I’m winging my way cross country to Houston today to attend the second-coming of the Dad 2.0 Summit. (Needs a proper sequel name. Dad 2.0: Part Deux-Doo? Dad 2.0: The Other Parental Unit Strikes Back? Dad 2.0: Eclectic BoogerWiper-aloo?)
When I get there, winging it will be the last thing I’ll be doing. I’m speaking.
Reading, really. Aloud. One of my blog posts.
I’m not going to pull one of those “oooh, I’m so shy and socially awkward that I need Xanax to walk out to the mailbox” routines on you in an attempt to fill the comment section with all sorts of “you’re so brave – hugs!” I have plenty of personal hang-ups (just ask My Love) and the occasional panic attack but general social anxiety and agoraphobia are not among my many issues despite the fact I spend the majority of my time home alone. (New sequel name -- Dad 2.0: Lost in the Houston Four Seasons.)
In fact, when I found out I was going to read before 200 or so peers, I couldn’t have been more stoked.
“Finally!” I thought. “I’ll be able to complete an entire sentence without a member of my family interrupting me.”
Yet, I do have one fear. The fear of not being able to talk.
Except for 10 years ago when my legs completely went out from under me while testifying at a zoning board hearing, I’ve been up before crowds before without real issue. Heck, I’ve “played” percussion with a rock band in a real New York City concert before. Twice!
However, since I spend so little time speaking at all these days beyond telling Li’l Diva to turn the volume down on her latest boy band heartthrob or ordering our dog to drop whatever he has in his mouth (two weeks ago it was the back half of a dead squirrel), I tend to blow out my voice quickly in social situations.
Couple hours of yapping in a loud room, a few belts under my reversible belt (black AND brown!) … that’s when I feel a hockey puck well up in my throat and I start to strain for more volume and clarity. Shortly thereafter I’m sounding like Kathleen Turner after she’d sucked down a fifth of rot gut and couple packs of unfiltered Camels. And developed a back sinus infection.
I’m hoping that won’t be the case this time. I’ve learned some goofy sounding vocal warm-up exercises that will make my roommate seriously regret his lodging choice, and I’ll be sucking on the lozenges all day today for tomorrow morning -- I go on stage.
Then I’ll die.
Most likely from profuse flop sweat.
(No idea why this video clip requires you to first prove you are over age 17. But it’s worth it. ‘Tis a classic.)
Hmm, that zoning board incident I had … that was also in Texas.
I am so screwed.