I spend most of my life showing off. Most of adults do. I was first accused of such behavior years ago when complaining to a friend that I was feeling bored with my work. I lamented that everything I did felt so repetitive and uninspiring. He responded by saying, “Yeah, it’s like every day you’re showing off how good you’ve gotten at a certain task. That gets old.” I never really thought of it that way, but he was right. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that my entire life was one big SHOW OFF EXTRAVAGANZA. Starring me. As myself.
I spend my days – almost unequivocally – engaging in activities I know exactly how to do. And I do them well. I have gotten very good at:
- Communicating for the venture capital industry
- Refereeing two brothers who still are not sure they like one another
- Coordinating life with the hubby
- Blogging about minutia every week
- Making the bed every morning
- Running on a treadmill (literally and figuratively)
- Playing with the dog
- Helping with homework
- Paying bills on time
- Etc, etc, etc.
My intention is not to sound self-important here – quite the opposite actually. It feels rather self-deprecating to admit that you have basically stopped trying at life and rather have chosen to coast through your days knocking the ball out of the park you constructed to be 10 yards in diameter.
It is however a comfortable existence and I could have gone on for some time showing off had an opportunity not crossed my path. You see, yesterday there were auditions for our synagogue’s Purim Spiel (pronounced shpiel), which is a comedic dramatization of the story in the Book of Esther. Our synagogue has never done an adult version – and I have been told they can get extremely raunchy and fun. I was looking forward to watching the show.
As a member of the teen choir, Noah was invited to audition for a part. You have to sing a song and read a little monologue. I immediately began showing off – falling into my usual role as Noah’s manager, agent, and stylist – asking him what he wanted to sing and read, and generally basking in all of his light. I have gotten very good at that.
But you know what? I like to sing.
I sing to the radio when I’m alone in the car. I sing at the synagogue during services. I sing after a few too many with my friends. And I sing if the boys need a little embarrassment.
Singing is fun. So is dancing.
I am not particularly good at either. The musical talent clearly skipped a generation when the Universe was handing out gifts – which is what I told our Cantor and the musical director when I auditioned right after Noah did yesterday.
I sang Edelweiss – one of my all time favorite songs I would sing to the boys when they were little. Then I read an excerpt from one of the pieces I wrote for Babble a few years ago. I sang it in too high of a key, my voice breaking at the end. Randy would have said I was way pitchy and Simon would have asked me “what in the world WAS that?” But the Cantor and director gave me big smiles. I think they knew that by standing up on the stage singing my song, I was doing the opposite of showing off.
Everyone who tries out makes the Purim Spiel. I will be happy in any role they give me, because it is something I have never done. It would have been easy to pull the “busy card” and relegate myself to the audience but I’ve gotten so good at that, I thought I would try something new. Sure auditioning was nerve wracking and I think my heart was beating a mile a minute. But if you don’t do something like that every now again, you might just forget you have a heart beat. And I was completely exhilarated by the reminder.