Rite of passage

7 Aug

My youngest boy quickly realises that commission-based flyering isn’t the deal that he thought it was. I have told him that for each person he convinces to come to the show, I’ll give him one pound – after only one day he is demanding fee-for-service.

I knew this time would come. My dad’s political career saw me cycling all the way around our country town, putting pamphlets of my surprisingly well-groomed father in people’s letterboxes (there were no ‘no junk mail’ stickers back in those days). ‘A new packet of pencils,’ I would say. ‘Only if I can get my ears pierced.’

We start the dealing, my youngest boy and I.
‘Fifty pence is over one Australian dollar,’ I tell him.
‘Yes, but we aren’t in Australia, are we?’ he says.

We settle on a daily fee. It doubles his pocket-money for the week and my financial loss is already so great that it makes no real difference to my bottom line.

We stand on the Royal Mile, the four of us, one adult for each child. The mister manages to give away two flyers.
I give away a few more.
They fly from the children’s hands. Almost no-one says no.

‘I think it’s your clothes, and the way you speak, Dad,’ my eldest boy says. ‘And also, you’re not the cutest.’

We get offered quite a few flyers too. ‘That’s a good ploy,’ one of the flyerers says and nods towards our boys. ‘Better than a bright coloured T-shirt,’ he says pulling at his. From the resignation in his grin it is clear that he has been here before.

The children aren’t a ploy, but when the cast of another production walks past, some of them in suits, the others in boxer shorts, I agree with the mister: ‘I’m glad I don’t have to walk around in my undies.’

‘Are they allowed to walk around in their underwear?’ Youngest boy asks. We are a world away from the robed malls of Abu Dhabi.

There isn’t anyone at the show who hadn’t pre-bought tickets. No walk-ups, flyer in hand. I always told my Dad that how-to-votes at the polling booth would make no difference to the way that people voted.

We go out for a post-show celebratory meal. ‘Mum, giving out your pamphlets is the best job in the world,’ my eldest boy tells me after the first slug of his soft drink. And later, on our walk home, he is still holding a small pile of flyers in his hand, and handing them to people with his politely-worded question: ‘Would you like to see my Mum’s show? She’s hilarious.’

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21 Responses to “Rite of passage”

  1. Deborah August 7, 2009 at 1:12 pm #

    ‘I think it’s your clothes, and the way you speak, Dad,’ my eldest boy says. ‘And also, you’re not the cutest.’

    Children are so lovely.

    Are you happy with the way your show went?

  2. ThirdCat August 7, 2009 at 1:14 pm #

    I am. Indeed I am.

  3. Pavlov's Cat August 7, 2009 at 1:26 pm #

    Excellent, I’m so glad it’s going well.

    I do think you should incorporate the child labour story into your script, though.

  4. Pen August 7, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

    And your children sound rather hilarious as well. Congrats on the show and marketing strategies.

  5. innercitygarden August 7, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    My friend does the door at her Dad’s gigs. Then she scampers up to do the sound and lights too. She works for beer, but she is over 30.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the show. Your kids will regale their friends in years to come about the summer they flyered for their Mum at Edinburgh.

  6. SQ August 7, 2009 at 4:17 pm #

    You are the best family! And I am very very very glad that you are happy with your First Night. Very well done!!

  7. genevieve August 7, 2009 at 5:11 pm #

    HEH. So that’s what my daughter and her friends need to advertise – their own children. (I knew it would never work if I handed out flyers, so I didn’t offer.)
    I would certainly have to go if a child told me his mother was hilarious. What better recommendation could you possibly have, Tracey? Bravissimo.

  8. genevieve August 7, 2009 at 5:12 pm #

    oh, great that it went well too!! Hurrah.

  9. 16 Weeks Pregnant August 7, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

    Who could say no to such an adorable child!

  10. charlotteotter August 8, 2009 at 8:10 am #

    That last line choked me up a bit. Your kids sound adorable. Good luck with the rest of your run.

  11. ampersand duck August 8, 2009 at 2:31 pm #

    Looking forward to the documentary that should be made of your experience. Will settle for the (extended) memoirs.

  12. Kath Lockett August 8, 2009 at 2:45 pm #

    For your kid to say that….. my eyes have misted over – what better affirmation is there?

    GREAT to hear you comment that your show went well- I’ll just have to have another glass of cab sav here in Melbourne to celebrate… *hic*….

  13. blackbird August 8, 2009 at 3:52 pm #

    How very wonderful.
    I’m picturing the four of you on the street and smiling.

  14. Loth August 8, 2009 at 5:43 pm #

    In answer to your son, in Edinburgh in August you are apparently allowed to walk around in virtually anything. Or, indeed, virtually nothing.

  15. suse August 8, 2009 at 6:35 pm #

    I’m so glad it’s going well.

    I love to hear of your boys politely accosting total strangers to tell them their mum’s hilarious and has a show on in town.

  16. peppermintpatcher August 9, 2009 at 3:19 am #

    Who could resist a little fellow proclaiming that his mum is hilarious! Let’s hope he remembers that into his teenaged years.

  17. Stomper Girl August 9, 2009 at 3:57 pm #

    The other comics are probably gnashing their teeth that they don’t have their own personable children with engaging manners and a cute accent to spruik their shows. Your boys sound great and I’m so glad the show is doing well. You will have to bring it to Melbourne in April 10.

  18. Sammy August 10, 2009 at 3:32 am #

    Wish we could be there as a surprise walk-in (flier in hand of course!!).
    So glad to hear that your solo show went well and that your boys are actually earning their pocket money….xo

  19. mary August 10, 2009 at 10:14 am #

    How good would it be to be able to go!

    Yep I was a goner too with the eldest boy’s “hilarious” comment..

  20. planetnomad August 16, 2009 at 1:18 am #

    I love this! Wish I could see your show. The flyer would have totally convinced me, I’m sure of it. But then, I read flyers that are handed to me.

  21. Ariel August 16, 2009 at 10:53 am #

    So. Cute.

    I love this post. And am in awe of what you’re doing, too!

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