Friday, September 07, 2007

No One Came

The statement of fact that I’m about to share probably won’t come as a surprise to you. Here it is: I’m wired differently than most of the human race.

You might have already gathered that, from some of the off-center beliefs I hold. For instance, I’m a Libertarian. I’ve never voted for a winning presidential candidate. I expect that my streak will continue through 2008, making it nine straight occupants of The Oval Office who owe me absolutely nothing for their occupancy of that room.

I have also had a number of weird and colorful employments, none of which I feel any regret for having done. These include dealing cards, working as a carnie, being a legitimate professional gambler, dealing drugs, and hiring myself out as a professional guinea pig. So far as I know, I caused no harm to anyone other than myself while carrying out of the duties of these employments.

All of the references above provide circumstantial evidence in the case against me being average. I will now tell you - with scientific proofs included - why I am certifiably abnormal.

I love public speaking and I get a great kick from being on stage. The bigger the crowd I have in front of me, the better I like it.

There you have it. Most people are exactly the opposite. There is little doubt that the most common fear in the world is that of public speaking. As a matter of fact, it heads just about every list of phobias you can reference. See, for instance, especially this, or this, or maybe this. Most people have less of a fear of death than they do of public speaking.

Me? I love it. Put a microphone in my hand, and a crowd in front of me, and I become just about the bravest man on the planet. On the other hand, I’m still pretty much as shy in a one-on-one context as I have been all of my life. It takes me a long time to open up and truly be myself. And I am one of the reigning kings of blushing; the slightest embarrassment turns my face red.

So, here’s all of it summed up: I can do jobs that involve yelling at faceless crowds - such as BARKING - decently, but I generally fail miserably in pursuits - such as SHOE SALESMAN - where more intimate contact is needed. In my current position as a voice-over professional, I have no trouble at all reading commercials that might reach hundreds of thousands on a given night, but I can’t network to save my soul.

Crowd In Front Of Me = Recklessly Brave.

Talking To One Person = Painfully Shy.

And, with that psychobabble background in your hands, I now give you the opening 16 bars of the blues that is my career in music.

(That’s a pretty good line, but it’s not altogether true. I’ve always had a blast in whatever bands I’ve been in, no matter how much lack of success we’ve shared. So, instead of a blues, let’s call it an unfinished boogie.)

The piece (or two pieces, really, depending upon how you look at it) linked below has previously been published in this space. It has also been referenced in my Greatest Hits section.

(And there's a conceit of humongous proportions that I can only get away with while imagining an amalgamation as my audience, but nothing I’d try if I knew my audience consisted of only YOU - even though I know you’re a sweetheart.)

Anyway, it details some of the more memorable moments from the history of World’s End, my very first band. I’ll let you feel the noise over the weekend, and I’ll be back on Monday or Tuesday to pick up the pieces.

(By the way, don’t worry about the title. It does, indeed, have a subway story in it, but music is much the greater part.)

(As for the title of this piece, it references my favorite lyric concerning being a member of a rock band. It was written by Ian Gillan of Deep Purple, and it pretty much sums up the feelings of a fellow, not unlike myself, who never quite made it.)

Maybe it's because I'm only starting
That I think it won't take too long
Maybe it's because I can see you laughing
That I think you've got it wrong

Maybe I could be like Robin Hood
Like an outlaw dressed all in green
Someone said, "What's he gonna turn out like?"
Someone else said, "Never mind..."

Well, I was big and bold and more than twice as old
As all the cats I'd ever seen
I grew my hair and bought a suit
Of shiny white (or was it cream?)
I shook and shivered, danced and quivered,
And stood on a mountain top!

No one came from miles around and said,
"Man, your music is really hot!"

Well, I knew what they meant because I was a freak
My throat was tired and worn
My pretty face just looked out of place
As they poured on the scorn

I wrote on yellow paper from a man who was the king
He said, "My boy, we'll have some crazy scenes!"
There weren't any scenes at all like he was talkin' about
He must've been the king of queens

Well, I could write a million songs about the things I've done
But I could never sing them so they'd never get sung
There's a law for the rich and one for the poor and there's another one for singers
It's die young and live much longer
Spend your money and sit and wonder

No one came from miles around and said,
"Man, your music is really funky!"

I believe that I must tell the truth
And say things as they really are
But if I told the truth and nothing but the truth
Will I ever be a star?

Nobody knows who's real and who's faking
Everyone's shouting out loud
It's only the glitter and shine that gets through
Where's my Robin Hood outfit?

Well, I've come and I've gone before you wink an eye
No one even cared enought to say goodbye
The money's good and the times you have
Fun and games galore
But you spend your money and lie in bed forgotten
And wonder what you did it for

No one came from miles around and said,
"Man, who's he?"



Anonymous said...

Great post! I used to be the opposite: great on one on one occasions but a dud in larger settings. That all changed when I started playing live as a guitar duo. Don't know where I found a set of brass ones but now I can face a large group of strangers without turning into ash. However, I still can't go to a party or social gathering without feeling shy and insecure. Stopped trying to seek why. It is what it is.

David Sullivan said...

I am never shy! (but I can't play guitar)

I have finally posted FYI.

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

I'm great in social occassions, so long as I'm pissed!

Knew I liked you (smile). I can relate..

ps. The girl has left the blog for higher pursuits - back as soon as failure reigns her in again - I'll still be dipping in as and when..

Suldog said...

Hmmmm. I had forgotten that "pissed" means two different things, depending upon which country you're in. Here, it means "angry", whereas in your part of the world, it means " drunk". Ah, well. I'm sure we understand each other enough to not get in a war or anything :-) said...

That rock gig is the first time I've been envious Sul...I'd given something at the crossroads, but I don't know what!

Liked the lyrics too!

david mcmahon said...

G'day Jim,

This might be a daft question, but what's a carnie?



Lisa Johnson said...

Wow! You really made me work to get to that subway story! I do hope that you have a much happier one to tell one day! ; )

Suldog said...

David - A "carnie" is a person who works at carnivals, fun fairs, amusement parks, or whatever they might be called in your part of the world.

Glossophobia said...

Amazing how you mention that the bigger the crowd the better!

You are really among the minority of people here as around 75% of people have a fear of public speaking . . .

Did you take any public speaking classes or is it something which you have already had a natural inclination to?

Suldog said...

I did go to broadcasting school, late in life, but I've pretty much always felt more comfortable in front of a crowd than one-on-one. I'm an aberration!