I’m sure by now you’ve all heard about the Rick Perry situation. What? Some of you are from other countries and couldn’t care less about the American political situation? That is totally un-American of you. What’s that? You’re NOT American so of COURSE you’re un-American? Well-played. I guess. But I still have my eye on you. My patriotic, red-white-and-blue, apple-pie eye.
OK, FINE, in case you HAVEN’T heard about the Rick Perry situation, here’s a brief recap.
Rick Perry is one of the contenders for Republican presidential candidacy. He’s currently the governor of Texas. This immediately makes me suspect him (coughDubyacough) but whatever, there are a lot of people in the running right now and they all have their various issues, including Gropey McGroperson and Crazy-Eyes McGillicutty. ANYWAY. Wednesday night, there was a debate of the Republican hopefuls, with their bright eyes and bushy tails and whatnot, and Rick Perry…poor Rick Perry.
Rick Perry was asked what three governmental agencies he would eliminate as president. I don’t know, I didn’t watch it, I guess this is something that they are talking about. I had better things to do, like playing with my phone or something, it was like five days ago, give me a break, I don’t even remember what I was doing last night. Anyway, Rick Perry’s response:
“It’s three agencies of government when I get there that are gone – Commerce, Education and the um, what’s the third one there? Let’s see. Oh five – Commerce, Education and the um, um,” Perry said.
Mitt Romney, standing two podiums to Perry’s right, offered the Environmental Protection Agency as a suggestion.
“EPA, there you go,” Perry said.
But then, the Texas governor quickly retracted his statement, saying the EPA doesn’t need to be eliminated but simply rebuilt.
Again, he tried to name the third mystery agency.
“But you can’t name the third one?” CNBC moderator John Harwood asked.
“The third agency of government I would do away with – the education, the uh, the commerce and let’s see. I can’t the third one. I can’t. Sorry Oops.”
The third agency Perry couldn’t think of was the Department of Energy, which he rails against on the stump nearly every day.
Perry finally remembered the third agency 15 minutes later after referring to his notes, saying “By the way, it was the Department of Energy I was talking about.”
Now, my father, who I turn to for matters of Republicanism, because honestly, he’s the only Republican I know (no, I’m totally exaggerating, I think I know three others?) had told me a few weeks ago, when we were discussing politics (which we try not to do with very much regularity because THERE IS A LOT OF YELLING and then we end up hanging up on each other, but with love, I think) and I asked about Rick Perry’s chances of getting the nomination, “Oh, he can’t get it. The man can’t debate. He’s just horrible. Horrible.”
Now, I’m not going to go into Perry’s politics, which I don’t agree with (I can’t support anyone who openly denounces LGBT issues and a woman’s right to choose, so therefore, it’s pretty obvious which side of the political fence I end up standing on each election season) but listen. LISTEN! I totally felt HORRIBLE about this debating situation.
What? You all thought it was SO FUNNY. And everyone was all “HOW DID HE GET TO BE GOVERNOR OF TEXAS?” and there were all the dumb jokes and I know, I KNOW, it’s totally a hoot when someone flames out on national television. I KNOW.
But seriously, I FELT SO BAD.
Have you ever had to public speak? IT IS THE WORST, you guys. Like, just the WORST. Do you know what people’s number one fear is? Clowns? Well, sure, clowns, clowns are awful, and I think they should be the number one fear, and it’s totally suspect that they’re not, like, clowns must have a really good PR person or something, or maybe they ate their PR person with their horrible gnashy clown-teeth, but NO, it is PUBLIC SPEAKING. And do you know why? BECAUSE IT IS UTTERLY TERRIFYING.
And I know what you’re thinking. AMY! You are thinking. You are an ACTRESS! You get in front of people ALL THE TIME! Well, sure, I used to. I don’t act much (or honestly, really, at all) anymore. But acting is one thing, and public speaking is totally a bird of a different pecky mean horrible shitting-on-your-head feathered murderous color. Or is it a horse? That sentence wouldn’t work if I put a horse in it. Horses don’t have feathers and they don’t shit on your head. Let’s pretend it’s a bird. It makes things easier all around.
When you act, you’re pretending to be someone else. You’re saying someone else’s words, you’re acting someone else’s mannerisms, you’re using your body and voice to be someone else. When the audience sees you, if you’re doing it right, they’re seeing the character, not you. They’re judging your acting, sure, but they’re also judging other criteria: the writing, the directing, the other actors, the lighting, the costumes, the set. Also, sometimes they laugh and clap and you totally feed off that like a leech. Yes, we, as actors, are leeches, feeding off your approval. DEAL WITH IT.
