Brace yourselves. I am officially "in my thirties" and I'd like to relate a little story about a seemingly insignificant comment that was made during my birthday week.
At the beginning of this month, my beautiful, talented, incredible wife moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. (Yes, by herself - don't worry, I'll be joining her in a few days.) She got her first Actor's Equity job as an Assistant Stage Manager for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Arkansas Repertory Theatre. I'm so proud and excited for her I'm practically bursting, so, needless to say, I've been telling everyone within earshot.
Two weeks ago I was at a party in Los Angeles, sans wife, (which was new for me as far as parties in Los Angeles were concerned) and someone asked about her. I happily offered up where she was and why and the person who asked said, rather taken aback, "Arkansas? I hope she doesn't have anything to prove. I'd really hate for her to get strung up."
Okay, now I concede that Arkansas is part of the bible belt, but for crying out loud! Something to prove? Are you serious? Of course she has something to prove. It's her first equity job. She wants to prove to herself and everyone else at Arkansas Repertory Theatre that she's the best stage manager they've ever seen. That was not, of course, what he meant, but I was so confounded by what I understood him to mean that it was difficult to process an appropriate response. The part that really blew me away was that he was genuinely alarmed, as though he thought if she didn't lock herself back in the closet immediately, there would be a lynch mob in funny white hoods waiting for her plane to land. (That didn't happen by the way - in case you had a similar concern. She arrived safely and has been having a wonderful time. The show opens December 5.)
In all fairness, I should share that the person who made this comment is not a close friend, and may be slightly off his rocker. What I really don't understand is that he'd met Becca (briefly though it may have been) and she doesn't exactly give off a "something to prove" vibe. The only reason I bring up the conversation is because the thought of Becca getting "strung up" hadn't occurred to me at all. Ever.
Should it have occurred to me? Am I just being naive? Have I just been lucky to have avoided any persecution this long? Should I knock on wood or something? Can you really live a full and happy life if you spend all your time worrying that everyone is out to get you and it's just a matter of time before fear and hate rear their ugly heads?
When I grow up, I want to be happy - not afraid of the entire state of Arkansas (or Texas, or Mississippi, or Montana, or Alaska (though, Sarah Palin...she's a little frightening) or anywhere else for that matter), which has never wronged me, to my knowledge.
And so, this Thanksgiving season, I'd like to offer the following as an abbreviated list of things I'm thankful for:
1. I'm thankful that I'm married to the most wonderful person in the world (sorry everyone else - I got her first) and that she loves me just as much as I love her.
2. I'm thankful for theater and a loving and accepting theater community which has presented me with an opportunity to experience more of America. (For all the funny faces I've made when telling people I'm moving to Arkansas, I'm actually looking forward to the adventure.)
3. I'm thankful that no one I know has been "strung up."
I hope I never have a reason to take #3 off my list.
(But I'm not going to dwell on it.)