"Shoveling Shit," is "Paying Your Dues."

Advice for the Up and Coming 

by Mephisto

Editors note,  this post is in response to a young performers comments about his experiences while on the road.....

Y'know, what lots of young folks call "shoveling shit," troupers call "paying dues." People seem to have this fantasy of joining a show and immediately being the "star"-with honors, accolades, and the admiration of all the old-timers there. They somehow think they are going to "save the show" by just going up on the stage and strutting their stuff, then sitting back with a tall cool drink between shows, set out their umbrella chair to watch the up and down, and maybe even get a driver to take them to the next spot. Unless your name is Loretta Lynn or Clint Black or something, it just doesn't work that way. Those people work the grandstands, and travel in their million-dollar motor homes. Even then, they did "shovel shit" back in their early days in the music industry.

With plenty of training and hard work, you may eventually get yourself into a circus, as a performer. Even that takes time to work up to "star" status. In the circus, you don't have to set up or strike, or shovel anything. It's all done for you. But be prepared to dole out most of your earnings as "tips" to the people who do the work and wait on you. The easier the life, the more it's going to cost.

The carnival is a rough business, friend. ROUGH. We all pitch in and do what has to be done. If the show is under a top, you may get woke up at 3 am to come outside in your skivvies and help tighten the guy ropes. You may find yourself out in a raging rainstorm, pulling those ropes, while your expensive tux gets soaked and ruined. I've been there. Most of us have. You may think you have it rough, but wait till you own your own show, or even manage one. Along around 2025 or 2035, you'll reminisce on these days and tell the young folks, "Yessir, I paid my dues, alright!"


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