If you have never heard the dulcet tones of a platypus being repeatedly run over by a garbage truck, then you clearly have not been exposed to “American Idol,” where if you’re good, you’re great, if you’re mediocre, you’re out and if you’re terrible, you’re a producer’s dream.
Unfortunately for those lumped in the “terrible” category, there is no after party. There are no happy hugs from relatives. There are only sad hugs. I could never comprehend that point of view – stricken with grief and disbelief at what could have gone wrong. Should I have maybe not dressed up as Apollo Creed? Should I perhaps have avoided re-enacting Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie,” just because I weigh 400 pounds? (Interestingly, the answers in both cases are “yes,” emphatically.)
What I hope happens, ten shots of Blue Sapphire and four Vicodins later, is that those with vocal chords that the Good Lord ignored get up and stare into the light of a brand new day (by the way kids, don’t look into the light of a brand new day without sunglasses) and find that life is still worth living. There must be some hidden talent buried deep within – it might not be singing, but it could be cool nevertheless.
Hidden talents show themselves at the strangest times. Some people find that they are suddenly good at identifying cheeses just by their scents. Others discover their amazingly high tolerance for tequila. There are also all the people you see on ESPN who aren’t doing what anyone in their right mind would consider to be sports (I’m looking at you, trick-shot billiards).
My own hidden talent came to light many ages ago (but really only three weeks ago) while running through several different airports. The airport scene is one filled with a variety of problems. There are the hyper-inflated prices of McDonald’s, the OCD-inducing amount of germs and, my favorite, the freaked-out parents just trying to find their connecting flight while their kid has a tantrum. This, of course, is only a fraction of the entire airport jamboree. And while trying to navigate said airport, it quickly became clear that God graced me with an amazing gift – crowd weaving.
Everyone has, at some point, done the “crowd weaving” thing – anyone who has ever been in a rush, that is. We have all felt that sharp dagger through our heads when we get stuck behind that line of people who have to walk side by side across an entire walkway at the speed of one-legged giraffes. Yet somehow, I have almost ascended beyond such problems. In the tradition of Patches O’Houlihan, I have mastered the art of dodging, ducking, dipping, diving and, uh, dodging those who would stand between me and my final destination. In over 90 percent of cases I have developed an almost graceful dance, a “tango pedestriano,” if you will.
What is the point of such a dance, you may ask? Well, um, nothing. It will save me two minutes of time at best, which, unless I am under an impending deadline, will never really matter. But on those occasions when I’m running late to class (“occasions” being code for “always”), every second is vital. I might not be able to jump hurdles – hell, I can’t even do jumping jacks. But I can slide right past those two old people meandering down towards the Continental flight leaving from C6. Babies? I can hop around strollers like it’s nobody’s business.
And it’s not even that hard, so anyone can pick it up with enough practice. Heck, make a game out of it! See how fast you can get from one end of campus to the other! Try it drunk on a Saturday night and see how you do (my prediction: badly)!
Yes, we are not all going to be up on the same stage as Kelly or Carrie or Taylor. But are any of them able to weave through crowds? No. They have to get bodyguards to do it for them. I don’t know what this all means – maybe I’d be a good bodyguard? – but I can say with pride, that we can all be idolized for something, no matter how mundane it might seem.
Brenneman is a member of the class of 2009.