Monday, August 4, 2008

Stage Fright

The lights seemed to hurt my eyes. Despite the constant whirl of the electric fan beside me, beads of sweat started to trickle down my temples. I was aware of my breath, and every pounding of my heart.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” I began.

“The reason why Jesuth (my tongue seemed to stick to my upper teeth!), our Lord, wath (damn, not again!) both popular and unpopular during his time on earth was His teaching which was ah, uhmm, contrary to the values of the world…”

Each time I spoke, my chest seemed to tighten, even as I kept telling myself to calm down. Epinephrine must have been pouring inside me by the buckets. My vision seemed to sharpen, as I saw every single face, all two hundred and sixty plus, gazing at me.

Luckily, this was only during rehearsals. I was asked to read impromptu, and at that time I was feeling problematic over the status of one of the projects assigned to me. Maybe it was the stress, maybe it was because I was unprepared, but damn! This was an unfortunate time to make bloopers.

Four out of the six sections submitted the wrong format, and I spent what was supposed to be a day of rest correcting the errors. With the help of five people however, we were able to submit the 725 slide presentation just in time. With that out of the way, I assured myself the possibility of me screwing up my part in the ceremony was null.

I practiced with Sister Isabel till I sounded as credible as any lector. The problem was that I am used to speaking fast, and I was certainly not accustomed to sounding as perfect and as flawlessly modulated and well paced as an electronic teller.

During the ceremony, in front of close to a thousand people, I got up to the podium calm and collected. I opened my mouth and screwed up- well, I didn’t mispronounce anything or spoke too fast- I did worse by missing some of the lines. To people who heard without really listening, they couldn’t tell what I did wrong, but those who listened to the words I uttered- their brows were probably bunched together from trying to decipher what it all meant. My mates told me I did ok so I thought great, no one noticed.

One day, I happened to bump into Sister Isabel.

“Thad, was it the electric fan?”

“Excuse me?”
“You missed some of your lines!”

“Sister… (I lost my head for a minute there Sister, that’s what happened. Memory gap, stress induced amnesia, stage fright…)

…Yes , it was the fan.” And I gave her a dazzling apologetic smile.

Thus concludes my short career as a lector.


ika said...

there's always a second time right? now at least you know how the stage feels.

joaqui_miguel said...

Good for you, you had the electric fan to take the fall for you.

I also talk fast and when I was tasked to read slowly a certain passage in our morning mass back in high school, the pressure was too much to handle. I decided to screw their instructions and read the way I usually do. I figured if they tasked me to do this, then they just have to deal with the way I will do it. Man, was it the wrong time for anarchy. Jesuits can be a little tough. Midway through it, I was asked to start over again, this time asking me to do it really slow.


Since then, I never dared to stand in front of that podium again. Good thing though, when I committedd that booboo there were less than 20 people attending the mass. :)

Mugen said...

One can never see me speaking in front of many people.

Lalo na kapag impromptu at English, patay tayo jan!

Kiks said...

the church sure does bad things to good people.

have you tried practising behind the altar?

Anonymous said...

@mugen: kailangan lasingin ka kasi muna eh


Mugen said...


Payn. Alam mo bang ikaw ang isa sa mga natatanging taong nakarinig saken mag British english. Wahahaha.


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