Took my calculus MidTerm2 today. It was hard. About a third of the class got A’s on the first midterm, so the professor vowed to make this one harder. He did. It was. I’m guessing I got only about 60-70% right and I really felt the time crunch. Afterwards, people were coming out of the exam expressing various versions of “WTF”, re: the difficulty of the exam. Maybe he’ll split the difference for the final. I fucking hope.
I went down a bit of an Internet rabbit-hole tonight and wound up at this video of me as a guest on the Arsenio Hall talk show in 1988/89. (His show, Johnny Carson’s, and Phil Donahue’s shows were the hot tickets back then) and so interesting to see myself at that point. FAMILY TIES (the show I acted on at the time) was just finishing it’s 7-year run as one of the highest rated shows in TV history. This was before the TV audience was so fractured, so a typical viewing audience might be 24-28 million people per week. To put it in perspective, the TOP “hit show” nowadays grabs about 10 million viewers per episode (and this is assuming DVR viewing). Most of your favorite “hit shows” get about 1-3 million viewers per episode. You know how much you love MADMEN? It averages 3 million viewers per episode. PARKS AND RECREATION? 2.5 million.
Anyway, funny to see me in that moment where everything seemed to be so fluid and easy. If you were on a top TV Show at that time, EVERYONE knew you. Everyone. Even though I worked hard at acting and on the show and other projects, it’s not really working hard when the wave is just going your way. There’s no other feeling that compares with everything “going your way”. You can’t create it, you just get to ride it if it’s there. I guess it helps if you had no general plan (besides going to college) before the good fortune fell into your lap, but it’s interesting to think about early moments in life where your “path” just unfolds itself to you and it doesn’t seem like you have to put much effort into it to keep it going.
Christ, this is not that. My life now, I mean.
I have a great life, it’s not that, but the professional progress proportionate to my effort is so opposite from my life in the 80’s. Maybe it’s I’m far more specific about what I want to do or that I feel so beholden to these ideas about The Future of Entertainment that I can’t NOT pursue this tech-related path. I was thinking the other day, in what had to have been a PMS-influenced moment, “What am I doing? I could just pick the kids up from school every day and go to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and get bath mats, etc for the house. What am I doing going to school and doing all this hard work and pursuing one of the most difficult degrees available?” Then I thought, “Pull yourself together. You’re not going to feel like this in about 48 hours. Your the one who would stick a fork in your eye if you weren’t working. Get your shit together.”
So, I hammer math problems and try to cram a collection of information in my head related to Quantum Mechanics or C++ coding, etc in 3-week spans (between exams) that should really be absorbed in 8-week spans.
It’s like being a competitive runner in-training. You just hammer it as hard as you can so you’ll be the best you can be at your races, but damn, it would be nice to just walk there sometimes instead.
Can’t wait for my 60% score on that midterm2!!!!