To accompany The Odyssey, our class has been reading memoirs and making our own. The memoir I chose to read was John Gunther's Death Be Not Proud. I really enjoyed reading this book because of the people in the story. For example, John Gunther Jr., the author's son, had a very intriguing personality. He had a great outlook on life and a great attitude about his circumstances. He was a pleasure to be with right until he died of a brain tumor. His pleasant disposition even in trying times makes me think that maybe we could all be a little more pleasant and kind, even when we are going through rough times.
As to my memoir, I wrote several, but I'll only post one. I picked " A Lame Christmas Play" because it is the most humorous. It was also the most embarrassed I think I've ever been. I suppose I should be grateful that a trivial play was the most humiliating moment of my life. If you had been there, though, you would have been embarrassed just to watch it.
A Lame Christmas Play
Have you ever been humiliated while you were in the middle of the thing that was embarrassing you? Imagine having the mortifying feeling of embarrassment for over an hour. In the third grade, the whole grade put on a Christmas play for the entire school, and the teachers could not have picked a worse topic to do: The Twelve Days of Christmas.
Some kids were lucky. They got to be in the choir, singing the song while the rest of the grade acted out the verses. Oh, I was hoping to be in the chorus, but fate was not on my side. We had to draw our roles out of a hat, and "choir" was not on the little slip of paper that I drew. I was one of the seven swans a' swimming. I was ecstatic.
Practice was horrible enough, but the day came when we had to go out in front of the entire school and do our revolting play. Everything that could have gone wrong did. First, the students did not know their cues. When called, some groups did not emerge. Sometimes, the wrong group came out. Also, the choreography for each group was awful. The swans, for example, had to come out on the stage doing the doggie-paddle. Finally, the chorus was terrible. One side was singing one verse, while the other side was singing a completely different one. Going at different speeds, the instrumental part of the song could not keep up with either side of the chorus.
I remember looking down at the teachers during the play. They were just plain humiliated. Their heads were down, shaking, and their faces burned red with shame. I think they all knew what they had done was a mistake.
The end was probably the most awkward part of the play. The chorus finished, then the instruments, and then all movement. Once the last actor was behind the curtain, there was silence. A light shower of applause began, but it was almost inaudible under the loud boom of laughter and boos. Every actor and chorus member knew they had done badly. Most, like me, were embarrassed, but some children started laughing with the audience. A teacher came back to us and asked, "What was that?" We did not exactly know how to answer.
Later, I asked my brother what he thought. His reply was something like this: "I was one of the people booing. It was pathetic. But don't worry; I laughed a lot, too."
There are no words that could express the grief of our teachers the following day. The play was not mentioned by my teacher, but one kid just had to bring it up. "So, what did you think of our play yesterday?"
"Well, you all did your best, and that's what counts." I think that's code for, "Oh man, that was unappealing to all of the senses. What in the world were we thinking?" I have to agree with her.