Wednesday, August 29, 2012

In Which Dan Is Not A Racist, But Sure Sounds Like One

If you read the social justice post, you‘ll know I‘m doing my best.

Sexism is the -ism that I’m grappling hardest with, but I’ve been making a conscious effort to fight racism. And by fighting racism, I mean making passive-aggressive, sarcastic comments when people make racist jokes.

Hey, we all have to start somewhere.

Saturday, I was proud of my progress. Not only did I respond to a racist joke with a sarcastic, passive-aggressive comment, I did it loud enough that people could actually hear it. Progress!

How did I follow up my victory for social justice?

If you said by publicly making a racist comment in front of an entire crowd live on camera you win a prize.

Before we proceed with the story, there are three things you need to know.

Firstly, I don’t normally rehearse much of what I say, preferring to react to the crowd. Secondly, when building intensity, I like to use a speaker’s trick I stole from watching the Rock called the Rule of Three, where I list off three things to build rhythm and intensity.

Thirdly (see how the rule of three works?) , I was building towards introducing the signing of the Native American wrestler Tatanka for the Rise of the Legends II show on October 20.

We’ll pick things up towards the end of my monologue where I’m telling the crowd how the RCW office (one), the RCW wrestlers (two), and most of all you, the RCW fans (three) deserve to see an even more diverse array of competitors.

“I’ve been searching far and wide,” I told the crowd. “I sent out letters. I made phone calls. I--”

At this point I realized I needed a third thing to make the Rule of Three work, and since I hadn’t prepared, I went with the first thing that came into my head.

“…sent out messages via Pony Express.”

And in the split second between the moment those words came out of my mouth and the ones that followed, Dan’s Brain went totally apeshit.

DAN’S BRAIN: Pony Express? You’re about to introduce the Native American Tatanka after making that remark about the pony express. That is some racist shit right there. Rule of three be damned, come up with something else to cover it. Some form of communication. Any form of communication as long as you DON‘T SAY ANYTHING RACIST.

DAN’S MOUTH: …I sent up smoke signals…

DAN'S BRAIN: NOOOOOOO! (pulls out a gun and shoots itself in the temple).

Abandoned by my brain, I struggled along. In the rear view mirror, the Rule of Three twitched weakly, tire treads across its body as it receded into the distance. Dan's Brain slumped in the back seat like Marvin in Pulp Fiction. Dan's Mouth grabbed at the wheel, swerving all of the road and struggling to regain control, listing off every form of communication it could think of--telegram, telegraph--before finally announcing Tatanka’s impending arrival.

I don’t remember much about the rest of the segment. All I remember was standing by the sound board afterwards hoping no one noticed.

Which was the exact moment ring announcer MAC COLLINS ambled over, looked at me and said: “Smoke signals?”


Nothing like betraying your principles in front of an entire crowd, a video camera, and a roomful of wrestlers you respect, many of whom come from First Nations descent.

Almost everyone I know in show business has a story like this, where they opened their mouth and out came something Horribly Wrong. After the fact, they make for entertaining stories.

That doesn't make it right though. I’d like to sincerely apologize for any offense my comments may have caused. My words were unplanned and unintentional, but that doesn’t make them any more appropriate, and it certainly doesn’t reflect my personal views or those of the RCW organization. I will try to do better in the future.

Dan's writing on Dating and relationships can be found at

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook

September 22 - RCW Collision Course
October 20 - RCW Rise of the Legends II (with Tatanka and Big Daddy V, Viscera)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Sixth Step

This is a long one, so we'll kick off with the shameless self-promotion:

Dan's writing on Dating and relationships can be found at

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook

August 19 - RCW Freakshow (featuring Scott Steiner), Union Hall, Edmonton
August 25 - RCW Assault Darlene Fowler Memorial Show), Glengarry Community Hall, Edmonton

My personal recommendation is the Scott Steiner show this weekend. Tickets include the live show,Summerslam, a free drink and access to the Steiner meet and greet. Facebook me for ticket info.

Moving on...

The sixth step of Co-Dependants Anonymous is to "be entirely ready to have our defects of character removed."

I hate it.

I don't mind the fourth step, which involves making an exhausting list of all the things I've done wrong, or the fifth step, which is about admitting to ourselves, God, other human beings, and comedy club audiences the exact nature of our wrongs.

But I'm not sure I'm ready to have those defects REMOVED.

I like my defects. They're familiar and comfortable and something that is always there for me to blame when things don't go my way. Plus, I like to think my flaws make me interesting, remarkable, and different. Battling my own shortcomings makes me feel like I'm part of some Mighty Psychological Struggle, a noble hero facing down impossible odds instead of just some guy.

But I am just some guy. No better or worse than anybody else.

That bugs me. I don't want to be like everyone else. I want my good points to be more heroic and amazing. I want my flaws to be more crippling and devastating.

I also want to make out with Hope Solo. She strikes me as mildly unstable and has a name that reminds me of Star Wars on two levels, which are both squarely in my wheelhouse. I can rescue her from her personal demons and she can teach me how hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster.

