I Want to Be a Travelling Waiting Room Entertainer
THIS IS A VERY HAPPY MAN . . .
More views of the life of troubadours . . .
This Hub Is Respectfully Dedicated to a Good Friend, J.S.Matthews . . .
Call me stupid. Call me off-center. And if you dare, call me "three bricks shy of a load." I really don't care. I know what I want to be. Finally. At age 58. I want to be a travelling waiting room entertainer.
Why? Well, why not be a travelling waiting room entertainer? Or did you forget momentarily that we still live in a free country? So being a travelling waiting room entertainer makes sense. Lots of sense. Well, for me, it makes sense.
Some people my age would rather 'play it safe' Not 'rock the boat.' 'Make waves.' Just stay in their comfort zones and do safe jobs like being a greeter at Walmart. I thought about this job. Once. And didn't find it that challenging. No offense to Walmart. Being a travelling waiting room entertainer would fulfill my need for a challenge in my life. Honestly, I'm not a daredevil. I hate heights. So do not look for me to climb Mount Everest and be seen on the cover of National Geographic. But soon, you may see me on CNN doing my thing as a free-wheeling. Kiss-stealing. Devil-may-care, waiting room entertainer.
Think about it. Most hospitals of any size, have 'pink ladies,' or some other volunteer association who visit the patients. Hand-out newspapers. Talk a little while with the ailing people. And overall, just be nice. And some bigger hospitals have children's wards and clowns and entertainers who make frequent visits to bring some needed-cheer to these precious little ones. So why can't I be a travelling waiting room entertainer?
I can try, if you will bear with me, answer that in a way that will ultimately make sense to you. The waiting room is where a patient begins his or her journey back to good health. Unless they are to be carried to the emergency room, otherwise a patient with a non-life threatening sickness will visit a waiting room. And wait.
That's where I come in. And not loud. Boisterous. Or vulgar. I would enter softly. Gently. And introduce myself, "Hello, ladies and gentlemen. My name is, 'Cliff Steele,' (my show name), and I'm here to entertain you for a little while." What a surprise to the patients to see me dressed in a loud. Colorful. Baggy. Shiny three-piece suit that would make the Biblical Joseph, the boy with the multi-colored coat green (red, yellow, and blue) with envy. Why would I dress in this fashion? The first rule of entertaining is capture your audience' attention. Then keep it. Thereby you will have a better chance of succeeding. As you can see, I've done my homework.
"But, Ken," you might argue. "you have no talent." That's where you are sadly, wrong. I just happen to know six major chords on the guitar. Can hold my own at telling jokes--corny or funny. I've watched enough television comics to 'get my foot in the door,' as a waiting room entertainer. And I can flash my friendly smile and hand out compliments to the lovely ladies who are ailing in my audience. And no, my audience is not a 'captive audience,' for I would say first off, "if any of you wouldn't like to hear good music. Funny jokes. And have a good time, you may leave," this would eliminate any complaints from me 'pushing myself' on these poor. Sick people who are 'prisoners' of the waiting room.
And it's not like I have to be 'that' talented. Or be that good. I know how to carry a tune, well, once upon a time, but with a little practice, I think I can do a good version of John Denver's "Country Roads," or The Kingston Trio's "Tom Dooley," for the pleasure of my audience. I can also do a magic trick or two such as, "The Old Stand-By Quarter-Behind-The-Ear" trick what will amaze the elderly who are waiting to see their doctor.
And for the younger people, toddlers, and younger, I've got that covered with a huge selection of hand-puppets that, with my doing all the voices, will be a real treat for these youngsters with colds. Sniffles. And teething problems. Yes, ma'am. I think I can do this. Without any hitch.
Yes, I will have to get the permission of the hospital board and other authorities. And I will patiently do that. And carry a permit that says I am a travelling waiting room entertainer. And this will be a free service to the hospitals. What savings. The hospital boards will go loony when they see the word FREE on my presentation. I will though, humbly ask for donations of any type, to get me to my next waiting room 'show,' and most patients should be able to give a dollar. Maybe three. And I will not demand that they give anything at all. This for me will mostly be a 'work of faith,' and if I am successful at making one sick person laugh. Smile. Cheered up. Then it will all be worth the paperwork. Red tape. And criticisms from nay-sayers who write about me in their newspaper columns saying that I am 'a singing. Dancing. Waiting room huckster.' I can take it. I will get the endorsement of high-ranking county and state officials and do my show for them so they can make speeches telling the medical community there is nothing to fear with "Cliff Steele: Travelling Waiting Room Entertainer."
But soon, and after a few successful gigs, fame and fortune will come knocking and I will have to expand my show. Hire additional personnel. Pay them to help me out. The more we gain fame and interviews on Entertainment Tonight with Mary Hart, the more jealousy will be borne in the ranks of my crew. Then some will branch-out on their own--telling the press that 'we had creative differences,' and rumors will fly about me having illicit affairs with numerous nurses in various hospitals. My head will spin with decisions. Information. Confusion.
Soon I will have a complete mental and physical break down due to over-work. No sleep. And not eating enough. People will look at me and shake their heads as I try to conceal my identity. "Yeah, that's him! 'Cliff Steele,' the once-famous waiting room entertainer. Just look at him now!" the condemning crowds will yell as I get into my rental car from Enterprise because I had to let my yellow Rolls limousine be repossessed. I have to then leave my spacious four-bedroom home. Move into a 'flop house' on the back streets of some unknown city and depend on the goodness of others for my living as I sing for dollars and $20-dollar gift cards people put in my black hat on the sidewalk. I, of course, am in disguise. Cannot be found out. Finally hit rock bottom.
Then I have a complete nervous break down, but not serious enough for emergency medical attention. I am sent to the nearest hospital with an escort from a local mission. What good people they are to take me to where I got my start. A waiting room.
I sit down. Unnoticed. I try to be quiet. As to not draw attention to myself. Suddenly I hear a familiar voice saying, "Hello, ladies and gentlemen. I'm 'Biff Real,' the New Waiting Room Entertainer. You may know me. I was once with the legendary, 'Cliff Steele,' and his entourage of Waiting Room Entertainers.
Now I know, all too well, what it was like to to have 'a clown in a baggy green suit sing "Tom Dooley," to me while I'm sick.
Call it poetic justice. I call it 'sick.'