With Foreword by actor Gavin Macleod
“Written with the same brilliant insight, humor and wit as Giving Candy To Strangers!” — Nicholas Boothman, New York Times Bestselling Author How To Make People Like You In 90 Seconds
Why is it that some people see problems as roadblocks while others see them as stepping stones, springing from one to the next as though they were riding a giant pogo stick? Why does one business ride out the storm, while another succumbs to a mud slide of economic or critical pressures? In one word…
Don’t Lie Down In The Aisle is more than just hunkering down and weathering the storm! It’s R esilience in Motion… consistently moving forward with an attitude of gratitude, perseverance and humor while leading the way for others to follow… Regardless of the circumstances!
During my acting career I have had the pleasure of working with some of the greatest stage, movie and television actors of all time, including Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, Carol O’Connor and Ernest Borgnine, just to name a few. My time on the Mary Tyler Moore Show was no exception. Sharing the screen with Mary, Ted Knight, Ed Asner and Betty White,–has been one of the greatest highlights of my life… through which I learned many things about myself and my craft. I made many lifelong friends and I learned how to move forward, regardless, in an industry that is inherently full of setbacks and rejections.
In what is one of the more memorable episodes on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (and one of my personal favorites; many say that it includes the most comedic scene in television history), the beloved, yet not often seen character, Chuckles the Clown is hired as the grand marshal for a circus parade. At the parade, he dresses as one of his more popular personas, Peter Peanut. But, tragedy strikes when a rogue elephant tries to “shell” him and poor Chuckles visits the great beyond. During the funeral, the minister reads the following eulogy… while Mary tries very unsuccessfully to stifle her laughter:
”Chuckles the Clown brought pleasure to millions. The characters he created will be remembered by children and adults alike: Peter Peanut; Mr. Fee-Fi-Fo; Billy Banana; and my particular favorite, Aunt Yoo-Hoo. And not just for the laughter they provided—there was always some deeper meaning to whatever Chuckles did. Do you remember Mr. Fee-Fi-Fo’s little catchphrase? Remember how, when his arch-rival Señor Kaboom hit him with a giant cucumber and knocked him down, Mr. Fee-Fi-Fo would always pick himself up, dust himself off, and say, ‘I hurt my foo-foo’? Life’s a lot like that. From time to time we all fall down and hurt our foo-foos. If only we could deal with it as simply and bravely and honestly as Mr. Fee-Fi-Fo. And what did Chuckles ask in return? Not much. In his own words, ‘A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.'”
And how befitting it is to begin Stan’s message of resilience here with a eulogy. A eulogy that, unlike most, illustrates in a comedic way that sometimes “we must all just pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, even if we hurt our foo-foos.” A eulogy to say goodbye to the ways of our past and to move forward… resiliently.
As my career moved forward and I dusted off my own foo-foo a time or two, I eventually became the “captain” of my own ship… as Captain Stubing, the captain on The Love Boat television series (1977–1987). Each week an ensemble cast of characters would embark upon the ship with me and my crew—played by actors, old and new, many of whom I had worked with in the past—as we set sail to many exotic locales around the globe. During each voyage a problem or two or three in the area of love and romance would arise, always wrapped up at the end in a cloak of feel-good humor and warmth. In my own book, This Is Your Captain Speaking, I go into great detail with a walk down memory lane about the ups and downs of my career and the wonderful time I had filming The Love Boat and The Mary Tyler Moore Show as well as many others.
The parallel here, of course, is that a ship cuts through the waters unhindered by the daily hurdles we experience as humans. It moves forward and glides through the water, sometimes with turbulence, but mostly with grace… but it moves forward nevertheless! As the Captain of the ship and in real life as the captain of our “acting crew,” it was my job, both figuratively and literally, to grab the proverbial wheel of my ship and steer the course through often uncharted waters in order for the others to follow. It is with this attitude and philosophy that I steer my own life.
And herein lies Stan’s endearing message in Don’t Lie Down In The Aisle . It is one thing to just endure the hurdles of life and business, but it is quite another to move forward resiliently with grace, with humor and with love… much like Chuckles the clown.
“I’m a speed bump, I’m a speed bump!” He yelled.
A portly gentleman with a large grin lie flat on his back with his arms to his sides, smack in the middle of the driveway at Paty’s Restaurant in Toluca Lake, California. He looked to the sky, indifferent to the circling crows overhead, and continued to act out his odd yet obvious display or impersonation if you will. Car after car carefully maneuvered around him as to not impart their weight on this somewhat different looking speed bump.
Some laughed, some did not, many just scratched their heads looking starry-eyed out their windows and down at the ground as they drove by; yet it could be argued that this “speed bump” was indeed effective. They did slow down after all.
Finally, a police officer decided it was time to end the charade, remove the self- proclaimed traffic impedance and haul him off to the “funny farm.” The real one, not some mythical vacation home for washed up comedians. This scenario happened on more than one occasion.
