I was born a troublemaker. I don’t mean this in a figurative sense. I mean this literally. When my mother was in labor with me, she began to push, but once the attending nurse saw I was emerging, she told my mother to stop while she went to get the doctor. My mother had to hold me in, for what seemed like an eternity, until a doctom came and detangled the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck , not one, not twice, but three times. My mother has yet to forgive me for my dastardly deed.
For the longest time, I could never seem to find my niche. I played little league baseball - it bored me. I would bring my toy cars into left field to entertain myself while everyone else was playing around me. I tried the violin, until my violin teacher fired me for not practicing enough. I then tried basketball. My father was a kind man, and agreed to coach the JV basketball team at the private Christian school I attended. I sat on the bench for most of that season, which was a relief.
I was a troublemaker at my private school as well. Corporal punishment was allowed there in the form of paddling. After I matriculated, the school paddle was retired and bronzed in my honor. That school wasn’t for me. There was, however, one brilliant teacher there who helped me find my niche.
She was the choir teacher - her name was Mrs. Williams. She told me I had a good singing voice, so I began to train with her. I found out that I was indeed a pretty good singer. I liked it. So I stuck with it, sans toy cars.
Mrs. Williams took me to see a musical production of A Christmas Carol at the historic Majestic Theater in Dallas, Texas. I watched that performance, goosebumps covering me the entire time. By the end of the performance, with tears streaming down my face. I told Mrs. Williams, I wanted to do what I had just seen.
I had finally found my niche. That summer, I auditioned for the local community theatre’s musical production of Alice in Wonderland. I was cast in the part of the White Rabbit.
That was twenty-five years ago. I haven’t looked back since.