There Are Players and Then There Are Players

This is too cool not to share.

Gerard Van Der Leun, the funniest person I’ve ever sat in a car for an hour with, links across to his friend Robert Fulghum’s website.

I was always too cool for Fulghum’s homilies, which in retrospect may reflect worse on me than on him, because this piece is spot on and wonderful.

No permalinks, just look for Feb 12, 2006 and “Are You A Player?”

Definition: Persons with enough nimbleness of mind to accept a surprise invitation to jump into a quick game of imagination.

Example: Here’s a city bus driver standing in the door of his vehicle, staring into the rain. An invitation from me, passing by: “OK, here’s the deal: I’ll pay for the gas, and you’ll drive us straight to the beach at Santa Monica.”

He smiles. “OK, meet me here at midnight. It’s the end of my run and they won’t miss me or the bus until morning. I’ll get some barbecue.”
A player.

Example: Early morning. Lady standing at a bus stop. All seven people waiting with her have wires coming out of their ears. Radios, I-pods, Walkmans, or something. All seven are in a zone – nodding heads in time to music or staring off into space. As I pass, I say to the lady: “They’re all alien robots, you know. Their souls have been sucked out of them.” The lady gives me a hard look and moves closer to the curb.
Not a player.

A man who has just walked up says, “Yes, but they aren’t useless. They’re a street-theater company and I’m their manager. We’re on our way to a gig downtown.” “Really? What’s the name of the performance?” “Bus Stop Stupor. Look for us everywhere.”
A player.

Right on target. Those are the people I want in my tribe.

3 thoughts on “There Are Players and Then There Are Players”

  1. Example: A guy pushes his grocery cart up the the check-out clerk. The cart holds a few food items and a package of toilet paper. He asks the check-out clerk, “Do you think this is enough food for that amount of toilet paper?”

    The clerk gives him a weird look. – Not a player

    The clerk says, “No you’ll need at least $100 worth to use all that toilet paper.” – A player

  2. Fulghum’s “player”hood is crucial to something an acquaintance of mine calls “precision heckling”. Some crucial aspects of it are: you have to actually be funny, including your timing; you have to let the recipient “top” you if that happens; the recipient has to be willing to “play” and let you get the laugh without getting flustered or bugged. It’s sort of improv-from-the-audience. You gotta both be players, and perceptive, too.

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