Tuesday, June 05, 2007

God is passing out brain tumors too

From This Modern World:

I doubt that she was thinking, when she turned her head and saw the truck coming, “Well, there goes that trip to Greece.'’ But I thought that, later. I thought that the overlooked corollary to “it’s never too late'’ is “it’s never too early.'’

The day after Jeanne Steager died, I went into Mr. Stern’s office and quit my job. I was out of there in an hour; I was back home for lunch. It’s never too early. Plans are just guesses.

I SUPPOSE I AM bringing tidings of subversive cheer; I suppose I am suggesting that you consider a change. Quit your job if you hate it. Go on. I know these are hard times, and people fall off the edge, but God is passing out brain tumors too, and you might as well take the plunge. The plunge is all we’ve got.

When you’re young you think that life stretches out indefinitely and you can take this crap for another decade. And the lesson of Jeanne Steager is, No, you bloody well can’t. Life is of varying lengths, and actuarial tables are only averages, and sometimes you gotta close your eyes and jump. Even if it’s scary; especially if it’s scary.

Click here for more.

So Tom Tomorrow ran the text above, excerpting from a 1995 San Francisco Chronicle column, in reaction to the recent death of popular left-wing blogger Steve Gilliard, who was only two years older than me when he died. I only occasionally read Gilliard's stuff, when others linked to him, but it's clear that he was greatly loved by the left side of the blogosphere. When someone you don't really know dies, but everybody else seems to be talking about him, it may not be a cause for sadness per se, but it is definitely a time for reflection, hence the SFC column over at This Modern World.

I needed to hear this right now. The same attitude expressed above is what got me off my duff to go back to school to get my master's in acting, but now that I'm done, now that I'm facing the rest of my life, I have to admit it's pretty darned frightening. Professional acting is very much a losing proposition in terms of long-term success. At any given moment, some 97% of all people who call themselves actors are not working as actors. The Big Time is only reserved for a lucky few. It's really crazy to chase after such a pipe dream.

But I'm afraid that I'll be miserable going for safety and comfort. I mean, I well expect great misery ahead with what I'm planning on doing, but it's the only way I think I can give my life the meaning it seems to have been lacking for the last decade or so. Even if I fail, my life will have meaning. The plunge is all we've got.

So here I go.