Dragging for Dollars is coming up March 18 at the Nixon Centre for Performing and Visual Arts. For those who may not know, it’s an annual charity which raises money for cancer patients to help with non-medical financial stressors (mortgages, utilities, groceries, etc.). I participated in the second annual show.
We all have a list of people we would do anything for. I am kind of a jerk, so my list is probably shorter than most. It just so happened, however, that someone I would never say no to asked me to participate.
I’m not very keen on the idea of getting up in front of a large group of people and doing much of anything. And that’s dressed as a guy. To get up in front of a large group of people dressed as a woman took my anxiety into uncharted territory.
I couldn’t try the old “imagine the audience in their underwear” trick to get over my stage fright because seeing me in a dress would still look much worse than anyone in the crowd in their underwear.
I think the first clue of what I had gotten myself into was the day we went high heel shopping. Gone was my nervousness over what my talent was going to be. It was replaced with merely wanting to make it from behind the stage to my seat on stage without falling.
That’s not to imply here that I ever considered not wearing the heels. My calves looked really good in them. It would have been worth the trip to the emergency room to fall on stage so long as someone in the crowd asked, “Yeah, but did you see the legs on the ugly one?” as they carted me off on a stretcher.
Once my footwear had been settled, it was time to move on to what talent I would try to fake my way through for that portion of the show. I can play the guitar averagely, and sing poorly. I decided I would sing a song for the talent portion.
Choosing a song to sing proved to be much more difficult than choosing a pair of heels. I wanted the song selection to be more memorable than my singing voice. I thought I had come up with the perfect song for the occasion when I landed on a certain Chuck Berry song.
I was told that I probably shouldn’t sing any songs that mention anything about anyone swimming across Turtle Creek, so it was back to the drawing board.
I ended up doing a medley of Madonna and Gloria Gaynor songs. I sang both flat, but I made it through. I made it through the entire show without falling. I made it through the question portion and the talent portion.
There was no swimsuit portion. I can only believe that’s the sole reason I didn’t win the pageant. I’m not totally convinced there wasn’t some wiretapping and Russian interference going on over at the judge’s table, either.
I was more nervous to do that show than just about anything I had ever done. But as soon as it was all over, I wished I could have done it all over again. Instead of worrying and being nervous, I could just enjoy the moment and the fun of the entire event.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. I don’t know who said that, someone much smarter than me, I’m sure. I told myself on stage that night, with my makeup professionally done and long hair flowing, I would step out of my comfort zone more often.
The other thing I told myself that night on that stage was of all the dumb things I’ve ever done in my life (the list is long and distinguished) I was 100 percent certain both my parents in the audience were proud of me.
It may have taken me almost 40 years and a couple of sprained ankles, but that night, they both got to look up on that stage, look at their youngest son in his high heels and makeup, and say with pride: “That’s my boy!”
I think I even saw my dear ol’ Pappy lean over to the person to his left and say “Hey, did you see the legs on the ugly one?”
(Toby Nix is a local writer and sheriff’s deputy.)