It is April 9th and I have been in the legal system for almost a year now. Every day is like Groundhog’s Day. I wake up, have my coffee, walk around a little bit and then… WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED???!!!! There is not one day that goes by where I don’t need about an hour to process it all before I start my day.
For those of you who have heard the story a million times now.. I apologize. For those of you new to the party… I was sued for $10,000,000 by a COMPLETE STRANGER who drafted up a complaint that was full of non-factual information about me, and insanely insulting to boot. This man, who is also a PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER stated that he felt I was “too unattractive” to sing in a P!NK Tribute Band and that I was a “lousy singer”. He was friends with the man who hired me for the job, but had a falling out prior to my hiring. And he played drums for the band.
But seriously, who does that?
I immediately quit my job in the band and said “all you, dude”. After all, it was only a job and I was working in 4 other bands at the time. Instead of being dropped from the case I should have never been on in the first place… I was threatened with a SECOND LAWSUIT. Although I was trying to settle things quietly, at this point I had no choice but to speak to the press. The New York Post requested an interview. I gave it to them, there was no way I was going to let a complete stranger bully me.
Instead of writing about the true nature of the case… it was mostly a dispute between 2 grown ass men in their 50’s over a P!NK Tribute Band… the NY Post decided to put me front and center and give me the tabloid treatment. I am not sure which was more shocking, the day I was served with the complaint or the day I woke up to this..
Despite the fact that there was no mention of my age in the case… despite the fact that journalist Kevin Sheehan agreed with me that The Plaintiff thought he was dealing with “some kid”… the NY Post decided to MAKE AN ISSUE OUT OF MY AGE when it was not an issue at all. Media outlets all over the world reported I was allegedly being sued for being “old, ugly and untalented”.
Um, I am 4-5 years older than P!NK. Theoretically, we could have gone to high school together. Had I lied about my age, The Post would have written a different story. If you put me next to P!NK, I don’t look one day older than her. In fact, in some photos I look younger.
I am sick of being constantly age shamed in my line of work. It’s getting really old. (no pun intended). For you industry types who tell me my window is closing…stop doing that. I don’t go to your job and tell you you can’t do it much longer. So don’t do it to me! Not cool. Show sorespect for the 2 decades I have put into my craft.
To make matters worse, my landlord and I had discussed a buyout. I was given an opportunity to move out of my rent stabilized apartment for what would have been a potentially life changing amount. Had I not been sued, I’d be a homeowner with a private recording studio right now. Instead, I was told I could not proceed with a buyout WHILE I WAS IN LITIGATION. So instead of taking my buyout and starting an exciting new chapter of my life I LIVED IN THE MIDDLE OF CONSTRUCTION for several months.
So try to put yourself in my shoes, dear reader. A stranger is suing you for $10,000,000 for showing up to work, the newspapers are reporting that it is for being OLD AND UGLY, there are hammers, chain saws and power tools in your ear every morning at 8AM. AND YOU WORK AT NIGHT. All this domino effect from the result of being sued by a complete stranger.
I must have been a serious douche in a former life. What ever I did in those lifetimes, I am sorry. I will not do it again.
The fact that I am not in a mental hospital is AMAZING, although there were times when I thought I may have to check into one. The entire situation has been surreal to say the least. I’m now recovering from Acute Stress Disorder and PTSD. My brain has chemically changed as a result of the last year. There are things that just don’t register in my brain anymore due to the stress.Simple tasks are now very hard. My memory has been affected, and I sometimes sleep for hours throughout the day because I am just WIPED OUT. Sometimes I cry for hours. Sometimes I stare at a wall and do nothing because there is nothing left inside me. Sometimes I sit by myself and say “What the hell happened, is this real?” I want the old me back.
(update, it is now May 1rst and I am doing significantly better then the day I wrote this)…
(update #2, as of May 15, 2015 I can say bits and pieces of the old me are coming back… I can actually feel emotions like joy, happiness…I still have rough spots here and there, but I am not completely over run by PTSD…writing regularly helps A LOT.)
(Update #3, January 25th, 2016 I would say I am about %80 better….I have some good days and bad days. I still can’t believe this is in litigation though. Pretty much the whole world agrees this is a waste of the courts time. I have also still never met the Plaintiff to this day.)
I’m confident that I will heal one day and there will be a silver lining, a lesson and hopefully a platform to help other people who are suffering from Post-trauma. But in the meantime, I am firmly in the anger phase of my journey. I need to express it unapologetically and get it out of my system.
Along the way, I hope to bring awareness of the very real problem of lawsuit abuse. Anyone can sue anyone for anything. Innocent people are being dragged into the legal system everyday. It is hard to understand the severity of the matter, until it happens to you. It’s like winning the “reverse lottery”, only you didn’t buy a ticket and you never signed up for any of this.
It’s a serious issue folks and it could happen to you.
I’m also hoping to drive this message home: ENOUGH WITH THE AGEISM ALREADY. In a country that now has its first black president, gay marriage and legalized weed… how is age discrimination even tolerated? I just don’t get it. Why would anyone for one second feel embarrassed or ashamed of their age? Why would someone’s BIRTHDAY be an issue in the workplace? In the words of Jeff Buckley “Feel No Shame For What Your Are”.
Next year, I think I am going to put out an album called “42”.
In the media I am being sold to the public as tone deaf, ugly and washed up. In reality, I sing my ass off, I look totally normal and I am in the prime of my life.
Don’t believe the hype.