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Personal Story about the Election Results

Trump, OJ, a Ventriloquist, and a Penny

It was 5:30am on Nov. 9, 2016, the morning after the election and I was probably the only person in the world (of the sober ones, anyway) who didn’t know who had won the presidential election.

After driving to Nevada and knocking on more than 300 doors for Hillary Clinton, I couldn’t handle watching the results. So, when the news started to look bad for her, around 8 pm Pacific Time, I took a Xanax and pulled a Scarlet O’Hara, “I won’t think about this today.” I knew there would be plenty of time for that.

Waking up at dawn the next day, I took a deep breath, turned on my iPhone and saw a text from CNN noting, “Hillary won the popular vote.” I breathed a sigh of relief thrilled that justice prevailed! People voted against sexism, racism, and hate. Having my country pick her over him was a personal victory for me as it healed my personal wounds of my mother being excluded from the workplace, and it distanced us a bit from the anti-Semitism and discrimination imposed on my immigrant grandmother. It even felt like a step away from my own history of being sexually assaulted.

As I went to call a friend I canvassed with, I saw the p.s. that while Hillary won the popular vote, Donald Trump was, nonetheless, our next president.

I burst into tears, instantly transported to another time I’d watched something equally unjust, remembering Oct. 3, 1995. It was a sunny day in Seattle, and I was in a hotel room with the TV on, waiting to hear the verdict in the OJ trial. It could not have been clearer that he had murdered his wife and her friend, Ron Goldman. His blood was on her gate. Ron Goldman’s blood was in his car. His size bloody shoe prints had been found on her walkway. They didn’t need a home movie of him to be sure what happened. The phone in my hotel room rang, letting me know that my 2pm private comedy consult had arrived. I was in Seattle doing a week’s engagement at a comedy club, and taking in some extra money by doing consultations.

“Send him up,” I said, turning off the TV.

I opened the door to meet Roy, a chubby, nerdy man in his 40s, with a shabby suitcase in hand, that looked no less ratty than the toupee on his head.

“Hello, nice to meet you,” Roy said, so softly, I could barely hear him. I remember wondering how this soft-spoken guy could command an audience when he barely kept my attention and I was only three feet from him.

Roy sat on the bed, which I later realized was a bit strange. As I pulled up a chair, he opened his suitcase and took out a rather large wooden dummy, dressed in a miniature suit and tie. “Oh no!” I thought, hating ventriloquists and their dolls. But I tried to comfort myself that it would be over in an hour and this guy had paid in advance. Roy busied himself, straightening out the dummy’s tie and then propped it up on his leg.  

“So, you need help writing material for your ventriloquist routine, Roy?” I asked.

Then, with the dummy on Roy’s knee, a booming, assaulting loud voice yelled, “Hey lady, pay no attention to Roy. I’m the one paying you. That idiot Roy is a jerk. He can’t think of anything funny. Got any zingers? Come on, time is money!”

Roy then said softly to the dummy, “Hey, come on, Frankie, be nice. Judy, this is Frankie.”

“Hello,” I said, fretting that I was having a conversation with a fucking doll.

Frankie, the dummy said, “Hellllllooooo, gorgeous! What do you say, we get rid of the old guy with the bad toupee, and you and I make a little whoopee in your hotel room?”

Note to self: Never have a consult in a hotel room.

Changing the subject, I said to Roy… “Did you want me to watch your act and write some material?”

Frankie, maybe now aroused got even louder, “Hey, hot tits, come a little closer, I want you to grab my hand…”

“I’m not grabbing anything,” I said.

Roy persisted. “Oh, come on, Judy, play along … just shake his hand.”

That’s when I started questioning how much did I really need the $200 for this consult. I checked my watch. It had been 15 minutes. What should I do? Try to get through the next 45 minutes, or give him his money back and tell him to get out?

I shook his hand and a large wooden dick popped up on the dummy.

“Wow – you just gave me a woody! Get it?!”

I froze. This was a new low -- being sexually assaulted by a grown man with a doll. I usually had a quick one liner, but I was thrown by Roy’s pretense that it’s not him, it’s the dummy. I had to make a decision.  If I just sat there, would that make me a comedy whore?

Swallowing back bile, I said, “OK, that’s a hack joke. Let’s work on some good ones.” I pulled out my laptop and sat there writing jokes as the rest of the hour progressed at glacial speed.

When he finally left, I realized that I was probably the last person in the country to hear the OJ verdict.

My heart was pounding as I turned on the TV and saw a smiling OJ. Not guilty.

I broke down and cried, afraid about our country. How could it be that in America, grown men could carry around a doll that that sexually assaults women and think it’s funny? What kind of country are we in where a man can murder his wife and her friend and walk away free?

My fear gave way to anger, and I made a decision to stop being nice. I would rage at every man I met.

My first victim was behind the fish counter at Pike Place Market. He charged me for a pound of crab, but I saw it wasn’t a pound, but rather .9 on the scale. I screamed at him, “You are cheating me, you SOB!”

I yelled at the men honking their horns, “Shut the fuck up!”

