Back in high school, we used to go to this "underground" nightclub at the Kabuki Theater in Japantown called "Noh Club." (I thought that was very clever, as I had learned that Noh was the art of Japanese Theater or something. But then my mom, when I got caught sneaking off to go said, "You're not going to any NOSE Club." I can understand her mistake, but I was still, like, totally horrified at her gaffe. SO uncool. And I went anyway.) It was the mid-eighties, so you can only imagine all the fashion and hairstyles. I think Noh Club alone is responsible for a part of the hole in the ozone layer.
I always went with my best friend at the time, Traecy. And somehow, and I'm not sure how we pulled it off, we always got a hold of at least 4 wine coolers to split among like 12 of us. Party!
One night, fueled by a few heady sips of the magical Bartles & Jaymes elixir, she turned to me and gave me a dare. "If you stand at the top of the escalator and clap twice and say, 'Ladies and gentlemen! Today's your lucky day! Pancakes on the house!' I'll give you five bucks."
It made absolutely no sense, and that's why I liked it. I also needed five bucks. So I stood at the top of the stairs (probably wearing a kimono or something equally ridiculous, and lots of hairspray and eyeshadow), looked over at Traecy, and gulped. She smirked back at me.
I clapped twice and yelled my part. The room didn't exactly go silent, but a few people looked at me like, "Huh?" and one kid came up to me and said, "Where? Where are pancakes?"
And that was my first public speech.
Since then I have spoken in public a few times, though never again about pancakes. I have performed weddings (Being a minister of the Universal Life Church of Modesto, CA rules!)and given some pretty awful, champagne fueled toasts at receptions. I've climbed up on stages and bars at my birthday parties to give heartfelt and incoherent "cheeeeersh" for all my friends. And I've done a few readings, which have got to be the most nerve wracking and terrifying and thrilling public speeches of all. But thanks to Traecy and the pancakes -- it's pretty much been uphill ever since. (Because let's face it -- how can you plummet from THAT?)
Last night, in fact, (which makes it nice timing) I got an audio file of a reading I did back in June at The Knockout, for the Rebel Reading Series (all about being a geek and loving the Go-Go's) so that I could upload it to a very cool site, www.dublit.com. It's a site where writers can upload audio of their readings and work, and network, too. Check it out!
And if you'd like to give my reading a listen, click here:
Warning -- it's my 20:17 minutes of fame. I swear it wasn't that long when I practiced, clocking in at a solid 15 minutes, just like Andy Warhol said to do. Ugh.
In any case, this completes yet ANOTHER Accomplishment. I am on a roll!
Two down, 95 to go.