At This Stage in My Life

My old hammering-my-thumbs grounds.
I received a surprise in the snail mail.

There was a heart-warming mention of me in the "May Birthdays" announcements of the monthly newsletter for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada, AFL-CIO, CLC, Local 927, Atlanta. It was Friday. My name's Durrett. I carry a card.

A grand friend and co-worker of many years, Scott, had sent the circled and highlighted missive, adding, there's some good "doughnut-eating" going on in the glittery show business I had long ago limped away from.

I hadn't seen the special item while perusing my copy of the newsletter earlier, so I owed Scott boundless gratitude and the courtesy of a reply. I sent them email and pocketed the postage.

Sir or Madam:

Thank you for alerting me to the birthday blurb from the latest Stagehand Local's newsletter. Because of your keen consideration and properly addressed and licked envelope, I am informed. I don't often read the newsletter because I am a bad member. Bad member!

I am, however, paid up in full in advance to the end of the year. Good member! Patron Saint!

Don't ask me why I continue to send in my dues. It's been years since my last show. You may have heard of the night on "Jesus Christ Superstar" when I somehow mistook Carrot Top's Wacky Props Trunk for the cross. The sight of Jesus strapped to Whitney Houston's microphone with bong and assorted wig hats didn't go over so well and area motels had to reprint their Bibles.

The fact I didn't have to pay for all of that out of my pocket -- well, it was a miracle, I tell ya, a miracle!

I miss the stagehand life -- the cunning hiding of my minimal knowledge of Craftsman tools, the being treated like dirt by production personnel, the groin pulls, and, my favorite, the groin pulls on previous groin pulls.

Oh, how I yearn to update my doughnut-eating skills amongst my Union brothers and sisters and their nepotistic spawn. I dread those burly behind-the-scenes crews might call me "old school" and choke-spray powdered sugar and Krispy Kreme flecks 'n' filling onto my regulation black t-shirt and groin pull splints and recurring involuntary spasms.

Although I had mastered the untwisting of the pretzel-shaped doughnuts in my waning years backstage, I could never tie them into a subsequent sheep shank without getting all sticky and knocking over my professional acrid stagehand coffee.

Once, I inadvertently knocked over June Carter Cash and Johnny mumbled an impromptu medley of "God's Gonna Cut You Down" and "Good Night, Irene."

I don't know what that was about because I don't follow caterwauling.

Everyone complimented me on my reprise of "Hey, Porter" and then I shared my unraveled doughnut and we called an ambulance.

Nevertheless, thanks again for the paper letter via government agent. Mine is a lady in her own weary truck who likes to share that she's "barefoot and barefoot" when driving the mail about. That's fine, except she puts the letters between her toes and feets 'em over through the driver's window.

The last time she did that, the postage stamp of Henry Fonda contracted a bad case of Athlete's Hank.

The stagehand newsletter kindly points everyone to the fact I will be celebrating my birthday in May. How true. I was busy on my actual birthday, March 20th, and hope to fit it in eight weeks later.

If not, I'll simply remain 19 again until next May. My Union may not keep me working, but it does keep me young.


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