And when a black man came up to me asking me for spare change, I screamed, “Why should I give it to you? What have you ever given a woman?”

But, instead of turning away from me, this older man in tattered clothes calmly asked, “What’s the matter?” I told him about how the world treated women. How my mother was denied a career just because she was a woman. I told him about being assaulted by my father and there was no one to believe me, and that a man could kill a woman and get away with it.

When I finally ran out of steam, he asked, “Do you have a quarter, a dime and a penny? Don’t worry, I’ll give them back.”

He held the three coins out in his open palm and asked, “What do you notice about these three coins?” I shook my head. I didn’t know.

He said, “The penny is the only coin where the president is looking to the left. The others are looking in a different direction. You see, Lincoln freed the slaves. When I was 12 years old, living in Alabama, I watched my uncle get lynched. I saw them hang him from a tree. I’ve seen many things in my life, but I never thought I would see the day when a black man accused of killing a white woman doesn’t end up in jail. Times are changing.”

As we sat on Pike Place Market. I shared some fish with him and we watched the sunset. I wondered if I’d had his history if I’d have had his reaction? If I had walked in his shoes, would this be a day of celebration?

And now, so many years later, OJ is in jail, the world tilts to the left, and back to the right, and it is a slow journey to justice.

That made me stop deleting my Facebook friends who LIKED Trump. Instead, I sent a message to a Trump supporters and said, “If you tell me what happened in your life that made you vote for Trump, I will listen.”

Anger can take a long time to dissipate so I’m now hoping that Roy and his dummy Frankie will be the only act that agrees to perform at Trump’s Inaugural.


Having Election Anxiety? Therapists Report Trump Trauma

If you’re finding that your emotional well-being is being challenged by this presidential election, you are not alone. The Washington Post writes, “Psychologists and massage therapists are reporting ‘Trump anxiety’ among clients.” According to the Post, what seems to be anxiety producing is, “How can Trump be so divisive AND popular at the same time?”

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com
My own case of Trump Trauma started shortly after the Republican candidate called Mexicans “rapists.” Like many, I thought, “Well, that will end his campaign.” But that didn’t happen. His rallies grew and so did my anxiety level.   

His insults continued. He mocked the disabled and people of color, and he body-shamed women. We then saw tapes of him bragging about sexually assaulting women while proclaiming, “No one is more respectful of women than me.”

And yet, Republicans didn’t get out of endorsing him while I was having a hard time getting out of bed. Seeing women wave “Women Support Trump” signs, I took to having a cocktail – maybe two -- after the evening news.

There was no 12-step program or halfway house to get over the mania. Going “Trump Free” was impossible as he was on every iPhone news feed, the subject of every Facebook conversation, and even sleep provided no escape as he appeared in my dreams to tell me I was not a 10.  Still, I heard him saying, “You’re fat, you’re old, I’m going to grab you by your pussy, and you can’t stop me!”

In that dream, Trump’s face was replaced by my father’s. Although there was little resemblance between his family and mine, in therapy, the connections surfaced. Both Trump and my father had an undue sense of privilege. In the 1950’s, men were thought of as princes. When nights became violent, my mother made sure that by morning everything looked perfect. The man leaving our home, in a coat and tie, was off to work, providing for his family and a dutiful wife who took care of the house. Those who knew the truth about what was going on in our family – my mother, some neighbors, even the police – did nothing to try to stop it. Men were given a pass.

Trump revealed by his own words that he was a sexual predator. My father didn’t have a videotape with Billy Bush, but he kept a meticulous journal of all his conquests. When I found it after he died, I saw that my mother wasn’t his only victim. If he were alive today, I can imagine my father putting a Trump spin on it, “That never happened. Believe me, she was ugly and flat chested.”

And the women – Melania, my mother, and others – lack the courage to stand up to the monsters sleeping next to them or giving them a pass by chalking it up to "Boy talk."

But, understanding the roots of my Trump Trauma and writing this blog, my anxiety has lessened. Also helping has been the polls showing that others are crossing political lines making a statement that this behavior is not acceptable.


Unfortunately, there will always be men like Trump and my father. But if anything productive comes from this election, I hope there will be more honest conversations about them, and we will unite to help women protect themselves and their children from these men.

12 Tips to Remedy Seasonal Depression


Fall Starts with National Suicide Prevention Month

Seasonal depression is a real thing as I just got an email that September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Wow! Summer over already? In Southern California, the weather doesn’t alert you to the change of seasons. The leaves on palm trees don’t change color. Actually, the drought has all but done away with trees. It’s 78 degrees and there is no obvious difference so we desperately look for a sign that we are approaching winter, things such as: 
  • Angelenos are starting to lose their tan.
  • With all the kids back in school, the ocean water smells better as there is less pee in it.
  • Weight Watcher meetings are less populated with swimsuit season over. 
  • The slight coolness in the air whips up sad feelings of loved ones who have fallen from us. We mourn for what was, who we once were, who we’d hoped to be and never will.
You’re probably thinking, “Hey, Judy, you’re supposed to end with a joke.” I know, that last bullet was sad.  And that’s why September makes sense for a Suicide Prevention Month.

