Somewhere waaaaay back in the deep hollows of my brain, I have compiled a list of titles for my future novels. One is called "Bootlegging the Virgin" and it's a fictional story based on a not-quite-believable story told by a fellow camp counselor when I was in college. The other is called "Memoirs of a Graceless Child" and it is a true-life account (unfortunately) of some of my childhood antics and mishaps. After a Facebook post from my bestie this morning that took me straight down memory lane, I thought I would write this one down to test the waters.
As a small-town country girl in a small-town country school, I had a love affair with education. I literally loved everything about school--the teachers, the work, the socializing, lunch, even P.E. (except for the Presidential Physical Fitness Test which is a whole different animal-why in the flip do I need to do a pull-up to get a crappy paper certificate from the President!?!?!) School was a comfortable, safe place where it was actually cool to read books and know lots of useless knowledge.
Back in elementary school there were some things that DID excite me even more than usual. An opportunity to go watch the super-cool high school cheerleaders at a pep rally was like Christmas. Field trips were treats that I looked forward to for months, even when we were just heading to the local post office to watch them sort mail. (And I'm not kidding-ask my 2nd grade teacher)
Now, many of you might not know this, but I've always been somewhat of a ham. Give me a microphone (or really anything that resembles a microphone or can be interpreted as a microphone when singing into it) and a crowd, and this gal is in her element. What can I say? I love an audience.
So....when my little elementary school announced they were holding their first annual talent show, I knew my time had finally come. This was MY opportunity to show the world what I could do. My years of singing along to every country, gospel, and show tune on the radio would finally reap the rewards I so justly deserved. And apparently some teachers agreed with me as they excitedly signed me up to sing "She's In Love With The Boy" by Trisha Yearwood. Trisha (pre-Garth Brooks extramarital affair) Yearwood was having a good year around that time, and I just knew I could do her proud.
The weeks rolled by and the day of the talent show finally arrived. I can remember being SO nervous. I desperately wanted the approval of my peers, not to mention the fact that I fully expected Broadway or Nashville to come calling after my debut so I needed to be on my game. As the day wore on, my nerves got worse. I wasn't that nervous about actually getting up in front of a crowd, because I mean....hello, that is what I was born to do! I was just worried that I would forget the words and be standing up there with an actual real-life microphone with no words coming out of my mouth.
Apparently the practice I had done in the backseat of my parent's car and on my "stage" (aka the hearth in my living room) hadn't fully prepared me for what was to come.
When the emcee called my name, I held my head high and proudly marched my 8 or 9 year old behind right up on our auditorium stage in front of MY ENTIRE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, not to mention teachers, administrators, family, and friends. And to this day, I still can't tell you why what happened next happened.
Instead of the completely appropriate song about a young girl professing her love for a boy she eventually wants to marry....I belt out every line of "Papa Loved Mama" by Garth Brooks. Now, if you aren't familiar with 'ol Garth circa the early 90's, "Papa Loved Mama" is about a truck driver who discovers his wife has been cheating on him while he's on the road. He finds out about her nocturnal transgressions and catches them...ahem, in the act...in a seedy motel. To make a long story short, Papa drives his big rig into the motel, killing Mama and her new lover.
Needless to say, when I finally put the microphone down and took my bow....all I heard was crickets.
And then the principal called my mom and had a talk about why kids don't need to listen to such trash. And I think the First Annual Talent Show became the last talent show. Nashville must have gotten wind of my fall from grace since I never did get that call. And while I'm sure Broadway would have enjoyed the theatricality of my song choice, I'm guessing they didn't need another scandal on their hands.
But just as they say, now that I am an adult I can look back on this embarrassing childhood memory and laugh. I am very thankful for that because if not I would have probably killed myself after hearing this story told and retold at countless family functions.
If you are wondering if this helped curb my thirst for stardom--it did not. I still crave the spotlight, and I still long for that EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony).
I've matured and grown up, I have realized one thing...
Drunk patrons at my local karaoke bar don't give a damn about the moral turpitude of my song choice--as long as I sing it like I mean it!