I have written about change a few times on here and pivotal moments of change. Somehow, change is the one constant in my life.

I used to have a pet hedgehog named Ralph that I got from a breeder in Tuscaloosa when I lived in Birmingham. A hedgehog was the best decision pet wise for me: low maintenance, eats cat food, doesn’t shed, and not noisy. He was previously owned by a dumb fraternity guy at University of Alabama and was returned to the breeder. The breeder discovered that the hedgehog’s quills had been burned and scarred. The hedgehog was really easily startled. I would love to say that I got him because I have the world’s biggest heart for abused animals but my eyes were on the price first.

I brought the little guy home and renamed him Ralph. He was so scared and made me frustrated that I wasn’t doing a good enough job. Over time, Ralph and I truly bonded. He was my companion during a lot of transitions in my life: losing both of my grandparents, moving in with my cousins briefly while working in the film industry, moving to where I live now, and starting stand up comedy.

Ralphie trolling the internet with me

When I started doing stand up, I didn’t want to leave Ralphie alone so I wouldn’t go out and go up on open mics as much as I should. I felt guilty every time I was on an open mic and he was at home still in his cage.

Almost one year ago to the day , Ralphie passed away. I was devastated. I blamed myself for going to mics, I blamed myself for what nature did.

I took the day off work and went to Paws , Whiskers & Wags to have him cremated. I decided on this because I didn’t have a yard to bury him and I couldn’t stomach the thought of throwing him in a garbage can. The process was ceremonial and bittersweet.

I took that day as the start of a new chapter, I couldn’t hold myself back from not going to open mics and working hard on new material and getting better.

I miss Ralph and I am so thankful I could give him a better life than he had. I am even more grateful that his passing inspired me to pursue what I love.

Now, one year later, I am experiencing another shift.

The best way was to celebrate with lots of comedy. It was a sad week for many of us as two Atlanta comedy staples move to LA, John-Michael Bond and Dulce Sloan. They both were really influential on my comedy development. John-Michael produced some of the best shows in Atlanta and encouraged so many new and up-coming comics. I am so grateful for all he contributed. Dulce is a comic that is relentless. She is constantly working hard and setting a standard for all comics of professionalism and humor.

Friday night I was on a killer show ran by Joseph Highsmith in Cabbagetown at Milltown Arms Tavern that brings in a huge crowd. I was able to try their wings, which I was so eager to eat.

I felt the energy of the crowd and having that weight lifted of not knowing what was going on in my dating relationship helped me connect. The wings were a happy trophy of the energy I put out on stage. 6 Hot Buffalo wings with blue cheese. The wings were classic. Good crispy skin and a tangy buffalo sauce that was more of a medium than a true hot. Yes, I am wearing an adorable lace and floral print Hazel dress as I go to town on those tender pieces of chicken flappers. The rest of the night was full of gabbing with comedy friends and celebrating our community.

Comedy and wings satisfy me in a way that no dating relationship has (thus far…I’m optimistic that I will fall for someone). Comedy and wings are “there for me” during all of the changes in my life. I gladly accept change and embrace it… as long as I can have some buffalo sauce on it.

Published by Annie Lockwood

Annie is a stand up comic based in Atlanta. She is passionate about comedy, concerts, and buffalo wings.

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