Friday, March 25, 1994


In first grade I was dubbed, motor-mouth, and by third grade I was the acknowledged class clown. I, like everyone else, craved attention and respect, but being the youngest of two brothers and also very short (vertically challenged to use the vernacular) I learned that it was difficult to get attention academically, athletically, and/or by miss-behaving because someone was always one step ahead of me. Namely my two brothers. I quickly learned though that I could get attention by being silly and making people laugh with or at me.

I became an attention addict; making jokes in the middle of class and having everybody’s eyes focused on me relieved my fix. They gave me the attention and feedback I needed. Of course I still got the best marks, which is the one thing that saved me from getting any of those self-fulfilling prophecies which teachers from time to time will on unsuspecting young school children. In fact, I had quite a good reputation during elementary school aside from my "tendencies towards in class verbal self-indulgences." Teachers basically liked me because I was smart; and I had friends, because I was funny, played sports at recess and didn’t pick my nose or puke too often.

I guess I never really lost that childhood zeal for being center stage, because in sixth grade I began acting in operettas at the Tacoma Pantages theatre. That first year I tried out and got a part in The Gypsy Baron. I played a little Gypsy street urchin who ran around getting into trouble. I even had a few lines. The excitement and sense of camaraderie behind the stage amongst 'the cast' was heady, and I fell in love with the idea that I would become an actor when I grew up. So the next year I tried out again for a part in The Merry Widow. I ended up playing a cute little boy of eight or ten, which by the way is not easy to cope with for a short pudgy insecure seventh grader of twelve-and-a-half or thirteen. I didn’t have any lines, but my main scene was jumping into the arms of a busty merry widow with whom I was quite enamored.

My acting career dreams were shattered in eighth grade though, when I was relegated to the measly part of a rabbit in The Magical Flute (the irony inherent in this choice of parts will not be missed by the francophiles as I suspect the director must have been himself). Needless to say, I was devastated. I decided to never return to ‘the Theatre’. I realized my parts were increasingly getting worse, first I had been a boy with lines, then one without, and finally I was just an animal who followed around a dumb flute. I just knew that if I tried out again in ninth grade I would be cast as a table or something. So that was the end of my acting career, I was burnt out after three brief years on stage at the ripe young age of thirteen.