Lessons about performing, lesson 21: Keep Fit!

I’m not actually sure how this absurd keyboard pounding has turned into a series that’s gone this long and been this well received. I’m grateful, but I’m not actually sure what it is about it that keeps you coming back.

I enjoy writing these and I enjoy your comments. It makes me smile when I see the hit counter go up.

So, what exactly am I doing? Well, frankly, I’ve told you this already. Like 20 times worth of already!

If you didn’t listen the first time, you’re probably not going to listen now. But, just in case I’m wrong about you… I’ll tell you again!

Let’s say you drank bleach and ate paint chips – while still in the womb. Then, you decided your favorite activity was huffing gas, which you upgraded to paint at the age of three.

If those things are true AND you have a history of mental instability, then you might just do the batshit crazy thing known as deciding to become a professional performing musician.

Really, as you can see from all these rules, it’s a horrible idea! Horrible!

Don’t let that stop you. In fact, let it encourage you. Embrace your inner child and go be passionate for the world. In fact, I’d absolutely love it if you did decide to do so.

If you want even a moderate chance of success, I’d suggest you follow these rules. You don’t have to. I’m used to people not listening to me. However, I reserve the right to say, “I told you so!”

Rule #21: Keep your self healthy!

Ain’t nobody else responsible for that but you.

First, I should tell you that it isn’t always all that cheap to be healthy – and it’s even more expensive to be healthy when you’re lacking free time. It also probably doesn’t help that you snort everything handed to you, drink like a fish, and have intoxicated sex with complete strangers.

But, those are the perks of the job.

You know… Here’s a very basic, truth for you. It’s a lot less expensive to stay healthy than it is to get sick. I know, right? Who the fuck came up with that idea?!?

I’m not telling you to snort tofu and smoke granola. I’m telling you to maybe actually think a little bit about what you’re doing.

Humans are disgusting.

You’re exposing yourself (not that way, pervert) to hundreds, thousands, or more of them. They have germs. They have small children who go to schools which are basically bacteria farms. Worse, some of them work in hospitals. People don’t go to the hospital ‘cause they’re not contagious. They go there ‘cause they’re going to die if they don’t go.

They’re horrible, horrible things. Really, humans are a disease vector. Worse, we’re pretty much programmed to want to mash our most vulnerable squishy bits together with each other.

They make neat things called condoms. I’ll send you a few, if you’re unable to find any at your local pharmacy. Shit, stop by Planned Parenthood and they’ll give ‘em to you by the handful.

Maybe you should go to see your doctor more often than when you’re sick. How about a yearly checkup? Maybe consider actually taking a few of their bits of advice to heart?

Would it kill you to take a shower, wash your hands, and brush your teeth? I’m sixty years old – and I’ve never had a single cavity. Why? When someone smart told me to take care of my teeth, I realized they were pretty smart and I figured I should listen to smart people.

My other option was listing to a kid we called John-John. I did that. We set his dad’s garage on fire.

Listen to smart people… It’ll save you some time and effort.

What I don’t get is the people who go to their doctor and then lie to their doctor. Me? I tell my doctor everything. “Yup. Last week, I snorted a bunch of drugs, drank like a fish, and took some strange pills that made me see aliens. Can you run a blood test for me? No, I’m not worried, I just want to know what I took so that I can take some more!”

Maybe, you know, eat something other than a bowl of sugary cereal. You don’t have much choice, ‘cause you’re going to be damned poor, but canned spinach is cheap! (And it’s delicious!)

You can even get those booster shots you’re supposed to get. You can eat healthy. You can take the stairs. You can, you know, actually do something to stay fit.

I don’t mean just physically fit – I mean healthy. I mean fit in mind, spirit, and body. They’re not paying you to see some lethargic ass out there playing halfheartedly. They’re paying to see your best – every single time.

On top of that, I don’t want to have to cover for you. As your bandmate, I’m expecting you to do your damned job. I don’t just expect you to do it, I expect you to do it well. No, not the best of your ability – because that might not be good enough.

I don’t want you bringing strange germs and bad habits into the band. No, you can’t call out sick. You’re not allowed to be sick. You must go on. I’ll fortify you with Bolivian Marching Powder and put you on the stage myself, if I have to. You will go on and you will play – and you will do a good job.

And they wonder why musicians often die young.

I’m not going to sit here and list the things you need to do to be healthy, but I am going to sit here and tell you to do them. If you don’t have enough respect to do it for yourself, do it for your fellow band members and, more importantly, the audience.

It’s nothing like the movies. When I went on longer tours, I’d hit up a doctor every couple of weeks to get a regular battery of blood work and vitals done. I weigh myself religiously and, if on tour, you can bet I’ll have a scale with me. You can do surprisingly well with potato products and canned spinach!

So, consult a medical professional. Consult whatever you need to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit. Do it for yourself – and everyone else. Remember, you’ve got fans who are emotionally invested in you. You gave yourself away, the minute you decided to perform for money. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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