Overcoming My Telephonebia

(Sunday Paper, Volume II, Issue 7)

I've written about this before in different places over the years.

I'm not sure I've addressed it in this Sunday Paper iteration, but I know it came up as part of '365 New Things In 2013'.

Here's the thing: I hate using the phone.

It's a real phobia. (Phonebia? Did I invent that? I've never said it before. I like it.)

Growing up I would call a friend occasionally, but I didn't love it. And I would go waaaay out of my way to avoid being the one who was responsible for ordering a pizza or any other form of take out. 

Anyway this is something that I've learned, as I've met more and more people over the years, I'm not alone with.

But as I've worked on becoming more politically involved...I've also worked on overcoming my phonebia. (Patent pending.)

I told you last week that I had made my first calls to my senators.

That was kind of an easy starter call. I was calling people who reflected my beliefs on an issue. (In this case the qualifications, or lack thereof, of the Education Secretary nominee.) But, if my understanding is correct, it allowed my voice to be tallied along with thousands of others as support for the senators to vote the way they voted. (I don't know if this is exactly true. I'm new at this.)

I recorded the messages I left, just in case I want to return to that later for some reason. (Like, if I'm writing a blog post about it, for instance.) (That's the picture that you see above. I use my voice memo app quite often....mostly for comedy recordings. But now, I guess, for political phone calls too. [Because I use the land line to make calls. Yes. We have a land line.])

I actually forgot until this moment that I got the ball rolling with a call to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security to voice concerns about Steve Bannon. I was made aware of that opportunity through a friend's Facebook post. Then, once I did that, I figured let's keep the ball rolling with the other two calls. I used 5calls.org for that information.

(I don't know if you're like me here. It's momentum for me. If I needed to call parents of students when I was teaching I did it as soon as possible and sometimes one right after another, just to make sure I couldn't chicken out of one or the other. Like the calling-the-senators thing.)

So that was all last Friday. I've been trying to figure out when's appropriate to have my voice heard and what's worth calling about and when. Then this week there was the fact that Senator Warren wasn't allowed to read the Coretta Scott King letter during hearings on the Sessions appointment. I tried to call Mitch McConnell's office to make sure he knew how upset I was. I don't know if that would make a difference or not in the world. But it mattered to me. And none of his voicemails picked up. Not the one in Washington, D.C., and not the ones in any of his five or six Kentucky offices that I called.

I would like to think this is because they're being inundated with calls complaining about his Senate leadership. But I have sneaking suspicions that something else is afoot.

I'll keep trying though.

But I still won't order a pizza.


*When it rains it pours in the writing department. As you could probably tell from my previous few weeks of 'Writing' posts, though I was writing creatively a bit here and there, there weren't a whole lot of paid writing assignments coming my way. Well, that changed this week. I was given one project from a company I work with and then another lengthy writing assignment along the lines of what I did with that Pearl Harbor magazine section a few months ago. This one's a good one - I'll tell you more in the coming weeks.


*The only bad thing I've experienced in my comedy life these past few years is bad winter days. It stinks when I get psyched to do a show and then a storm comes along and the show gets canceled. That's what happened Thursday. It's not a huge deal, because I know I'll get my spot rescheduled, it's just that I was excited to get up and that was my only scheduled performance this week and it didn't happen. But it's a lot better that the show is canceled and that was communicated clearly than being left hanging and trying to figure out if I should risk driving in bad weather, et cetera.

I did get out to an open mic this week (Sally O'Brien's, as you can see in the aforementioned voice memo picture) and to see a couple of new shows hitting the Boston scene on Wednesday that I'll tell you more about sometime.

*This week I'm in Hudson, New Hampshire on Thursday night, and then at The Hideout in Boston on Friday night. Details in the 'Comedy Shows' link at the top of the page.

What I've Been Enjoying

*Time to tell you about another web series put together by Boston comedians. This one is called 'Scalpers'. It's funny. And I don't think it's funny just because I know almost all the players involved...although that's a possibility. But I wouldn't be sharing it if I didn't think some of you would really love it. They started with an episode last year that was kind of a stand-alone. And now it's turned into a series. They've made three more episodes, of which they've released two. (The third comes out this week.) And now there's a Kickstarter for them to be able to continue the series. So: I'll leave a link to the first episode here. If you like what you see, you can go to their Facebook page to watch the other episodes. And if you like that, you can contribute to the Kickstarter at this link. There are some pretty fun rewards on there too. If I'm available I'll be going to the stand-up celebration - that's the level I made my donation...so you can join me for that. Give them $25 and we can hang out there. That's not a bad deal.


*The girls watched 'Trolls' on Thursday with their snow day. I only half-watched with them, but I liked that character Poppy. She's a hopeless optimist, always believing the best. That's me. Usually. Most of the time. Except when I feel like someone betrayed me. Just like Poppy. But then I bounce back. Just like Poppy.

*Overall the movie was good. The girls liked it. Not tremendously perilous. Good family movie.

*Obviously a lot more snow coverage on the ground this week. That'll get us well into March. (And maybe, with the way things are looking in the immediate future, into April. This is starting to feel a little bit like two years ago. I hope I don't have to go on the roof this year.) I do feel better about the winter now, though...but I don't think there's any denying the fact there were a couple of days in there where the snow was all gone. I don't even think the shady spots had snow left...so it wasn't a continuous snow coverage from first snowfall through the spring. Haven't had that in quite a few years.

*Beard update: It's probably gone this week. I need a haircut and I'll probably just clean the face as well. I'm happy with how it went this time though. I think my favorite length was at about a month-and-a-half of growth. Good to know for the future. We'll be doing this again. Maybe I'll go summer beard. That'd be something new.

*Hey. Have yourself a Happy Valentine's Day. I don't know if I will...I don't particularly like Valentine's Day. But you have a good one.

*Last political thing for today: I'm trying to learn who the 100 United States Senators are. Is this something the average person knows? Probably not, because I'm an average person and I don't. But I figure if I can know the starting lineup for pretty much all 30 Major League Baseball teams, I can probably learn 100 names and political affiliations. And maybe what Tier they are as far as re-election. But I'm not learning 435 representatives.

*I hope I'm not turning people off going more political heavy these past couple of weeks. But we live in a unique time, I guess. Next week we'll take a lighter approach. Promise.