Church of Twain: The lesson of Joaquin Phoenix


  The late-night talk shows owe actor-turned-rapper Joaquin Phoenix a debt of gratitude for his oddball change of professions. The talented actor a few months ago up and quit making movies and started rhyming and rapping, so far without much success. Truth is his music has generated more strange looks, laughter, and gossip column headlines than anything else.


  Saint Mark suffered from the same malady throughout his life, most infamously in the area of investing in “inventions” that didn’t pan out financially.


  Twain wrote in his autobiography, “We are always more anxious to be distinguished for a talent which we do not possess, than to be praised for the fifteen which we do possess.”


  Perhaps someone should send Mr. Phoenix a copy of the book.


  Fortunately for me, I have rarely strayed from my limited skill set.


  Well, there was that one time I got sloshed at the wedding reception of my friends Michael and Deborah and couldn’t resist joining Calamity Jayne and her Cowpunks band for some terribly memorable renderings of Van Morrison’s hits. It’s a wonder I wasn’t discovered that night: If not by a record industry scout, then possibly by a team from State Mental Health.


  I remain available, at affordable rates, to sing at weddings, funerals, and bar mitzvahs. But unlike Mr. Phoenix, I’ve decided to keep my day job.