After my summer gig ended, Lagoon asked me to help them out with their Frightmares season. They needed floor managers for one of their shows. My son, with whom I worked at that summer gig, was already lined up as a floor manager and they needed more help.
"Sure," I said. "Sounds like fun."
I didn't realize it would be much more than that.
I work in an office building on the third floor surrounded by half-high gray cubicle walls. At no time in my almost twenty year career have I worked with zombies (of course, some might argue I do, but that depends on the definition of "zombie" which is a whole of other topic altogether...). But I did last month. As everyone watched the Frightmares zombies entertain, my job was to observe the people, making sure they were safe and that the kids (and occasionally, the adults...) didn't grab the chain that formed our temporary stage.
I loved watching the people. They smiled. They sang along. They danced and clapped and cheered. They were happy and being a part of that production--albeit, a small one--was very satisfying.
But, when I looked back after the season ended, I realized what I most appreciated about the job were two things: 1--working with my son, and 2--the way the cast and crew treated my son.
Some authors have asked me why I do so many shows. Granted, usually I don't do as many shows as I've done in the past two years, but even one show can throw a writer's schedule into complete chaos, especially a writer who works a full-time job and is trying to be a good husband and father.
I do shows--for the most part--to be with my kids. My son doesn't like to do plays like his brother and sister do, so this summer I got to spend time with him, performing and getting paid to do it. Spending so much time with him this past summer and fall made me remember what it was like being sixteen-years old. The fact that he looks almost exactly like I did at his age helped. I remember what it was like to be shy, especially around confident performers. When I was sixteen I worked with the show "Music U.S.A." doing lights. Those performers were larger-than-life at times. They could do things I could only dream of doing, and they treated me well, like one of their own, like I somehow belonged.
Fast-forward thirty-three or so years and I'm watching life repeat itself. I watched entertainers make jokes and laugh and compliment the boy who looks the way I did and it made me happy, more happy than seeing the faces of all those who came to watch the zombies sing and dance.
So, as a father on my own father's birthday, I thank you Karson, Mickey and Truman, to the Aarons, Mason and Cody, to Taryn, Alexa, Angie, Jack, Chelsey, Amber, Matt and Adam. You all made my first Frightmares a fantastic time.