But, as someone who sometimes falls into seasonal depression, I look to turn messes to successes. It’s a way of making them hurt less. Some of you prone to seasonal depression understand what I’m talking about. So, I’m sharing my list of things to do when you fall backwards. I keep it on my iPhone in my “Notes” always available to turn to. That helps cope with the urge to have yet another Whiskey Sour, order Chinese food delivery AFTER dinner, or I find myself wondering if middle age is too late for a second career as a prostitute. 

Carter’s Combat Depression List:
Break into in case of emergency

SeasonalDepression

Hug your dog.
  1. MOVE: Go to another room. Go in the yard. Go to the store. Go anywhere other than where you are.
  2. GET A MASSAGE. People who get paid to touch us generally do a better job than the ones in bed with us. 
  3. SHOP ON AMAZON. You can always return the stuff when you feel better.
  4. WALK YOURSELF OR YOUR DOG TO A NEW PLACE. Get away from the usual routine. The vibes of a different place, with different people is invigorating and healing. 
  5. WRITE AN APPRECIATIVE FACEBOOK POST, SEND A TEXT OR EMAIL. Tell someone how and why you appreciate them. Helping another person is a terrific spirit lifter.
  6. PLAY A VIDEO GAME. Shooting the bad guy is a great way to express your anger and lift the fog.
  7. SING. Even if no one else will, your dog will listen.
  8. MAKE A LIST. Count the times you felt happy and try to recreate that state of mind.
  9. GIVE AWAY MONEY. But not to the wrong candidate. Kiva.com is a great site that loans money to impoverished small business owners who repay them. It’s the gift that truly keeps on giving.
  10. GO ON MEET.UP.COM You’ll get to know strangers who are worse off than you. Maybe others who’ve read this list. That will help put things in perspective.
  11. PAINT BY NUMBERS. When I write my books, I always do paint by numbers. You can’t go wrong. It’s easier than staying in the lines in a coloring book. There are no choices and it’s guaranteed to look like the picture on the box it came in. 
  12. LABEL THINGS. Get an DYMO labeler and go to work. It makes a satisfying sound as it spits out labels such as “Ground Cumin” “2015 Taxes” and “Love Letters Circa 1985.” You will feel productive. But, if you over do it and start labeling you cats, “Cat” call your therapist ASAP.
What are your tips to fighting Fall Funk?

I Need a Job! Four Steps to Find New Business Opportunities

The new business opportunity you are trying to find might be might be next door, rather than on LinkedIn.

My friend told me that she got a job as head of marketing for a new startup company. Not only is she going to be on salary, but she also gets a percentage of the startup company. Sarah, in her late 50s, is a former Hollywood agent, screenwriter, and entrepreneur. She doesn’t have an MBA, nor does she have any degree in marketing.


So how did Sarah, who has had little experience in marketing, get this amazing job when other people are aging out of the corporate market?

Sometimes a cliché is true. A dog is a man’s – or in this case, a woman’s – best friend. Sarah got it by walking her dog.

That’s right, you read this right. As both women walked their dogs, Sarah gave her neighbor great tips on launching her startup, which led to a job offer.

You see, business opportunity is everywhere. Some see it and act on it. Others are distracted by desperation and don’t notice when an answer to a career problem is right in front of them. It’s important to realize that it’s never too late to start a new career, in a different business, and have a new income stream.

Many of my baby boomer friends are shocked to find that their retirement savings are not sufficient to cover the long lives we are all facing, and Social Security payments aren’t going to give them a life that includes even grungy hotels.

Here are 4 Steps to help you find new business opportunities:
  1. Get out of the house and meet new people. Branch out. Do something different. Just last weekend, while playing Pokémon Go on the Santa Monica Pier, I met a man who was having trouble with a PokeStop. Turned out that he’s a dentist who had to give a speech, and he was scared out of his mind. Guess who has a new client? Me!
  2. Consider everyone you meet as a potential resource. Business opportunities are not just on LinkedIn or in an office. They can be your nextdoor neighbor whom you walk your dog with, or even your Uber driver (whose brother might run a comedy club that you have been trying to get into). 
  3. Even if you don’t have an elevator, have an elevator speech. Be prepared to tell others what you do in a compelling one-minute pitch that doesn’t sound like you’re selling yourself. Sarah came to me for coaching last year as she was preparing to give a speech. We worked on The Message of You formula, a technique to market yourself -- and what you do by focusing on outcomes. This way of introducing yourself forms an instant connection to others.
  4. Giving often leads to getting. Be generous. Walking her dog, Sarah gave her neighbor marketing ideas. She did it, not to get a job, but that’s who Sarah is. As a freelancer, she advises authors on how to sell more books and does product placement for movies and books.
Do these steps not looking for a hand-out, but as a way of being helpful to others.

Have you noticed that people love when they’re not looking? It’s the same with getting a job or clients. By being giving, you’re likely to generate others to do the same, and you will be the recipient. It’s more inviting than a desperate, “I need a job!”


If you know someone looking for a job, tweet this!

Get paid to speak your life message at The Message of You

Judy's Blog

Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.