When I tell people I’m happily married to a beautiful, intelligent woman, it’s not because I’m trying to earn brownie points with the little missus (even though I’ll take ‘em if I do earn some) – it’s because it’s the truth. My Lady Fair is awesome and I’m a damn lucky man to have her in my life. All this love doesn’t mean we didn’t have our ups and downs – just like clockwork, seven years in everything came to a head, and it didn’t look like we’d make it. Took a lot of work – took a lot of apologies, a lot of pride-swallowing, and a lot of compromising – but we made it through, and we’re better people and a happier couple for it.
Back in those dark days, one of the first things I had to learn as a loving, supportive husband was there would never be a time to rest on my laurels – just because you married her, just because she married you, didn’t mean she didn’t need reassuring everyday the man in her life still found her beautiful, intelligent, competent, alluring, and desirable. And it wasn’t enough to say it – you had to show it, with gestures both big and small. The most independent, capable woman in the world still wants to be wooed, pure and simple – just thinking, “She knows how I feel” would never cut it. Ever.
It’s a good lesson to learn. If more people learned it, the world would be a better place. Just so happens, it applies to aspects of life other than just marriage.
I felt like hammered doggy-doo. The Pigsty gig was over, I’d missed sound check and the last set, and I was depressed: add that to the seasonal changes and the vicious crap flying around the north Texas air, and I was sick: sore throat, cough, fever, aches, the whole nine yards. I cancelled a date with my new graphics client (my old boss from eight years ago), dropped Airborne into my orange juice and spent the next couple of days in bed. Friday, I made up the lost time at my client’s pad, then spent almost three hours on the road fighting rush hour traffic to get across town for a wine event just as another cold front came through. By the time I got home, I was sick again, pretty much ruining my first Saturday night off in nearly a month.
Pauly called Sunday:
“Did you drop off promo flyers to Chasers?”
No, I hadn’t – I’d completely forgotten about our Chasers Lounge gig, I’d been busy worrying about three weeks spent on the road up to three hours from home base at venues the band had never played before, waiting to hear if it was going to turn into four weeks and four hours on the road (that gig fell through, either thankfully or unfortunately, depending on your point of view). I’d had the flyer made for almost a month, made it the same day I found out about the gig so I’d have a graphic for the Facebook page – all that had to happen to make that happen was print up the flyers and drive maybe ten minutes to East Dallas.
“No problem, I’ll handle it.”
“Okie-dokey. Handle it.”
I got off the cell with Pauly, looked at the clock – mid-afternoon – looked at the calendar – Sunday – and concluded there was no need to rush: I was still feeling a little raw about my clusterscrew in Wills Point and wasn’t ready to think band stuff, the bar was probably empty right then anyway, I’d go back to taking it easy on the couch and deal with the flyers Monday.
Monday, I was still sick. Decided that the bar was probably closed or half-empty, there was still plenty of time to drop off the flyers before the gig.
Tuesday, I still felt like crap but I was trying to get stuff done for my old boss. I’d go to the bar Wednesday.
Wednesday, I was busy all day, half-dead come nighttime. Thursday.
Thursday, I put out fires all freakin’ day while trying to get my fever back down yet again. Went to bed before 10 pm.
I got halfway through my day Friday when I realized I had got a wine event to teach that night just as soon as I met the final graphic deadline – there’s no way I could make it to Chasers even if I got the flyers printed. I’d put off until tomorrow for an entire week.
I half-thought about just not saying anything and then acting surprised when the guys showed up for the gig and didn’t see our flyers anywhere; then my Boy Scout upbringing and Army training finally decided to show up after two weeks of not cowboy-ing up.
“Dudes, I screwed the pooch – I’ve been sick all week, kept putting off taking promo flyers to Chasers until I felt better, and never did. Now it’s Friday and I’m working a double-shift, so no flyers are getting delivered. Do what you can to promote the gig at work and on Facebook. And I am so sorry, this was my bad.”
I did the wine gig, which went surprisingly well considering I still had a cough. I’m actually kind of charming – who knew?
I showed up at Chasers right on schedule with a sore throat and scratchy voice, Paul and the crew were setting up the new, smaller ninja PA he’d picked up for the smaller venues. I apologized to the guys for screwing up the flyers, which everyone shrugged off except Dave:
“Dude… you’re not that far away, neither is Chasers – call next time, I’ll deliver the flyers for you. We’re a BAND… you don’t have to do this by yourself.”
Normally laid-back Dave had just dressed me down without raising his voice once. I felt my face burn.
I put Dave’s disappointment behind and concentrated on the gig – on top of my throat being tore up, I was on OTC drugs for my sinuses: every time I sang I was not only straining to make the note, but my face was vibrating, as well. My upper register was all but shot, every song had a growl, every verse took more and more air support to reach the notes and end the phrase – by the end of the night, I opened my mouth to sing a harmony with Pauly and literally nothing came out, not even a squeak. I gargled a shot of whiskey to get through the last of the gig, completely exhausted by the time I got home.
Chasers never completely filled that night. Our hardcore people showed up, a few new fans came specifically to hear us, but that was it – the Chasers regulars that could usually be counted on to show up for a decent band never came back from the biker run earlier that day. They didn’t know we were coming – there were no flyers advertising our event. When Paul brought me over to the explain to Teresa, the lovely proprietor of Chasers Lounge, as to the absence of promotional material, I knew then Dave wasn’t the only person who hadn’t shrugged off my apology.
He was right to be disappointed, just as Dave had been right to chastise me for not calling him – if I needed to chill at the house and get my health back, I should have made the executive decision to delegate the responsibility of dropping off flyers to any one of half-dozen folks either in the band, related to a member of the band, or just a flat-out friend of the band to do it for me; better yet, I could have just taken care of the deed the minute I got off the phone with Pauly and been covered. That’s what a grown-up would’ve done.
Just like there’s never a day when you’re off the hook letting the woman you love know you love her, when you’re in a band as much as it is your job to know your part, it is just as much your job to be an ambassador for the band. There’s never a time when you can afford to blow off promoting – every show needs to be announced online; every venue needs flyers and posters for your event; invitations need to be sent out to all your fans, new and old alike; emails need to include links to your calendar and videos; and every person who mentions the band needs to hand out a business card right then and there. When you’re in a band, there are no days when you are not promoting the band.
Being down about my mistakes had contributed to making me sick; which contributed to my being a moody, flaky punk while sick; which led to me making yet another mistake. Only this mistake was bigger and costlier than the last two.
This was the gut check I knew was coming from the Pigsty snafu, and I blew it. To add insult to injury, I went right back to being sick the next morning – I’m only just now feeling better, with a tickle in my throat refusing to go away.
The band is on hiatus at the moment – Pauly’s exhausted and owes his lovely bride some well-deserved quality time; plus hunting season is starting, so half the band and crew are heading into the sticks to kill something. I mostly gotten over being sick – can’t see to shake this last tickle in my throat, the resulting cough is keeping my high notes off-kilter. I’m working two, sometimes three jobs a week at this point, trying to get something to come together monetarily. The only for-certains at this point are Paul wants the crew to come to his place for a get-together early next month – not a rehearsal, but a little face-time among the band and crew just to remember why we like each other – and a New Year’s Eve gig at Chasers we’ll need to promote hard and heavy throughout November and December. Pauly’s already contacting biker rallies for next year and learning new songs for the band to perform once rehearsals do start back up; more importantly, Pauly’s ready to dig out his old notes and begin writing some original material. I’ve got a few weeks to get the sand out of my pussy, get back on track to becoming a full-fledged rock star.