I remember, a lot of years ago (28? 29?) being invited by veteran friends to a cookout at the VA Hospital in Chicago. Mark Vadik went, too, if I remember correctly. Maybe one or two other folks from the cast of “In Country,” which played in rep with “The Water-Method Man.”
I remember the band playing, “God Bless the USA,” which is a song I didn’t like then, and still don’t, but my veteran friends saying, “Come on,” and heading toward the stage.
I remember joining them in a huge circle of veterans and their families and friends, hands clasped person to person, arms raised over heads.
I remember, in that circle, one vet, whose injuries required that he lay face down on a gurney, stretching his arms up behind him as high as they would go, his hands clasped to friends on either side who lowered their arms enough to keep the chain linked.
I remember a lot of sights like that on that day.
And I remember, driving back to Evanston, knowing that we were doing the John Irving show that night, not the Bobbi Ann Mason one, and thinking, “How the hell am I going to do comedy tonight?”
I only vaguely remember doing the show that night. And then, if I remember correctly, doing the other show the following afternoon or night, where I saw many of those same vets in the audience again.
We carry on with the lives we’ve made. We don’t pretend tragedies haven’t occurred. We take them into our bodies and minds, and work for something better when we can, and meanwhile, we carry on.
Five and a half hours from now, I’ll be reading what will likely be a comedic script. Six hours from now, I’ll be assigning what will likely be comedic roles to comedic actors. Six and a half hours from now, what will likely be a comedic show will begin. We carry on.