Monday, November 2, 2009

Seriously, Tina Fey, I (Really, Truly, Without Caveat) Think You’re Funny

The other night I called our apartment to tell Lindsay I would be home later than expected. She didn’t pick up, so I left a message. When I got home, I played it back, intending to delete it. And that’s when I heard that frightening sound. Some dork blabbering on in what could generously be called a high tenor (and less generously called a warbling alto), saying in a hundred words what should have taken seven (“I will be home late. Love you.”)

If you're playing along at home, you'll realize that dork was me.

You’d think I’d be used to the sound of my own voice by now. It’s not like every waking moment of my life has been recorded (like the kids these days - how great would it be to have a million hours of video of yourself growing up? Don’t scoff; you, dear reader, are just as latently narcissistic as the rest of us), but the succession of audio/visual representation of me has been regular enough to become commonplace if not ubiquitous. Still every time I ask, “Do I really sound like that?”

This weekend I had to ask that question in another context; reading my own voice. And yes, I certainly said that stuff. Only it didn’t sound that way in my head. It sounded smart (one), poignant (two), and insightful (aaaand strike three).

When I read it now, it looks like I think Tina Fey is unworthy as an acting role model. This is not what I think. She's great. What my stupid warbling alto voice was trying to say was that I don't have acting role models because I'm a writer. Why would a writer have an acting role model? Do lawyers have doctors as role models? Do disc jockeys pattern their careers after airline pilots'? (Actually, that would explain why yesterday the host on NPR instructed me not to get out of my seat until the fasten seatbelt sign had been turned off. But I digress.)

Maybe you don’t ever get used to hearing your words quoted back to you, whether electronically or through the filter of another person’s mind. To quote the poet Robbie Burns:

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!

And that's probably not how it sounded in his head, either.

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