Jun 16 • 4M

Am I a jazz?

Lifeguard Torso Apples

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Fiona, from Long Beach, California, asks,

“You seem to have many similarities to Ron Swanson and he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to become an actor! What made you want to start acting?”

Fiona, thank you for this incisive question, which will allow me to practice my narcissism, a quality which some might argue I have already polished to a gaudy shine.

My first desire is to point out that Ron Swanson is literally an acting role, so his very existence would depend upon a person who became an actor portraying him. Trippy, right? But I’m going to squint one eye shut and squeeze a compliment out of this question, by Barret Bonden’s braid, I am.

There are many kinds of people who work as actors, just like there are many kinds of people who work at any kind of vocation. School teachers, for example. Police. Retail salespersons. Woodworkers. I can think of woodworkers who would rather eat a bucket of nails than appear onstage in front of an audience, but then I also know some woodworkers who would give a Lie-Nielsen block plane (an item of great value) to get even 5 lines on an episode of Baywatch, which was a 1990’s beach-centric docu-series about the percentage of elastic lycra a lifeguard’s swimming costume required in the weave in order to successfully contain one’s upper torso appendages.

But can you not imagine, Fiona, a circumstance in which Ron Swanson might want to emulate a certain kind of actor? William Holden perhaps, or Sir Alec Guinness? Or the rest of the cast of The Bridge on the River Kwai? Jack Elam? Brian Blessed? Oliver Reed? Tom Laughlin, I mean, come on. Or maybe just a jazz musician, even in secret? I don’t know, maybe a sax playing alter-ego?

Tom Laughlin as the titular BILLY JACK
Jack Elam in Cannonball Run

I have always enjoyed taking onboard the writing of folks smarter than me and comprehending it out loud for an audience, thereby rendering them some entertainment, or relief, or diversion, or, when everything goes right, even some medicine. I also worked for many young years as a laborer, shoveling blacktop and swinging a carpenter’s hammer. Those brutal years of sweat and splinters went a long way toward convincing me that I was cut out for a life in the arts.

Thank you for your interest.

Love,

Thursdays (like this one) are free, and the weekend fare costs you a carrot or two, depending on the market, I guess, which is pretty rough right now, for produce and otherwise. I love to read your questions below, and please let me know where you’re from.