In seventh grade...
In seventh grade, when I wasnt fighting a mountain range of acne or wearing orthodontic headgear like some kind of medieval torture device, I was a relatively normal kid. I played football. I had a girlfriend. I was generally liked. But there we're still things about me that struck many as odd. My favorite band was the Carpenters. I read and wrote my own science fiction. My nose was too big for my face.
Still, something happened that year that offered me a chance to rise above the awkwardness.
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Amy Grant came to town.
What did the arrival of the biggest Christian pop star of the eighties have to do with my social development?
Through a random set of circumstances my two brothers and I were gifted with backstage passes for her Lead Me On concert in Little Rock. For weeks I mulled over how to introduce myself.
Hey Amy, I imagined saying, hoping she wouldn't stare at my bulbous schnoz. Love your music.
No, that's stupid.
Hello Mrs. Grant. Your voice is like totally velvety.
Amydid you know I've had a crush on you since the fifth grade?
No, no, NO! Come on, Robert! Think of something interesting. Something memorable.
I thought and thought and finally came up with a solution. I'd actually gone to summer camp with two of her nephews the previous July. This seemed a perfect nugget of insider information. I'd bring them up and see what happened.
When the night finally arrived I scrubbed my face with soap until my complexion resembled a succulent prime rib. I donned a turtle neck and cardigan and acid washed jeans and rehearsed my lines all the way to the concert. Once there, though the music was stellar, I could not stop thinking about what awaited. Soon we would meet, up close and personal. I might even get to smell her perfume.
After the encore I followed my brothers through a series of barricades, holding up my backstage pass with barely veiled pride. My stomach tingled with nervous jitters. I kept on swallowing and licking my lips.
Twenty minutes later in a back room filled with hundreds of other fans, I waited for the arrival. Suddenlya door opened and there she was: Amy Grant in all her glory. She smiled warmly as she worked her way through the crowd, signing autographs and shaking hands. With just seconds to spare I rehearsed my lines.
Oh no. What was I going to say?
Im Robert Fuller and I so appreciate your music.
Yes, that's better. Do it just like you practiced. Talk about her nephews. Relax. Breathe.
I looked up and there she was, standing right in front of me.
I frozeI gawked.
Say something you dimwit!
Say hi to your nephews for me, I blurted.
That was it. No simple introduction. No offering of my name.
Im sorry? she said, tilting her head and leaning closer.
I shrunk seven inches in an instant. My voice shriveled. Say hi to your nephews, I repeated.
I felt my brothers glaring in humiliation.
Amy still couldn't understand. She stepped forward, placed a hand on my shoulder, positioned her ear just inches from my mouth, and asked me to repeat myself yet again. I closed my eyes, looked down at the ground, and in a pitiful, quivering whisper said the same thing a third time.
She finally heard and stepped back with a perplexed smile, nodding slowly as if to say, Suresure thing then moved on to my brothers. I couldn't bring myself to listen to their eloquent dialogue. I had just made a complete and total buffoon of myself. I wanted to disintegrate.
But that night I realized something. As I laid down in bed with my headgear firmly locked into place, I knew that part of my wish had come true. I'd made an impression. And maybe, just maybe, she would call her nephews and say hi from an awkward kid in Arkansas.
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Posted in Music Post Date 06/07/2017