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the script says i enter from the left
by robert a. melos

Did you ever feel like your life was one long blooper reel? You know, where you’ve missed your cue, or screwed up your line and everyone is trying to hold it together and not laugh while you fumble through the moment trying to keep it all going before the director yells cut and you get the second or tenth chance to do it again, to get it right this time, only no one ever yells cut and you don’t get a second or tenth chance, at least not right away, to do it again and get it right?

Maybe this is what is called regrets, which up until I was 33 I swore I didn’t have, but when I look back at my life I now realize I had a lot of outtake moments when I wished someone would yell cut and let me start it all over again from the top. I’ve had moments when I wished everyone would fall apart laughing and we could scratch the whole moment and have another take, but I never got those moments when everyone around me fell apart with laughter at my mistake and patted me on the back and gave me the second chance.

In some ways life does give you second chances to do the same thing over and over again, hopefully until you get it right, usually with the result being the same each time. And you wonder each time it all plays out why you couldn’t see you were making the same mistakes again and when you finally realized you were making the same mistakes it was too late to stop them. And you paused waiting for the director to yell cut and give you the moment to go back and get the line right, or not miss your cue, but that just never happened.

I wish the director had yelled cut when I was 18 and didn’t go right from high school to college. I totally missed my cue. And then I missed it when I was 21 and went to college, for the first time, and studied something completely worthless because back then I believed my former high school counselors, the hippie, the bookie and the jock, who all told me to get a degree in anything because it didn’t matter what the degree was in as long as you had one. I graduated high school in 1981. That was the standard outlook back then.

I wish the director had yelled cut when I dropped out for the first time in 1985 and then went back again in 1986, and did the same thing, studied something totally useless by most standards, unless you happen to enjoy occult sciences, and then moved on to journalism and then to photography. Yes journalism and photography weren’t useless, but I’m currently working as a Realtor so I would say I didn’t apply anything I learned to my career choices.

And speaking of career choices, there are several places I could’ve used a director yelling cut. The honest to Goddess true reason I’m working in real estate is because I figured if I was going to end up a sales clerk I might as well do it for the highest paying commissions possible. When I went to work for my first broker I really could’ve used a director not only yelling cut but demanding to recast the role of the broker, and also rewrite him as less of a sleazy character. I could’ve used that recasting and rewriting on several of my bosses throughout my work careers.

And then came the big relationship outtakes. The bloopers to end all bloopers. If there’s a wrong type of relationship, like dating a closeted married man, or dating a psychopath, or dating a psychotic closeted married man, I did it. Where was the director to yell cut every time some hot looking loser would walk into my life? Nope, he wasn’t there. And worse yet, I made the same mistakes several times and no one was falling apart with laughter and patting me on the back and telling me to take it again from the top.

Looking back isn’t all that entertaining when you see where you should be laughing and doing it over, and instead you are just missing the same cues and screwing up the same lines all over again. Sure the co-stars are different, but the scenes are the same and the whole show is going way over budget, and you’re wasting more and more tape flubbing the lines that should be so easy to remember after you’ve had them fed to you time and again. Yet you can’t seem to get it right and the bit players are getting tired and want to break for lunch, and you just can’t seem to stumble through the scene without missing your cue and saying the wrong words.

And when you do finally get through the moment and the director yells cut, or that’s a wrap, you know it wasn’t your best work and you’ll never get the Emmy or Oscar, or Golden Globe, because you don’t deserve an award for screwing everything up on a daily basis, and you even wonder why you haven’t been fired and replaced with Matthew Perry, until you realize it’s your life and you’re the star of your own show. And if you turn in a half assed performance it’s your own fault and it’s all up to you to do your best, give life your all, and put one hundred and ten percent effort into everything you do if you want superstar results.

Man, I’d really like to, um, I’m sorry, I forgot my line. Can I take that again?


Robert is the author of the novels Cool Mint Blue, Melba Ridge, and the recently released The Adventures of Homosexual Man and Lesbian Lad; and the creator of the on-line comix Impure Thoughts found at his web site Inside R.A. Melos, as well as having been an on-line staff writer for QBliss where he had a monthly humor column, Maybe A Yip, Maybe A Yap. In his non-writing time, when he's not studying the metaphysical or creating a tarot deck, he sells real estate in Middlesex County New Jersey, hangs out with his dog Zeus, and spends time at the Pride Center of New Jersey in Highland Park, NJ, where he is on the Board of Trustees.

more about robert a. melos


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topic: humor
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ken mohnkern
2.8.07 @ 12:26p

Robert, I regret doing what you wish you had done. I went to engineering school because it was useful, and hated it. I never worked as an engineer and now I wish I had studied something more "useless by most standards." Grass, fence, greener, and all that.

robert melos
2.8.07 @ 11:36p

Ironically it seems a lot of people don't end up in a field related to their chosen course of study. When I look at my parents I realize my father studied to be a plumber and worked as a mechanic, and my mother studied music and nursing and remotely worked in both fields but also worked in real estate. I wonder is there anyone around here who actually works in their chosen field of study and enjoys it?

juli mccarthy
2.9.07 @ 12:59a

I do... but I make shit for money.

I don't have a lot of "outtakes" but I had nothing in the way of direction. I was always told - by my parents, by my teachers, by my friends and family - that I was a good writer, and that I was a good artist. No one ever gave me a clue, though, how I could make a living at it. There are no classified ads in the paper for writer or artist.

alex b
2.9.07 @ 1:31a

As someone with quite a few "outtakes" moments in her own life, I have my share of regrets, along with the assurance that I've lived my life my way. I'm not quite sure how to reconcile the wish for a do-over with everything else I want to accomplish, but in the meantime, I laugh my ass off. Especially at the time I've done something deserving a huge one.

robert melos
2.9.07 @ 2:41a

Juli, I've found one of the problems with doing what I want to do, like to do, doesn't pay well.

Alex, I like to think I've lived my life my way, and I have, and the mistakes are all mine. Having the chance to go back and change things would be fun, but I don't know if it would be a good idea. If I changed anything it might change some of the good things also.

alex b
2.10.07 @ 3:50p

Robert- that's precisely why I don't think a do-over is necessarily a good thing. In changing your past (supposedly) for the better, you might neuter some of the best bits that ever happened. I'll keep living my not-so-perfect life while trying to direct it well, and when I hit a few more "outtakes" moments... well, it all goes on the blooper reel.

robert melos
2.11.07 @ 2:50a

Alex, there have been points in my life when I've thought that changing everything, even if it means changing the good also, might not be a bad thing. Of course since I can't get that re-take I would occasionally want it's all fantasy.

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