11.30.2005

GIMME A "P"

Here's my problem with automatic flush urinals: I'm pee-shy.

I cannot use a urinal in a crowded public restroom without flushing it first. The soothing sound of gently flowing water seems to remind my brain of why my body is standing there, and what we are supposed to be doing. It also camouflages the inevitable thirty to sixty seconds of silence that occurs whenever I am forced to relieve myself in close proximity to other men.

I understand why businesses prefer automatic toilets over the manual variety. Many men do not comport themselves with dignity in public bathrooms. But I am not one of those men! Not only do I flush upon completion, I will often double-flush, just to make sure that the bathroom-going experience of the next user is a pleasant one.

Pee-shy Guys of America - It's time to fight back!

If we give up the power to control the circumstances of our own public urination, then what's next? Automatic flush toilets at home? Fixed-duration showers? Forced viewing of Fox News Channel?

We must boycot automatic flush urinals!

And if someone asks you about that embarrassing wet spot on your pants, say it proudly: "I just peed myself - for Freedom!"

11.29.2005

10 THINGS I'D LIKE TO APOLOGIZE TO MY SISTER FOR

One of the hottest new TV shows this season is NBC’s My Name is Earl. Each week, Jason Lee’s Earl sets out to right the wrongs he has inflicted upon others, in an effort to rebuild his good karma.

There is really only one person in my life that I have consistently mistreated: my sister Missy. My childhood relationship with my younger sibling was characterized by merciless physical, mental and emotional abuse. Now that the Holiday season is upon us, there are some things I’d like to apologize to my sister for:

1) The “alien” jokes: Yes, like me, you are adopted. Yes, you were born in South Korea. And yes, until you became a naturalized U.S. citizen you were considered an “alien” by the U.S. government. But no, your real father was not E.T. And you did not come to America on the Starship Enterprise. I also should not have said “Warning! Warning!” every time you came in the room.

2) Scalping your Barbie Fashion Head: This was a very barbaric toy to begin with. It looked as if Barbie’s head had been chopped off and mounted on a platter, like John the Baptist in The Ten Commandments. One day I cut off all of Barbie’s blond hair and drew dark circles under her eyes. I called my new creation "Chemo Barbie" and told you that she had inoperable brain cancer, caused by excessive use of blue eye shadow.

3) Spraying perfume in your mouth: You’re the one who decided to try smoking cigarettes when you were in the sixth grade! I was only trying to help you mask the smell of your breath, and it might have worked if you hadn’t throw up all over yourself, and me.

4) Crying when I heard you say the “F” Curse: You’re my little sister. You’re not supposed to say words like that! I’m sorry if my crying in the cafeteria made you uncomfortable. It was awkward for me too.

5) Getting gum in your hair: On the positive side, we both learned something that day: peanut butter will not get gum out of human hair, nor will Squeeze Parkay Margarine.

6) Waking you up at 3 am to watch old comedy movies: There were no VCRs in the 1970s, so the only way I could watch Marx Bros. movies was late at night, when they were on TV. I only made you get up with me because I thought it would help you with your English. It had nothing to do with my fear of being alone.

7) Playing The Mugger Game: Jumping out from behind the couch, cupping my hand around your nose and mouth and pretending to steal your purse and then kill you – that was probably not the best game to play with a seven year-old girl who had spent two years in an orphanage.

8) Getting a paper route and making you deliver the papers: People gave you bigger tips because they thought you were a foreign exchange student sending money to your family back in Korea. Come on, Han Hyun-Sil, you have to admit that was brilliant strategizing on my part!

9) Melting your Weebles: As the commercials used to say, “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down!” They do melt, however, and eventually burn. I would also like to apologize for the little black mustache that I wore as I marched the Weebles into the ovens. As a child I lacked a certain degree of cultural sensitivity. As an adult I recognize that there’s nothing funny about genocide, even of the Weeble variety.

10) Telling you that there was “nothing worse than a fat Oriental” when you would eat too much chocolate. My intentions were good, my delivery was flawed. Mea culpa.

My name is Will, and I’m sorry!

11.28.2005

A VERY BROADWAY THANKSGIVING

Thanksgiving is a celebration of family. In the last year, everyone in my family has moved from New York to Florida. So with no travel budget, and no "official" girlfriend, I was on my own this Thanksgiving.

I felt liberated, free of familial obligations, free to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. "I could eat a hot dog!" I fantasized, as I planned my first solo Thanksgiving in 37 years.


Then the phone rang. (Actually it vibrated, but that doesn't sound as dramatic.) My friend and fellow comedian Lori Chase was calling, inviting me to Thanksgiving dinner at her home in New Jersey.


Lori and I met almost four years ago at Boston Comedy Club in New York City, handing out fliers in return for stage time. Lori has been inviting me to her house for as long as I've known her, and I've never taken her up on the offer. I don't like to leave New York City. It depresses me.


But this time she had a carrot to dangle before me: Broadway stars!

Lori's husband Will is a Broadway actor who has played lead roles in Aida, Rent and Lennon and Lori has been on Broadway as well, appearing with Will in the stage version of The Full Monty. Lori promised that "Broadway people would be coming for dessert." I'm straight, so I wasn't sold. Then Lori mentioned that my comedian ex-girlfriend would also be in attendance. That sold me.

