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  • Brian Martin

Swag

April 16, 2020:

Have you ever gone on a hike in the mountains? I don’t mean a crazy work out hike like the Grouse Grind. I’m talking about a standard run of the mill up, down and flat terrain kind. They’re usually properly marked, not overly challenging, and more often than not there is a map at the beginning detailing the path that you will take and where you will end up. The end part being the goal. Nothing more satisfying than making it to the terminus and being rewarded with a beautiful ocean vista, serene lake view, or some other scenic landmark.

So now, what if there is no detailed map? Just an entry point leading into a shady opening outlined by a canopy of trees and underbrush that promises to take you on an unknown adventurous trek to somewhere. Do you take it? Why not? Sure, the path looks a little overgrown and vaguely travelled, but what could possibly go wrong?

Well, as is the case for me, this explorative journey has taken some interesting twists and unexpected turns and so now instead of being solely on the creative path of actor, writer, musician, somehow I took a fork in the road and wound up on the trail of little Susie homemaker and special projects guy (yes, I'm both).

At some point a while back I must have fallen off of my trusty old grey mare, knocked myself senseless and now that I have finally revived, my hair is three times longer (definitely more distinguished), the air smells a little cleaner, and it seems the only people I communicate with is my immediate family (not that there’s anything wrong with that. Is there?).

Upon retirement I had set some pretty lofty (Himalayan mountains lofty) goals for myself. I was aiming to learn the top ten best lead guitar solos of all time (well, at least one of them anyway), star in my first ever Netflix series (which I’m supposed to write, someday) and become the best pupil my acting coach ever had (in my mind anyway). Instead, it’s fencing, hedging, retaining walls and plumbing issues. I think I took a wrong turn at Albuquerque.




To be fair though, when they were handing out the parting gift basket, as I was scratching and clawing to keep myself from being forced out into this crazy world we live in, I must have dropped the talent brochure that came with the rest of the swag bag because I seem to have come up a little short in that department. Instead of leaning towards creative star, I’m competing against my neighbours for "best looking power washed driveway" (oh, don’t kid yourself, it’s on!).

So, how is one supposed to know what one is talented at if that talent is never tested? Unless of course, one stumbles into it. So, if I keep taking the predictable path I may go through life never realizing what it is that I'm truly best at (it's not power washing). Mundane predictability has value, but maybe the only way I find out where my talent lies is by checking out the vaguely travelled path.

Take, for instance, Jason Bateman’s character Marty Byrde in Ozark (A Netflix series, no spoilers). He took the route less travelled. He started out as just a smart accountant working for a legitimate firm (pretty typical not so exciting path) until the company happened to hook up with a Mexican drug cartel. That's when Marty's true talent as a money launderer was realized. Now, he and his family live an exciting life in the Ozarks, not in the pursuit of something so gaudy as material wealth, but simply because they enjoy living. Okay, well maybe you'll have to watch the show to get the joke.

No, I don't want to work for a drug cartel, but the point I'm trying to make is that the unpredictable path is what might persuade a person to dig a little deeper into the swag bag and find that missing talent brochure.

Until next time.

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