When I was in middle school I was bitten by the acting bug. I signed up for a drama class and learned the elementary levels of being a thespian. The teacher decided we would perform a comedic version of Romeo and Juliet and I was cast as some nameless Capulet.
Truth be told I was never any good at acting, but I tried to bring the most into my four lines of dialogue. I practiced over and over again, but my delivery was weak. The teacher showed great patience with me and even allowed me to ham it up a bit to the amusement of all watching the rehearsals.
Curtain time. The entire school is sitting in the auditorium waiting to see us young actors entertain them for a few minutes. I had one scene which I took a note from a nameless Montague and read it. Afterwards I was to crumble up the note and get into a little exchange with another Montague.
Sounds simple enough right? If you honestly believe that this would go simply I'd like to welcome you to my blog.
The costumes consisted of tights and some med-evil puffy shirt which was amusing to say the least. So there I was standing there in clothes that would probably send your average homophobe into cardiac arrest in front of an unforgiving audience that consisted of hormones on parade. I awaited the Montague message ready to deliver my line in a fashion that would make Marlon Brando jealous, cause I had to make up for the fact I looked stupid in that outfit.
A kid name Chris played the deliver of the message. Chris was your stereotypical 'nerd'. He acted strange, was always picked last in P.E., dressed like he was a cast member of the Brady Bunch, and would hang out with equally like minds. Still he was a harmless guy and no one ever picked on him, probably because for all his faults he was really nice.
Unfortunately for him he lived one of the most terrifying events that can happen to someone of that age.
I recited in my head what I was about to say, but then came my cue. I started to hear faint giggles from the audience, but I was confused as to why. There was nothing that was supposed to be funny going on so I was confused. I turn to look at Chris as he announced he had a message. He starts to approach me and before my eyes I see a 12 year old in tights with a massive erection.
Yes the poor bastard was suddenly excited at that moment. It was like something out of a bad American Pie sequel that went straight to DVD. I froze. My attempt to channel the spirit of James Dean was vanquished. I stood there trying to control a combination of laughter and pity.
Small chuckles from the audience turned into howling. The teachers were doing their best to calm everyone down as I stood there wide eyed, keeping Chris out of my field of vision. The whole idea of saying my lines like a superstar were shot, so I did the best thing I could. I did my best impression of a game show host as I shouted the dialogue.
The audience roared. I mean friggin roared. Finally all the educators stopped even trying to whisper to them to be quiet. They were yelling at the students to maintain order. Chris made his way off stage and we continued the scene as best we could. Finally the curtain dropped and I made my way backstage.
The teacher was giving Chris a whole ration of hell for lack of bodily control. She was pissed at how he ruined her precious play. Of course being in middle school he was the butt end of many taunts afterwards. Girls would point and laugh and announce "he had a boner." Guys would say crude stuff to him and make sure he felt all sorts of shame for being a young lad with too much energy.
At that age it only took a change in the wind to get me...uhh...well...hard so it wasn't an uncommon occurrence when I refused to go up to the blackboard. I guess I have to salute him for his bravery, cause I would've ran like hell the moment I thought I'd be at half mast, much less full. Even though a lot of guys would pick on him after that I believe all felt sorry for him to some degree. We all experienced embarrassing moments like that in our youth, but thankfully for most of us it never reached that wide an audience.
Chris never signed up for drama again.
"A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age." - William Shakespeare