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A Lifetime of Preparation

Monday, 11 July 2011

Courtesy Microsoft Office

STOP LAUGHING AT ME!!! I screamed, silently.

People have been laughing at me for as long as I can recall. In response to a question or comment in class. Or some social faux pas in middle school…high school…college…. You get the idea.

I once worked for a guy who summed it up this way: “hey, we’re not laughing with you.”


Imagine, if you will, a particularly tense moment in a duet when suddenly…a costume malfunction.

Not that kind!?!

Purim 5771. Grease — The Megillah. Ahasuerus Zuko and Vashti poignantly recall better times in “Palace Nights.” It is my final Purimshpiel with Congregation B’nai Fill-in-the-Blank. As the duet reaches its highpoint, I feel movement; my wig has begun to creep across my scalp. Slowly….slowly. Imperceptible movements, at first. Until, finally, it comes off completely and falls to the ground.


Laughter from the congregation. A kind castmate attempts to replace it. But the damage, as they say, is done. And as I move into my powerhouse solo, I have two choices. I can get upset that my moment in the spotlight has been completely overshadowed by a runaway hairpiece. OR. I can use the lifeless postiche as a prop, as if it was a blocking choice. I chose the option #2. Which left the audience in complete hysterics to see a wigless heroine play it straight, with wig in hand.

My children were sitting in the congregation. They witnessed two hundred people laughing — hard — at their mother. It was one of my finest moments as a mom. As if a lifetime of being laughed at was in preparation for this one teachable instance. I had a roomful of folks in stitches — and it was OK. The power of being hurt was in my hands, not theirs. And as I long as I didn’t abdicate that power, I could manipulate a potential hurtful experience into a successful, comedic one.

You can believe that it my wig was the topic of conversation on the drive home. Beernut was concerned that everyone was laughing at me (they were) and Poppyseed wanted to know if my feelings were hurt (they weren’t). We talked about the difference between the biting, caustic laughter meant to deflate a person’s sense of worth and the good-natured guffaws as a result of something very, very funny. Had I not been mid-lyric at the time, and if it didn’t mean breaking from character, I might have laughed as well.

Though my reaction was concealed, on this night, they really were laughing with me.

Remembe(RED) is a memoir meme. Know what’s NOT funny? People laughing at you. This week, we’ve been asked to recall an embarrassing moment in our lives. Did someone embarrass me or was it a result of my own actions? Am I still embarrassed or am I able laugh at it now? So many, many, MANY moments from which to choose…and with the usual limit of 600 words. As always, constructive criticism is welcomed!

31 Comments leave one →
  1. Tuesday, 12 July 2011 1:17 am

    Wow! & that you kept your head with your makeshift prop is hysterical! I don’t think I would have been able to keep from laughing myself, in mid-lyric or not!!

    It does feel a heck of a lot better when we are being laughed with. I’ve felt that all too common, mean bite of laughter. It’s so not fun!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog! I would have made it here eventually, I made it sooner because you dropped by! 🙂 I love these Little Red memes! So much to read, so little time!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:17 pm

      So much to read, so little time! I so agree. My favourite part about participating in TRDC is being introduced to so many bloggers. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts

  2. Tuesday, 12 July 2011 3:20 am

    Great save! Would have loved to have been in that audience!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:17 pm

      My understanding is that sitting in the audience was loads and loads of fun!

  3. Tuesday, 12 July 2011 5:49 am

    The show must go on! You showed your kids how to handle a tough situation, good for you. Glad you didn’t run away like a scared kitten.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:18 pm

      And that’s life, right? Just gotta keep going.

  4. Tuesday, 12 July 2011 6:57 am

    I must give you props – I would have passed out cold from embarrassment!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:18 pm

      Years and years of stage performances stood me in good stead that night.

  5. the writ and the wrote permalink
    Tuesday, 12 July 2011 7:52 am

    Too funny! At least you can look back on it with a lighthearted view.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:23 pm

      Sometimes, that is the only way to look back on such things!

  6. Tuesday, 12 July 2011 8:48 am

    It’s always nice to be able to laugh at yourself, and I’m glad it was a teaching moment for your kids that it’s ok to laugh at yourself, but that there is a difference between laughing with someone and laughing AT someone.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:23 pm


  7. Tuesday, 12 July 2011 9:18 am

    That was exceptionally awesome, the way you described your decision making after your wig fell off. You took what could have been a “scarred for life” moment and turned it into something extraordinary. The mark of a true entertainer–make ’em laugh!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:24 pm

      The mark of a true entertainer–make ‘em laugh! Thanks 😉 I haven’t typically gone for the comedic turn, but it seemed appropriate under the circumstances.

  8. Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:27 am

    I love the way that you turned this into a teachable moment! Of course you did- that’s *exactly* how you roll! XO

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:25 pm

      Of course you did- that’s *exactly* how you roll! Oh dear…am I that predictable?? Thanks for the xoxoxo!

  9. Tuesday, 12 July 2011 11:11 am

    How wonderful! How perfect! I am giving you a standing ovation for how you handled it. You, to borrow a Christian term, exercised perfect Grace. What a way to be a teacher, rabbi.

    I love this piece. Thanks for sharin.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:25 pm

      What a lovely compliment. Thanks so much!!! And thanks for stopping by FSW.

  10. Tuesday, 12 July 2011 2:29 pm

    I almost wrote the story where my veil fell off during the wedding ceremony, your post reminded me of the moment.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:26 pm

      Oooo — my interest is piqued! Please do share.

  11. Tuesday, 12 July 2011 3:14 pm

    Great way to handle that moment!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:27 pm

      Thanks. Though it wasn’t the performance I had prepared, it certainly worked out well.

  12. Tuesday, 12 July 2011 4:11 pm

    What a great teaching moment! And a funny one, too.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:27 pm

      It really was funny. I chuckle just thinking about it.

  13. Tuesday, 12 July 2011 4:19 pm

    Now that was funny! And we were laughing with you, not at you. Do you suppose it had anything to do with the wine and slivovitz?

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:28 pm

      Do you suppose it had anything to do with the wine and slivovitz?

      Since when does alcohol cause a wig to move of its own volition?

  14. Tuesday, 12 July 2011 6:35 pm

    As they say: the show must go on!

    Kudos to you for working with the malfunction.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:29 pm

      I wish I could say that it was a thought out, calculated move on my part. Truthfully, it was adrenaline and instinct.

  15. Tuesday, 12 July 2011 8:09 pm

    You do such a great job of tackling the assignment and keeping it in line with your blog. Those are my favorite ones you do! 🙂

    Side note: I think you’ll like my TCjewfolk piece today and not being a schnorrer!

    Keep up the writing, babe!

  16. Friday, 15 July 2011 2:13 am

    Sorry it’s taken me this long to get by. Life.
    You are so very right. You could have let it get to you, but in laughing at yourself, you laughed with yourself, and that made all the difference. It’s our perspective that has us either responding, or reacting in this life. What a valuable lesson for your children, and good on you for being wise enough to catch it and apply it. So many people don’t.

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