I met my ex at the crowded Port Authority terminal and we boarded the bus to the distant land known as "suburban New Jersey." A cute little girl sitting behind us sang a song about how much she loved turkey, until her mean older brother spoiled the fun by suggesting that she "shut up, because she was making everybody sick." Nothing says Thanksgiving like the enthusiastic encouragement of family!

Lori and "The other Will" live in a cute little house, on a cute little street, in a cute little town, with two very cute little girls. Lori and I have performed together so many times in dirty, dingy, sticky bars and basements around New York City. Seeing her in this peaceful, happy environnment reminded me why our comedic styles differ so greatly.

Lori's two daughters immediately began playing with my ex, and soon I had joined in. My ex and I are both very restrained on stage, allowing the deadpan delivery of our punchlines to do our comedic heavy lifting. But when we're around little kids, all that restraint disappears. It's fun playing make-believe games with kids, and it's even more fun playing with another adult who is committing to the game just as much as the kids.

After dinner the Broadway stars came out, as promised. I ate pumpkin pie with a Tony Award-winner who had performed earlier in the day on NBC's broadcast of the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. Then we all played a game of celebrity charades. Do you know how stressful it is playing charades in a room filled with Broadway actors? It's like going for a bike ride in the park with Lance Armstrong.


Following our game the musical entertainment began. Lori and Will's kids, along with the children of the other actors, performed an impromptu floorshow of original songs, accompanied on the piano by a Broadway musical director. The big finish - a kick line of four year-old girls - was met with thunderous applause from the proud parents.


If you saw this scene in a movie you would think it was contrived. But it made perfect sense to me. My sister and I used to put on clumsy little shows for our family at major holidays. The only difference is, my parents were a bus driver and a teacher. And our shows didn't have professional musical accompaniment

Parents are Moms and Dads first, and whatever they do for a living second. That's the power of family: to blur the line of criticism.

It also helps when all the kids are girls, and there are no mean older brothers around to spoil the fun.

11.26.2005

MY LIFE IS A SOAP OPERA

My entire family moved from New York to Florida this year: my mother, father, sister, brother-in-law and my two nieces. It's like they're starting a spin-off.

The same thing happened in 1980 on one of my favorite soap operas Another World. Iris Carrington and her son Dennis, along with Reena Bellman and her father Striker (he was an oil man, of course) moved from the fictional town of Bay City to the actual city of Houston, Texas. Once she got to Texas, Iris reunited with her long-lost love Alex Wheeler, who turned out to be the real father of her son Dennis! This came as big surprise to Dennis Carrington's father Elliot, who had followed Iris and Dennis to Houston. Then Elliot went crazy, Alex got murdered and Iris and Dennis left town.

Like the popular nightime soap Dallas, Texas was all about conniving oil barons, sexy vixens and familial conflict. Unlike Dallas, nobody watched Texas (besides my Mom and me), mostly because it had bad acting, writing and directing. Okay, worse acting, writing and directing. Sadly, Texas was cancelled just two years after the Another World cast members moved there.

I cried the day that Texas went off the air in 1982. I was in high school at the time. Yes, I am straight and I cried when I was a teenager and one of the six soap operas that I watched every day was cancelled. Please keep your comments to yourself.

Eventually, the character of Iris came back to Bay City and Another World, but she was played by a different, much younger actress. And now she was British. Nobody seemed to notice, including her family.

I think if any member of my family comes back to New York with a different face and a British accent, I'm going to notice. I'm not saying I'll mind, but I will definitely say something about it.

I'll be like, "Welcome back, Sis! Did you get a haircut? Because you look a lot like Keira Knightley, which is odd because, when you left for Florida, you were Asian. And, by the way, let me remind you that we're both adopted, so technically there's nothing wrong with us hooking up."


That would be Another World that I would like to live in.

11.25.2005

HAPPY HYPOTHETICAL HOLIDAYS!

Let's say that there was a cardboard box in the break room at your job, with a sign on it that said "City Harvest - Feed the Hungry for the Holidays."

And let's say that people at your job had been putting canned foods and packaged goods in the box to donate to the less fortunate for Christmas.

Let's also say that you were alone in the office on the day after Thanksgiving and you happened to look in the box and you saw something called "A Taste of Thai - Pad Thai Noodles" in a convenient microwavable container.

And, let's say - hypothetically, of course - that it looked delicious.

Would it make you a bad person if you took the Taste of Thai Pad Thai Noodles out of the donation box and ate them for lunch, becuse on this particular day it was very cold outside, too cold to venture out to Cosi Sandwich shop for your usual Tandoori Chicken sandwich?

I say no!

Because economically disadvantaged people are not going to appreciate Pad Thai. They like things like Ore-Ida Instant Mashed Potatoes and Campbell's Chicken & Dumpling soup. Homeless and/or poor people need comfort food because they are very sad, because they are homeless and/or poor. They don't need exotic ethnic cuisine like Pad Thai. Eating donated Pad Thai will make them realize that they are missing out on all kinds of yummy foods, which will only make them more sad! And that completely defeats the purpose of a Holiday food drive!

So, in answer to my hypothetical question, I would actually be doing something good for the homeless and/or poor by eating this delicious Pad Thai. I would be saving them from additional sadness.

I am such a good person it makes me want to weep!

Hypothetically, of course.

