October 6, 2015: Three Good Things

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I’m finding it harder and harder to come up with three good things every day, especially when all I do most of the day is sit on the couch and hope my internet connection isn’t going to crap out (spoiler alert: it is, again, and I am not happy). But the point of the exercise is to find the good in a life where not a lot of that happens, so here goes.

1. I’m making good progress on the poem that I have to perform a week from Saturday. I should have it completely memorized by this Saturday, giving me a week to work on perfecting the inflections and delivery. When I finish memorizing it, I’m celebrating my first delivery of the entire thing with no mistakes or pauses with the last cider in the house.

2. I had a serendipitous incident while listening to Pandora tonight. We have a ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic station that plays about 80% comedy music and 20% comedy sketches. Jim Gaffigan was doing a routine on McDonald’s and one of his jokes went along the lines of “Without McDonald’s, how would we know when breakfast ends?” I found that joke infinitely funnier than it would have been around the time the CD was released, because today is the day that McDonald’s rolled all-day breakfast out nationwide and made the joke completely obsolete. The timing was not lost on me and made the whole thing that much funnier.

3. I’ve spent the day in pre-anxiety, with it spilling over full-blown anxiety attacks several times today. Each time I’ve used some coping skill or method of distraction to fight down the anxiety, though I have to admit I did have to take an extra Klonopin earlier in the evening. Today had the potential of being MUCH worse than it was.

Bonus: I’m on track to make it nine days in a row. Yay me.

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September 30, 2015: Three Good Things

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1. I got a chance to use a coping skill today while waiting for the car to be repaired. When I walked into the large waiting area, there was a woman speaking loudly on the phone in a foreign language. I have nothing against that, but because I didn’t understand what she was saying, and because she was speaking so loudly, it became cacophonous quickly. At the table behind this lady, there was another woman on her phone. This woman was speaking softly on her phone – okay, well, not ON it, AT it, because she had it on speakerphone and the volume was turned up as high as I think it could possibly go. There was very little conversation going on between the woman and the person on the other end of the phone – mostly because the other end of the phone was a constant barrage of two children playing as noisily as they could, up to and including screaming at one another. Both of these conversations went on simultaneously for over 45 minutes, and I was rapidly approaching sensory overload, to the point that I almost – almost – swallowed that part of me that is terrified of confrontation to go ask the woman to please take her call off speakerphone. Being so agitated, I did the only thing I knew to do – I went in the bathroom and hid for about ten minutes until my nerves were less frayed. (To be clear, I wasn’t agitated at the woman speaking loudly – some people just have a voice that carries – but subjecting an entire waiting area full of people to 45 minutes of screaming children blasted through a tinny sounding phone speaker was just downright rude.) Managed to survive just fine and both conversations ended within five minutes of one another, leaving the waiting room almost eerily quiet for the rest of my stay. (TL;DR: I got sensory overload and used a coping skill to combat it.)

2. My recall on the first portion of the poem that I’m performing next month is just slightly rusty today. I recited the verse that I’ve memorized (there are four) to my wife, hesitated on a line, handed her the poem without looking, then went out on a limb and tried what I thought was the line. I was correct, so technically, despite the bobble, I can still remember it after a day.

3. Today will be the third straight day that I’ve completed my checklist in its entirety. The last time this happened was during a period when I had “commute” on my checklist, something that I didn’t do every day. If I didn’t drive my wife to work that day, I just marked it as non-applicable and considered doing everything else as a complete day. This was over ten months ago. This is the first time in the eleven months that I’ve been keeping this checklist that I’ve straight up done everything for the day for three days running. I’m rather proud of that.

September 29, 2015: Three Good Things

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Didn’t I just do this yesterday? Anyway, here goes.

1. I managed to find the silver lining in a pretty pricey and unexpected car repair bill. At least we’ll be buying tires two at a time now instead of all four at once.

2. I had an easier time of getting everything on my checklist done today. I forget how much easier this is when you’re on a roll.

3. For the first time in years, I started the process of committing a new piece of poetry to memory. I’ve had months of lead time for this piece, but I wanted to wait until now – roughly 2-3 weeks before the performance – to begin this process. It allows me to slowly digest the piece little by little, memorizing it a few lines at a time, and extending the amount of what I can recall by small bits until I can recite the entire piece from memory. Once that’s done, I can begin work on inflection, bringing out the emotion that’s buried in the piece, by reciting it over and over again until I’m sure the version that I have in my head is the best possible version that I can perform. And usually by the time that occurs, I’m only a few days away from the performance, so the piece at its finest is still fresh in my mind come time to perform. I’ve missed this process, and over the past few years my memory has proven to be less reliable, so I’m going to be spending a little bit more time on it than I normally would, by increasing the time I work on it each day by a few minutes more than I used to do.

