My Parents Ruined My Career

My parents are in the process of completing an insane amount of home renovations in Cincinnati.  Our house has always been extremely tidy with pleasant decor, but now they are getting all “HGTV” and making their dream home, as we Americans are entitled to do.*  As part of their clean-up, they have been purging baskets of old magazines, catalogs, and (more than anything,) my mother’s half finished books.

My mother loves to read, and she is very knowledgable on many subjects, especially holistic health.  Unlike most people, who will change their entire diet according to an hour long episode of Dr. Oz (this, including 15 minutes of commercials), my mother will buy the book from which the health movement was derived, take copious notes in the margins, and conduct
a thorough search through all materials that might refute it. Unfortunately, holistic and homeopathic studies are constantly evolving, and she can rarely finish a book before having to go buy a new one. I have no doubt that the bottom of the “Reading Basket” by her bed still contained a book from 1994 entitled, “Eating Lite!  What Aspartame And A Bottle of Fat Free Ranch Can Do For Your Cholesterol!”**

My mom isn’t the only member of the family able to ruin a book club. My Dad and I both own Kindles that conceal shameful amounts of unfinished books.  Still, Dad’s unread materials, like Mom’s, are at least respectable: dense texts on the Civil War, blues legends so old no one has heard of them, and various other anthropological subjects (and honestly, he usually does get around to finishing them all). By comparison, my pitiful Kindle assortment might as well be a bunch of “Highlights” magazines.

How bad could my reading tastes be, you ask? Well, here it is: I really enjoy disturbing, often-grotesque memoirs about people whose lives are far worst than my own!  For example, I LOVE the book “My Lobotomy,” about a twelve year old boy whose cruel parents were so  horribly misguided by 1950’s psychology, they allowed their young son to receive one of the first, documented, frontal lobotomies.  The clumsy procedure shaped the rest of his tragic life!  Another fun read you might enjoy on, say, a beach somewhere, is entitled, “Coming Clean.”  This one is about a girl raised by hoarders.  Not pack rats.  AandE-worthy, stinky piles of mush-living, hoarders.

I read these types of books for two reasons. First, reading a memoir is the most respectable form of voyeurism (especially when compared to, say, reality TV).  After all, they did get it together enough to eventually write a book, right?  And they are hopefully making a good amount of money from peeping toms like myself.  The second reason is that my life has been too idyllic.  Not everything came easily, and I have worked my butt off to over-achieve, but my parents are still together, we have always been comfortably middle class, and my brother and I never received a GPA below a 3.6 from kindergarten through college.  This would all be great if I didn’t act for a living.  What am I supposed to say at my “Inside The Actors’ Studio” some day?!  That sometimes my mom makes me so angry because she will send care-packages full of hand towels and dog clothes from TJ Maxx AND I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH ROOM IN MY APARTMENT FOR THAT KIND OF FRIVOLITY?!  Five minutes in and I would be more hated than Anne Hathaway.

Yes, I blame my parents for all present and future career mediocrity (you’re thinking, “Ah! So THAT’S where the title of this entry comes from!”).   Twenty years from now, when you still haven’t heard of me (but acting is still paying my rent, hopefully), I will curse them for all of their pleasant, book-collecting, suburban bliss. I will revel in the fact that I live in a small New York apartment because it is the only thing I have in common with the story of a young Dustin Hoffman. And the next time a director asks me to dig deep into my past, I will have to hide that fact that I’m digging deep into 15 years of Lifetime Movie Network dramas.

You know what? I can’t even keep typing because my parents bought me this iPad for Christmas and I’m too disgusted with how much I love it, and them, to go on. Hmmm… Maybe I can use that anger somewhere. Let me just call my therapist and make sure that’s legit…

*Despite my sarcasm here, my parents are exceptional people who truly deserve their dream home.  Only true love could create a little brat like me.

**Do not look for this book. It’s wrong.

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