What It’s Like to Read Your Work on Open Mic Night For Two (and a half) People

Thought of the Day:  The only certainty is that nothing is certain.  —  Pliny the Elder

005I enter the bookstore early, prepared and excited about reading a passage from my memoir. Thirty folding chairs are set up around a raised stage complete with microphone and overhead spotlights. The store conducts only one open mic night a month, so I immediately sign my name to be the first one to read to the masses at precisely three o’clock.

Trying to kill the thirty minutes left before my opening oration, I wander through the store, perusing the new memoirs that couldn’t be nearly as good as mine – that is, if my memoir were published.

A few minutes before three, I rush to the stage area, but stop when I see all the folding chairs still empty. Worse yet, the sign-up sheet has one name on it – mine. Two chair backs have coats on them, but no one’s around.

Maybe if I rotate through the entire store again, I’ll return to find people anxiously waiting to hear performers from a long open mic list. I make my circle, but no such luck. The only good news is that the owners of the coats have sat down, apparently the only two people in Santa Fe who’ve heard about this “event.”

The host arrives to tell me if I prefer not to use the microphone, it’s okay. What’s the point of a mic? After all, there’s two people here. They could hear me whisper my reading, even from the back row. In fact, I’m too embarrassed to use the stage and stand directly in front of the two women. Since they were kind enough to show up, and have basically saved my day, I’m happy to give them a customized reading.

I read an excerpt from Chapter 13, “Health,” of my memoir, Maybe Boomer, about the day my doctor of oriental medicine told me I had Lyme disease. I recite a few pages that act as build-up to that big moment in my life.

Reading along, approaching the part where I talk with my DOM, I glimpse the silhouette of another person entering the store’s doors. Maybe it’s a third person to hear me read! The silhouette stops, lingers, and listens to my big oratory finish: “Mike, I’m sure now. You have Lyme disease.” I pause, then read on. So, just to be sure, I get tested for Lyme. And what do you know? The results come back positive. My DOM was right.

The two women are almost on the edge of their seat in anticipation about what comes next. What else could I ask for (except to not have Lyme disease)? What could possibly top this?

I look beyond them to see the silhouette in full – my DOM.

“Oh my ….” I exclaim. “It’s my DOM.”

Coincidence. Smiles. Thrills. Laughs. The two women even ask my DOM for her business card. Happy endings all around.

It’s probably the best reading I’ll ever have.

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