June 28, 2015: Three Good Things

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This week, I’ve decided that I’m going to do something different with this feature of my blog. Instead of relating three good things about my day, I’m going to share three good things about myself.

1. I do a lot of stuff around the house. My wife does the majority of the laundry, but I help with folding it and putting it away. She does a lot of the cooking lately, but I almost always clean up afterwards. I do the majority of the deep cleaning (dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, etc.). I maintain our budget and help make sure we stick to it. I usually brush this stuff off, but it helps to take a lot of the pressure off my wife from having to both work and do everyday things around the house.

2. I have one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know. Even during times when we’ve literally had less than $10 to our name I’ve still made donations to others less fortunate than us. We may not be well off financially, but we’ve got a roof over our heads and food in our bellies and clean water to drink, and that’s more than a lot of people around the world can say.

3. Even though I get stage fright, I am an extremely capable public speaker and performing artist, having won awards for my work in the theater and titles in performing arts competitions through my hobby. In addition, I’m a competent master of ceremonies for our awards presentations in that same hobby. I’m also a decent singer and have quite the repertoire of songs that I can perform very well in karaoke.

Non-Glossophobic Glossophile Practicing Glossolalia, Glossing Over The Point

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If you’re like a lot of people, you’re not really sure what that title means. If you haven’t read ahead and already know, then you should know that I am a sapiosexual and I want to have your babies. Logic and biology be damned.

Many of you suffer from glossophobia. In layman’s terms, it’s the fear of public speaking, which I do not have. In fact, I kinda enjoy getting up and performing. When I was 22 I had a relationship end and, with the wisdom only a twenty-two year old can muster, had closed off every other relationship and activity that I had had before I met the girl. This meant reinventing my life, something I have had to do a couple of times since. I decided to try my hand at improvisational comedy as a means of meeting people and being social.

I wasn’t so quick on my feet, mentally speaking, back then, and so I wasn’t very good at improv. With a little preparation, I could have you rolling in the aisles. But tossed a concept to respond to in real time, I would founder and flail. Part of the reason for that is that puns were verboten in the troupe that I participated in, and my go-to for being funny in those days was to rattle off a pun. That brings me to word number two in the title, so I’ll interrupt my story for a definition and likely another story. (Today is a very stream-of-consciousness writing day. By the time I get done with it, today’s blog post might be more about a cross-eyed lemur playing a double bassoon in a wind ensemble in Oslo than anything the title implies at present.)

A glossophile is someone who loves language. I’m a writer, it kind of goes with the territory. I love how language can be woven to produce different concepts and affectations, just with punctuation and inflection. I love how one word can remind you of another in a cascade of connections that synergize together. (Usually I hate corporate doublespeak, but that’s the word to use when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.) But back to our story, where our intrepid hero, arms outstretched, cant pun. (Not a typo.)

One of the skits that our troupe would do was called “Five Things.” It’s essentially team charades. In this skit, one member of the four-person team would go backstage and don noise-cancelling headphones while the referee would ask for five things from the audience, then weird them all up. (Like a double bassoonist who’s a cross-eyed lemur in Oslo.) They’d call for the departed team member to return, and then the team would have three minutes to convey those five things using only body language and gibberish language. No actual words could be used. And hey, this is where word number three comes in.

Glossolalia is the use of nonsensical syllables in the manner of language. The end product sounds like some exotic foreign language, but doesn’t really mean anything.

I was complete pants at Five Things. I couldn’t convey anything. (“No,” I would think, “it’s not an airplane, it’s a seesaw.”) I couldn’t understand anything. (“What do you mean, it’s a seesaw? No, that’s an airplane, I’m sure of it.”) But I sure had fun.

Anyway, the improv gig led to an invitation to try out for a community theater production. I went hoping that I would just be in the chorus and could mouth the words and get away with it, but oh no, I got a part! And then the guy that had another part dropped out, so they asked me to take over that part instead. And I did. Only this wasn’t another bit part with a few lines and maybe one song, I was the second male lead and the lead voice in almost every ensemble piece there was. I was too busy and panicked to be scared. I just went with it and learned the new part the best I could.

I must have done well, because I won best actor for the theater that season.

Most recently, I would perform around campfires on the weekends I dress like a Viking, and I’ve received awards and won competitions for my performances. But my memory isn’t what it used to be and so I’ve been shying away from performing in the hopes that no one notices that I have trouble performing off-book. But that itch to perform is back, and I’m thinking on how best to scratch it.

I remember songs better than anything. Are there karaoke leagues?