Was he crazy? Maybe, but many would say that Jonathan Winters was one of the greatest comedic geniuses of our time. Known for his spontaneously created improvisational characters, Jonathan was prone to such displays… usually after a bout with his long suffered manic-depression or an argument with his beloved wife.
With a career spanning more than six decades, Winters appeared in hundreds of television shows and films, including his eccentric characters on The Steve Allen Show, The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters (1972–74), Mork & Mindy, Hee Haw, and the movie It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. If you haven’t had the pleasure of witnessing the hilarious spectacle of Jonathon tearing apart a lone desert gas station with his bare hands in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, or know who Jonathan Winters was, your first homework assignment is to watch that movie! Yes, there will be homework, but like my previous book, Growing Your Business Can Be As Fun & Easy As… Giving Candy To Strangers it will be fun and informative.
You might say that Jonathan Winters was a pioneer in the area of human exploration–much like an astronaut or deep-sea explorer–and comedy was his vehicle of choice. His multi award winning work has been the inspiration for many comedians to follow, not the least of which was Robin Williams, also someone who struggled with self-imposed speed bumps. But, as is often the case with people who “push the envelope” in their perspective fields, Jonathan used his affliction to fuel his creativity and push through— no matter what!
My good friend and fellow writer Tim Simpson used to have breakfast with Mr. Winters once a month at the same aforementioned Paty’s Restaurant as part of a writers roundtable and Tim had the good fortune to witness the speed bump spectacle with his own eyes. The writer’s roundtable was a safe-space where trust and acceptance was paramount for each writer to share and bounce things off of one another without the fear of someone else stealing your ideas. Several other high profile writers were part of this elite group. Writers for Tim Allen, Rosanne, Pat Paulsen (who once ran for president, Tim wrote for Pat as well) and Johnny Carson just to name a few. Many other stories were shared at the table by none other than Granny Frickert, aka Jonathan Winters, who was very often always “on” as one of his human characters.
One of the qualities that attracts me to the story of Jonathan Winters is that his creativity knew no bounds, both literally and figuratively—he was also a visual artist like myself, however, his consistent attitude of “pushing through no matter what” despite his past experience is why I use his story to illustrate my point. He was a true unremitting pattern disruptor of creativity. A fully loaded freight train of imaginativeness, energy and innovation: albeit, sans the rails from time-to-time.
I know a thing or two myself about using personal afflictions and life’s tragedies to fuel creativity and resilience. You see, my mom took her own life when I was 14 years old, my brother did that same a few years ago as did several close friends of mine. As a result I have fought my own personal demons and created my own roadblocks. I became a professional drinker—I’m now 26 years retired from that particular profession, suffered a financial collapse, gone through a divorce and experienced particularly unjust treatment from a couple of neerdowell companies, but I dug myself out, brushed off my dungarees (it’s not often I get to use that word) and trudged forth using the forthcoming tools within these pages.
Don’t worry, I’m going to take it up a notch or four here in a bit, after all, I would also like to inspire you and maybe even make you smile a little. I merely want to point out that, as humans, we can all use our experiences to either waller in our past or to push forward and explore the space of our lives and business’— no matter what.
Why is it that some people see problems as roadblocks while others see them simply as speed bumps or better yet steppingstones… springing from one to the next as though they were riding upon a giant pogo stick? Why does one business ride out the storm, while another succumbs to a mudslide of economic or critical pressures? In one word… resilience. Through my walk thus far, I have learned a lot about the power of resilience, how to achieve it, how to maintain it and I would like to share that with you. And the best part… resilience is contagious!
But Don’t Lie Down In The Aisle is so much more than just hunkering down and weathering the storm! It’s resilience in motion… Consistently moving forward with an attitude of gratitude, perseverance and humor while leading the way for others to follow… regardless of the circumstances— no matter what.
If you feel resilient… then you act resilient… and if you act resilient…then you are resilient… and if you are resilient then you WILL move forward no matter what!
I have pondered why my first book, Giving Candy To Strangers, struck such a positive chord with people. I get emails from folks all around the world as to how it has changed their lives. This morning I read an article on the power of indirect communication… which is the difference between knowing ABOUT something and KNOWING something. In my book, I have not said anything that most people do not already know… But, I have said it in a way that touches people hearts and in a way that I KNOW to be true. And that’s what I intend to do here as well.
My intent within these pages is not to create a how to be resilient guide but rather to get you to think and give you some tools to help you build your own personal and professional resiliency and most importantly… have fun doing it! There are many great books out there about resilience but I would suffice to say most are a bit dry… why not have some fun at the same time? And although it may be through a lighthearted story or exercise… if it gets you serious about moving forward and inspires you to keep on going… no matter what… Then it has served its purpose!
Stay up-to-date on the latest news and information