Monday, November 8, 2010

"A Possible Clue"

Your parents want you to perform for the company.

You are three years old.

You hesitate, but they insist.

“Mommy and Daddy want you to do your song.”

Resistance is futile. You take a deep breath, stand up in front of the company,

And away you go.

The itsy bitsy spider

Climbed up the water spout

With perfect pitch and appropriate hand gestures.

Tentative at first, you rapidly gain confidence, and then hit your stride.

You are knocking it out of the park.

Your performance ends to enthusiastic applause.

The compliments are effusive.

“That was just wonderful!”

“Are you sure you’re not seven?”

“You are so good!”

That last one really hits home. It’s a loftier level of accolade.

You are more than talented.

You’re GOOD!

It’s a memorable moment. Everyone’s saying you’re terrific. And because you’re three…

You believe them.

Later when you’re eighteen, maybe younger,

You assemble your family, and you make an announcement:

“I am going into show business.”

Your dumbfounded parents reel with confusion.

“This is so unexpected!”

“How did it happen?”

“Where did she get this from?

For a possibly helpful clue,

Please return to Line One.


Mark Caldwell said...

I can see how that works.

It can go the other way. I experienced the first part. Then one day I was sent to a classroom full of parents, stood on a wobbly table and told to sing with no preparation, no accompaniment and no idea what to sing. Hence I never got to part two and hate performing for crowds unless I'm hiding in a choir, orchestra or similarly large group...

Anonymous said...

Our parents quit asking us to perform after we did our own play (with our own script) for the grandparents. It wasn't the story, just our choice of words. We needed to rhyme and we'd seen a word soaped on a neighbors' window at Halloween that worked perfectly. It rhymed with with the little yellow rubber.... Well, you get the idea. We tried to explain that it was just a different kind of bird, but somehow that didn't fix the problem.

Gnasche said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gnasche said...

I wish my parents had made me perform for guests. Speaking in front of people makes me nervous and I can't execute what is in my head.

Growing up, my entertainment was mostly Looney Tunes, and the like. When I was seven, though, I walked into the living room and sat down with my mom while she was watching Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. After five minutes I proclaimed - this is the funniest show I've ever seen. It was then that I knew I wanted to be clever for a living.

Now, over 30 years later, I still shy away from trying to entertain strangers. My parents are no longer in a position to force me to, so instead I get, "You know what your problem is? You just don't believe in yourself." - which sounds like good advice, but isn't really helpful to me or anyone else except maybe Descartes.

In the back of my head I always think about going to an open mic night, but I'm pretty sure I'd vomit on stage. Maybe I should just start with a song for everyone at Thanksgiving.