I’m gonna be honest with you, things have been rough here at Dancakes. While we continue to chug along, weeks past laying out a new rough game plan, we still are adjusting to ongoing tumult. In less than five months, we have gone from being a travelling events company that does content mostly on the side, to a business trying to make our free media content into the main course of our services. We are putting out more social media content than we ever have, from videos of pancake art challenges, to podcasts, to livestreams to many more odds and ends. Every day has something to do, something to make, something to prepare or edit or cobble together, and something to post. We have all doubled down on our responsibilities and taken on many new ones, doing whatever we can as a small full-time team of four business co-owners to keep this ship sailing.
Don’t get me wrong, Dancakes has always been a job of chaos. The previous chaos included having a half dozen pancake artists pinballing around the country nearly constantly, with one very organized manager keeping all the trajectories pointed at the right places and making sure that all of our state-to-state zig-zagging stayed profitable. We had no concrete schedule to speak of; I could be out of town for five days out of the month to twenty-five days, depending on the season. There was always some insane new opportunity popping up, whether that be making pancakes for a celebrity, performing on TV, or working strange, niche events with surprisingly high budgets. Every week was a wild card, and often held a new set of cities to visit. There was a method to the madness, though, and that method only got more refined as the years went on. Finally, nearing the first busy season of 2020, we had a serious groove going. This was going to be our year! This was going to be the explosive culmination of all our hard work and long-term goals. It was an exhilarating moment.
Until that moment ended.
Do I have to even explain why events went away? During this strange social shift, public events, conferences, parties, all those fun occasions that drew crowds of laughing, interacting people engaging with one another… those things were the first things to go. And amongst a raging pandemic, they will be the last thing to come back.
And so we’ve adjusted. Things have quickly become an inverse image of what they were before- where everything used to be an outward, extroverted, lucrative chaos for us, every bit of our energy has gone into maintaining a suppressive, internal, and limited one. We are an events company without events (minus our private live-streamed events, but those are still sparse as the world struggles to get back on its feet), and we are full-time travelers stripped of the ability to leave our homes (at least in good conscience). Every week is still a wild card, but not based on TV spots or invitations to high profile events and massive opportunities. Now it is on whether or not this will be the week that ends us financially, whether or not we’ll make enough tips on public livestreams to keep the lights on, whether or not we can mentally handle the enormous stress of everything, as an exhausted unit of friends and teammates.
So things are no longer what they used to be. This doesn’t have to be made into a bad thing by default though; change is the only constant we have in our short times on this earth. But there’s a different feeling in the air. That glorious year of climbing success and continued adventure no longer exists, and it’s as though there has been a loss of something very important to us. Something we didn’t expect to go so soon. Something who brought this random assortment of oddballs together in the first place.
But I think, if anything, that is what keeps me calm. Our four co-owners, Ben, Dan, Hank and I, were brought together by this exemplarily weird lightning in a bottle, but it isn’t solely what binds us together. We have been through an incredible amount of chaos, confusion, laughter, and exploration together in such a short three year span, so much so that my years before moving to Saint Louis for this job simply feel like a past life. Everything has changed for me since I started here, and I think that’s the beautiful thing about this wretched human experience in which we all struggle and strive– say what you want about it, but it never stays the same. Always throwing new chaos our way, shuffling the hand of cards we all had meticulously organized, throwing them callously right back into the deck. Bastard.
But that breeding of chaos is what allows new bonds to form, new energy, unique experiences, and love that happens against the odds to, well… happen. The absurd trend of pancake art and this delicious mistake of a business is what brought me together with these nerds, my family. The bond between us will keep us going no matter what happens (if we can help it). While the circumstances may change, it only becomes more apparent that Dancakes is not the only glue that holds us together. It’s not even close.
So I’m ok. If anything, I’m endlessly grateful. Whatever happens, we’ll be alright! If chaos is inevitable, might as well find the good that prevails, amiright?