Saturday, May 16, 2009

Light 'er up

(Pre-Script: To increase the entertainment quotient of this post by 74%, it must be read as the song, "32 Flavors," #22 on the playlist, plays, so go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I can be very patient...I will wait...) (...still waiting...)

I am brave. I know this because a nurse at the Red Cross told me that I was brave about 12 years ago, and I believed her then, and I still believe her now. I used to donate blood every 6 weeks, and from that, I moved on to donating platelets every 2 weeks. The process of donating platelets is called "Pheresis," where the blood is drawn out of one arm, spun in a machine to separate the platelets from the rest of the blood, then the platelet-less blood is put back into your other arm, so you are not losing very much blood, mostly just platelets. It takes 2 hours, so you watch a movie while you sit there with needles sticking out of your arms. I wanted a chance to sit in the really comfortable looking recliners that only the pheresis donors got to sit in, wanted access to the part of the room that only the pheresis donors had access to, and because why get one arm pricked when you can get both arms pricked at the same time? I was also motivated by the idea of getting a pin for every gallon that I donated. I have never ever gotten used to needle pricks though, and do not ever plan to, for as long as I both shall live. Every time someone is getting ready to stick a needle into me, I say, "Be careful, do it as gently as you can, I am the most squeamish person ever," and I over emphasize this, because then they take me seriously, and do not just jam that needle any which way they can. I was going through my bi-weekly ritual of "be careful I am so scared and such a wimp" when the nurse who was about to poke my arm said "You are not a wimp, you are very brave, because you are scared, but you choose to keep coming back and doing it, anyway."

Well, Sweet Potato Pie and Shut My Mouth, she was RIGHT!

There are many other things I have done in life that I thought were brave, but looking back I now realize were just stupid. I will not detail the list here, I do not have the time or the energy for such a task. Just assume that I probably did the last one of those things 2 minutes before I started typing this, and will probably do the next as soon as I stand up.

My knowledge of my own lack of natural talent and skills has not always kept me from doing the thing for which I am in no way gifted anyway. For example, I learned how to breathe correctly from my diaphragm when singing when I was a young child, and can carry a tune in a choir type of situation, and have in fact been a member of many a choir, but I am by no means a good singer outside of the shower. This did not stop me from trying out at a local theater when I was 18 for the lead female role in a play, even though I could not sing or dance, and the part required both. I tried out on a whim, because some boy was also trying out for this particular show. I was totally unprepared, yet out of many talented ladies, I got the lead female part. Did you hear me say that it was the LEAD role?? The director was probably on drugs that day, because I got the part.

The first half of the show was a melodrama, like an old western play, and I was the heroine, the picture of rosy cheeked sweet innocent damsel in distress. We had lines and a script, but we could also add lib. The audience was allowed and encouraged to both throw popcorn and to talk to us, and we could talk long we stayed in character. No two nights were exactly the same. Sometimes there would be troops of Girl Scouts who were dragged there by their scout masters, and as a cast, these were not our favorite nights; the kids would loudly talk to each other and not pay attention to the play. Sometimes I would yell down to them, "HEY! Isn't it past your bedtime???" Then backstage, the cast would make up songs to sing to the girl scouts that went something like, "Don't you have cookies to bake?" "Thin mints, samoas, peanut butter blossoms" I remember that at "peanut butter blossoms," the tune would pick up, and there were also awesome Broadway show type moves to accompany this fun little backstage ditty.
As much as I loved the melodrama half of the show, the director would not take my word for it that I could not sing, and assigned me a solo to sing during the vaudeville half of the show. During practice, he made me stand on the stage and sing as loud as I could while he stood in the back of the theater and listened. This is about as embarrassing as if he had asked me to give birth on stage. He then told me that I was not opening my mouth when I sang, and that I needed to OPEN MY MOUTH AS WIDE AS I COULD EVEN IF I FELT STUPID DOING IT, JUST DO IT AND I did. He was right, I felt stupid. Then he told me that my tone was better when I actually opened my mouth all the way when I sang. It was a good tip, but the solo was eventually taken out of the vaudevillian half...because no one should ever, ever have to pay money to hear that. The little people who's address was once my uterus get to hear it for free, and they are NOT happy about that, but I have the power to lock their doors so that they cannot escape the vehicle in which we are driving, nor do I give them control of the car c.d. player or radio. However, I do take requests, and I always make sure that they never get elbow smacked or kicked during the interpretive dance portion of my fantastic car performances. (Whoever decided it was safest for kids to sit in the backseat was more right than he or she knew.)
The director eventually gave up on me, and I was only included in the vaudeville numbers that required the entire cast. There were two ending dance numbers, and the finale where we all sang together. It went something like this:

"Gaslighter's lightin' up,
and evening is through,
we do it with dancing, and singing,
it's (clap) all for you!
Time for us to leave you now,
it's sadly drawing near,
we hope you had lots of fun,
with everyone, that's (stomp) why we're HERE!"

Then some cool ending pose, which I am forgetting now. It doesn't mean I couldn't make up something right now, though.

I performed that show every Friday and Saturday night for 6 months.

My singing and dancing never improved.


1 comment:

Brian said...

Yeah...still incredibly entertaining. I especially cracked up at "...about as embarrassing as if he had asked me to give birth on stage." and "The little people who's address was once my uterus...". What a riot.

"You are not a wimp, you are very brave, because you are scared, but you choose to keep coming back and doing it, anyway." The 101st Airborne Division (military special forces...just incase you didn't know) said basically the same thing. They defined courage as "being afraid, but going anyway".

Anyway, very enjoyable read...thanks.