This leads me to my next point, which is, a lot of things are bugging me these days. More precisely, I'm bugged a lot and then find things to be bugged about. It's like there's a pot of low level resentment simmering on the back burner of the stove in my mental kitchen.

A NEW defect.


Creatively, it's exciting. Resentment isn't something I've explored a lot in my writing or comedy. I've always specialized in guilt, awkwardness, and self-doubt. It's nice to have a new emotional landscape to map out. It's also exciting because I don't know how readers or audiences will react. Anger is a volatile emotion, so it's going to be a test of my self-expressive skills.

Personally though, it's kind of weird. My normal strategy for dealing with resentment is to pretend it isn't there. That isn't really an option now, partly because it's unhealthy but equally as much because I find it so damn interesting. Especially since I don't seem to be pissed off at anything SPECIFIC. It's more a vague frustration at the world and my place in it.

Maybe I'm on my way to being a grumpy old man.

Is this my life now? Watching the world go by, vaguely pissed off at everything?

I guess I'm okay with that.

What am I pissed off about?

Stay tuned to this space--or come to a comedy show I'm performing on--and see.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Well, THAT Was An Aweome Read

My favorite quote:

Sober in a bar is watching a boat sail away with friends and family on board: "Bye for now, y'all! See you when you get back!" I stand waving. It feels good and solid on land, but as they drift farther from sight, you realize your companions for the evening are a star-pricked night sky and a breeze. Not great conversation.

Dan's writing on Dating and relationships can be found at

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook

August 19 - RCW Freakshow (featuring Scott Steiner), Union Hall, Edmonton
August 25 - RCW Assault Darlene Fowler Memorial Show), Glengarry Community Hall, Edmonton

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

An Obssessive Without An Obssession

I wrote about Shmeshression recently.

Fortunately, I have more time these days, so I have the luxury of actually paying attention to it instead of ignoring it and throwing myself into whatever activity comes next. I know a lot of people swear by the 'stay busy' method of coping with their feelings, but as a busy person myself, I've found that method isn't sustainable in the long term. Eventually, you either stop or something beyond your control stops you.

At which point you, sir or madam, are fucked.

You can't run from the devil in your own back pocket.

So we sit with what is bugging us. Alternately, we go for walks with it (Sometimes I also like to lie on the couch and put my feet on the coffee table or roll them on my stability ball. I'm not one to stand on ceremony).

The more time I spend with my alleged shmeshression, the less I feel its the root of what's going on. The sadness, the loneliness, the dissatisfaction are symptoms of something else, a constant presence in my life, a steady background hiss like radio static.

That static is restlessness.

I am always restless.

When I'm at home, I'm impatient to be with friends. When I meet up with friends, I'm anxious to get to where we're going. When we get to where we're going, I'm already waiting for that to pass so we can have dinner. When we have dinner, I'm waiting to go home. When I'm home, I'm impatient to do whatever comes next.

No matter what I'm doing or feeling, that restless static is always there. But no matter how I twist the knob, I don't seem to be able to find a station for very long. Every once and a while a fragment of music will rise from the mist of distortion only to fade away again.

Sometimes I don't even get that much.
Here's the wonderful thing about restlessness: properly channeled, that shark-like keep-swimming-or-die relentlessness can take you further than you'd ever imagine.

The secret is to have a Pursuit.

Granted, there are Bad Pursuits: substance abuse, joining (or possibly founding) cults, building weather machines and holding the world hostage.

There are also noble pursuits, such as social justice, science and medicine, various other things that represent the pinnacle of human achievement.

In my case, it has been comedy or writing or women or jiu jitsu or wrestling or reading or a number of other this-es and thats that were never compelling enough to keep me going for long but interesting enough to fill a few weeks.

The trouble with Pursuits though is that sooner or later, you either achieve them or recognize they are unachievable. You take them as far as you can, or you lose interest.

And what do you do then?

Find the next thing.

But what happens when there isn't a thing?

I'll tell you. Life feels weird and strangely empty.

I'm an obsesive without an obsession. An addict without an addiction.

I think a lot of people might see that as a good thing. There are times I think it's a good thing.  I have a clarity and peace of mind I've never known previously. Which is nice.

I can enjoy moments with friends, with family. I can treasure every second with my nephew: feeding him, reading to him, chasing and wrestling with him, helping him up and down the stairs, or babbling inanely back and forth. I haven't mastered it completely, but I can be where I am instead of counting the moments until I can slide back into my Pursuit of the Hour.

Again, these are nice. But it isn't exciting.

I can enjoy contentment, but still miss the rush.

Believe it or not, I have still more on this subject. Maybe it will make the blog; maybe it won't.

But for now, this feels as good a stopping point as any.

Dan's writing on Dating and relationships can be found at

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook

August 19 - RCW Freakshow (featuring Scott Steiner), Union Hall, Edmonton
August 25 - RCW Assault Darlene Fowler Memorial Show), Glengarry Community Hall, Edmonton