• Richard Scrimger

Wear was I?

It's been a couple of days since my last entry, and I'm here with coffee and no idea of what to say. Not a new feeling for me -- in front of an audience (all right, an imaginary audience, all twelve of you who have written in) -- with nothing particular on my mind. But I'm not troubled. Something will come to me. Let's see ... scanning over my last blog entry, I notice that I wrote wear when I meant where -- which isn't like me. I know how to spell, and my memory is visual rather than aural. I don't often make that kind of homonymic transfer (a term you don't hear nearly often enough). I could talk about my weekend show at Booked event in Toronto -- me and Sean Cullen (a seriously funny guy), and an audience who could barely be contained by the walls of the theater. But who wants to hear about mob scenes? Though, now that I think of it, I walked onstage without an idea of what I was going to say ... Somewhere between terrifying inexperience and old habit comes use. The first time a teacher stands in front of the class, she is probably scared. The four thousandth time, she may well be bored. Same with a stage actor in a long run. (And if you think I am wrong to compare teaching with acting, you've never taught.) In between those two states is custom, or use, or comfort -- a state where the performer and the audience are both likely to have a good time. By now, my witless unpreparedness in front of a crowd is familiar to me. The right amount of adrenaline kicks in, and I ride the horse, Spontaneity, instead of the tiger, Panic. (Most of the time, anyway. Memory of an audience of Grade 8s a couple years ago can still bring sweat to my palms.) Gee, we've run out of time. And I was going to tell you my favorite Bill James article, which takes this theme and develops it nicely. Oh well, maybe my next entree. (A near homonymic transfer. And a pretty cheep joke to end on.)

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Richard Scrimger | scrimgerr@gmail.com | Toronto, ON, Canada