Sunday, December 6, 2015

Street corner Santa


     
     "I'm not half of what I meant to be," the poet Deborah Garrison wrote, and, reading the line, I immediately jotted it down. Because I felt it myself. Perhaps it's true for most folks. Perhaps, being true for me, I just assume it's true for others too. Now that I think of it, self-satisfaction is so common it amounts to a folk disease. So perhaps not. 
     Being ambitious, and having failed to attain whatever pinnacle I once imagined for myself, long, long ago, I relate to other strivers, particularly those who have not grabbed the brass ring, like this street corner Santa, spied in Lincoln Square on the sunny, springlike  first Saturday in December.
     His name is James Evans, and he was handing out "Holiday Gift Reminders" in front of Steve Quick Jeweler, little cards designed to be left in "an obvious place" to remind Santa, or his emissary, "that you would like jewelry for the holidays."
    Evans is 74, a vet, and has his own web site, the aptly-named olderactor.com, where you can learn everything about Evans from his shoe size (10 1/2) to his acting credits: a few roles in independent films, some spokesman work, a few commercials and print ads,, a stand-in part on NBC's "ER," and, most notably, a featured role in the "Made in America" music video by country singer Toby Keith. 
     Not bad. But not enough work to make a full-time job either. So Evans is also an Uber driver and proud of it—he works as a spokesman for Uber: you can see his video on his web site. 
     I admit, when I first took his picture—after asking permission, of course—he did not seem to be projecting a very Santa-like jolliness. The eyes. But he broke off our conversation when a family approached, and he handed out candy to the children and the cards from Steve Quick Jeweler to the adults, and seems to slip into the role of Santa Claus quite naturally. As I left, he reminded me to put in a plug for Steve Quick Jeweler, and so I have. He's earning his keep.
     The path to art is steep at times, and we all do what we can, or, thwarted from doing that, we do what we must, with success being  reached, or not reached, as much due to random fate as merit. Or to quote another favorite poetic line, this one from T.S. Eliot's "Burnt Norton":
    "For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business." 






     

30 comments:

  1. You have accomplished a good deal and are too hard on yourself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr. S. could you please update pending comments on the OT blog?

      Delete
  2. With those scant jobs, it would be hard to have a wife and family at this point.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You have gone much farther than this guy. Sounds like in his youth he didn't want a steady job.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't assume that. He's a vet. Maybe he decided to be an actor late in life.

      Delete
  4. Unfortunately, some vets are messed up after their service.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I learned some respect for actors working in advertising, when we made a series of TV spots featuring "real people." A few were naturals, which was a problem because viewers assumed they were actors, but most were, at best, awkward reading lines. Some froze in front of a camera. Doing it on stage in front of an audience is a whole different dimension.

    It's no doubt a dicey profession. A successful actor told me you never get over the feeling that this gig might be your last. Why people do it is illustrated, beyond Irving Berlin's lyric, by the old joke about a circus worker who gets shit on every day hosing down the elephants. When asked why he doesn't get a better job he says he doesn't want to get out of show business.

    Tom Evans

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Successful actor? Paul Newman perhaps? He's old enough to be my dad but was still a fave actor.

      Delete
  6. Mr. Evans, Have you ever been to the Green Brier resort in W. VA? They have quite a history there. Just wondering because you seem to have travelled a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was scheduled to go to a meeting there once, but it was cancelled. Nice joint, I believe. Very historic. Probably too rich for my blood.

    TE

    ReplyDelete
  8. There are passages in the Koran that encourage violence and wars against infidels. So much for the peaceful religion claims...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you apply that same test to the Christian Bible? Because there are passages that say you can sleep with your daughter, and all the violence in the Koran. You don't have to be a hypocrite to be a hater, but it sure makes it easier.

      Delete
  9. Not talking about the Old Testament, and that's daughter in law, by the way. The OT is part of a Jewish book, blame them. The new Testament of the 4 gospels has nothing like what you are saying.

    Don't be so naïve that you don't think some, not all , mosques are stockpiling goodies and preaching hate to the west.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But Christians embrace -- New Testament filled with statements that the OT law still holds. You're preaching hate, too, with your own justification. It's a partnership, you and ISIS.

      Delete
    2. Oh yes, that's me, ISIS like-blowing up buildings, planes and committing mass shootings.

      The NT leadership is about not following all those OT archaic rules. Why do you think some rabbis then were mad at Jesus?

      Delete
    3. The OT and Genesis with the time frames, etc, earth origins is wrong. It's not written by Christians either.

      Delete
    4. Steinberg- Sorry if one cannot accept your "expertise" in the NT.

      Delete
    5. "105 God is the author of Sacred Scripture. 'The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.'

      'For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.'"

      Those aren't the words of some Bible-thumping Evangelical TV minister, that's a quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

      Delete
    6. The Catholic teachings are wrong.

      Delete
    7. Regardless, it demonstrates that NS was not wrong. He can't be expected to be familiar with the teachings of the Church of 10:53's Anonymous.

      Delete
    8. Thanks for the defense, Jakash, but I AM familiar with the teaching of the NT, and it says -- I'm not going to bother citing the chapter and verse -- very specifically that the OT laws hold. The rabbis were mad because Jesus said he was the messiah. Keeping kosher had nothing to do with it. But this is a futile conversation. A hater pointing at the Quran hypocritically is not going to pause because the Scriptures are just as bad. They filter such matters out.

      Delete
    9. Glad to hear, although surprised, that you are familiar with the New Testament.

      Delete
    10. Why would you be surprised by that? Are you surprised that so many Christians think that they're familiar with the Koran? Our host "contains multitudes", to put it poetically. Along with all his other reference material, NS has a 17-volume edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia at the ready, IIRC. Not that it's done him any good when it comes to "getting on the boat", needless to say. ; )

      Delete
    11. Who cares about the Catholic encyclopedia? A good King James version NT will do.

      Delete
  10. Would be cool if he picked up his Uber customers in the santa suit!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The clueless and jealous Rabbis sure missed that boat.

      Delete
    2. Jealous of .... your messiah? Pretty to think so.

      Delete
  11. Nor does that mean one has to agree with Evangelicals either.

    ReplyDelete