Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Washed Up - Age 8

Scenes from a childhood --
Age 2 - My parents are moving us from Independence to Kansas City, Mo. Daddy's at work; Mother is packing, the movers are there.
Mover (ashen-faced) "Ma'am, I thought you ought to know your little girl is standing on her highchair tray ..."
Mom (sighs, smiles) "She does that ..."

Age 4 or 5 - The new house has a steep, shared driveway with the house next door. It descends and then splits out into two aprons behind the houses.
Next door woman (outraged) "Your daughter is riding TWO scooters down that driveway!"
Mom (sighs, smiles) "She enjoys it."

Age 7 or 8 - I have a black English bike with hand brakes. I enjoyed riding at speed while pedaling frantically "backwards." I perfected riding with my feet on the handlebars - no hands.
Neighbor lady (curious, what kind of a mother is this woman anyhow?) "Did you see your daughter on her bike yesterday?"
Mom (sighs, smiles) "Yes."

What prompted all this? (Keeping your distance from the deranged woman in front of you)

"The Full Burn - On the Set, At the Bar, Behind the Wheel and Over the Edge with Hollywood Stuntment" by Kevin Conley Bloomsbury 214 pages $25.99

Stuntmen and women make the Screen Actors Guild day rate which is $678 (!) PLUS $1,500 PER STUNT every time it's shot -- which can be as many as five or six times per "normal" stunt. The bigger, more dangerous the stunt the bigger the paycheck. This information was on page 10.

By the time I got to page 40, I knew deep in my heart, this was not the career for me. These people jump off cliffs, buildings, volcanoes! They drive at speed the wrong way on the freeway - with civilians! There's a high divorce rate among them. And it's a private club. They all know each other; often have worked together for many years.

But I do have a new heroine -- Jeannie Epper who, in her mid-60s, is still considered a top-tier stuntwoman. She's from a family of 12 stunt persons. She doubled for Lynda Carter in the "Wonder Woman" TV series.

Clearly, she wasn't a washout at age 8.

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