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.