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Citizen of Earth

Zimmy Page Strikes again! The Sunday guest blogger tradition continues with this fantastic take on traveling as a performer! Hope you love this piece as much as I did!


d. – checkerhead

I don’t remember much. There were all these strange little creatures buzzing about, speaking some crazy-sounding language. I had this awful feeling of dread as they took me into this big room with all these bright white lights. Then this other one, I guess he must have been their leader or something because his uniform was a little different. He leads me into this other smaller room. They stripped me down, turned me about and began to probe me. At one point, I turned around and there must have been about five or six of these creepy little beings all gang-probing me. It was ter-rib-le…weep, weep, weep!

No doubt about it; going through customs in Singapore was the worst.

(You know, they stamp a skull and bones right on your passport just to remind you that they kill people for drugs there. “Welcome to Singapore, imperialist dog! If you brought any herb with you, prepare to die. Have a nice day.”)

Traveling is far and away the best and worst thing about choosing street performance as a career. My buddy Mickey O’Connor quotes the adage–“I don’t get paid to perform, I get paid to travel.” That’s because it just plain SUCKS to travel now. It used to be so glamorous, “jetting” here or “jetting” there. Something bad must have happened in like, late 2001, because ever since then, moving a whole show of props, a week’s worth of regular people luggage and my own ass through airports just about kills the joy of getting to see this planet on someone else’s dime.

Still, it is great once you’re there. Wherever you land is usually pretty fantastic. I mean, how great and smart are British audiences? Plus, you’re in the U.K. Congratulations! Top of the food chain, baby. Ever been to Japan? Dave Aiken is HUGE there…he¬†towers over his audiences. I hear that buskers are beloved in Brazil and cities like Barcelona and Prague.

Personally, I love Canada the best. The people are probably the nicest anywhere. As audiences, they’re razor sharp like an L.A. audience, but they’re unarmed. I like that.

Most countries will love you more if you make an effort to speak the local language. Knowing how to say your hat lines in Quebec-quois gives them the sense that you’re no tourist, man. You care about them. Now you’re a welcome guest. (Yes, I called Quebec a country…but only because it IS one.)

Same thing if you learn those same lines in Parisian, they WILL notice the effort…unless of course, you’re from the States. For the last time, I wish to explain this. I do not create U.S. foreign policy. I just live there. I don’t even vote. Voting is for suckers! Remember George W. Bush? We didn’t elect him–TWICE! They do whatever the hell they want, man. I’m just here to learn parts of my show in your language, make you smile and then bugger off. I may foul one or two of your local women, but I won’t endorse or enforce any of my countries’ insane politics. (Okay, maybe three women if I can lose the last of this beer weight.)

Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not some farcical hipster doofus marionette ceremony!

It was in Cannes, France that I experienced the worst anti-American contempt of my life. They lost the ONLY key they had to my quaint little hotel room, right during the half hour I was supposed to be on stage at the MIP-TV convention. That same key re-appeared on cue just seconds after my gig was ruined. I think it was done to me just because of my passport.

The worst part is, the British producer who hired me understood. He knew it was possible and therefore, true. That’s okay, I got even with ’em. I kidnapped a French guy and actually bathed him. Gave him a splash of deodorant…he was instantly deported.

Here’s a great example of my performance persona standing in conflict with my nationality. I was working in Vlissengen, Holland. I went into a restaurant with a fellow busker from Scotland. He ordered his meal in his thick accent and with no problem.

I tried to order, even attempting to read it as written–I wanted a hot dog. Of course, the word for hot dog in Dutch is something like “hottendorgen doggendonkendonkendurgan.” (I think one of the ‘o’s had a line through it…I mean, what the hell is that?)

I guess I said it wrong because all of the other patrons gave me foul glares…my own accent so rich in U.S.-itude.

I apologized profusely, citing “how difficult I found the language to pronounce.”

The owner replies, and correctly so, “Really? Because I see it being spoken every day by very, very small children.” He was right. He was also a fascist douche bag who deserved my wrath. The whole place howled, and all twenty patrons made me feel like a political rodent. I held my tongue though, as I didn’t want any “spitten hocken” on my sammitch, okay?

We walk around the corner and are stopped cold by two couples…four well-dressed perfect human specimens, the kind of people you only see in beer ads and Holland.

“You! You are The Puppet Guy! Everyone on the boardwalk is talking about the show you make here today! Let us take you out…let us show you around!”

And they did. They were fantastic and warm, wonderful hosts. I didn’t have the heart to feel anything but overjoyed…I instantly forgot the ugly events of five minutes earlier.

That’s because Lee Zimmerman is just some obnoxious loudmouth from the United States.

The Puppet Guy is a citizen of Earth.

5 Responses to “Citizen of Earth”

  1. To Jim. says:

    To Jim of The Jim Show. I know you’re a GREAT US citizen…a believer in the system. I was raised by Republicans who served in office, both of ’em…they forced all five kids to deliver pamphlets for NIXON, man. I almost took out my remarks about the system because of my respect for you…my brother said I should be deeply ashamed for writing it…but before Jimi, Magritte, Calder or Jeff, my all-time hero is BEN FRANKLIN…half-Philadelphian, half-Bostonian. I think he’d be PISSED OFF.

  2. Jim Show Jim says:

    Lee, I think you have me confused with someone else. Did you think I was some kind of patriot or something? I’m a bleeding heart liberal pinko Democrat, and I agree that the system is completely screwed up. Don’t hold back because of me, man. I’m on your side, (I think.)

  3. ZimmyPage says:

    Pheewww! And thanks.

  4. Anders says:

    More stories! I love them Lee!

  5. Glenn Singer says:

    Nice story Led. I do wish you’d vote. Hell I wish you’d get involved.

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