McKeithan Column|‘Stars’ event must overcome obstacle

Published 11:05 am Friday, August 7, 2009

Associate Publisher

Emcee could ruin evening
I don’t know why I put myself in these situations.
I have a debilitating condition called I-really-hate-public-speaking-or-even-being-around-a-group-of-people-for-that-matter disorder. I am a private person working in a very public medium under scrutiny from the community at large.
If you notice some contradictions here — welcome to my world.
I aggravate this condition by writing a silly column in the WDN and by volunteering to do things that take me way out of my comfort zone. I guess I’m a people-pleaser and really want folks to like me.
Dancing With OUR Stars, the local fundraiser benefiting Eagle’s Wings, will be held at Washington High School on Aug. 29. It should be a fun event, if I don’t ruin it. I have the opportunity to do so as the master of ceremonies.
(A collective groan reverberates through Beaufort County.)
I know what you’re thinking: “Why can’t they get a REAL local celebrity to host?” You continue, “Why not Joey Toler again, or Brownie Futrell, Dave Jordan or Hood … or, just ANYONE off the street for that matter would be better than this guy.”
Exactly. Why me?
Don’t feel sorry for me; I brought this on myself. If only I had heeded my father’s frequent advice when I was unsure of how to handle myself, “Rayboy, just keep your (darn) mouth shut.”
After last year’s great event (I was on the comment panel) I called to offer my services as emcee for this year. NOT because Joey Toler didn’t do a great job (he did). NOT because I think I’m emcee material (I’m not). Here’s the deal: I was trying to avoid dancing this year.
Why would I assume that they would even WANT me to dance? Good question. I guess because I’m full of myself and have a big ego.
If you think such notoriety and attention has swelled my head, I’d say it’s too late. I already have a big ol’ head — and I’m not speaking metaphorically. My noggin’ must account for half my body weight.
(I bet you’re looking at my picture right now … aren’t you?)
(Admit it.)
Sometimes I wonder if I have head cancer. More likely, my giant melon has nothing to do with a tumor. It has everything to do with Mountain Dew, Quarter Pounders with Cheese and pork cracklins.
(I bet you’re looking at my picture AGAIN right now … aren’t you?)
(Admit it.)
I would never have offered to host if I had seen the video of last year’s event before I made the call.
Many things became apparent as I managed glimpses of myself on the public access TV channel (each time I appeared on the screen I had the urge to vomit):
1) I should have worn a suit-of-clothes and a tie.
2) I need to lose weight.
3) My atlas-sized forehead drips more than Niagara.
4) I sound like Goober.
5) I’m not funny.
6) The sheriff is.
I’m really nervous about hosting Dancing With OUR Stars, and I’m trying to find an excuse to bail so a REAL host can emcee the show. (Are you available Saturday the 29th?)
The last time I appeared at a big public event was at an election forum sponsored by the WDN. I was proud to share the stage with Dave Jordan as one of the question-asker-people. Dave had the clear, authoritative voice of a professional anchorman and I twanged like a banjo (the theme from Deliverance played in the background each time I spoke).
True to form, I read a question to the candidates (who were holding back chuckles) and mangled one of the words that became, very clearly, a cover-the-children’s-ears expletive.
I wish I had listened to my father and learned to keep my (darn) mouth shut. My advice to anyone who will listen is to keep your ego in check and try not to mispronounce “city” when speaking before a large audience.
The Dancing With OUR Stars event is sold out. However, dress rehearsal tickets could become available soon (look for more info in upcoming WDN editions). To sponsor your favorite performer while helping a worthy cause; mail a donation to Eagle’s Wings, P.O. Box 426, Washington, N.C., 27889. Be sure to include the name of the performer on the subject line of the check.