Okay, so you remember — long, long ago, in a place far, far away, when I was much, much poorer — how I took that job I thought I wanted? The one I worked 14-hour days for, necessitating my complete abandonment of this blog — not to mention my fiance, my family, sleep, sex, food, and my own writing projects?
Well, you know what’s harder than getting hired in Hollywood?
Okay, no, actually, getting fired is the easy part.
All they have to do is say, “You’re fired.” Or, as in my case, “We’ve decided not to pick up your option for the next round of shows.” And when you finally manage to squeak out, “Why?”, they answer, “Because we don’t think you’re ‘a good fit’ for the show.” That — if you’re any kind of professional — is the moment you somehow swallow the deja vu-vian fury (after all, you TOLD them in the first interview, “By the way, I think I’m a little too dark for your show.”) and force yourself to at least pretend to be a grown-up. Because no matter how much you agree with them — and you do, god help you; this is NOT the show you thought it would be — still you have to quell that “oh-please-baby-Jesus-in-the-manger-leave-me-one-eensy-weensy-shred-of-dignity-and-do-NOT-let-me-do-the-angry-tears-thing” in the back of your throat, while boosting up your I’m-Made-Of-Adamantium-Bitch! Amplifier to 11… without someone getting nervous and calling Security.
Especially when they say you have to pack up your stuff, empty your office, and get out NOW — like, NOW NOW, like, “We think you may be carrying the Ebola virus” NOW — so beat it, hit the road, take a hike, immediately this very minute, comprende, bobo? — at 11:15 at night, five minutes after you’ve wrapped your second episode.
But that’s all for “purely legal reasons,” of course. It’s nothing personal. It’s never personal, is it?
Except when it totally fucking is.
Getting fired sucks, especially when you know the only reason you’re getting fired is for being yourself. If you hearken back to my post “Portrait of Writer in Nude (Pantyhose),” you’ll understand how I might not get picked up for a second round of shows. My tastes are… hmm… how you say… “twisted and black as darkest night,” and this show… hmmm… let’s say… “isn’t.” Likewise, nor do I buy into political bullshit, and there… well… mighta been some of that. But like I said, I get it. I even agreed with the decision — and how often are you thinking, “Boy, that was a great call you made, to get rid of my ass”… five minutes after they tell you to pack your shit and bounce (again, “purely for legal reasons”)?
Here’s the thing. I don’t think anyone likes being told, “GO. THE HELL. AWAY.”
But if you find yourself in a situation that is so clearly unsuited to your temperament, when you get fired, the least you can do — and I mean really, the very least — is leave without breaking anything, or using any of your favorite words (that George Carlin pointed out, can’t be said on TV). And if you can dredge up even the bittiest bit of graciousness, in exchange for severing your head cleanly with one chop, you will wish your executioners luck. And you may not think you mean it, but as the weeks go on, you’ll realize you actually did — you just didn’t feel it at the time. Kind of like snapping your spine.
Two things I am grateful for out of the whole mishegas:
One, I met a ton of great people I’d like to work with in the future, especially my fellow Writers, most of the Producers, one Director in particular, nearly 99% of the Actors, 99% of the crew (the grip who nailed me in the head with a C-stand I could probably live without for the rest of my career; though with the amnesia, I’m not sure I’d remember what he looked like, anyway) — and these are astounding odds. I don’t know — maybe you have to work on a “family” show to average that wealth of overall goodness — which concomitantly blows, considering I will mostly likely never work on a “family” show again. But fool me once… and a good hard fucking lesson learned.
Two, I now know another place I do NOT belong. It seems people always harp on the idea of discovering where you belong — but for me, it’s been a long series of finding out where I clearly don’t. I could get into specific details here — and when the memoir eventually comes out, hoo-wee!; I’m never gonna be able to eat lunch in California again — but the fact is, the more people you work with, the more you find out about the kind of people you can work with. And the less you have to care about the people you can’t. My mom calls it “having a tough skin” — I used to think she meant “having a thick skin” — but I grew up in Florida and there were alligators everywhere, so maybe she knew what she was talking about.
A thick skin means nothing can touch you on the inside — nothing can get through. A tough skin means, sure, you come away with scars, but at least you can still feel. And I think I’d rather do that. There are too many people here in Hollywood already who can’t feel a damned thing.
Poor workin’ fools.