I got to tell a story on-stage at Martyr's last night, at the Moth StorySlam.
The room was sold out, standing-room only. About 30-40 story-tellers who wanted to tell a story on stage put our names into a hat. The atmosphere was fraught, because only ten people get picked. When host Brian Babylon mispronounced my name, I prayed I wouldn't trip going up the stairs and entered my Destiny.
The theme was Neighborhoods. My neighborhood is one of the whitest neighborhoods in Chicago. "It's whiter than this crowd," I told the StorySlam audience, which appeared to be approximately 97 percent white.
My neighborhood is so white that your car radio automatically tunes itself to NPR when you drive into it. It's so white that brown rice feels uncomfortable here. But that doesn't mean my neighbors are racist, I told the crowd. My neighbor will tell you: he has a friend who's black.
But this guy is a real piece of work. He didn't pay his water bill, and then the water got shut off, and his tenants had to come to my house to take showers. They moved out, and the house was vacant for six months.
In late summer he told me that he had a prospective renter looking at the house. "She's Caucasian," he said.
"I don't care if she's Caucasian, east Asian, or Martian," I said. "I'm just wondering if she'll chop down the NINE-FOOT TALL WEEDS in the backyard." Yeah. He doesn't want a brown person renting the house because they might not keep the property looking nice. I heart irony so much.
Anyway, after this intro, I adapted my story about this guy stealing my water in the middle of the night.
Certain female and gay male members of the audience cheered when I mentioned that I was watching Angel DVDs in the basement when I first heard the squeak, squeak, squeak of the felonious water-stealers.
"Yeah," I said. "I might be twice as old as you guys, but I'm not dead yet. I can totally appreciate a TV show in which David Boreanaz takes his shirt off."
I only scored 7.1 from the Moth scoring teams, but boy, I had a blast. I'll be back--and maybe next time, I'll actually prepare a story more than five minutes before I walk through the door.