“Get a job!” The ultimate heckle. I hear my Dad yelling it. Well, not really yelling it. Instead of some booming Brooklyn accent, I hear a monotone, very passive-aggressive WASP-y sounding voice saying, “Here son, take some money for the LSAT prep course… just try it.” “You could maybe be a lawyer and then you can follow your passions in your free-time.” Or when encountering my resistance: “I had dreams too, but you know what happened…life happened,” (This is followed by a knowing nod from his fourth wife.) And then going in for the kill, “Your generation is all gonna wind up in the poor house following your, your….bliss. What about retirement!? What are ya gonna do then? You sure as heck aren’t gonna wanna work when your seventy I can sure as shit tell you that!”
Well I did go to law school, but I took a leave of absence in the middle of my second year because, instead of falling asleep with my Contracts book clutched to my chest, I woke up face-planted in a bowl of vodka and a pile of coke. So back to my more or less destructive bliss: Music. My Dad of course retired early, financial success being his big dream, travels the world, owns stuff, likes to be president of all things with the word ‘Club’ in them.
Yeah, law school wasn’t for me. Music was always for me and now, musical theater writing is for me. It’s what I love, a love learned later in life. A love that I went back to school for. Those life-tested loves are the most secure of loves right? But Dad’s right too. What the heck am I gonna do then: Old and wizened and riddled with the regret of burning my law books on my front stoop? Seventy and binge-watching ‘Breaking Bad’ for the fourteenth time.
So thinking about retirement’s not such a bad idea. I mean it’s a good idea. No. Great idea. It just might be the best idea ever! So I know. What if I wrote two plays and two musicals every year for the next ten years, most of them going to Broadway of course! That’s 40 shows. (Am I making a leap here, I think not.) Then retirement-smirement, duh, in ten years, with all the Broadway money, I’ll be on the French Riviera, on a rocky beach, under a blue and white-striped umbrella, nude, with extra-virgin olive oil slathered all over me, eating cockles and caviar and croque-monsieurs, snapping to my man-servant ‘Guy,’ who I insist on calling guy, cause I’m an American with money dammit and I can! for him to bring me a Lillet spritzer and all the time knowing I can’t have a f-ing cocktail! No, no drinking. Recovery. Sigh.
But I will be retired! Retired! Retire-ment. It’s meant to be. And all my dreams will have come true cause my shows will be on Brooaad-way making tens, no hundreds of thousands a week, gross, which I get 5% of, and not to mention the tours and London premieres and concerts in Manila (for some reason they LOVE musicals there…oh wait Lea Salonga, right,) and then there’s concessions (shirts and mugs and such,) and speaking fees and casting couches. Well the last one is a little creepy but everything else.
So that’s it. Easy enough. Just write. Yeah. Just write. Broadway, then retirement. Good plan. Excellent. I’ll write 40 theater works, in ten years and live off the dividends…
Did I tell you I’m forty-five? Oh and I’m a little bit lazy. Well a lot. Lazy. And I am currently waiting tables. And I don’t live in New York. I mean I did until this summer, but I had to get out. You know the crowds, the rent, the grind, the apartment I accidentally flooded. I live in Philly now, in a room rented out by one of the line-cooks that I work with. It’s cheap- in a not so safe part of town. I think they are dealing drugs across the street. Next door too. But I am a published musical theater writer. My latest musical was in a prestigious festival and was “award-winning.” That’s what it says on my website anyway. The awards were honorable mentions, in two categories. But that’s first runner-up, no? No one has licensed it…as of yet. And all in all my writing has netted me, let’s see… Oh that is a negative number isn’t it.
Well, this plan is looking great. Retirement. Retirement: Broadway! Yep. Take that Dad. Let’s see how this goes.