There was a brief period when I thought that I was on quite a roll. Cranking out hit after hit. Couldn’t be stopped. Then I realized: I’m not. I cranked out one hit, and then my streak came to an end. No. 1 on the charts, but only once. One-hit wonder. Then nothing. Just like that.
And, actually, that one time wasn’t really that good. The charts were just a list on my mom’s refrigerator. She was nice to make that list, but nobody really saw it except my dad, my mom’s mom (who lived with my parents), Brenda (the cleaning lady), and me. And even I only saw it on Sundays, at dinner. And Brenda only saw it when she was cleaning the refrigerator. So we don’t technically count as regular viewers of the charts.
It was easy to convince myself that I was on a roll, because I was happy all the time. But that had less to do with being on a roll and more to do with the release of a new Tasti D-Lite frozen-dairy flavor: Flufferbutter Haze. A combination of marshmallow, peanut butter, butter, and hazelnuts? Paging delicious.
“What do I need to get started on a roll?” I used to think to myself. There was one thing that seemed necessary: a good song. Then I’d think, “How do I come up with a good song?” And that’s where I would get stuck.
Looking back on it, I think a large part of my problem was that I wasn’t trying to be a singer. What I was trying to be, really, was a lawyer. But it’s hard to get on a roll with being a lawyer. There are just so many trials, and statutes, and appellate briefs. To say nothing of the objections. How exactly are you supposed to get on a roll when people are constantly objecting? You try it.
I object to not being on a roll, Your Honor! That’s for sure.
Sometimes artists will convince themselves that they’re on a roll, in an effort to ensure that the roll not be broken. Sometimes rescued tuxedo kittens sneak out in the middle of the night as a hilarious joke, but then forget to come back. I’m here to tell you that the roll can be broken. I’m also here to tell you that tuxedo kittens have absolutely zero loyalty, especially the ones that have been saved from certain doom. Moreover, if you’re never on a roll, it’s not only more likely that the roll will be broken; it’s also more likely that you’re not on a roll. (By the way, please give me a call if you happen to come across a dingy but lovable black-and-white kitten who answers to “Pickle.”)
Plenty of people are never on a roll, and seem to have no problem with it. Sure, they might be on a roll with waking up in the morning, fixing a bowl of cereal, observing traffic signals. They’re on a roll with unloading the dishwasher, and with making sure that they’ve shut the freezer door all the way. They’re on a roll with exfoliating.
Beyond that stuff, though, they might not be on any sort of roll whatsoever. They may have never cranked out a hit, or painted a really interesting bowl of unusual fruit, or given birth to an in-vitro baby girl that’s turning out to be sort of ugly. And that’s OK; they don’t seem to mind. Why is it that I have to mind so much? I guess that’s the difference between someone who minds not being on a roll and someone who doesn’t.
Is anyone out there looking to adopt?
Hopefully, any day now, my roll will begin. The good news is that once you’re on a roll you generally continue to be. That’s the whole point of being on a roll: there’s no interruption. I think that’s where the expression “You’re on a roll” comes from: rolling and rolling without interruption; never ceasing to roll.
All right. Let’s get this roll started. However, if there’s one thing I hate more than not being on a roll, it’s trying to start being on a roll. Another thing I hate is work. And that’s precisely what makes being on a roll so hard.