I am an excellent public speaker.
As best man at a friend of mine's wedding, I was given the chance to speak publicly.
I am a pretty confidant guy, so I really didn't need to prepare anything.
Though, unfortunately, when they handed me the microphone, I began to sob incoherently.
I did not feel the least bit emotional.
It was the result of the same upsurge in adrenalin that other people would use to kick incredible amounts of ass or lift horse-drawn carts off of French peasants.
We are all superhuman in our own way.
My crying has held a very predictable pattern throughout my life.
It begins as spastic shocks to the jaw, which I try to control by tightly closing my mouth.
This makes my jowls wiggle furiously in a dance of sadness.
The commotion pops my mouth back open enough to let out sounds long buried inside me since the dawn of my puberty.
Imagine a small, fat child being shown The Exorcist repeatedly. What would that sound like?
Gheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee(enormous tortured inhalation)Gheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.(the slappy lapping away of snot and tears) gheeeeee.
Now that sound is amplified via microphone in front of a hundred and fifty people, and you are wearing a tuxedo that lifts your breasts up high as if on a platter.
And damn you, you still try to give the speech.
Gheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee I'VE slapsob slapsob KNOWN gheeeeeeeeeeeeee BERT gheeeeeeeeee
F-F-F-F-OR awwwwwgheeeeeeeeeeeeee awgee agwee murfle
And the faces of the people around you!
So luminous with sympathy, so endeared to you now that you have tipped your hand and proven that behind your skinhead exterior you are just a big blubbering dumbass after all.
But I wasn't sad, really.
Though on another occasion of public speaking, I guess I was a little sad.
I took a group of students to a performance being put on by a local college drama class.
It was one of those things where the teacher would say stuff like, "BE SADNESS!" and all the actors would have to freeze into statues of sadness. Then, "BE SHAME!", and the statues would fluidly shift into shame.
The whole thing was, to the untrained eye, really bad and awkward.
Towards the end, the players opened it up to the audience of about 100 people.
"Give us your story," they called,"give us your story and we will perform it here before you, a magical act of theatership for your delight!"
One college girl raised her hand.
She told some family anecdote which sounded suspiciously like The Gift of the Magi.
The actors took to their roles with gusto, the audience laughed, and the girl shook her head as if to say, 'yes, that is exactly how it was.'
When they were finished with that performance, they went to the audience again for another tale.
What was it that day, what emotion was it that lay so within my subsurface I never knew it would make me speak out until I already had?
I stood up and said, "I have something you could do."
All those young, aspiring actors fixed on me, their faces eager and encouraging.
The crowd of 100 leaned closer as well, curious as to what this man with a troupe of developmentally disabled next to him would have to say.
gheeeeeeeeeee gheeeeeeeeeeeeee awgee murfle SEVERAL Y-Y-Y-YEARS AGO gheeeeeeeee
Through the most incredible fit of jowl seizure I have ever experienced, I told the story of how I had a client drown on a summer trip to the lake.
There were four of us staff, all eyes on the lake, but somehow the little boy slipped under the water, became tangled in the muck, and never came back up.
It was one of my most spectacular failures as a human being.
I managed to tell this story, through the most ridiculous sobs you can imagine, to that team of young thespians.
When I was finished, their faces were slack, mouths open. Some of them looked ill.
It's strange that a grief I had carried with me for several years without ever speaking of, came out so suddenly, so randomly, and was now going to be made into a play in front of my eyes.
Well, they tried anyways..
It was excruciating; horribly acted, and thick with every after-school special cliche you could imagine.
The crowd clapped and cheered, but not me.
All I could think of was how fast I could get my students out of there before any sympathetic faces approached me and wanted to pat me on any part of my body.
I know some day I will run for public office, and I cannot wait for that moment when I first step in front of the microphone, open my mouth, and blow the hell out of everyone's eardrums with my random fit of grief.