Day 16

I thought when I started writing these daily entries that I would feel a sense of accomplishment. I do, and it’s a huge problem because it means I have a built in excuse not to do anything the rest of the day. It’s guilt and self-doubt that fuel this hobbling creative machine and when you take away the oil and try to run it just on gas alone, it gets all gunked-up.

I can’t feel a sense of accomplishment AND be confident AND be funny. I’m not the type of person who just has stuff inside me bubbling to get out. I have to dig in and find it, and it usually resides in the fertile cesspool called “low self-esteem.” I don’t have Precious level low self-esteem, but I do spend a lot of my days with a nagging feeling that I’m not good enough or that I’m not living up to my potential. People have told me about this “potential”. Whether it was a music teacher, a soccer coach, or a patient older lover, I’ve always been told, ”if you keep at this, you could be really great.” The problem is, I never have.

I’ve concentrated very hard on 5 different things in my life, each of which consumed me at the time. Drums, Marijuana, Graduate School, Pool and Stand-up Comedy.

Those are the five things I’ve been pretty good at. I was a decent drummer in high school, nothing ground breaking at all, but I could put on headphones and play along with CCR. I was a better pot smoker than I ever was a drinker, mostly because I was young and didn’t worry about any of the consequences (because there were none). Eventurally, pot got too strong and paranoia set in, so I went to grad school and got a Master’s in sociology (made sense at the time). I thought I would probably get a Ph.D and become a professor like my Dad, but the field was too competitive and the thought of moving to Boise and growing a beard felt lonely. So I spent the next 10 years playing pool. Yes, playing pool, for money, gambling and entering tournaments. Huh? Yea, I know, weird for me too, but it happened. What these 4 things have in common is that I got good at them, but I never became great. Just think, if I had stuck with the pot smoking, I would probably have a nickname by now. 

I definitely feel as if I’m hitting that wall with stand-up where getting a little bit better is going to take a lot of effort. The good thing is that I’m probably too old to take up archery.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

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