Within my average group of friends, tensions rise when people are: 1) Hungry. 2) Tired. 3) Bored. And worst of all, 4) All of the above. So when we travel to far distances across the country—or 30 miles down the street to a choir competition—things can get a little tough.
Don’t be mistaken, choir kids can be vicious! Most of them are already bitter upon arrival due to the ugliness of their uniforms. (We were no exception). And once paired with other kids who are also bitter about their unfortunate performance wear, things can get intense really fast.
It was one of these days, matched with rain and the uncontrollable urge not to be there, that a full brawl commenced in the open quad of a local middle school. We were performing in the private school’s church—where the acoustics were terrible—and it was long past lunchtime. People were getting persnickety.
We were awaiting the scores for our performance, sitting on picnic tables in the open space outside. The rain had stopped at the cloud cover was turning sour moods into awful ones. It was an innocent comment that sparked the riot; one of our choir members only meant to inform us that the judges were running late, but that was all it took.
I sat in silence as my friends began to stand, shouts echoing from one person to another as insults were spread and fists were formed. It was the hunger, I tell you! It can do crazy things to a persona’s brain.
Fights broke out—as much as choir kids can fight, which is to say it was mostly yelling—and I watched with a peculiar sense of annoyance and frustration. I can’t stand when people won’t shut their traps, especially when I’m hungry. I knew I had to break it up, for my own sanity and the reputation of our school.
So, I said the first thing that came to my mind.
“I have a dog!”
And I said it really, really, loudly.
Not on purpose, mind you. In fact, I’m not sure why I chose to say that at all. But it seemed to work. A little too well if you ask me.
All around us, people turned and stared. At me. And apparently it was not only a strange thing to say, but funny too, because people started laughing. At me.
I guess it was a little funny, I don’t know, I think I’m still a tad bitter from the embarrassment of it all. But it worked; the fighting stopped.
I learned something that day, too. If you want to get the attention of a crowd, shout random statements. The surprise effect of it tends to make people go silent and stare at you. Then you really have their focus. I’m not sure when you would need to use something like this, but at least you know now that it’s effective.
Forever and Average,