope it travelled in.
The first check I ever received for my first gig, Sinatra, the mini-series, bought me the now defunct union card, a new sundress, a pair of John Fluevog creepers and a healthy ego. The last check brought me down.