LIKE SANDS THROUGH THE HOURGLASS

If you've been paying attention, then you know that I'm adopted (previously owned). And if you're not paying attention then GET OUT OF MY BLOG. Don't waste my bandwidth!

My birth name was Christian Beaton. Then I got adopted and I became William McKinley. I always feel a little dishonest when I introduce myself as Will McKinley. I think I should say something like, "I'm Will McKinley, formerly known as Christian Beaton." But meeting new people is already awkward. I don't want to further complicate things by giving voice to my unresolved personal issues.

The other night somebody in Indianapolis, Indiana clicked through to previously owned from a Google search for "Christian Beaton." It's a pretty unusual name. I can't help but think there's some connection to me. Who is searching for me, and why?

Maybe it's my birth mother. If you had a baby and gave it up for adoption you might do a Google search for the baby's name 37 years later, just to see what came up, right?!

Or maybe, my Mom had another son after me, whom she kept, and she named that kid Christian Beaton. And maybe that Christian found out about me, and started to feel like he was just a replacement. And maybe then he Googled me/himself.

If Christian Beaton exists I want to meet him. It would be like that time on Days of Our Lives when they recast the character of "Roman," and then a few years later the first actor came back, but the guy who had replaced him stayed on the show. I think somebody had amnesia and somebody had reconstructive facial surgery, and there was a fight to prove who was the real "Roman." I can't really explain it.

If I meet the guy who took my place when the character of "Christian Beaton" was recast, I'm not going to fight him for it. I played the character for four months. He's been playing it his whole life

Or maybe he's my twin. That would explain why I'm so evil.

11.24.2005

HAPPY THANKSGIVING...MOM?

Last night, November 23, at 8:10 pm somebody in Indianapolis, Indiana was directed to my site by doing a Google search for "Christian Beaton."

Who are you?

11.23.2005

CAN YOU FEEL THE LOVE TONIGHT?

Awhile ago I took my niece Emily to see the The Lion King on Broadway. I am not a huge fan of Disney and what they represent in our culture, but this is a great show. If you have not seen it, you should.

After the show, I saw a fat guy urinating against the wall of the theater. Public urination is not unusual in New York City, and usually I look the other way. But this guy was peeing on Timon and Pumba, and that is just not acceptable behavior, even at a show written by Elton John.


I stood there staring at the guy until he turned around and noticed my scrutiny. "You got a problem asshole?" he slurred drunkenly.

"No. I think you got a problem - a bladder control problem,” I replied in my best Sopranos voice.


Without warning, the guy lunged at me and we ended up deadlocked together, palm-to-palm, like we were doing isometrics. This freaked me out, because he had obviously not washed his hands, and I didn't have any Purel Hand Sanitizer.

We struggled for a few seconds, and then I realized a crowd had formed around us. "Now what do I do?" I wondered.

So I looked the guy right in his bloodshot eyes and I said, in a sing-song voice "Hakuna Matata?"

"What a wonderful phrase!" Peeing Man harmonized back.

Then my niece chimed in, "It means no worries for the rest of our days!"

For the big finish, we all embraced and sang in unison: "It's our problem-free philosophy. Hakuna Matata!"


The crowd went nuts! We started signing autographs and posing for pictures. Nobody cared that the guy's dick was still hanging out of his pants. They thought it was part of his costume.

We created a New York City experience that those kids will remember for the rest of their lives, whether they want to or not.

11.22.2005

THIS IS WHERE DREAMS GO TO DIE

Today I was in New Jersey, visiting the sprawling campus of a large pharmaceutical company.

There's something evil about these suburban office parks, these self-contained fiefdoms where Americans spend their days in silent captivity.

There's a lovely childcare facility, with brightly colored swings and slides! There's a spacious cafeteria serving freshly carved meats and hot pretzels! There's a state-of-the-art fitness center where you can work off that lunch! There are posters mounted in the lobby, reminding everyone about the company's core values and behaviors.

The whole thing creeps me out. This place is a minimum security prison, and free pudding at lunchtime is not going to make it any different.

I can't say that I love my job, but every day I get closer to figuring out exactly what I want to do, and how I'm going to do it. It's taken me fifteen years to get to this point, and I feel like I'm just beginning the process of finding my true calling. I am motivated and challenged by the millions of people who work beside me in New York City, striving to be the best that they can be.

I'm 37. I'm single, never been married. I have no kids. I own nothing, except the Powerbook on which I am writing this. Sometimes I feel like I made the wrong decision, like I should have done it the same way everyone else does.

Then I come to an office park in New Jersey, and I know I made the right choice.

11.21.2005

WELCOME BACK "YOU'RE WELCOME"

I have a personal rule about saying “thank you” anytime someone serves me. I’m old-fashioned that way.

One could argue that the exchange of money for goods or services is, in itself, a demonstration of appreciation, and that a verbal offer of thanks is redundant. But proper etiquette dictates that you acknowledge someone when they have helped you, even if it is a requirement of their employment.

Traditionally, a person would offer thanks to another person, and the recipient of the thanks would respond with “you’re welcome.” Not anymore. Nobody says “you’re welcome” nowadays. “You’re welcome” has gone the way of “23 skidoo!” or “Gag me with a spoon!” It has become a quaint relic of an older, more civil time in American history.

