I console myself with the knowledge that it would not have gone well. I would have undoubtedly eaten my bagful of “frankincense” Play-Doh or tried to play “Look in Butt” with Joseph at an inopportune moment.
The closest I came to pageantry was taking part in my elementary school’s annual holiday concert. I say “holiday” and not “Christmas” because even in the late ‘80s P.S. 282 was sensitive to its diverse audience. There was something for everyone: a lively Hannukah song for the Jews, an educational Kwanzaa song for Africans, a number of spirited numbers en español for the Hispanic population (as well as the totally not racist romp “Pablo the Reindeer”), and a whole crapload of call and response ditties honoring our rosy red deity, Santa.
One year our glee club teacher Mrs. Montgomery added a new song to our festive repertoire: a special almost-solo piece that would feature four girls acting (and singing!) as dolls. We would get to wear wigs and makeup, which sealed the deal for me, the littlest wannabe drag queen in Park Slope. I was over the moon when I was selected for the honor of singing John Rox's classic Christmas carol "Are My Ears On Straight?" I practiced at home in front of the mirror, perfect red circles drawn onto my cheeks with lipstick. And like Narcissus before me, I became so transfixed by my visage that I took my own breath away (granted, my breath-taking was less literal).
Basically the same thing.
Eventually, the big day arrived. The crowds gathered. And I completely chickened out. Stage fright got the best of me and I stayed home with a faked fever on the night of the performance. Of course, for absolutely no good reason, Fox 5 News covered the concert, so I had to watch my best friend Adri bask in what should have been (at least partially) my glory... on TV, larger than life.
There's no Christmas moral here, I just wanted to share. At least I got to keep the wig.