I didn’t always; in fact, you couldn’t pay me to eat chicken before I went away to college. Damn HBCU’s will do it to you every time… Now, chicken is one of my very favorite things. If you put a chicken dish in front of me, even if I’m not that hungry I will pick all the chicken out of it. I can’t stop myself. I have zero willpower when it comes to chicken. And yes, I realize how ignorant-ly this post is trending.
Every now and then, when I order a chicken dish in a restaurant, I let the server take my plate with a little chicken still left on it, just to prove to myself I can let it go. But it’s always painful. Last nite I ordered a chicken caesar at Applebee’s and when it looked like I was done with my salad (’cause I was done with the salad; I just wasn’t done with the chicken), my server, Hannah asked if she could clear my plate. I quickly replied, “NO!” But then I thought, “maybe I should just let her take it. It’s been a while…” I took a photo of it — so I’d never forget it — and then asked her to take it away. It’s almost 24 hours later and I’m still thinking about those three strips of chicken, but I’m glad I did what I did. It’s the proudest I’ve been of myself in quite some time.
Yesterday was my birthday! I turned 33. Which no matter how you look at it is better than the alternative. I’ve been on the road for about a week and half now so I spent the first part of my birthday in NYC and the second part in Hazelton, PA. I had a show in NYC on Wednesday nite and I was staying with my BFF Loren who lives in the city. It was sleeting and gross outside and I had to trek all the way across town and back in it. I hadn’t eaten anything all day so on the way back to her place after the show I stopped at the pizzeria on her corner to get a sandwich. The guy in line in front of me was buying desserts and I said I deserved a piece of chocolate cake too because it was my birthday. So the cashier gave it to me for free. SCORE! Who says New Yorkers aren’t nice?
I got back to Loren’s at about 11, jumped into my PJs and crashed on the couch. But at midnite she cued up Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” and we danced around the apartment til the song went off. Then she put a tealight on top of my cake and told me to make a wish! Pretty cool start to a birthday…
Yesterday afternoon I got up and drove to PA for a college show. After spending all afternoon on the road and then going straight to my show, I decided to find the nearest Applebees — there’s always an Applebee’s — and have a few birthday drinks. I ended up sitting at the bar where there was a great bartender named Nicole. We chatted for a bit and then a few minutes later this really nice guy named Brandon comes in and sits down next to me. The three of us ended up talking for hours about family, pets, our favorite books, and eventually our jobs…
Turns out Brandon is an amateur MMA cage fighter. Brandon “The Mixed Breed” Cruz. In the video below, he’s the one in the white shorts.
It was so cool talking to him about what it takes to make it in his industry. There were some similarities between his hustle to advance as a fighter and mine as a comic, but at least I don’t get pounded in the face on my bad days. For years I did (and often still do) comedy for no money. But I can’t imagine going thru something like this and there not being a check on the other end. Man that takes some serious dedication. And also some serious guts. If the test of how much we all wanted to achieve our goals was measured by our willingness to be pummeled inside a locked cage, I think we’d all — yes you too — look like quitters.
All in all I had a pretty good birthday.When I had a day job, I never worked on my birthday. In fact my co-workers used to laugh at me because I’d say it in the third person: “Erin doesn’t work on her birthday.” But now that I don’t get paid for my days off, working is the best kind of birthday gift I can give myself — the gift of mortgage. Hahaha.