In retail stores – at least in New York City – the employee’s response to my “thank you” is often complete, stone-faced silence. It’s not a malicious silence. It’s more of a distracted silence; the kind of silence that indicates a sense of emotional detachment on the part of the non-speaker.


When my “thank you” does get a reply, it is usually a bark of “Next!” Or, more commonly “Nex.” (I was not aware that “next” had a silent “t” but among cashiers in New York City it does.) This is even more irksome than the lack of a reply, because it demonstrates that the clerk is capable of a response, but they have chosen not to bother. Or worse, they have chosen to communicate that it is time for me to get the fuck out of the store.


I often find myself angered by this response – or lack thereof - but then I visualize myself walking a mile in their cash-register-operating shoes. How frustrating must it be to handle thousands of dollars each day, while taking home $61.34 (after taxes) for ten hours of work?


In the corporate world, “thank you” has now become the most popular response to “thank you.” I’m working on a freelance job as a production coordinator right now. The other day the producer for whom I am working said “thanks Will” as he left for the day. I replied with “thank you.” Why did I do that? Was I thanking him for his thanks?

Then it occurred to me. I’ve never said “you’re welcome” at work. If someone thanks me, I usually thank them back. And I’m not the only one. “Thank you” has become the “aloha” of corporate America. It can really mean many different things.


But it’s all politically correct bullshit. I don’t say “you’re welcome” because I don’t want to sound arrogant. I don’t want to appear to acknowledge the fact that I believe I deserve thanks for my work. That’s all going to change. I’m still going to thank people, but I’m no longer going to thank them for their thanks.

I’m going to single-handedly bring back “you’re welcome.” And you’re going to thank me for it.

You’re welcome.

11.18.2005

THE SHARK SHOW - THIS SATURDAY!

This Saturday night I will be doing standup on The Shark Show, a long-running fixture of the downtown comedy scene here in NYC. The show is a combination of standup and sketch comedy and it's usually pretty funny.

Here's the info:

The Shark Show
@ Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction
39 Avenue A (between 2nd-3rd Street) - upstairs
F/V to Second Avenue
$8 cover - food and drink available

If you are one of my anonymous readers and you decide to come, please stop by and say hello after the show. Don't do it before, because I will get performance anxiety. That's something I have to get over, I know. I'm working on it. Cut me some motherfucking slack, okay? It's been a long week and I need a nap.

11.17.2005

A REPORT FROM "THE ROAD"

I've been doing standup for more than four years, but I've never really played "the road."

There are a lot of reasons for this. I don't like to leave New York City. I don't own a car. I assume that the type of people that go to comedy shows outside of a major metropolitan city won't "get me." There is a stereotype of the "road comic" that I want to stay as far away from as possible.


Last night I traveled up to upstate New York to do a show called
The Comedy Block Party at Milestones Music Room in Rochester. Mark Jabo (the producer/host of the show) and I used to be in a group called The Comics Roundtable when Mark lived in New York City. We (mostly Mark) produced a show every Thursday night at the Gershwin Hotel on 27th Street and we used to have a lot of fun.

Mark first brought me up to Rochester to perform last winter. It was only his second or third show, and he asked me to be the headliner and do thirty minutes. At that point I had never really done a road gig, never headlined a show and never done even close to thirty minutes. It was a very valuable learning experience for me. I am a more confidant now than I was a year ago, both as a comedian and as a person - which is a good thing, because last night was a challenge.

The start of the show was postponed by more than an hour due to a private party. At 9:15 Mark took the stage and tried to engage the drunken revelers in the show, but they were having none of it. They wanted to talk, not listen to someone else talk. This was s a point of frustration for the first two comics on the show, and for the forty or so people who had come to see comedy.

The third comic went on and the noise continued. I was next. I stood in the back of the room and contemplated my strategy. Should I try to engage the rabble-rousers, or should I play to the crowd that was there to see comedy and give them the best show I could give them. I chose Door #2. I engaged those that were listening, and ignored those that weren't.

Much to my surprise, the drunken landscapers from the private party actually quieted down during my set. The stopped talking and started listening. I did about twenty minutes, and by the end of my set the disruptive chatter had ceased. After I did my time a very funny comic named Jamie Lissow closed the show. Now that the talking had stopped, Jamie was able to engage the remaining party holdouts with strong, ad-libbed banter. I felt like the #3 hitter in a baseball lineup. I set the table for the cleanup guy, and he drove in the runs. I did my job, and that allowed Jamie to do his.

I liked not being the headliner this time. It took the pressure off, and allowed me to watch a more experienced comic control the room. By the time Jamie finished his set the audience had seen a good show. The comics who went on before me - Matt Bergman, Lamar Williams, and Matt Rohr - were all smart, talented guys who did their best under difficult circumstances.

I left New York City and actually had a positive experience. Who knows, maybe I'll do it again.

MY TRIP TO ROCHESTER - IN PICTURES!

