Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Now What?

Today, I made the A team.

I had the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer moment "I'm Cute. I'm Cute...they said I'm Cute!"

It took 41 years but I did it.

After multiple After school ABC special worthy auditions to volley ball, high school musicals and college dance troops and bands, where I always wondered when I was put in the chorus or on the b-team if they were just having pity on me, today I made the cut. I'm doing standup comedy in front of 400 humor writers in Dayton, Ohio at the close of the Erma Bombeck workshop. 34 brave souls auditioned. 12 will perform.

I'm first.

Suddenly, that bench warming spot is looking very comforting.

It's not that I'm afraid of public speaking. Speaking my mind has never been much of a problem. I'm afraid I'll bomb.

You see, every time I write a piece, the instant it's polished and published, I have three seconds of peace and then the nags begin.

That was a good piece.
What if that's the last funny I ever write?
What if there is no more in the tank?

Oh No!

And then I get to reading and obsessing and following my toddlers around writing terrible first drafts about the fight they're having over two wooden blocks and who gets to stare at the cereal box while they eat.

I've pointed out that neither of them can read but this never seems to matter much.

Six half sputter starts later, I'll throw the notebook into my huge bag of must come everywhere with me stuff and call my husband about the dry spell.

“Sherry, you just got a piece accepted yesterday.”
“Yes, but I haven't written anything today!”

Now my husband is a very patient man. He has a variety of tricks for handling my roller coaster response to success and failure.

When I complain because I got rejected for example:
"Well, I guess it wasn't what they were looking for, maybe it needed more work."

"What? It was wonderful! I proofed it. I vetted it. It got good responses. That's it, I'm submitting it again and they'll be sorry."

Other times, he uses reverse psychology.

"You're right, you'll never write something that funny again."
"How do you know?"
"You just said so."
"No. I won't write like that again. I'll write something even better. You'll see."

When he's busy and I pull this stunt, he has an emergency escape button. "I'll bring home two Chocolate! Chocolate! truffles. (It's a store on the base floor of his office building)." This mollifies me instantaneously.
“Thanks sweetie, I’ll call you later. Sorry to bother you.”

Finally, he has a trump card. "Why don't you let me read it?"

Nothing makes me edit better or faster than knowing He's going to read my stuff. It’s like my writing is getting ready for a date with his brain. I have to primp before I can show it.

Except I've never done stand up.

I tried telling him the routine over the phone. This was a bad idea.
After five minutes of talking and hearing the sound of fingers clicking away at the computer sound an awful lot like crickets chirping, I told him, I'd call back later.

In his defense, he Was working.

So I hijacked my kids for an instant audience.
Little did I know, I'd just signed on the three judges of American Idol.

Would be Simon: "I'm very surprised, I almost laughed." I think it's revenge for my critique of his English paper last week.

Paula Wantabe: "It was wonderful. What are you going to wear?" She began bringing me sparkly things.

Randy and the Dawg Pound: Started making up their own material, ignored me completely.

But I'm not discouraged. At 41, there are precious few things one gets the opportunity to do that are "cool" that do not involve:

1) an outlay of serious cash to cover medical expenses,
2) breaking the law,
3) engaging in self denial.

April 5th in Dayton, Ohio. Mark your calendars. I may need a few more Chocolates for this one.
for possibly less neurotic doses of humor than this one, try http://www.humor-blogs.com/!


Larramie said...

Congratulations, Sherry, that is so cool, and you have at least two months to prepare and vent! ;)

Christine said...


I have submitted pieces to the Bombeck thing twice, and not won. I received the notification of this year's deadline, and wasn't feeling particularly into it, but now...I think I need to win it, so I can see you.

You won't bomb. You'll kick ass.

JimmyV said...

I dream of doing Catholic standup. I can't wait to hear how it goes. Godspeed.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could be in two places at the same time. Have fun, and be you.
And I laughed all the way through "Now What?" Texas Mom's Mom

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!