Thursday, December 17, 2009

North Polish

Tuesday December 15th, 2009 - Houghton Lake, MI

No matter how bad anyone’s life gets, someone else always has it worse. It might be an entirely different situation, but problems are problems. I’m up in the north woods visiting my old pal “Polish Thunder” Tim Marszalkowski, and he can use a friend at the moment.

Tim and I have known each other for more than twenty years. We had a cable TV show together in West Allis, WI back in what seems like a different lifetime to both of us. Tim is one of my all time best friends, even though we’re as different as two people can get.

For whatever reason, we’ve always clicked and stayed in touch despite both of us going in completely different directions. Tim always had a day job and never had a chance to be a full time comic, even though I knew he always wanted to. He could have shunned all of his duties as a husband and father but he never did, and I’ll always respect him for that.

For years, Tim lived in the Akron/Canton area of Ohio and worked in trucking. He was a manager of a terminal and I know it involved selling freight service and that’s about all I wanted to know. I have ZERO interest in that business but he had a family to feed so he took the job in Ohio and that broke up our TV show. I was never angry, he had to do it.

That company just recently went out of business and left Tim out in the freezing cold with no job and mouths to feed. He scoured the job listings for months and finally hooked on with a company in Houghton Lake, MI which is WAY up there in the northern timber.

His wife and kids are still in Ohio and he hasn’t sold his house there yet. He’s living in a tiny apartment and working long hours trying to drum up shipping business. If you need any freight shipping done, please contact me so I can contact Tim. He’ll cut you a deal.

I’ve got a gig in Gaylord, MI tomorrow night and the only reason I took it was to get an opportunity to hang with Tim for a while. He’s busting his ass trying to be a bread winner in this economy, and having to move up to the north pole wasn’t his idea of a dream gig.

Life gets in the way of a lot of our dream gigs. I didn’t think I’d be doing shows up here to pay my rent this far into the game, but I’ll live with it. Tim got me booked for the local Habitat For Humanity’s holiday party tonight and I’m very grateful. He didn’t have to do that. He opened the show with a few minutes and I went up closed it out with a half hour.

The audience was quite small and rather quiet, and it didn’t help that people were at the pool table talking loudly and smacking balls around while we tried to entertain the people at the party. There was no spotlight on the stage and it was extremely difficult but we did it anyway. The people ate their cake after we were finished and then they all went home.

The people up here have really been hit hard by unemployment, yet they still help their less fortunate neighbors with Habitat For Humanity. Tim is doing what he needs to do to feed his family and all of them have a lot more problems than I do. I’ll shut my pie hole.

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