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Austin Actors
Phil O'Hearn

Hunter Gatherers
by Phil O'Hearn

January 2003

This year my film roles have included several homeless man/bum roles. I've acted in one film entitled SEVERANCE, and another entitled THE SEVERANCE PLAN, in both of which I am unemployed. Is there a message here? Screenplay writers seem to be aware of the recession. And I must look like one of those affected by it.

Surely life was more simple way back when, before employment and unemployment, homes and homelessness. Way back when we were Hunter Gatherers. The men hunted and the women gathered. That sounds simple enough.

All a guy needed was a fur rug and a spear. You can eat anything with a spear. But then the Hunter decided he needed a woman. And the gathering began. The guy would grab his fur rug and his spear and say, "It's time to move." And the woman would say, "But I've gathered all this stuff. You know me. I'm a gatherer."

So the guy would look around at all of her stuff and say, "What is all this? What's this round thing?" And the woman would say, "Oh, that's a wheel. We don't need it now but it's going to come in handy some day." The guy would shrug his shoulders and mumble something about round things just rolling off.

But finally the Hunter gave up. And because it became so hard to move, houses were built. And cities were born. Barter and trade started. Services were needed and performed and all of the complexities of commerce evolved. I use that word EVOLVED loosely, because it seems to imply improvement.

Far be it from me to blame the fairer sex for this, however, my wife and I just bought a new house. And the most attractive feature in our new house for my wife was closet space. The last house we bought had a nice master bathroom with a walk-in closet. But now my wife wanted more.

My wife is a gatherer. So in our new house the master bathroom has a large walk-in closet...with a door...leading to a spare bedroom, to be used for a closet. Out of the bedroom that is a closet is a door leading to the garage. The garage is going to become a closet as well. In the floor of the garage is a trap door that leads to a tunnel. The tunnel travels under our driveway and under the street to the house across from us, which will become a closet too.

And we are never going to move again. We are just going to add closets: subdivisions, villages, and eventually small towns.

When I was young and single, I moved around a lot. I was a hunter. It was easy to move. Everything I owned fit into my pick-up truck. All I needed was a futon and a spoon. You can eat anything with a spoon. But, now I have evolved and evolved and evolved.

I just think it is ODD that I look HOMELESS to some filmmakers. The truth is, I've got more home than I ever imagined.

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