I got a semi full-time personal assistant in October. since then I’ve been making a to-do list. This list has to do with getting things done, that I never really have had the mobility or the help to do before.
One big thing on this list, is getting an agent. I’ve been speaking whenever I can for a very long time, but I’ve never had someone to represent me. Someone to work toward my interest. If you talk to anyone in show business, one of the first things they say to you is get an agent. I decided that it was time.
I’ve never had experience with this sort of thing. I wasn’t even sure where to start so I called an agency here in town and told them that I was interested in seeking representation. To my surprise, they told me I should come in and see them. We set appointment for the afternoon, and I begin putting things together to give to them. The main piece is the PDF you can find by going to the link below.
It has everything you need to know about me all at a glance. (well except for this blog I need to fix that) the second was a glowing recommendation letter from the last place that I spoke. I was ready, I was going to take these people by storm.
I showed up a half hour early to look the building over for the best way in and such. As I’ve said before, you have to do a little extra prep being in wheelchair then a normal person would. As Jane ( that’s the semi full-time personal assistant’s name) and I drove around the building. we realized that there was no accessible entry.
Before you get upset, let me just mention that this sometimes happens, and is just part of Life in wheelchair. We park in the parking lot adjacent to the building, so close that I can actually see the people inside. I call them and say that I have a 4 o’clock appointment but there is a small problem, I can’t get into the building.
First, the woman on the phone says to me. How wide of a door do you need? I say at minimum 28 inches. For the next five minutes people inside frantically measure every door. Finally the woman on the phone says we think we can get you in the back but there’s a step. They have two men in the building that are willing to pick me up. To this I reply that my wheelchair is electric and it weighs about 600 pounds with me in it. I could just see these two men hurting themselves trying to pick the chair up and me somehow being responsible for that. After some thought she agreed. She asked me to hold and I saw the people in the building meeting again trying to figure out what to do.
After a few minutes the voice comes back to me and says that the woman I was scheduled to meet with, will come outside and meet with me.
Remember when I said that I showed up early? Even with all this confusion, it was two minutes until 4 o’clock, our scheduled meeting time.
The woman comes out, I can immediately see that she’s flustered and embarrassed and doesn’t really know what to do. At this point I decide that I need to do my best to make her feel comfortable. I get out of my car shake her hand, give her the stuff I brought and begin to tell her about myself.
The whole time she seems completely out of her element, she tells me that an agent is not an manager and that she sits in our office and waits for her phone to ring. If someone needs a service like a motivational speaker, she matches the person on the phone with her clients skills. She was very clear that she was not a manager. She said she wouldn’t actively spend the time seeking out work for me. Agents didn’t do that. This may be true, but I have met some agents not in my area that did seek out work for their clients. The way she said it, almost immediately after I got out of the car, felt like her best effort to send me somewhere else. I felt she was so uncomfortable from that point on, that she was just trying to get me out of the parking lot. I said what I had to say, and asked her to look over my stuff. She said she would, and then she said it was so hot outside that she couldn’t focus. I’m sitting there, having no problems focusing. I shook her hand again, and she began to walk away, saying it was hot, and she needed to get inside. I let her walk a couple steps and then said ” aren’t you going to need a way to get in touch with me?”
She hadn’t taken my number at that point and I could see she wasn’t going to. I had provided other ways to get in touch with me in the paperwork I gave her. My point was to give her the best way to get in touch with me. I would think that would be a first priority for an agent.
Now think back to the beginning of this post. The fact that I couldn’t get into her building was a minor problem. That’s just something that comes up when you’re me. What I want you guys to see in this story, Is her reaction to me.
Our 4 o’clock meeting lasted less then five minutes. I was pulling out of the parking lot at 4:05. Why? The answer is, I made her uncomfortable.
I’m not upset with her. I’m just trying to make the point that I believe this is the way that 98% of population reacts to someone like me. It’s why I do everything I do. No offense to Howard Stern, but I want to be the king of all media. I want to be on radio and TV. I want to write blogs, do interviews, and basically make a living being me. The reason for this, is that I want to show people that my issue, called a wheelchair. Is no different from issues that normal people deal with every day. I’m just a guy. Extraordinarily funny and gifted maybe, but still just a guy. The next time you see a person who is different from you don’t be uncomfortable, if you are not they won’t be either. It’s just a difference, be open, ask questions. You maybe shocked. because they’re actually willing to answer them. Life is too short to be uncomfortable.