Thursday, August 28, 2008


My senior year in high school was one of the best years of my life. I was editor-in-chief of the yearbook and president of student council. I somehow managed to achieve the positions without ever having worked on the yearbook or ever having been a member of student council. For the yearbook, the faculty adviser asked me to do it because she liked the doodles I made on my papers and felt I was creative enough for the job. Apparently, she was right. Our yearbook that year won a state award for creativity. I don't remember who else ran for student council, but I remember thinking the woman who sat behind me in Government, Annie Pope, would be ideal. She said she'd rather be vice-president and that I should run. Okay, sure, why not? Student council was fun, except I had to learn Robert's Rules of Order for conducting meetings. I had to find ways of being creative within the system. It didn't help that the student council faculty adviser that I was geeked about working with had to leave early in the year for health reasons and was replaced by a jag off Phys Ed teacher. No slam against Phys Ed, but he was much like the stereotypical former jock with a big gut and a fat head.

But I digress. I'm avoiding what I wanted to bring up. Like I said, that year was one of the best years of my life. Full of fun, friends, my first improv workshop, working part-time at a local radio station, a driver's license, the family's Mustang II, lots of good times. The year ended with me performing in the school talent show sharing singer duties with Mark Henn in a fictional band called Punk Jazz. The talent show ended with the student council president candidates giving speeches. The guy I had my money on and supported, Bruce Corn, won.

Yep. A great year. Followed the next year by one of the worst years of my life. My parents got divorced. My mom and younger brother moved from a big house to a tiny apartment. We had to give my dog away. My closest friends all went off to college. I broke down in tears one night backstage at the local community theater during a show. I did so, again, at a bar with friends who were home for Christmas.

By summer, I began to pull myself out of it. I resolved to go to college and study to become an actor. It was my heart's desire. My mother was upset about me leaving. My girlfriend, the sweet, pretty and funny Melinda, that I was "engaged to be engaged to" at the time was supportive and very mature about it. We didn't think a long distance thing would work, so we parted ways, but remained friends. (I started seeing someone else a few months later and we did try to make a long distance thing work, and it didn't.)

College was a blast. I made the Dean's List the first quarter. Then I discovered a social life and what an amazing creative playground college could be. My grades plummeted and my education soared.

In my second year of college, I received some bad news. Bruce Corn, my student council predecessor, shot himself in the drive way of his family's house while home from college. I couldn't get my mind around it. Bruce was a great guy. A big lug who was smart and handsome and everyone liked him. To this day, I don't know what happened to get Bruce to the point of "this is the only way out."

Last night, I received a call from a friend. Another friend we knew drove off in his van on Sunday and was found yesterday. He had killed himself via carbon monoxide poisoning. He leaves behind his wife and their toddler. He also has a daughter from a previous marriage. We were stunned. We both had received an e-mail from this guy on Sunday morning. Along with a few other guys, we check in with each other on what we're up to in life and how our goals are going. I looked up that e-mail to see if I missed anything. There was nothing in there that indicated even a glimpse of what was to come. This is shocking news and sad news. I really liked this guy. Always had a friendly smile. Genuinely interested in how I was doing. Great laugh. My schedule recently shifted to where I was going to see him about twice a month. I ran into him downtown last week and was excited to get to introduce him to my brother. WTF!

In my darkest moments, I have thought about it. I think everyone has at one time or another. As an artist, of course, I think about the how and the logistics of it all. In the end, what usually deters me is - I don't want to inconvenience anyone else with cleaning up the mess and I worry about my cats' welfare. But I also kind of think, I'm not done. There's more to do. There's more to write. There's more people to meet and places to see. What does it all mean in the big scheme of things? Probably nothing. But I'm here. May as well enjoy myself.

Adios, Phil.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Joe Eszterhaus, the writer of the films 'Basic Instinct' and 'Show Girls,' has penned a new book that deals with what?"

46% said "lesbian stripper/serial killers"
- That's so 90's Eszterhaus. Clearly, he has grown as an artist.

30% said "his penis"
- Yep. 700 pages (shhhh, it's actually only 300 pages).

No one said "Hollywood corruption"
- "What corruption?" Eszterhaus said while counting his money.

24% got it right with "spiritual conversion"

According to The Toledo Blade, Joe Eszterhas' latest book is a shocker, but not the kind that made him rich and famous.

The upcoming release from the man who penned dark thrillers such as Basic Instinct and Jagged Edge tells the story of his spiritual conversion and his newfound devotion to God and family.

In Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith, to be published Sept. 2 by St. Martin's Press, Mr. Eszterhas describes how his life got turned around during the summer of 2001.

I hope they make a movie of it and it has a lot of boobies.