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I Can’t Help It, I’m A Short Story Kind Of Guy

Updated on April 13, 2010

Sometimes I wonder if I have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) but then I realize that I’m probably just looking for a modern day explanation to a problem that I’ve had all my life. My tap teacher when I was six years old and went to my first tap class put it quite succinctly. I was all excited about being Fred Astaire when I begged my mother and father to let me go to tap class. They willingly obliged so there I went with my shiny new patent leather tap shoes to my first tap class. I thought I was doing great. Imagine my surprise when the teacher asked to speak to my mother and I after class. She said, “His mind is going faster than his feet and his feet are never going to catch up.” Quite damaging for a kid who wanted to go into the show biz but my mother thanked her and I never went back to tap class. (On a side note, it wasn’t until the summer before my senior year in high school when I went to a theatre camp at Northwestern University that I took tap as an elective – as it was one of the only ones left with room – and the teacher immediately gushed that I had natural talent, put me in front of the class and years later I would go on to play “Cosmo Brown” the Donald O’Connor role from Singin’ In The Rain where there was much tapping to be done.) So while I’ve cursed that original teacher for robbing me of all the years I could have been tapping and could have become a tapping contender, I find that more and more in life there was some truth to what she said that fateful day. I can’t help it, I’m a short story kind of guy – Don’t Get Me Started!

If I’m really being honest, I’m good for about 1,000 words total. This is if I’m reading or listening to someone. You see, I walk fast, talk fast and yes my mind often goes faster than the words on the page or conversation I’m having in front of me. While some may find it a curse, I’ve learned to live with it sort of like I think people live with being color blind or something. You learn to work around it. I’m also someone who always finishes what they start. I remember when everyone was reading the Anne Rice vampire books. I picked them up and began to read and couldn’t believe that she could go on and on for what seemed like three pages describing the drapes. Sure I knew everything there was to know about the burgundy, worn thin velvet, tinged with dirt and tied back with a golden cord drapes but as you can see, I was able to describe it in one sentence and not go on and on about it. Still somehow I managed to finish the book but as I grow older my patience has worn as thin as the velvet drapes.

When I first started doing theatre I worked with directors who when they thought the pace of a show was going too slow they would simply snap their fingers in a rhythm getting faster and faster to let the actors know that they needed to pick up the pace. When I worked in film and the director wanted you to speed up they would furiously circle their hands one over the other to let you know in silent form that they wanted you to pick things up. But the problem is that when someone is telling me a story and feels the need to go into every miniscule detail I can hear that snapping of fingers in my head and I have to nail my arms to my side to not make the “speed it up” signal from my days in television and film.

It’s not that I’m not interested it’s that I’m not interested in every single thing that happened. If you want to tell me about someone cutting you off in a parking lot, I don’t need to know what you ate for breakfast. Just start the story at “I’m driving and I pull into the parking lot when…” Believe me I can figure out the rest of the story without knowing that you had eggs that morning. I’m not going to be testifying to what you did or didn’t do (and I think it would be hearsay anyway) so just get to the point people, okay??

Look, I’ve never been a “stop and smell the roses” kind of guy, I’ve always been a “get the best looking roses you can at the best price, put them in a great vase arranged beautifully and when they start to die get them out into the garbage before the dead petals land on the carpet” kind of guy. Maybe in my twilight years I’ll discover a gentler life pace but I don’t see it happening any time soon and that’s okay with me. I can’t help it, I’m a short story kind of guy – Don’t Get Me Started!

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    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 7 years ago from UK

      Nice story, nicely done