15 October 2007
Dear Lorne,
Being the Anyone Can Host contest runner up years ago led to a career as a singing telegram messenger. From the performing standpoint, it was bravado boot camp. You show up in a strange place wearing some goofy costume sometimes clueless as to what sort of hornets' nest you could be about to kick open. One time in Miami, I was sent to sing the 'I Hate You' song to this burly service station owner. At first it seemed all right, I had broken the ice and the spectators looked to be enjoying it, when the recipient suddenly went ballistic, grabbing me by the shirt and cussing me out. I was able to twist away then run in little circles as he lunged at me uttering a stream of profanity while I keep singing with a clapping monkey hanging from my belt. Of course I had to finish the song, at which time he picked up a large chuck of cement and demanded I get off his property.

It turns out that this was not the first prank directed at this individual, yet I turned out to be the lucky one that put him over the edge. When I had my own company and did my bookings direct, I was better able to filter out such potential ugliness. Training others added a whole new dimension. By doing your best, then making each performance better than the last, eventually you become very good. Sharing with so many different people in a variety of situations, mostly happy, some not, was a rush. Grabbing everyone's attention and holding it in places where almost everyone had no idea before hand what to expect is not for the feint of heart, as anyone on your staff with similar experience can attest.

While our competitors marketed mainly strippers, we chose to not go that direction. Stripping did not require talent or imagination, while performing did. Instead of degrading ourselves, we chose to focus on the customer. One act, Studley or Wild Mama, the performer, wearing S&M gear, would handcuff the victim with their hands behind the chair then whip them while singing for a special price of $69. There was another act during which about thirty balloons being worn were popped. One lady at her desk in a bank was particularly not amused, especially since I had come in out of the rain so each wet balloon emanated a fine spray  The common ingredient required in either case was nerve. Often what is on offer comes not from those who have the most to offer, yet more from those most willing to offer. Your birthday is coming up soon, isn't it?

Hope you enjoy surprises,