My employment at the theatre was terminated on Friday by the artistic director, acting on behalf of the owner. They didn’t think my work was up to snuff, and maybe they were right. There were a lot of great people at the theatre, and I will miss them all. But I will not miss the big box with buttons on it.
My main responsibilities at the theatre were to run the lights and sound during shows. Lights were pretty simple – there were six of them, and a switch for each. Once you learned which switch went with which light, the rest was pretty simple. Sound, on the other hand, was more problematic. Six audio sources fed into a sound board that was conjured from an old karaoke machine, and wired impossibly to drive five speakers instead of the two that God intended. Multicolored buttons, switches, dials, and sliders could stretch and pull the sound this way and that, but sometimes the box would get ideas of its own, and suddenly double the volume on one channel in the middle of a show, or maybe shut down the monitor so a singer couldn’t hear their music.
The big box had been built by the owner of the place, a caterer who’d turned his small event hall into a theatre on the weekends. He loved the box. One dared not say a cross work about it in his presence. At my last show, I did just that, and I think that’s how it became my last show.
The thing is, I can’t disagree with him that I didn’t get along with the box very well, and that other people who ran it at other times seemed to do much better. The difference was trust. I didn’t trust the big box with buttons on in, and they did. Hedging slows you down. Questioning slows you down. I was slowed down a lot. I knew from experience that when I pushed that button or turned that knob, 99 percent of the time it would do just what it was supposed to. But, having been burned more than once by the box’s vagaries, I could never make myself push or turn without thinking first, and that was my downfall.
My inability to trust arises from three childhood experiences:
(1) When I was 12, I grew from 5’5″ to 5’11 1/2″ in six months, then spent the rest of my adolescence trying to learn to walk without falling down.
(2) When I was 5, my mother took my security blanket away. And she didn’t just take it, she took it in that passive aggressive way mothers have, that is, while I wasn’t looking. She took it while I was at school, and my first day of school at that. I was under a lot of stress that day. I needed my bankee that day, and it wasn’t there. The scars run deep.
(3) When I was 3, my Sunday School teacher took us into the sanctuary for reasons I don’t remember, sat us down in front of a life-sized statue of Jesus, and told us to be good or Jesus would tell our parents and the pastor. I was just getting used to the idea of Jesus loving the little children and hanging on the cross to save my soul, and now I found out he was not only a spy, but a dirty rat!
Conclusion: If I can’t trust my body, and I can’t trust my mother, and I can’t trust Jesus Christ, then how the hell am I going to trust a big box with buttons on it?
Instead of trust, the Creator Spirit gave me intellect, and instead of a need to defend my turf, he gave me feelings. Unhappily for me, the devices of man are designed for people who don’t think, and the systems of man are designed for people who don’t feel. And that’s why I’m at $9 an hour today.
But it’s not all that bad. Now I can go back to the theatre as a patron. I can hassle the actor/waiter who brings me my salad, I can laugh at everybody’s mistakes, and I can contemplate with wonder how a world can exist where a caterer with a fetish for garage-sale quality audio equipment could take away my job.
But most importantly, I will never again fall asleep in the dark with thoughts of the big box with buttons torturing my brain. The Jesus statue has its job back.
***** Copyright 2013 by Mud Toe Sasquatch – all rights reserved