I did three things in High School that made me feel like I had a proper “High School Experience.” I played Tennis, was on the debate team, and I was involved in drama.
*Let the record show that I was barely mediocre at all of these things.*
Tennis was my favorite, and my debate skills were a dumpster fire, but we’re going to talk about the good times in the world of drama.
It all started in 9th grade (which is in Jr. high in Utah) when I was in the musical Oklahoma… You know, where the wind comes sweeping down the planes.
Then my senior year of drama was the shit. Totally awesome. We were learning how to do deep relaxation and meditation… and we had a student teacher… which meant Nap Time!
In November of my senior year I moved to St. George, Utah (300 miles from where I lived in Salt Lake) and joined a functional drama class which put an end to nap time. It was for the best. I jumped right in to a dinner theater production of some ill-plotted murder mystery. I only messed up a few lines and made a couple wrong entrances. It was fine.
But the real kicker was that everyone in our class had to go to drama competition. REALLY?!! I have to compete in drama? I didn’t even know that was a thing. (Evidentially it is and I actually did well enough that I traveled to State… That may be more of an embarrassing moment than a proud one)
But let’s get to the point shall we?
My English teacher got wind of our success and upcoming travel to compete in the most pitiable town Utah has to offer and thought it would be a brilliant idea to have us perform in class. There were two of us from the team in class. It was a great idea…. It was an awful idea! I did NOT want to do it.
Let me tell you why I hated my piece.
1) I wanted to do something funny and upbeat to compete with, but we needed more competitors in the dramatic category so yours truly got stuck there. Do you know what that means? It means that every freaking round of competition I had to watch a bunch of emo kids recite monologues and scenes from the most depressing movies and books. (por ejemplo, a monologue from when Sybil has a freak out with her multiple personalities, and a gothic boy who I’m sure was reciting a page from his own journal of despair)
2) I couldn’t find a piece in the stash my drama teacher had that didn’t make me want to slit my wrists so I decided instead to memorize a picture book that I liked at the time. I liked it… After memorizing it and reciting it 84,972 times, I no longer like the book.
3) I had to be serious… I am not good at being serious!
So, Mrs. Hickman had us perform in class and my good friend Travis went first. He rocked it. It was from the point of view of a janitor with a quirky attitude. His was so funny and entertaining Everyone loved it. 5 extra credit points for you Travis. Awesome!
And then it was my turn. I already wasn’t feeling it, but I gave it my all. Within the first few lines I had to say the names of the Elephants; John, Tonky and Wanly. BAM!! My teacher busts up laughing, “What kind of a name is Tonky?!!”
“Um, I didn’t write this.”
“Yeah, but Tonky?”
I paused to let her regain her composure. In fact, I think I sat back down at that point determined NOT to proceed. Stupid Mrs. Hickman made me get back up to finish while she wiped the tears from her eyes.
The thing about a main character in the book being named Tonky is that YOU HAVE TO SAY THE NAME FREQUENTLY. And every time I did she would crack right up again.
I was on the verge of tears myself, but not for the same reason.
So, (spoiler alert) when I got to the end and Tonky died of starvation, DIED OF STARVATION, she finally pulled herself together, but it didn’t matter. She had ruined she moment and the monologue, not to mention my pride.
I sat back down, completely humiliated and raging pissed off that I had to endure her laughter, in front of the whole class, for something I didn’t want to be doing in the first place. And then she has the nerve to only give me 3 extra credit points!
“Excuse me, 3? Travis got 5”
Well yes, he got more points because “comedy is harder”
You know what’s hard bitch? Being laughed at through my WHOLE monologue.
I carried this experience with me justsoyouknow and did horribly at State. And in the long term, I kind of struggle to be serious in general because, what if I’m sharing something serious and someone thinks it’s funny! What if someone laughs while I’m sharing something important? I’m just trying to tell you that the poor elephants died of starvation but all you can to is giggle at the absurdity of one word. Thanks Mrs. Hickman, you crushed my soul.
But I learned a valuable lesson. Comedy is harder that drama, so be grateful when someone thinks your jokes are funny… I guess…