As a teacher, I know what it’s like to have to perform in front of an audience. I do it several times a day, five days a week. I have often compared my job to that of an actor on the Broadway stage. And as a fan of theater I can tell you that when you see the same performance twice or even a third or fourth time (with the same cast) you notice different things. Hopefully you notice the performance getting better in some way. The pace changes based on the audience and time of day, jokes that bombed the first time out are retooled, etc.
It can be scary and it can be stressful. Fortunately, I love my job so it isn’t really either of those things. But when I first started teaching there were, I admit, sleepless nights here and there. So tonight’s prompt reminds me of my career. Here it is.
When you do something scary or stressful — bungee jumping, public speaking, etc. — do you prefer to be surrounded by friends or by strangers? Why?
I love having friends and family around me all the time so I would probably go with that option. The moral support is always appreciated. However, I am so comfortable doing things (like teaching) completely on my own that it doesn’t really bother me to be surrounded by strangers. In fact, in many ways it’s preferable. Let’s say I’m doing something at which I am absolutely no good. Most athletic endeavors fall into this category. Better, I think, to do them in the presence of no one in particular than to embarrass myself in front of my loved ones.
Those who witnessed me run my first 5K a month and a half ago can attest. When I’m running I resemble an elephant hopped up on Percocet chasing a squirrel on a field of butter.
Speaking of painkillers, your truly had that tooth extracted earlier this evening. Fun. Not really. But it wasn’t too bad. The dentist did a good job of numbing me. After a few moments I couldn’t feel the right side of my head. Still, owing to the fact that large teeth and even longer roots run in my family, he had to bust out the big tools. First he pulled the crown off. That was an interesting sound. Then he sawed, chipped, and drilled the rest of this molar from my gums. At one point he actually used his free hand to brace my head against the chair for leverage while pulling my tooth with the other.
Suffice to say I spent most of the evening with gauze packed in my mouth feeling like I’d had a stroke.Before I leave you, please stop and say a prayer for my brother. The hospice nurse informed my sister that his decline is now rapid and if we are to honor his wish to die at home we should bring him home. My sister, normally a little more stoic when hearing medical news, cried. Of course she did. Whereas I never had much of a relationship with my brother — he is still my brother and I love him and want him to be at peace — this was her baby brother. She saw him as a child, played with him, grew up with him.
I’ve already stated that his time on this earth is limited. It may be a day or he may hold on for another week or two. Please pray. Here is a link to a prayer to St. Joseph, patron saint of a happy death and of the dying.