I flew up to Rochester, New York last night to do stand-up comedy. This is a self portrait of me with my brand new Canon Digital Rebel camera. I can afford luxury because I am in the entertainment industry! Don't be jealous.This is my room at the beautiful East Avenue Inn in downtown Rochester. Obviously they knew they had a visiting celebrity in their midst. Of course I trashed the room before I left. And I stole the TV.
I was greeted by a lovely note from somebody called "Housekeeper Nellie." What a coincidence. Her name is "Housekeeper Nellie" and she became a housekeeper! Lucky her parents didn't name her "Speller Nellie" because she is not a very good speller! Can you spot the spelling mistake?
The toilet bowl was sealed for my protection. Thank you Housekeeper Nellie! If only she had done the same with the girl I picked up at the club after my set!
This is me on stage at Milestones Music Room. The audience thought they were there for "Reggae Night." Boy were they disappointed! So I did my entire set in a Jamaican accent. For my big closer I covered Shaggy's hit It Wasn't Me.

11.16.2005

NO SLEEP 'TIL HEAVEN!

My father’s favorite hobby is taking a nap.

This makes no sense to me. My Dad is far closer to the end of his life than the beginning. It’s not like he’s got a lot of time to kill.

The average American man lives to be 74 years old. My Dad is 76. He has high blood pressure and he’s a prostate cancer survivor. He’s living on borrowed time!

If I were in that situation I would do my best to stay awake as much as possible.


But what do I know? I’m 37 and I’m obsessed with dying. People tell me that I’m having a mid-life crisis. If 37 is mid-life, then where is my father? Post-life? Pre-death?


I always hear about people dying in their sleep. What if they had been awake? Would they have lasted a little bit longer? What is it about sleeping that makes people die? There’s an epidemic of dying sleeping people in this country, yet nobody is talking about it. Where is the outrage?


If you’re awake and you start dying you can do something about it. You can call 911, or a family member or Domino’s. (You can order a pizza, then have the delivery guy drop you off at the emergency room.)

But if you’re asleep you won’t realize you’re dying. And if you don’t realize you are dying, there’s nothing you can do about it. You are losing valuable time!

So, if you are old and in danger of dying, don’t fall asleep!

Get some coke and start bumping. The life you save may be your own.

11.15.2005

HOW LONG CAN I KEEP UP THIS SCHEDULE?

Here's what I did today:

- worked from 10am-6:30pm;
-performed stand-up at an open mic at 7;
-wrote at the vegetarian coffee shop from 7:30pm until closing time at 10pm;
-moved to Starbucks at Christopher Street and continued writing until 11:30pm (when they lock the bathrooms - I have an over-active bladder);
-went home and watched Saturday Night Live on my TiVo and wrote a review from 12-2am (stay tuned for information about where you can read my reviews);
-smoked something called Gold Haze (for purely medicinal purposes);
-wrote this blog post.

I've been taking a writing class on Tuesday nights at the Media Bistro in SoHo. My goal is to sell an article by the end of the year. For the last week I've been working on a story about my brush with death eight years ago. It's emotionally exhausting to relive it, but I need to start making money as a writer so I can stop working on pharmaceutical training projects! I also need a girlfriend, preferably one who likes sex as much as I do. I also need to sleep, like right now. But first, I will enjoy a scene from Shane's World Volume 32: Campus Invasion (for purely medicinal purposes).

11.14.2005

ROAD TRIP!

This Wednesday, November 16 I will be doing stand-up at Milestones Music Room in Rochester, New York.

The guy who runs the show is paying my airfare and putting me up in a hotel. Why? Because I am a major, up-and-coming talent on the comedy scene. And because I promised him that I would get all my Canadian readers to drive down (up? over? where exactly is Canada again?)

Come on Canadians! I'm buying the first round (because my drinks are comped)! And I'll have a hotel room for the after-party. You bring the girls, I'll bring the coke. I'm kidding. I don't do coke. But you should still bring the girls. Or even just one girl. Or that issue of Maxim with Kelly Monaco...

Here's the info:

Wednesday 11.16.05 @ 8 pm
The Comedy Block Party
at Milestones Music
170 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14604
585.325.6490
www.comedyblockparty.com

11.12.2005

THOUGHTS ON MY BIRTHDAY

Yesterday was my 37th birthday.

Technically it was Christian's birthday, but he's not around to celebrate.


Christian Beaton was born in a hospital room on November 11, 1968. Will McKinley was created in a court room on March 11, 1969 when my parents legally adopted me. I don't really celebrate Will's "birthday" because it confuses people when you tell them you're celebrating the anniversay of your creation. I makes you sound like a clone.


And
Happy Adoption Anniversary to You doesn't make a good song.

When I tell people I don't like birthdays they always assume I don't like getting older. Wrong. I love getting older. The older I get the happier I get, and the better looking I get.
Just ask Molly, a beautiful twenty-four year-old girl who works with me. The day before my birthday, I showed Molly my driver's license photo and she said that I looked better - and younger - today than I did a decade ago. Remember my motto: "The hot girl is always right!"

We celebrate our birthday each year to commemorate the joyous event of our birth. My birth was most likely not a joyous event. Let's be realistic here. I've never met her, but I know that my mother was an un-married, Irish-Catholic college student living in a blue-collar part of Long Island. I'm sure nobody was congratulating her when he belly started inexplicably growing bigger.

I can imagine the cold sweat panic that she felt the day the doctor confirmed her suspicions. I'm sure her mother cried when she found out. Her father probably got angry. The next nine months were most likely fraught with anxiety. My mother's decision to give me up was (I hope) the most difficult decision she ever made.

Every November 11th she remembers, and wonders what hapened to me; what would have happened if she had made a different decision.

