When the country music singer, John Conlee was touring the United States in the early 1980s, one of his gigs was here in Norfolk, Nebraska. Conlee’s tour manager conferenced with me about the two shows that I was to emcee. They requested I give the audience a brief summary of the names of Conlee’s biggest hits along with a short bio. I was to conclude by plugging the band’s record company and introduce Conlee to the audience.
The short welcoming speech went according to plan for the first show. Just as the second show was about to begin, I plugged the record company and introduced the band. As I walked off stage, I tripped over a loudspeaker cable and fell onto the floor. I crawled off the floor and dusted myself off. The audience laughed and I grinned back at them. I limped off stage during the first bars of Conlee’s opening song.
I soon realized my ankle had been injured because I could barely walk to the back-stage area. My friend Mark met me in the dressing room because he realized I’d been hurt. As Mark helped me walk to his car, I told him how embarrassed I felt about the clumsy exit from the stage. To compound matters, having an injured ankle meant I wouldn’t be able to participate in a charity fun-run that our radio station was sponsoring the next day. Mark consoled me by saying someday you’ll laugh about this.
Mark was right. I can now reminisce about the little accident and smile. However, the memory of that public embarrassment still makes me wince. At least I provided the audience with a moment of laughter. Thankfully, neither John Conlee nor his manager were angered about the incident.
When you take yourself too seriously, a clumsy accident in front of an audience puts you off your stride. The unplanned incident remains in one’s memory for years afterward. Even though it’s easy to see the humor of the moment, the flub was also somewhat traumatic at the time. I doubt that anybody except Mark and I have any memory of me tripping and falling on stage. It’s just not worth any further anguish.
This week’s commemoration is “Someday we’ll laugh about this.” I’m sure everyone can recall mishaps and embarrassing situations that, with hindsight, are now funny. Happy reminiscing.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes actor and comedian, Bob Newhart. “Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it and then move on.