Thursday, September 21, 2017

Don't Drop the Tin of Cookies!

Don't Drop the Tin of Cookies!
I was in a cheery, 90's Christmas-themed Elementary School play when I was in 3rd grade. I remember this whole incident very well, because I think it's partly where my squirmy and uncomfortable fear of adults came from. My teacher had announced that we were doing this big play for all of our parents for the yuletide season, and there would be try-outs the next day. They handed us sheets of dialogue, and urged us to practice.

You wouldn't have recognized me as a kid. I was extremely shy, quiet, and reserved. You know, I can never tell if the “real” me turned into a different adult me....or if the adult me IS the “real” me and the kid was the fake. Either way, I had this ardent yearning to be the lead in the school play....and maybe that desire came from that same mystical place where my more fiery adult personality originated. I literally FELT it in all of the particles of matter in my body that I would be in that play, and I would be the star.

I wanted to be a star. I wanted to be noticed. I wanted to be admired and praised after delivering a stirring performance up on stage that brought the audience to tears and made them wonder at their own existence. When it came time to audition, I gathered all of my faculties and made the slow walk up to the front of the cafeteria, where the hopefuls and the judges awaited. I remember all of those heart-pounding, powerful emotions that come with a tryout. The unknown is oddly seductive. There is still the appealing zest of “what if?”

It's nice to be noticed and admired. This is me, Leif when he was a baby,  and my youngest sister.
Yeah, I didn't get it. They gave it to the popular girl. How in the junk are there “popular” kids in 3rd grade? What did Stacey have that I didn't have?? And really...I mean... Stacey? I guess I really DID grow up in the epitome of the 90s. Sigh. Well, if those crusty-toot-shingles couldn't see the brilliance that I was, they didn't deserve my talent! However, I didn't deserve the part of “lady in store #2” either.

My part was simple. I had one line. Heh. “You had ONE job.”

In the story, there is a store owner who started out grumpy and annoyed with Christmas, and by the end, he has learned the true meaning of the holiday, and he started giving away the tins of cookies in his shop. Piled high, on a rectangular folding table, were many tins that normally house those wretched little dry, crumbling butter cookies in all shapes and sizes. I'm sure that people had brought a few of the empty popcorn tins as well...you know, the kind that had 3 different kinds of popcorn, and the cheddar always got eaten first, and then the caramel was too rich and slowly died a horrible sticky death after the tin got put into some closet and then you found it next Christmas.

Anyhoo, as Shop Lady #2, I got the blessed role of being gifted the tin and exclaiming, “OH, thank you, Sir! Thank you very much!” I had a terrifying teacher who was endeavoring to run this production with an iron fist, and she got down to my level, looked me straight in the eye, and uttered, “Michelle, these tins are right underneath the microphone. Look up. You see it there? If you drop this tin, the sound will echo through the whole gymnasium, and hurt all of the ears of the audience. Whatever you do, DO NOT DROP THIS TIN!”

Yeah, I dropped the tin. There I was, sweating up under the lights, and I felt that I could at least deliver the most heartfelt line possible. It was definitely a slow-motion moment as the kid/store owner was handing me the tin. I was thanking him jubilantly, and my little fingers just slipped. I froze, hearing the clanging echoing sound of the tin as it dropped and then bounced a couple of times, to finally roll in a traitorous line off the stage.

And you know what? I honestly don't remember anything that happened after that. Maybe I ran off the stage crying. Maybe I turned and told the scary teacher to be more careful about whom she curses. I don't remember.

I didn't get the part. I ruined the part that I DID play. I dropped the tin.

As an adult, this is laughable and charming to remember. We all had those paralyzing, embarassing moments. All of us, even Stacey perhaps, have “not gotten the part.” Then again, we don't know how that loss might have possibly shaped the “parts” we got in the future. I mean, holy night...what if the braver, more self-assured adult tME came from that experience. That part of the that wanted to be admired never went away. :/

And honestly, I'm hoping that my current “dropping of the tin” feelings make me able to become more of who I know I am in the future. A star. A....Stacey, even.  

This is Leif, my little toddler. He is a star. 

No comments:

Post a Comment