So what exactly am I supposed to celebrate on my birthday? The fact that I wasn't aborted? Try again. Abortion was illegal until 1973. I made it in just under the wire. That's like hitting a jumpshot at the buzzer. I caught one of the last lifeboats off the Unplanned Pregnancy Titanic.


Don't get me wrong. I've had great birthday celebrations.
From 18 until 28 I was with my girlfriend Mary, an older woman who had experienced an un-planned pregnancy of her own as an Irish Catholic college student. Mary was ten years older than me, and had chosen to keep her baby. For a decade, the three of us formed a bizarre family; not mother-father-son, more like mother-son-son. Except one of the sons was sleeping with Mom. Paging Dr. Freud!

At my 30th birthday party I got drunk and hooked up with Maggie, the college intern at my job, and we began a four year relationship that helped to transform me into a better, stronger person.

My 34th birthday was my first real date with Carmen, a beautiful stand-up comedian I dated for two years. And last year I celebrated my birthday in Washington D.C. with Julie, a girl with whom I had just spent a torrid weekend in Las Vegas.


I was alone for one birthday: my 29th. That day I was transported by ambulance to St. Francis Hospital on Long Island and prepped for open heart surgery.


Which brings us back to last night; only the second birthday I have spent without a girlfriend in two decades. Julie and I broke up right after New Year's, and I haven't spoken with her since. Carmen called me from her parent's house in Virgina, and part of me wished she wasn't so far away. And Maggie was stuck at her parent's place in Connecticut, too sick to get back into the city for our planned celebration of the big three-seven.

But I wasn't really alone for my birthday. I celebrated with an audience; actually two audiences. I did a standup set at a cafe in Chinatown at 8 p.m., then at the fabulous New York Comedy Club at 11. Neither show was particularly great. The first audience was almost all Asian. The second was almost all black. The Asians liked me better than the black people, but I think that's because my sister is South Korean. I'm Asian-by-extension.

It really didn't mater how good the shows were. What mattered more was that I was by myself. Because only when I learn how to be truly alone will I figure out who I truly am.

Christian Beaton was born at Meadowbrook Hospital in 1968, thanks to a scared teenager whose name I may never know. William McKinley Jr. was born at the Nassau Count Courthouse in 1969, thanks to two loving parents whom I will always call Mom and Dad. And Will McKinley was re-born at St. Francis Hospital in 1997, thanks to a skilled cardiothoracic surgeon named Dr. Lawrence Durban.

This time I'm doing it on my own. No hospitals or courts required.

11.11.2005

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTIAN BEATON!

Please join me in celebrating the 37th anniversary of the birth of Christian Beaton, born November 11, 1968 at 10:14 a.m. at Meadowbrook Hospital in East Meadow, New York.

Mom, if you happen to do a random Google search today, please feel free to drop me a line. Just for old time's sake.

11.10.2005

PLAYING WITH THE BOYS

Yesterday I got paid to watch movies.

I'm working on a training project
for pharmaceutical sales reps and I need to find clips from movies that take place in college, or deal with education. Yesterday, at my desk, I watched Back to School, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Top Gun and Old School. At this particular job I make about $50 per hour. So I was paid approximately $75 per movie.

Now you know why prescription drugs are so expensive.

This sounds like a pretty sweet deal, getting paid to sit and watch movies all day. But there was one problem.

There's a cute blonde girl that sits right near me. She was just hired a few weeks ago, and I've never really had a conversation with her. The first time she walked past my desk yesterday I was watching the volleyball scene from Top Gun. This is the scene where Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards (with hair) and some other guy play topless volleyball and constantly smack each other on the ass. It is without question the gayest scene that has ever been in a commercial Hollywood motion picture. This girl can't be more than 25, so there's a very good chance she's never even seen Top Gun. So all she knows is I'm sitting at my desk watching oiled-up hunks play beach volleyball. Great.

The second time she walked past my desk I was watching Old School, and she saw a bare-assed Will Ferrell running down the street. That's a lot of male pulchritude to have on your computer during the work day.

My biggest problem with women is, they always think I'm gay. I wonder why that is.

11.09.2005

SNEEZE POWER!

Americans need to reduce their dependency on fossil fuels. For years we have been harnessing the power of the sun, the water and the wind. But we’ve left out one very potent form of naturally occurring energy: THE SNEEZE!

Every human being sneezes, often at a velocity of 20 miles per hour (or more). Right now all of that energy is going to waste! I am currently developing a small, sneeze-powered energy cell, which can be used to recharge all sorts of personal electronic devices. For example, each time you sneeze you get an extra five minutes of talk time on your cellular phone.

Together we can sneeze our way to a greener tomorrow!

11.08.2005

DON'T MISS THE VOTE!


Did you vote today? Check one:

__yes

__no

If you checked "no" then you better have a good excuse. Like, "I'm Canadian." That's a good one. By the way, where is Canada, anyway? Somebody told me it's right near upstate New York. I don't understand how that is possible. Isn't it a separate country? All I know is I like their bacon!

Anyway, I just voted for New York City Democratic mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer. So at least we know he'll have one vote. It was exciting for me because I've never voted for anybody named "Fernando" before. And I'm a big fan of that ABBA song.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg out-spent Ferrer by a margin of ten to one, because he's a wealthy businessman and he used his own money. That is all kinds of wrong. I happen to think he's done a pretty good job, but I voted against him on principal.

