I’ve been thinking about that word for a few weeks now. Not sure when it started or why, but today it came to my lips as as I watch the pool water slowly drain from my pool. It has a leak. For weeks, I’ve tried to stanch the hemorragh of water. Often I will be successful for a day or three, but then it starts again. The pool liner is just old, and I don’t think that it can be saved. It’s a losing battle. I used to think I could be anything, a test pilot, an astronaut, a doctor. I certainly had the brains, bored with school I would dream up ways to get out of my little world, digging deeper into the burrow of my psyche.
Hubris to think that I could stop the leak.
A friend told me that we are all stars in our own personal play. What she meant was, she was the star of her personal play, and everyone was welcome to be in her play; as bit players, ensemble casts, co-stars, extras. Contemplating my part in her play, I thought back to my previous staring role, my biggest and longest run had ended a few years back. In that play I was the co-star, hand in hand with my wife. After a long run that show was canceled and we parted ways. She went on to play a new role, I went on to play bit parts.
Back to my friend’s play, I knew that I wasn’t ready to be the co-star, but I didn’t feel like I was a bit part. In my mind, I was the cameo appearance. The cameo is a great part, you qualify for the cameo by being famous in your own right. People know you from other staring roles, I had a very long run as a lead in my own right. As a cameo, you breeze in and steal the show for a scene or two and then you leave.
I was the cameo in this play because I felt that I was famous, even desirable. I could get the girl, if I wanted, had even been very close a time or two. As the cameo, when my part was done, I get to exit the stage to copious applause. With much of the show left to go, I would be safely out before the drama or tragedy, depending on the play, started. I was perfect for the cameo in my friends play, but I forgot that I don’t get to write or cast the parts in her play. Turned out I was an ensemble cast member, part of the chorus.
As sit here watching the water slowly bleed from the pool, the word comes unbidden from my lips. I think my life is the embodiment of the word. Just when I feel like I have my life by the balls, starring in my own play or playing the cameo in others. When things look like they were going their best, that is when the wheels come off and it goes into the ditch. Thinking that I was a star in my own play, when really all along I’ve been a bit player in a much larger production, one I didn’t write or cast. Maybe it is time to exit the stage, find a new play. Or better yet, write my own. Then I can cast my own co-star, audition the chorus, sign the bit players and hire the extras. Let someone else play the cameo in this play.
[…and scene….fade to black.]
©The Autobiography of Mr. Perfect, 2014