Jeff Astrof has 100 days off. See how he spends them.

Day 93

with 4 comments

Last week while my wife was driving the kids to school a woman stopped traffic by trying to make a left turn from the center lane.  My wife, in a rare lapse of composure, complained out loud about what a bad driver this woman was.  If it were me, by the way, my not-so-rare lapse of composure would have been followed by telling explaining to the kids why they’re not allowed to say the words in school that daddy just said in the car.  But back to my wife– she was late, because it was Monday through Friday, so she was especially frustrated by being delayed further by some %&*$#@*!ing @#&hole who can’t drive, when my son piped up from the back seat, “It’s okay, Mommy, everything happens for the good.”  It was something he had learned in school, and something my wife has repeated to me countless times: every time a flight is delayed, or there’s traffic or some  %&*$#@*!ing @#&hole decides to take 35 items in the express lane and pay with a check.  I’m actually surprised that my wife needed to hear that from my son because she had a first-hand experience with this notion on another trip to school when someone was blocking her from making a turn, so my wife had to take another way, only to pass, seconds later, a giant tree that had just fallen on a car, crushing it.  Now, why that was for the good of the person whose car got crushed is not for me to decide.   But in the big picture, I believe that there’s no way to be a happy person– or at least a non-depressed person– without internalizing that message somehow.  Otherwise, everything is random and it makes no sense why bad things seem to happen to good people and why people are killing each other around the world and why there are horrible natural disasters and why I can’t seem to get a show on tv.  I would say that subjugating myself to that belief is the single biggest challenge I face.  And getting a show on the air.

Today was the first day in around two weeks that I did not have any meetings booked.  Mostly because I seemed to have met everyone in town, but also because it was the day of our school’s fundraising golf tournament.  I was on the fundraising committee, I think, because there is a belief that if you are in the entertainment industry that you are somehow either connected or important.  And because I donated the equivalent of a mortgage payment to play in the tournament.  That got me two rounds of golf plus a cardboard sign at one of the holes with my name on it.  “Hi, Jeff, it’s Robyn, we were wondering what to put on your sign this year?”  “It doesn’t matter to me.”  “Okay, then can we just put Jeff Astrof, Producer, The New Adventures of Old Christine?” “No.  That’s changed.” “What would you like to be called now?”  “No, my name is still Jeff Astrof, but I no longer work on The New Adventures of Old Christine, it got cancelled”.  “Oh, that’s too bad, I liked that show.”  “It’s okay, I had a new show, called Bleep My Dad Says”.  “Oh, okay, so I’ll put Jeff Astrof, Producer, Bleep My Dad Says”.  “No, that show got cancelled, too.”  “Oh, then…”  “Just put Jeff Astrof” “Oh.  I’m sorry.”  And that was the tone of my day.  Not that I didn’t take advantage of it: since it was a fund-raiser, there were people coming around selling things like Mulligans and raffle prizes, that benefit the school.  “Can I interest you in a Mulligan Package for $150?”  “No, thank you.”  “Are you sure, it goes to the school.”  “I don’t think so–” “Don’t you want kids to be able to–” “MY SHOW GOT CANCELLED TODAY, OKAY?!”  It’s a language everyone understands in LA.  Conversation over.

I was hoping that golf would serve as a way to relax and an opportunity to hang out with a friend of mine, who happened to be the guy who created the show that got cancelled, but didn’t play that card as often as I did.  Two things ruined that: 1) my friend had to leave a few holes in to go on a meeting on another show and 2) I hate golf.  To me, there is nothing relaxing about golf.  It’s the kind of thing I would like to be good at, but it requires so much time and energy and money that it doesn’t seem like it will ever pay for itself.  I remember a long time ago, back when I had a development deal (ie: I got paid to do nothing– I told you it was a long time ago) I happened upon a friend of mine at a golf course while on vacation.  We decided to play together and he asked me if I was any good.  Back then I had the time and the money and my 15 year old clubs were brand new, so I was actually pretty not-awful at golf.  I asked him if he was good.  He said no.  I told him I was pretty good– I averaged a 95.  He told me he averaged an 82.  I then asked him how often he played.  He said, “almost never.  You?”  “I play all the time.  Once a week.”  He responded, “I also play once a week.”  You see what I mean?  What the hell?  It’s a stupid game and the only thing that makes it worse when you’re a bad golfer is when you’re paired with two other people who are worse golfers.  Even for golf, which on its best day isn’t the best thing you can do with 4 hours, this day was awful– bad shot after bad shot– firing $3.00 golfballs into ravines at a rate of two per hole adding to the cost of this ridiculously expensive day.  Hearing the joke, “you know what?  I think I’m going to take my Mulligan now” Every. Single. Time. someone took a mulligan which happened to be after Every. Single. Shot.   The day was interminable: I constantly looked down at the scorecard to see when our day would be mercifully over, only to find that we had 12 holes to go.  It was like flying back from Israel where you watch Avatar and The King’s Speech and read two chapters of your book and you look up at the map and see that you’re over Romania and you want to jump out of the plane.  How is this golf game for the good?!

The only distraction I had from the distraction that was supposed to be my day of golf was constantly refreshing my iPhone to see if there was any news about a job for me.  I was finally rewarded with a cryptic email from a friend who had his show picked up that indicated that he was either going to make me an offer to work with him, or he was being especially cruel.  A moment later, I got a call from my agent confirming that my friend was not cruel.  I told the two other guys in my now threesome that I had to take this call from my agent– thus solidifying me as a douchebag in their minds– and asked if they could play the next twenty minutes (one hole) without me.  At this point I believe they had run out of balls and were using pine cones, so I’m not sure they even heard me.

When I started this journal, a friend of mine said he enjoyed it because it was very raw and candid.  I told him that was what I was going for.  The downside, of course, is that people know your business.  Today, upon checking in I had a dozen people say to me things like, “Day 93, huh?” “You have 7 days to lose those 20 pounds, eh?” “You make me feel better about myself as a father!”  and “Can I date your wife when she leaves you?”  While I have to be honest in this journal, I also owe it to myself and my family to be discrete about certain things.  Because of that I will not be able to talk about– at least for now– the conversation that I had with my agent.  Needless to say, there are a lot of great things about the offer I received, first and foremost being it is an offer on a show that I like with characters I feel I can relate to and write for.  It would also mean working with a dear friend of mind with whom I haven’t worked for year.   But there are also a couple of obstacles to work out.  My agent tells me to be patient, but he hasn’t seen me try to fish my nine iron out of the lake.   As you can surmise by now, I’m the kind of guy who likes to get things done quickly: I got married in the second venue we looked at, to the first girl I dated after I broke up with my Crazy Ex–.     But I need to remember that these obstacles that are there are there for a reason: they are just women make a left turn from the center lane.  And if I truly believe that everything’s for the good– and I do– then things are going to work out just fine.


Written by 100daysoff

May 16, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. Perfect.


    May 16, 2011 at 10:31 pm

  2. Only one more week and then we can invite you over without the risk of ending up as subjects of your blog. 😉


    May 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm

  3. Is it too early to at least say “yeah!”?


    May 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm

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