(Would you change you?)

Old Lue sat by the desk, pondering the note. What should he say to himself? The last note didn't work as well as he'd hoped. He put his time travel gadget down on the bed for the umpteenth time and stared at it. He could only use it twice more to go back in time to help his younger self. And kid know-it-all hadn't listened much to the note on his first trip. Old Lue (at 45) wanted to find a way to convince young Lue (at 25) to avoid some of their/his worst mistakes on stand up tour. Old Lue muttered "the young punk better pay attention this time! Or, I'll let him book that show in Haiti! That'll teach him!" After several frustrating hours, the room was a mess; with partially discarded pizza boxes, cigarette butts, and pitifully crushed Pepsi cans strewn about But, Lue had written five or six notes. Then, he balled them up and pitched them in/at/towards the trash can. Damn! What should he tell his younger self to avoid?

An alternately compulsed (Yes, I know compulsed is not a word!) then driven Lue leaned past the mirror, and saw his reflection. Lue noticed that the jagged scar over his left eye was gone. He'd gotten that from a rowdy patron in Tupelo, Mississippi, who objected to a certain joke twenty years ago. It took eleven stitches, and the ER doctor had appeared at his next show. Later, she did him! So, he vividly remembered her, the ugly scar, and he remembered having the scar for years, and now the damn scar was gone. The scar was gone! Wow! Maybe the little snot did pay attention to the note. Lue thought: "If he told that Elvis joke in Tupelo, I knew he'd get beaten up. I did!" Cool! This might work.

Time travelers can't meet themselves in the past or future, or all hell starts breaking loose. So, Lue had worked out the note idea. Stand up comics were always being given notes at their showrooms, clubs, and hotels. Notes to remind you about the birthday girl in the front row, or notes to meet someone at the bar, or notes to tell you to report to the manager, now! He looked at his time gadget again. After travelling back on Trip One, Lue paid a pretty hooker to pass his advice note to his younger self. (That did the trick, so to speak!) So, he knew he could get a bellman or doorman or barmaid to pass his improved note on Trip Two. He just needed to write a better note. Write a better note, moron! He was careful to use older bank notes for the tip, and get clothes that were just quirky enough to not be noticed. Not that Lue would admit to being obsessed, but he wanted to get things right this time, damn it!

The whole reason to pull this hair-brained stunt was now, at long last, Lue finally understood how standup comedy worked for him. As he looked back at his incredibly lucky life and lengthy career, he realized he had also wasted a humongous amount of struggle and time with some terrifically bad choices. Sure, those bad choices taught him how to adapt, improvise, and overcome dead ends and problems, but he still wanted to save himself a buncha time and trouble. It's a Virgo thought, but these particular lessons were important, so he wanted his younger self to learn the moral to each, just a little quicker. So he/we/they could save some time. Being a working standup comic had given confidence, identity, and a damn fine livelihood. Lue wanted this to last forever. So he/we/they got better as a comic. Keep your eye on the damn prize! So, write a better note! Better!

Lue limped over and went through the trash can. He may wash his hands too much, but he was always willing to get his hands dirty sifting to find his best ideas. He wondered: if he was given a note and told not to do something…would he believe it? And would he do as he was advised? He just didn't know. I guess it's a "Buy the premise…buy the bit!" thingy. So, he didn't know if he'd do, or not do what the note said not to do. Gee, just thinking it through like that made his head hurt! Then, there was an unexpected knock at the door. Lue was puzzled for a second or two. It was the bellman with more pizza, Kools, and diet Pepsi. Lue tipped him a tenner. It was going to be a long night.

Starting the note was tricky. Lue had planned to use approaches that appealed to him when he was twenty-five. "Dear Lue: You can get funnier, faster by blah, blah!" "Dear Lue: You will double your bookings if blah, blah, and blah." or "Dear Lue: If you want more sex, then blah blah blah!" He finally decided to use inside knowledge that only the two of them would know, understand and recognize. He would address the note to their/his long hidden middle name.

He completed the seventh list with the only item that all the previous lists had in common:

#1-Don't sleep with Mitzi! (Mitzi Shore is the famous owner/impresario of L.A's Comedy Store, and having regular sex with her had killed numerous advancing careers.)

#2-Don't try to sleep with two casting directors at the same time! (There goes your film career!)

#3-Endorphin Man is not real! (It's a character, it's not a lifestyle!)

#4-Stay in YOUR hotel in Manila! (There are times and places to have fun after the show. Luzon is neither!)

#5-Don't ever Rap in your act! Ever! (No one who decides to rap in their standup act will be remembered, or ever re-hired!)

#6-In Show biz, be real nice to everyone on your way up! (On your way down, you won't get the time.) Lastly,

#7-Don't marry that pretty cop from Tampa! (Challenges are great, and lots of fun, but who's kidding whom here? Why show up for a pissing match, and find out that it's a gun fight?)

Lue looked at the seventh list. That ought to do it. This is the best advice he could devise for his younger self. Imagine the time, expense and grief that young Lue could avoid if he followed the advice on the new list. Trip Two should do the trick! He settled in to prepare his props. Note? Check! Cash? Check! Costume? Check! Time gadget? Check! Red Shoes? Check! Battle Plan? Check! Obsession? Check! OK, let's do this thing!

Ripping him from his OCD-like reverie, there was another knock at the door. Lue was instantly confused. No one knew he was here, except hotel staff. Suddenly, the right side of his head, just over his ear got real hot! That usually meant trouble for Lue. What was this? What did I do wrong now? He hid his time gadget and rushed over to the door. It was the bellman again, this time delivering a note, left at the front desk.

It was addressed to:
Lue (at 45) Deck
(He says he's a comedian!)
The Dunes Casino and Hotel- Room 3333 Las Vegas, NV.

The note read:
" Hey Wilbert!
This is the better note you were just thinking of! Buy the premise! Don't use the gadget now. Save Trip Two for later. The kid will figure it out. You did! I did! Let him make it. "We did!" You were a pretty good comic since him anyhoo! Thanks for working so hard!
FYA: Here's your new bleeping list!"

#1-Leave the kid alone!
#2-When offered a gig, take it!
#3-Endorphin Man is real.
#4-Write your ass off.
#5-Forget the lady cop!
#6-Never do that Siegfried & Roy joke again!
#7-Use less boldface and go back on tour.

Hey look! The scar over your left eye is back!
Love yourself, Lue (at 65)

He looked and sure enough, the scar was back. He could take a hint. He'd leave the kid alone. Lue (at 45) packed up, but he was smiling. Maybe he could save some time some other way. Evidently, you could change you, if you were crazy enough. He checked out and headed for his next gig at the Two Keys Tavern.