Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Entertainment idea: Get Mortified

Part of being organized is planning fun activities for your free time, so let's take a break from cleaning and filing and ponder life's wonders...

A few months ago I read a Washington Post magazine article about the Get Mortified tour and I was immediately intrigued. The general idea is that some 20-30-40-somethings read from their childhood diaries and other writing they found buried in their parents' basements. The readings, of course, are mortifying but oddly therapeutic. I visited the Web site and learned that the latest installment of the Get Mortified tour would be heading to D.C. on February 10. So, I bought our tickets in advance at $10 a pop (plus a $1 service charge).

Then the snow postponed the show.

So it was rescheduled for last night.

Matt and I made it to Town nightclub right off U Street and across the parking lot from the 9:30 Club. We again made the mistake of driving (must learn to rely on public transportation!). The roads were horrible thanks to everyone being back on a normal schedule and the piles of snow blocking parking spaces and driving views, but we managed to still get there a few minutes early. It was a standing-room only crowd (not too many seats to begin with, so most of us stood anyway). Scheduled to start at 8, the show really started more like at 8:25, probably because the organizers were trying to make up for the horrible transportation situation, so I won't dock them any credit for that one. The whole event lasted a little more than an hour, and it was totally entertaining.

We heard from:
  • An early-30s female who read from her summer camp diary.
  • A mid-to-late-30s female who read from the travel diary her parents forced her to keep during her teenage family trip to Europe.
  • An early-30s male who read letters written to him by his crazy first girlfriend.
  • A late-30s male who shared his original art detailing his obsession with Barbara Streisand.
  • A late-20s male who read the letter he wrote to his high school crush (but thankfully never gave her).
  • A 40-year-old male who shared the poetry he wrote and read to friends and lovers at inappropriate times.

The audience, mostly composed of people in their late 20s and 30s, was really supportive and laughed at all the punchlines, and there were many. It's a nice reminder that everyone had major insecurity, dramatic thoughts (and actions), and generally bad writing skills when they were teenagers. Too bad the show is 21-and-over because this would be probably the best therapy for middle school kids. Great reminder that the cool kids weren't really that cool after all.

Too tired last night, I searched for my childhood diary this afternoon. Victory!

Funny thing about this diary cover: I was never allowed to take ballet classes as a child.

But I kept it locked as a child, and of course I no longer have the key. I was ready to cut the lock off, but turns out just some light pulling does the trick.

Even though I wrote in this diary sporadically for five years (from the ambitious ages of 6 to 11 and somewhat shockingly not as a teenager), I only left behind enough reading material to fill about 20 minutes.

Here are my favorite observations:
  • My first diary entries contain the following dates in this order: January 14, 1989 [the day I broke my arm]; February 27, 1989 [the day the doctor removed my cast]; January 31, 1989 [the day I went to the Children's Museum, apparently with a broken arm]; September 7, 1987 [the day my sister Ashley was born]. This might explain why today as an adult my to-do lists always include items I have just completed, just so I can chronicle my progress.
  • I kept track of every snow day and every day I stayed home sick from school from grades 1 through 6.
  • I vowed to never forget the wonder that was the March 23, 1989 Belvedere Elementary School International Day. I have no idea what this was. Apparently my class was Sweden.
  • I wrote about the first time my little sister successfully used the bathroom by herself (for the record, that day was May 11, 1989).
  • May 30, 1989's entire entry: "Today I found out that this year is the worst year of my life." Little did I know...
  • November 26, 1989: "And for when I grow up these are my friends..." Shout out to Amber for being the only person on the list who is still my friend. I'm not even Facebook friends with the others. Man, gosh!
  • November 27, 1989: "Here is a poem by me: 'Children playing soccer/A group of girls talking/and wind blowing their hair out./ The laughter of the children is so happy.' This may help me when I am older." Yes, it will help me share a ridiculous entry on my blog.
  • I definitely wrote several entries about organizing my room/my parents' house at the ages of 8 and 9. Awesome.
  • Apparently I did not eat dinner on April 15, 1990, and as a child I could not appreciate the tax-day irony of that fact. I wrote, "These are tough times! Boy, are they!"
  • The summer of 1990 I spent a few days at Ocean City. Here are my thoughts from that entry: "When we got [to the beach] this thing started with Saddam Huessin [sic]. See, he will no longer give us gas. We think there will be war. We are sending turps (millitary) [sic] there to Iraq. And besides that there might be an earthquake east of the Mississippi River on December 4." So worldly, so wise, so bad at spelling.
  • To bring us full circle to the present, I extensively chronicled the 1992 winter Olympics. If you need stats, check my diary.
Dig through your basement, dust off your diary, and then, in the spirit of Get Mortified, share it with someone else. And then buy your tickets to the next Get Mortified show near you!

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