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The more familiar, capable and relaxed a postal clerk is with her daily counter activities, the more intricate a transaction she can handle-the fewer mistakes she'll be liable to make.

A baseball batter relaxed, prepared-and confident with his abilities and knowledge of a pitcher-can point to where he'll hit the ball without upsetting his concentration and hit the ball.

A hunter, in shape, who has spent countless years scouting the woods and many hours sighting in a rifle, can breathe easy while drawing bead and gently squeezing the trigger.

An actor needs to know the lines cold, inside out, to be free enough to elevate a performance beyond simply saying lines and hitting marks. The better prepared, the more time put in-not just on the part at hand, but on the craft in general-the more relaxed the actor can be; the more natural ability and talent will surface to bring special levels of beauty and integrity to the performance.

NASCAR driver Tony Stewart said, that at times during races, he is so relaxed that his mind often wanders from anything but the fact that he's traveling 200 mph into a 30-degree banked turn with 42 other drivers. That's relaxed!

On stage the other night, spoutin' a riff I've run hundreds and hundreds of times, my mind wandered. It was not about baking a carnival squash with butter, nutmeg, maple syrup and cinnamon. It was not about diving into a pool full of vanilla cupcakes iced with chocolate. It was not about world peace, or Cuban cigars, or how good it feels shoe horning your thin socked foot into a leather loafer. It was not about lower taxes for everyone, even rich people (I like rich people even though it seems it's not cool today to admire them)... No, when my mind wandered on stage it wandered to a wonder, which was-is there any difference between otters and beavers?

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