Monday, November 14, 2005

Just ignore it when (not if) I screw up.

A couple of friends once told me that they didn’t like to see plays I was in because they were afraid for me. Like they had sympathy nervousness. (Which is funny, because by the time I met them, I rarely got nervous during shows. As I remember, I used to get a pretty bad case of stomach butterfly back when I was in high school, doing typical high school shows like Our Town or Harvey, but by the time I got to Canisius, I’d pretty much grown out of it. The truth wasn’t so much that I’d found this inner confidence in my vast abilities, but rather that I’d already fucked up so many times, I knew how to deal with it.)

There are, however, two different instances when I must admit that I feel nervousness for a performer. One is for the guy/woman singing the Canadian national anthem at a hockey game. I was once asked by my principal in 4th grade to lead the entire school in the Pledge of Allegiance, and yes, I forgot the words. Oh, I know that embarrassment intimately, and I can’t imagine having to memorize the words of ANOTHER country’s anthem, and then sing it to a bunch of people who are already crazed up in the spirit of competition.

Secondly, and I’ll be the first to say this is insane, but for the life of me I can’t listen to a news interview (radio or television) without wondering how the guy is going to say goodbye. I’m bad at this to begin with. I’m known far and wide for my ability to mistakenly combine “so long!” and “take care!” into “take long!” I’d feel so bad for an interviewee if he finished making some intelligent point on genetics or gourd farming or the 1840s and then ended his call with “Your pleasure, Steve. I mean, my welcome. I mean, I’m an idiot, don’t listen to me.”

3 comments:

belgianwaffle said...

oh, the many many times i've said "you're welcome" when no one, but no one, even whispered a "thank you". "you're welcome! no, you are! you are welcome! yes! welcome!"

it hurts.

mom b said...

during a trip to mexico, i decided that i should greet the hotel staff in their native tongue. so, one morning, i'm feeling pretty "mexican", and greeted this handsome young man by saying "hello-la". not hello. not hola. no, i say hello-la. i'm lucky he didn't short sheet our bed! ugly american!

Greg said...

Around the office, you get used to saying hi to tons of people you barely know. But you have to shake it up for your own sanity. One person gets a "good morning" another gets a "how are you?" and a third will get "hey, what's going on?"

The responses are canned and often don't match the question. 'How are you?' often gets "nothing much" as a response, etc. It's funny how forced office pleasantries have become a system which is given so little effort that it doesn't even make sense.