My polling place was at the New York City Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual & Transgender Community Center. Only in New York City! Can you imagine someone in a RED STATE voting at the Gay Center? They would probably be afraid of catching something, like a bad case of Gayness!

The great thing about voting at The Center is, I was able to fulfill my civic obligation AND take in a class called "Fisting for Fun and Profit."

It was a very informative class. Did you know that there are guys on the internet who will pay you just to do that to them?! Craig's List here I come!

11.07.2005

TRICKLE-DOWN ECONOMICS

My parents just bought a house in Port St. Lucie, Florida for $133,000.

This past summer they sold their house in Woodmere, New York for $440,000.


So what did they do with the profit??


They bought a gigantic TV, of course!

Cha-ching! (Note my Mom's Vanna White imitation.)

Soon they will be buying a new SUV. Cha-ching!

And of course they will continue to waste my inheritance on frivolous things, like food and my Mom's Parkinson's medication.

The moral to this story is, kids, don't ever let your parents liquidate your inheritance!

Because liquid has a tendency to trickle.

And when it finally gets to you, all that will be left is a drop in the bucket.

11.05.2005

ICE ICE BABY

As previously mentioned, I'm in Florida this weekend, to celebrate my niece's 7th birthday.

I had intended to tell you all about my niece and her ice skating birthday party, and to post a few pictures of the festivities. But my sister has just informed me that she does not want pictures of her children posted on the internet.

So please enjoy this picture of me and my "unidentified niece."

Please also enjoy how gay I look in that scarf.

I'm fabulous!

11.04.2005

GREETINGS FROM SOUTH FLORIDA!

This is your intrepid reporter, coming to you through the courtesy of the Ft. Lauderdale Airport's free wireless internet connection...

I just sat on a plane for two and a half hours next to a woman reading porn.

I am not kidding. A black woman, about thirty years old, spent the entire flight reading a "book" called "Penthouse Variations: Stories From the Edge." I guess this is classy porn - excuse me - "erotica."

But she was sitting right next to me. She was so close I could have read along with her. Can you imagine? "Excuse me. Can you turn back for a sec? I'm still at the part where the pizza guy delivers the sausage."

The whole thing made me feel extremely awkward - and confused.

If a woman reads porn next to you on a plane, does that mean she's hitting on you? This sounds like a good idea for a "Cosmo" article. I can see it now: "69 Ways to Join the Mile-High Club."

"Number one: Read porn next to a cute guy on a semi-empty, late-night flight to Ft. Lauderdale. Soon you'll be 'flying the friendly skies!'"

What if the situation was reversed? What if I pulled out some porn while sitting next to a woman on a plane? I'll tell you what would happen. She would look at me like I was a creepy pervert.

And she would be right. But that is not the point.

11.03.2005

NIGHT OF THE BOLD-FACED NAMES

It's fun to interview famous people on the red carpet.

But with the star's publicist listening to my every question, waiting for me to cross some imaginary line, the experience of a red carpet interview rarely allows for organic conversation.

There were a lot of memorable moments on Wednesday night. I enjoyed cracking Catherine Zeta-Jones up when I referred to Michael Douglas as her "gentleman companion." And I got a kick out of the in-your-face sarcasm of Melissa Etheridge, and the girlish nervousness of Brooke Shields. But what I enjoyed more were my longer, less pressure-packed interviews with lesser-known celebrities, like CNN's Christiane Amanpour, tennis star Venus Williams and comic actor Martin Short.

Anyone who respects the art of broadcast journalism knows the work of Christiane Amanpour. Born in London and raised in Tehran, Christiane is an old-fashioned foreign correspondent with the flak jacket to prove it. If more American journalists followed her lead, we would all be far better informed.

Christiane had a laugh at my expense, suggesting that I was "leading" her to say something nice about the sponsor of the event. Of course she was right, and I acknowledged it. But it was a genuine moment of connection with someone who's work I admire.

Venus Williams was a complete surprise to me. I knew very little about her, other than the fact that she and her sister play tennis. But the young woman I interviewed last night was strikingly attractive, and remarkably thoughtful. She has a sly grin, and seemed to l-o-v-e posing for the photographers on the red carpet.

Somebody needs to cast Venus Williams in a movie, maybe as a superhero. Or better yet, a super-villain.

Very few people genuinely make me laugh, but Martin Short is one of them.

I've been a fan of his since "SCTV" in the early 1980's, through his stint on "Saturday Night Live" and up to his most recent TV show, "Primetime Glick." It was a big thrill to chat with one of the people that have inspired me to try to make people laugh. I found it hard to keep a straight face during my interview with Marty (I asked him if I could call him that), especially when he told me that his next project was "a one-man show with a large cast."

But the most significant moment of the evening was my brief interview with Mukhtar Mai, a Pakastani woman who suffered through great injustice in her homeland and chose, against all odds, to fight back. Some people call her "the Rosa Parks of Pakistan." I was honored to have the opportunity to interview her, through her interpreter.

I had two deadlines on Wednesday night: a 9:30 PM satellite feed (for the late local news) and 4:30 AM feed (for the morning news). Around 2 am we got a call from a reporter from the Associated Press news service. He asked me about Mukhtar Mai, and I offered to transcribe my interview and email it to him. The reporter ended up using an excerpt from my interview in a column that went out on the AP wire, to the entire world.

