Monday, July 5, 2010


Last weekend I escaped the Los Angeles jungle for a new kind of wilderness.

The mountains of Montana.

After two plane rides, one hour-long car ride, a two-mile hike, and a 450 foot free climb (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating) I was at Rainbow Ranch for my cousin’s wedding.

Along with a weekend filled with family, friends, and $1.50 draft beers, my getaway also included checking something off my “I Really Need To Do That To Feel Like I’ve Experienced Life” list.

Whitewater rafting.

On class four rapids, bitches.

(I might not be able to get away with putting “bitches” at the end of sentences…)

Anyway, it is probably in the top 10 coolest things I’ve ever done – right after finding an apartment in LA for less than a thousand dollars.

My cousins and I were all in the same raft and we would be sailing down the calm river, enjoying the beautiful scenery until suddenly, our raft guide would yell “paddle!!”

And just like that, we would be flying through rapids that seemed to have some sort of personal vendetta against the Runck/Bollingberg/Haugen clan.

That is how Los Angeles can be. One minute, you are cruising peacefully along, thinking that life is really beautiful and then BAM – you are in over your head and think the waves are definitely going to consume you.

My friend (who asked to remain nameless) told me the perfect story, upon my return to LA, which really confirmed my rapids theory.

This friend (who is an actor) was going to therapy. He had always told me how much he loved his therapist, how he was really getting along with her, and how she was really getting to the bottom of some of his issues.

He was riding smoothly along in his therapy life raft and didn’t even notice class four rapids ahead.

One day, he was drinking wine and innocently searching the web, watching different TV shows and web series programs.

He saw a title that caught his eye and was intrigued. He told me later that he kept thinking there was something very familiar about the show. Something calming and almost….therapeutic….

And then he realized it.

His therapist was the lead actor.

Let me say that again.


Now, we’ve all heard of actors working as servers, nannies, and even tax preparers.

But never, in my entire life, have I heard someone say they are getting their PhD in psychology “just in case the acting thing doesn’t pan out.”

Whose “fall back” career is therapy???

My friend said he felt totally violated and exposed. I mean, can you imagine?

You are telling your deepest darkest secrets and she’s thinking about what time her next audition is.

You’re explaining how hard it is as an actor to face rejection every day and she has to resist fist bumping you and saying, “been there, brother.”

Only in Los Angeles do you have to worry about seeing your therapist on the cover of OK Magazine.

Now that is a class four rapid.

Needless to say, my friend stopped going to therapy.

And now needs it more than ever.

When I think about that story, the following image from my rafting experience comes to mind.

Now that is a rapid.