Monday, February 12, 2007

Momma Said Type This Out

It was spring in (I think I was in third grade and that would make it 1987.) and my parents were trying to get me to show that I had been learning my lines for the part of Farmer MacGregor in the play Peter Cottontail. I hadn't wanted the part but I had been reading the lines and trying to memorize them because they were assigned to me. That is childhood, I guess. You spend most of your time doing stuff you don't always understand for people motivated by arcane and bizarre impulses.

When my father insisted that I recite some lines, I just sat there mumbling because I didn't want to stand in front of him and say them. I felt weird. It might have had something to do with the fact that I remember him reading while I was supposed to be reciting. I don't blame him, I wouldn't have wanted to listen to a kid stumble through a play that he didn't want to be in. My parents had promised my teacher that I would have all my lines memorized by the time of the first rehearsal, which was sometime soon after my brothers' spring breaks. My brothers' were coming back from boarding school in Massachusetts and we were taking another driving vacation along the western coast of Turkey.

The site of my torment.

We were stomping around Ephesus when my father had an epiphany. We had just reached the ampitheater at the end of a long column lined avenue that had been the main drag, if memory serves. My dad figured that this would be a great place for my to exercise both my lines and my lungs. I was not thrilled with this idea. My family all marched about halfway up the rows of seats and then I started saying my lines. My family said that they couldn't hear me. I tried raising my voice. They said they couldn't hear me. This went on until my brother's were laughing at me and continuing to say that they couldn't hear me, even after mom and dad said that I was doing fine. I was not exactly furious at this point, but I was pretty steamed. It was especially maddening because my dad can make himself be heard over hurricane force winds without yelling. I suggested that everyone go sit up on the top row of seats and I would try again. This put them about 100 yards away from me on the stage. As soon as they sat down, I took off running back to the car as fast as I could. I got almost all the way to the ruined library at the end of the road, about a mile, before my older brothers caught up with me and dragged me back.

My unreached refuge.

I then sat there sulking on the stage while my brothers stood in the wings. I tried to escape through the structure, but it was dark inside the remaining walls and I didn't get too far before my brothers apprehended me. I was never able to get away at any of the other ampitheaters in which I was forced to recite my lines. Leaving my lines in the car didn't work either, my father just made me march back and get them. My brother's were too smart to let me get away with anything twice. When I made a mistake, my parents would make me start over. When I wasn't projecting enough, I had to start over. We went through this in Troy, Ephesus, Pergamon and other ruins lost beyond the pain of memory.

After this ordeal, reciting my lines in the kitchen didn't seem so bad. I only had to compete with the radio and microwave in the morning. As I recall, my performance as a grouchy old farmer was well regarded. I just acted like my dad.

27 comments:

Snag said...

That sounds a lot like our vacations, if you substitute batting averages for lines to a play and Mount Rushmore for Ephesus. And the kids have to be punching each other more. And dad has to be alternating between yelling, pleading, and silently wishing he was passed out at home in front of the television.

teh l4m3 said...

Sometimes, I think of two thespians doing things together, and then I go chop wood.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

Dude, get a therapist and move on.

Jessica said...

When I was in 5th grade I was in a musical called "Go West". All 5th graders were - it was required. I had a solo which was unfortunate for everyone with working ears.
I like adorable girlfriends comment better.

Chuckles said...

Therapists are for those who can't read Kierkegaard.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

How come blogger no longer links back to RoD when I type it in?

A gril like me said...

Do you still remember the lines?

A girl like me said...

Hence anxiety is the dizziness of freedom, which emerges when the spirit wants to posit the synthesis and freedom looks down into possibility, laying hold of finiteness to support itself. Freedom succumbs in this dizziness. Further than this, psychology cannot and will not go. In that very moment everything is changed, and freedom, when it again rises, sees that it is guilty. Between these two moments lies the leap, which no science has explained and which no science will explain.
- Concept of Anxiety

teh l4m3 said...

God Chuckles you are such a Turkey.

:D

Chuckles said...

Aaaaah, now I have an idea who a girl like me might be.

AG, blogger now longer links back to RoD because this is blogger 2.Crap.

teh l4m3, better than being a lesser Albanian grouse.

girl like me said...

Oh, you figured me out. Yes it is I, Soren Kierkegaard. In know the world thinks that I am dead, but just could not resist responding to your post. I thought if I posed as a girl, then you would never figure it out.

I leave you with one of my inscrutable quotes: "Far from idleness being the root of all evil, it is rather the only true good"

mdhatter said...

either Kierkegaard / or therapy?

Chuckles said...

Philosophy worked for me. Kierkegaard has his problems (other than pretending to be a girl online) but at least he wasn't an unrepentant asshole like Hiedigger. Although Heidigger had some cool philosophy, he was a controversial dude. This is putting it more than mildly. This is a conversation for another blog post.

Anyway, this is a funny memory for me. AG is a whiner and interpreted it as such.

My parents liek to point out that I have performed in some of the oldest theaters in Western civilization.

teh l4m3 said...

It's an adorable post. I couldn't let the thespian thing just lie there, though.

Fulsome said...

teh, when was the last time you let anything just lie there [/drumroll]

porterhouse said...

It's a ritual.

Chuckles you are too young to remember my 6th grade torment of a similar nature. I was forced to be the grasshopper...who put off getting ready for winter...or memorizing lines?

As I recall Troy was first. Then Assos, Pergamum, Pirene, Miletus, and Ephesus. Pirene was the worst.

Chuckles said...

We can check a non-mercator map at some point. I am pretty sure you are right that Troy was first. I just remember trying to escape at Ephesus. I don't think I tried it before that. Maybe it was just my most successful attempt. I remember thinking that I would be free if I could just make it to the library, I would be able to hide and be free for the rest of the day.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

Teh teh doesn't let things lie. It's not his way.

He's cute like that.

fish said...

Kierkegaard was a love sick puppy that would have been a couch potato if he had been born in the age of television.

fish said...

I like it when thesbians just lie there.

mdhatter said...

i tried being a thespian in high school, and they hype is true - thespians do generally put out more.

porterhouse said...

Yeah, Ephesus was your most successful escape attempt. There is a long (a mile long?) column lined road and you were a good ways down it when we finally caught up.

Chuckles said...

Twas a far better thing that I did then, than I have ever done again.

Serena said...

Turkey roadtrip aside, it sounds like a completely horrifying experience.

Alex said...

Classic.

I look forward to more "Chuck's youth abroad" stories. Like, the ones in Romania with the killer bees and razor-sharp boomerangs.

Chuckles said...

Haha, shop class was indeed fun, Alex.

Mostly spent my time making shivs and etc.

Anonymous said...

barf alert,

Make way for Chuckles de Puke he's in a hurry and skid row bound!

MAP TRUCK