augury doggerel

Thursday, March 28, 2002


Last night, in my cups, I remembered the most embarrassing part of my secret teenage past: I used to perform in amateur productions of musicals.

I was a Jet in West Side Story, a Buddhist monk in The King and I, and something or other I can't remember in Finnian's Rainbow, all minuscule roles designed mainly to help build a chorus on the stage -- I could sing. Each part was an inglorious failure. I was history's only Siamese Buddhist monk with long red hair painted black and glued down. I was the only 1950s New York gang member with long red hair painted black and glued down. Luckily, awkward teenagers with long red hair didn't have to have it painted black and glued down in musical-land mythical Ireland. Just the glue.

I am amazed now to think on it. I am no performer, nor was meant to be. Yet there I was in thick make-up and bad costumes, willingly standing on the stage and blurting my few lines. And singing. Dancing, even.

Not now, pal. You couldn't make me walk across a dark stage in an empty auditorium at midnight now. I tremble when I have to "make a presentation" or do any of the other foolish things that require an adult to address, with a straight face, more than three other adults.

This morning on the way to work, up the winding road through the woods, misty, I saw a deer at the edge of the trees. She looked, realized she was being watched, and vanished.

Reading: still nibbling at Bleak House. And damn Dickens to hell for embarrassing me on the bus. I should not care that Esther is sick.


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