When you public speak, it’s like walking naked and bloody into a zombie convention. They’re judging YOU. Just you. There are no distractions. They’re looking at you. They’re judging your words. They’re giving you the hairy eyeball. And you know what’s easy to do? Lose your train of thought. Have a brain freeze. Just stand there. With no words. And a dry mouth. And a million eyes crawling all over you. Just you. Everyone staring at you.
I have to public speak a lot more than I’d like. People always think that I’ll be good at it because I’m a theater person. “You’ll be so good at this ha ha ha!” they say. Well, screw you, Charlie, THIS SUCKS AND I HATE YOU. So I have to get in front of an entire theater full of people and give the curtain speech about turning off your cell phones, or I have to give a team report in front of our annual office meeting, and this is what happens:
And then people say, in a confused tone, “Boy! You sure do talk quickly!” Yeah. SHUT IT OR DO IT YOURSELF NEXT TIME.
And one time I had to give the curtain speech at my theater but also I was running lights and sound so I had to set the lights and sound, then run from the upstairs booth, down to the lobby, throw open the doors, run down the aisle, up the stairs to the stage, and then give the speech. Panting. Which was totally classy! And not at all weird! People did NOT know how to respond to that. I was all “Huh..huh…welcome….huh…huh…to… huh…whew! Just…a sec…” NICE. Not at ALL off-putting or serial-killery.
So I totally have sympathy for people who have trouble public speaking, because it makes my chest constrict like a snake is eating my upper body when I have to do it. And I have TRAINING in it. I get it. I totally get it. Anyone who gets in front of people and talks? Comedians or politicians or motivational speakers or crazy bug-eyed preachers or whatever? PROPS TO YOU.
Now, imagine you’re Rick Perry. It is a MILLION TIMES WORSE. The whole COUNTRY is looking at you. And you GET FLUSTERED. And you LOSE YOUR TRAIN OF THOUGHT. Gigantic train-wreck of a brain-freeze. I can’t even IMAGINE. Seriously, don’t you feel a little bad for him? Then I thought of his wife, and his kids, and I was just mortified about the whole situation. Just totally mortified. I mean, I don’t want the guy as my next president, or anything, but it is just so, so embarrassing. If I was watching, I would have had to turn it off. I can’t watch public embarrassment. Like when Michael would do something embarrassing on The Office? I always would cover my face. My friend Mer and I call moments like this nervous-making. Rick Perry forgetting the last agency he wanted to eliminate was so goddamn nervous-making I can’t even.
I know. I KNOW. He’s running for presidency. He NEEDS to be good at this. This is part of the JOB. Well, and I’m not saying he would be, because, as mentioned, I don’t agree with where he stands on the issues, but what if he was really, really good at everything else, but just bad at public speaking? Like most Americans? Then it seems like kind of a shame to count him out, right? Again, I AM NOT SAYING HE SHOULD GET THE NOMINATION. I haven’t done my research fully, and for all I know, Perry kills kittens and bathes in their blood to stay youthful-looking. I don’t know who should get it. It’s looking like it will be Romney, who has interesting hair. I don’t care. I can’t see that I’ll vote for whoever it is anyway, unless something really unexpected happens in the next year, like maybe Obama decides to round up all the homosexuals and women and have them fight to the death in a cage match, or something. Whatever, I have my priorities.
I didn’t find it as nervous-making when Palin was stumbling and bumbling all over herself in 2008, and I certainly didn’t find it as nervous-making when “THE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH” Jimmy MacMillan was being a big weird glove-wearing moustache-wax weirdo at the New York gubernatorial debates last year, or when both Crazy Eyes Bachmann and folksy ol’ Palin decided to rewrite Paul Revere’s history and then REFUSED TO BACK DOWN ABOUT IT. I think because they owned their strangeness and mistakes and uneducated answers? Perry was SO EMBARRASSED. I mean, he went on Letterman and made FUN of himself. He tried to fix this SO BAD. The poor guy, I can’t even imagine. THIS IS SO EMBARRASSING YOU GUYS.
I just think we need to cut the guy a little slack. Is he the best presidential candidate? I don’t know. I’m not voting Republican, so honestly, whatever, it matters very little for me. But this was a very human thing that happened, that could have happened to anyone, no matter what your political party. And if you weigh stumbling over your words against allegedly sexually harassing four women and then having your lawyer encourage them to stay quiet about it oh wait that’s not what he’s doing except he kind of is? Honestly, I’m rooting for the guy who can’t talk over the guy who can’t keep his hands to himself, if I have to choose. But I don’t. Iowa does, in early January, and apparently, according to people more intelligent than myself, this is where we find out who’s going to come out on top.
Public speaking. Seriously, the worst. THE WORST. I know you’re surprised I have actual grown-up emotions about something. It’s a little shocking. I’ll try to be more flippant tomorrow.