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My name is Liz. I need direction. I overuse commas. My house is a mess, my hair needs a trim and I have no marketable skills: It’s fun here, you’ll see!

Got a question, comment, proposal of marriage? Great! Email me at liz@theproductivecough.com

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Got a question, comment, proposal of marriage? Great! Email me at liz@theproductivecough.com

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April 13th, 2010

A Realization

Few things in this world have ever made me as happy as Mystery Science Theater 3000. I came upon that show one day when I was home sick from school in 1993. I was enjoying a respiratory flu-type situation, and could only muster the strength to sit in a large chair and eat toast and flip listlessly through the channels. I was raised on the principle that watching television was a treat, an activity reserved for the weekends or the Oscars or when you were coughing so hard you tasted blood– you know, special occasions. So, despite my fever, I was determined to seize the opportunity to watch television. It was soap operas, it was the news, it was a bunch of other crap that a fourth grader wouldn’t find interesting. Then all of a sudden it was channel 45 and a couple of robots and guy, verbally trashing a movie that I can no longer remember. I was enraptured.

Fortunately, it was on every morning at 10am! Unfortunately(ish), I was well again in four days and had to return to school. But the damage had been done. I would forever be a MSTie.

I spent the rest of the decade taping the episodes off Comedy Central and the SciFi Channel, and trying to explain to the rest of my friends why the show was so brilliant. One or two understood it. The rest didn’t seem to get why I was laughing at something that didn’t star Adam Sandler. “I’m going to write for this show one day,” I often announced naively, not understanding concepts like “copyright negotiations” and “management changes.” When the show was canceled in 1999, I forlornly went to my plan B: become doctor.

Although I love science, and find diagnostics fascinating, medical school was a poorly thought out back up plan, as I’m terrified of vomit, and really not all that comfortable with touching people. Sadly, what I really wanted to do (make fun of terrible films for money) wasn’t possible. In college, my Bad Movie Club was a way to scratch the itch. But it wasn’t enough.

Eventually, after a losing battle with chemistry class, and the growing sense that I’d have to deal with a lot of puke in the near future if I followed my current trajectory, I opted out of pre-med and went into the film program. I still had no clear idea of what I wanted to do for a living. “I’ll direct,” I said half-heartedly, trying to aim high.

Fast forward to 2010. I’m still unclear on my ultimate goal, but things are looking up. The other night, I was asked by a friend what I “really want to do.” It’s always been a hated question, because the answer is always, “Oh, you know… I’m still figuring it out,” which makes me feel like an idiot. But something was different this time. Maybe it was the giant fried meatball I’d just eaten, or maybe it was the fact that I’d recently spilled soup on my pants. Whatever the reason, I blurted out ” Oh, it’s not really so much what I’m doing. It’s who I’m around when I’m doing it.”

I met my idol, Larry Blamire, the other night at a screening of his very silly, very smart movie “Dark and Stormy Night.” He’s got the right idea. He’s doing something he enjoys (writing, directing, acting, producing), and he’s doing it with a group of people he seems to really like. The fun they have comes across in their finished product. That’s what I want. To work on something I’m proud of, with people who make me laugh.

It was a hugely important realization. Primarily because it’s the first time I’ve had a clear idea of what I want since the 1990s. Secondarily because it means I can keeping blogging and Twittering away, trying to make people laugh (Mr. Blamire told me he thinks I’m funny… I could probably die now, but I’ll hang on for awhile). Making people laugh is fun, it’s satisfying, and it leads to actual projects and assignments. And, tertiarily, I finally have an answer to the hated question, “So what do you want to do?”

2 comments to A Realization

  • Chris Bulock

    I like the fact that this article ends with the question “So what do you want to do?” and the next one starts with the title “Induce Vomiting.”

  • Brian

    I like this post. And I watched MST3K on friday nights in the 90s. Torgo actually creeped me out.

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