Failing across mediums

Due to the kind suggestion of former Chicago Parent blogger Cathy Adams,an amazing thing happened this past weekend. I was booked on Bill Moller’s WGN morning radio show. The possibilities were endless! I could hype the upcoming book, Epic Mom, (available this December on! I could talk about the new Chicago Parent column, Failing with Gusto (appearing this January in the magazine)! I could share my rare form of misguided genius with the world! Or at least with all those who listen to talk radio at 10:15 a.m. on a Saturday. It was a marketing dream come true.

But then I remembered something. Something that went all the way back to 1993. Something so awful that I nearly blocked it out until now:

My complete and utter inability to speak publicly.

It occurred during my college days when I had to give a presentation on Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. My eyes never left my notes. I rambled on at record pace. Then I got to the part about the big fire that destroyed the structure.

And here is where I got the giggles.

As I detailed the reasons for the blaze, the narrow exits, and all the hysteria involved, I couldn’t control myself. I gasped for breath. I wiped away tears of laughter as I recounted a TRAGEDY. The harder I tried to pull it together, the worse it became. I was practically on the floor by the time I finished.

With the scheduled WGN appearance drawing closer, I attempted to get my recent bout of bronchitis under control. I had been hacking up a lung for the better part of two weeks. Disaster was imminent.

You’d assume I would cancel?

If so, you have mistaken me for someone with sound judgment. A couple of days prior to the interview, I spoke with Bill Moller over the phone. I tried to feel him out. I suggested maybe I’d down a couple shots of vodka in advance to help me relax.

Sadly, he strongly discouraged that.

Instead, I opted for the next best thing: NyQuil Cough.

By the time I arrived at the studio, I was really sleepy. My father (and favorite part-time chauffeur) nudged me awake and handed me the two dozen doughnuts I brought along to garner goodwill. Of course the guest prior to me was a well-known nutritionist and veggie lover.

The universe hates me.

Bill started out with a softball question. It might have been “What is your name?”

And that’s when I blanked. I filled a good 20 seconds of revered WGN airspace with… well… AIR.

Bill tried again. He might have asked me “What is the name of your book?”

Same reaction.

By the time I finally got rolling despite my NyQuil-induced stupor, I was blithering on about my parenting techniques. I think I alluded to Jesus. And wire hangers. And how playdates suck.

Now if that doesn’t win over the moms of Chicago, I don’t know what will.

I suppose I should be grateful for yet another opportunity to publicly humiliate myself. I am starting to get really good at it. I’m thinking of turning pro.

So whenever you moms out there worry that everyone is watching and judging, please know that I am here for you.

Diverting attention.

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