Every so often, usually when homework assignments have made me grouchy, I consider dropping out of college, and think about what my alternate profession would be. This of course, is something I would never do, because while I like to think of myself as spontaneous and interesting, I’m fairly type A. But on these occasions it’s kind of therapeutic to think about it. Lately it’s stand up comedy. Hey, it’s not so crazy. Random people at Target say I’m funny. So, that’s my new thing. I have no material, but I can probably wing it. There are open mics around for practice. I should definitely do it.
My sister has been talking for years about how she should have been an actress (usually jokingly, but she was in a few plays as a kid and she was pretty good) but never got to because we didn’t go to public school, which is usually how you get roles in plays or possibly get “discovered.” Yeah, we don’t know. Maybe that’s how it works for some people. She’ll talk about wishing she could get into Improv or Shakespeare, so I asked her if she’d like to try out an open mic night with me. She won’t. I’m absolutely going to go one day though. But probably not until I can legally order a drink. Of course, that means it can’t be my new plan. I will have graduated by then and hopefully be employed. The reason she wouldn’t go though, is because she’s scared of looking like an idiot, which hadn’t really occurred to me. Of course you’re going to bomb. I was about to tell her how ridiculous that sounded, but then I remembered that she didn’t have the practice that I do. I bomb regularly in everyday life. Within the first five minutes of meeting my career counselor, after he asked why I didn’t want to pursue a career in the arts given my aptitude and personality tests, I told him (honestly) that I didn’t want to be a cop show cliche of a prostitute that came to New York in a rusted-out Volkswagen Beetle with a dream. Not only did he not laugh at this, which kind of would have surprised me as I was expecting more a dismissive, “alright then, so not prostitution,” but looked at me with judgment and disapproval, and at the end of the experience suggested I consider therapy. I have not. But I am working on being less inappropriate.
My sweet, darling, accountant sister has not experienced this. She has never bombed so badly that it’s suggested she seek therapy. She hasn’t had an entire table of people move when she sat down. Even when people don’t get her jokes, they make the effort to pretend they have, because she’s adorable. People apologize to her for cursing in her presence. I have made a grown man have a break down in the middle of a mall. That’s just the way it is. When my anecdotes about knitting, or programming, or cheese inevitably bomb so badly that not even the drunkest patron of whatever club or bar or restaurant I’m in is entertained, chances are my sister will not be in the audience. But I’ll have at least gotten a story out of it.