The only part I ever got in a school play
was in the fifth grade when I was chosen
to be Khrushchev. Since I had speech problems
the teacher kept removing my lines
until all that was left for me to do was
bang my shoe on the table, like Khrushchev did
at the United Nations. I wore penny loafers
to make them easy to take off. Mother
came to the one performance. When
it was my turn I gave the table such a hard whack
a flower vase fell off. Everyone laughed. I
figured if one whack made me an instant success,
a dozen more would make me even more successful.
So I continued banging on the table, even though
it was drowning out my classmate's lines.
The teacher had to come from behind the curtains,
where she was giving stage directions,
to take my shoe away. Then she came back
to remove the other one in case I decided to use it too.
At the end of the play she told me she hadn't meant
to embarrass me but what I was doing was historically