Yes, it's fun to ask Hilary Duff "who she's wearing," and to get kisses from supermodels. But, if in some small way I helped to promote the mission of Mukhtar Mai, I will feel like I did something important.

I LOVE MY JOB!

Petra Nemcova - Czech supermodel and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue covergirl - kissed me last night. Not once, but THREE TIMES.

Yes it was on the cheek, but how many supermodels have kissed you anywhere on your body?

I was standing on the red carpet at Lincoln Center with my camera crew, and her publicist brought Petra over and introduced her to me and she kissed me. First on the left cheek, and then on the right. Then I pulled back and she said, "Wait! One more!" and she kissed me again on the left cheek.

I have been interviewing celebrities for more than ten years, and never once have I been kissed. Unless you count that time that General H. Norman Schwartzkopf slipped me the tongue. But I promised Normy I'd never talk about that...

Not only is Petra beautiful, and shy and humble, she also survived the Asian Tsunami. She was hanging from a tree for hours and hours with a broken pelvis, until she was finally rescued. What an amazing story.

It's so nice when a beautiful-looking person is also beautiful inside.

A DUMB QUESTION I ASKED DIANE SAWYER TONIGHT

WILL: You’ve been a journalist for many years. Is this a particularly unusual period of flux in the world?
DIANE SAWYER: Let’s hope it is.

WILL: It seems like there’s a lot going on.
DIANE SAWYER: Let’s hope that it is.

If you're going to ask a stupid question, make sure you ask it to a journalist.

11.02.2005

TONIGHT!

I'm covering the GLAMOUR Magazine Women of the Year Awards at Lincoln Center. I'll be interviewing a number of A-list celebrities on the red carpet. Hopefully I'll have some good stories for you tomorrow...

11.01.2005

WILL McKINLEY - YOUR PRIVATE WRITER!


I read an article in The New York Times on Sunday about doctors who work on retainer.

A patient pays an annual fee (ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 or more) and gets round-the-clock access to the physician of their choice. No more "the doctor can see you the second Tuesday in January." No more wasted time in the waiting room. You essentially have your own private physician, available to you 24/7/365.

These "private doctors" limit the number of patients they see, insuring that they are able to give immediate attention to a "subscriber" whenever necessary.

This is a fabulous idea. But why should it be limited to doctors?

Beginning today - November 1, 2005 - I will be offering my services as a "private writer" to a select, elite clientele!

Are you an intelligent, college-educated professional who can't put together two coherent sentences? Do your emails look like an exercise in an E.S.L. class?

Then why not give Will McKinley a call?

How many times have you sat in front of your computer wishing that you had paid more attention to things like spelling, grammar and creative writing?

Now you can stop wishing!

Need to write an important memo to the boss? Let me handle it! A "Dear John" note to a tiresome, soon-to-be-former spouse? Give Will a call! How about a witty line or two for a birthday card? I'm all over it.

Maybe you're thinking, "What do I need a private writer for?"

You see, right there is your problem in microcosm! You ended that interrogative sentence with a preposition. That's a grammar no-no!

What you really meant to say was, "For what do I need a private writer?"

Now that's a GREAT question, written by a GREAT writer!

Not long ago a friend of mine (we'll call him "Dave") felt the same way.

Dave had been dating his girlfriend Becky for almost five years, and Becky was getting impatient waiting for Dave to pop the question. Dave loved Becky very much. That wasn't the problem. The problem was Dave. Dave is a guy. And guys just don't know how to be all sappy and romantic.

But I do!

Dave gave me a call and, within minutes, he had a beautifully written proposal in his email in-box. Needless to say, it worked! Dave got down on one knee, and Becky wept with joy. In fact, Becky said that she had never heard anything so beautiful in her entire life! She even told her Mom, her sisters and all her friends about it.

Slam dunk, Dave!

But the service didn't stop there. A few months later Becky decided that that she and Dave should write their own vows. What a nightmare! Most guys would rather write their own death certificate! Thankfully, I am not most guys. I will write vows that will make every woman at that wedding wish they had chosen you!

And when it's time to have kids, I'll write the birth announcement! I'll even take care of those pesky book reports and college application essays!

I know what some of you are thinking.

"That's a great story Will. But I have no intention of getting married or having kids anytime in the near future."

That's a great point. But here's another great point. Have you ever thought about WHY you're single? Maybe you don't have a good pickup line. Or maybe your Match.com profile just doesn't cut the mustard.

Done and done!

How many times have you sat in front of your computer laboring over such questions as, "(blank) is sexy. But (blank) is sexier!" While you are fighting writer's block, people are actually HAVING SEXUAL RELATIONS with people they met on the internet!

But you can't even get someone to write back to you! Why do you think that is?

I'll tell you why. Those other people have private writers working for them!

And why shouldn't you? The Holidays are coming. Think about all those Christmas cards you're going to have to write!

Better yet, don't think about it. Call Will McKinley - your own Private Writer!

("Private Writer" Services are available for an annual subscription fee, or on a fee-for-service basis. Financial Aid available for those who qualify. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Will McKinley makes no promise that anything he writes will result in sexual intercourse . For more information send an email to will@willmckinley.com. Sorry, no C.O.D's!)