Chapter 11. Below C Level "A true highlight of this term was Tommy's speech on humor, which he carried off with the aplomb of a stage professional. Tommy is a great study in contrasts. The art he submits is superb, but he misses half of his assignments, so his mark is necessarily low...Try to watch the "talking out," Tommy. It is not appreciated." Report card comments of Shirley Gaudreau, Tom's sixth-grade teacher I see my life in two major parts. Part One: my birth to living in my parents' basement with no money at age twenty-five. Part Two: getting out of my parents' basement until today. Let's start in the middle. MY PARENTS' BASEMENT The year is 1996. At this point in time I am still financially dependent on my parents. I am at a stage in life where this is beginning to be painstakingly abnormal, much to my embarrassment. I am a generational statistic, a twenty-five-year-old college graduate who has recently returned to living in his parents' basement. I have done this as a way of saving money while I wait for my dream job to materialize. Also my on-and-off girlfriend of five years, who I have recently been living with, has thrown all my stuff out of her house. This most likely happened at a good time since I could no longer afford to pay rent anyway. It is probably never a good idea to return to the nest. Once you flap your wings and leap from the tree, it is best to migrate somewhere else. If you're really lucky, you might get lost and not be able to return, so go someplace warm. I think returning to live with parents, especially if they are my parents, can be a little bit defeating. So take that as advice and don't move into my house. The place is small enough already. For the previous three years I had, for free, produced and hosted my own comedy talk show on the local community television station, Rogers Community 22. Over that three-year period the show became reasonably popular in my hometown of Ottawa, the capital of Canada. In fact the show had become so well known that I now had a realistic shot at going network. That would be a real job! Over the past six months my friends and I had been working on a pilot episode of The Tom Green Show for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a national network. Producing this single episode had utterly consumed my life for half a year, as producing the cable show on Rogers Community 22 had done for three and a half years before that. But now, we had completed the pilot and it had just aired on the CBC, so for the first time in three years, I had time on my hands. All the time in the world. This show was the reason why I did not have a job and lived in my parents' basement. Because I was interested only in producing the program, I didn't allocate much time to finding other paid employment. I was motivated only by the television show; it was my only real goal. Unfortunately it was not paying any money yet, and in the faint hope that it might, my friends and I sat around for a year and waited. How, I wondered, did I end up in this seemingly rock-bottom predicament? "THERE WAS A YOUNG FELLOW FROM WHEELING . . ." When I was in grade six I won the public-speaking contest for my school. I remember at that time it seemed like the most important thing in the world. In grade school they didn't have talent shows or anything like that, so this was really the only opportunity to see other students on stage. First you would compete against your class. The English teacher would watch everybody's speech and choose a winner. Then you would compete against the other three classes in your section of the school. After that competition they would send three finalists toGreen, Tom is the author of 'Hollywood Causes Cancer The Tom Green Story', published 2004 under ISBN 9781400052714 and ISBN 1400052718.