January 14, 2009

Going on with the show: Guest post by Laura Bergells

Lisa B. is under the weather, so she asked if I'd like to guest post at her blog!

Sure will, Lisa! Get better soon. It stinks to be ill.

I had a short bout with an inner ear thing a few months ago. Unfortunately, I had a speaking engagement at the height of my nausea and vertigo.

What to do? Go on stage and risk passing out or rambling incoherently in front of the audience? Or cancel the engagement, and leave my hosts and audience in a last-minute lurch?

How do you make that call? To go on...or not to go on. When you're dizzy and sick, you might also be a little insane. You're not thinking that clearly. This is probably why I've never missed a show. Sick as a dog, I somehow rally. I find myself saying "I can do this! It's only an hour! I can pull it together!"

So far, I think I've been lucky...or delusional! I have horrible visions of one day telling myself, "I can do this!"... and later hurling up lunch on stage.

At the wonderful "Breaking Murphy's Law" blog, author Lee Potts wonders what the boundaries are for going on with the show if you're playing hurt. And who makes the call? The speaker? Or the team that hires the speaker?

I don't really have the answer. As a solo operation, Lee suggested that I could write down a personal sickness checklist of sorts.

The No Go List.

Fever of 101+? No go.
Can't maintain upright or standing position for more than 5 minutes? Uh-uh.
Bandages over both eyes? Stay home.
Unconscious? Well, there's a good excuse.

The "I Can Do It" List.

Last vomit chunk spewed 1 hour before show? Just nerves. You're fine.
Laryngitis? Project from the diaphragm. You'll sound a little raspy, but people will forgive it. Microphones help.
Fever of less than 101? You're a little warm. You'll rally.
Broken bones? That's what aspirin is for.

Hang Tough. For inspiration in the theme of "The Show Must Go On," I like to think of the heroic Kelsey Grammar. A few years ago, Mr. Grammar fell off the stage while hosting a show at Disneyland. Obviously quite hurt, the man picked himself up and went back on stage.

"I'll finish this," he said. "Then I'll take a look at what I've done to my body."

Good man.

But everyone's tolerance is slightly different, I'll admit. What works for me -- or Kelsey Grammar -- may not work for you!

What would YOU add (or subtract!) to your own Go/No Go list?

Laura Bergells, aka Maniactive

(If you like Laura's saucy style, check out her post, "Fear of public speaking is not real.")

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