July 17, 2010

Rivers Works

No one I know has any interest in seeing the movie "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work," but I have been wanting to see it ever since I heard of it and more so, after hearing comedian Dennis Miller yesterday say it was fantastic; deserving of an Oscar.

So I went to see it by myself, last night.

She was authentic, self-deprecating, revealing the very lows of her life, her current hard-scrabble scramble to get and do anything for any kind of paying work. Roger Ebert agreed, "One of the most truthful...documentaries I have ever seen."

That's what I wanted to see in the movie. A 75-year-old woman who is relentless. Rivers works tirelessly, attracts enormous amounts of rejection, travels on several hours' sleep to small towns to perform any gig she can, whenever and wherever. I was so impressed. Crude, yes; inspiring, assuredly. The woman works for her money.

She said, I could stop and sit in the sun, but I would have to live very carefully and I don't want to do that. There was the sweet bit in which she and her grandson delivered meals to shut-ins for the charity "God's Love We Deliver," on whose board she serves.

My takeaway: inspired to work harder and better. It also confirmed something else I don't often talk about, but if Joan could reveal her large make-up-less facial pores and desperation for work...

Yesterday I babysat three wee children for $12 / hour. Yes, I have earned up to $1,000 /day on consulting gigs this year, albeit infrequently that I am tapped for such assignments.

Like Joan, I'm not too proud to work for wages many others would turn away from. I think my ethic started (could be a genetic bit from my Dutch ancestry), more from a graveyard-shift factory job I took in Ohio a summer of my college years. It was a searing, steamy, still-aired and greasy auto-parts manufacturer for which I was employed for six weeks. It was an experience I will never forget and truly cherish; it made me to feel one with the American labor force. Kind of "Officer and a Gentleman"-style, but--well, without the officer and a gentleman.

You do what you have to do. That, I felt, I had in common with Joan. And that is my lesson for today. So go do yours.

Warning: Trailer not for all audiences. If you pride yourself "a discriminating person," you'll likely avoid it, too.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you posted this.... I have a deep admiration for this gutsy gal. I felt so inspirted by Carole King at age 68, performing with the energy of an 18 year old this week. Helps me feel like at age 51, my life still has lots of good years left in it!