A Helping Hand
By Jonathan Caiola
I was hit by a train and lived. You know what? We’ll get back to that.
It was the turn of the millennium and, although I had already had a lifetime behind me, there seemed to be a galaxy in front of me. You name it, I did it. Films, television, Broadway, press junkets, trips across the nation as well as international pit stops. I could fit brunch with studio-heads in along with rides on theMatterhornandSpaceMountain. What do you expect? I was a kid, I was rich and I still liked coaster rides. My stage name was “JD Daniels.” When you lose space on your hands in order to count your own blessings, two things can happen: Your hands can be replaced by an unlimited myriad of possibilities leading itself off into the void of Superstardom or one of the hands can be taken, leaving you with limited options.
If you think I feel sorry for myself, do yourself a favor and go watch the WE network or OWN. This is not a story of “poor pitiful helpless me” or “I am so much better than you because I’ve had to overcome more.” Like my mother once told me: “everybody has something and no one gets out of this alive.” My mother would probably not be a good grief counselor for recovering heroin addicts, but her message does ring true. Think about it: Any room you enter is filled with two types of people. There are the people who have known only comfort and try to cloak their inexperience with pseudo pain (which is a severe debilitation within itself) and the people who have known great pain and so hate the other kind of people in the very same room as them. What you get is a whole lotta pain, even more nervous tension and no one wants to pay for the booze.
Back to the train. Honestly? I didn’t hear it. Did not even see it. Wasn’t even near it but the inertia sucked me in and it pretty much ran me over. What do I remember, you ask? Darkness. I remember floating in the void of space; space without the benefit of stars. I tried to grasp onto the almost benevolent silence and make it my own, but I could not. I could only know, deep inside, that I was in a place outside of space and time and that I had either been there for the briefest of instances or, perhaps, forever. Then, I came back. I came back without my left arm.
I have watched numerous shows and read various spiritualist works on the reality that faces those who return from the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Let me tell ya: Nothing can prepare you. Nothing. Everything tastes better, smells better, and feels more alive. However, the ability to see the light or darkness in a man’s soul is nothing that you want: trust me. The ability to read people, you know, non-verbal communication, is fantastic, but it can leave you feeling uncomfortable, especially when you know that someone is lying to you. It is at those times when I must remind myself to let go and let God. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a mentalist, because, if I were, I would have a few Golden Globes in my bathroom by now. The Hollywood Foreign Press is not breaking down my door by any stretch of the imagination. My story could be told, if I knew a guy who knew a guy who knew a girl who knew a guy who knew a guy who knew a girl who knew the production assistant on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but I don’t see that happening, do you? Nope, I find myself at an impasse of the soul, that fork usually found around the same time as when Metamucil becomes less of a hangover necessity and more of a lifestyle change (yes it can actually solve a hangover).
I’m still talented, I have a voice and I know what to say, yet my screenplays are in the hands of those whose job it is to read screenplays, yet the thing that they hate most in life to do is to (say it with me now) read screenplays.