Some days it pays to have no shame -- not even a single iota of it.
Last Friday was one of those days. You have no idea how it feels to stand at the altar of no shame, and let ’er rip.
That’s what I did.
I stood inside the Springer Opera House, on a set of risers inside a theater known as “The Dot” and proceeded to do something that is unnatural, uncomfortable and can be unforgiving. In front of about 100 or so folks who looked a lot more like my kids than myself, I did something I have never done before -- stand-up comedy.
Many of those closest to me thought I should have never stood up. They thought -- as I think on most days -- stand aside and let your critics run the field. No need to answer fools and keyboard warriors. That has been my philosophy for many years. More times than not, I have conceded the field to those critics and keyboard warriors.
When someone from the audience at No Shame Theatre called me a bad name -- think feminine hygiene product -- I decided to answer in their forum on their stage.
And I did it, at first, against my own better judgment.
Armed with a Top 10 list on why I was such a bad person, I took the stage, right behind some dude who spent part of his 5 minutes ripping away at me. And he was pretty funny. He had me laughing, even with the fat jokes.
My first thought when my foot hit that makeshift stage was “What the hell am I doing here?”
But there was no way to back out without being shamed. Paul Pierce, the head honcho over at the Springer, saw a Facebook post where I asked my friends to help me compile the list.
“Columbus area NO SHAME THEATER fans: Ledger-Enquirer reporter Chuck Williams is rumored to be preparing a response the The Good, the Bad and the Ledger,” Pierce posted an hour and 16 minutes before the 10:30 p.m. show started.
He took away my excuse. It was raining, and I was going to back out and blame it on a nasty storm.
That was not an option any more.
Besides, one of best ways to defuse your critics is to answer them in a way that is so far out of your comfort zone it hurts. Some days, the best way to handle a touchy situation is to stand on a stage and laugh at yourself -- make sure everyone knows the joke’s on you.
But, at the end of the day, the best lesson for me is not to take these critics and keyboard warriors so seriously. They have a voice and the absolute right to use that voice to try and tear apart whoever they want to tear apart. But if you look closely, most of the time they are talking to each other. Their voice is not as loud as many of us think.
Now, I take my job seriously, and I have for many years. But last Friday night I put shame aside and decided not to take myself too seriously.
Paul validated the performance by saying I brought the house down.
Damn, it felt good.