The First Step … Enter Chapter One

realenoughI am very much a people-person when it comes to writing. I believe the characters in a book, as much as the story line, drive the story … and no matter how fictitious the story cares to be … the characters must be real, regardless of their wings or rabbit-size height. Let me know what you think.

Myself? I grew up a shy child, but I wouldn’t consider myself shy now. The term would rather be … reserved. I am reserved … reserved perhaps to a fault, not quick to enter anything without a push … my wife being a very good, but gentle, pusher. When we’ve moved and gone on to a new church, my wife has been the first to say I should join the choir, because I like to sing. My first response, “I don’t know. They seem to have it going on.” If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, that sort of mentality backed by reservation, working to fit the situation like two plus two equals three just because I’m not being ridiculous in calling it a letter … and it being close enough.


Well, we (my wife, myself, and my trepidation) joined the choir together at that first church in Nashville, because she wanted to and I didn’t want to sit alone with all the choir members wondering why I didn’t want to sing … as if they would after that one day if any … but I also knew … and it wasn’t hard to admit … I’d probably like it … and I did.  Not that this meant anything in the long run of being reserved, of course not.

We moved a few years later. Found a new church, which also had a choir, and as before, my wife suggested I should join it … because I would like it. Now the choir in Nashville was much larger, and one could get lost in it without anyone in the congregation noticing you … at least it was easier to tell myself that. This choir though was small. It was a little church and it had a small choir … of three. Somehow that two plus two business equaling three wasn’t going to fly here. No, those in the congregation would say, “Two plus two is four and you’re a new member of the choir, admit it!” There were not enough backs to hide behind. So as I said before, when my wife suggested I should join this new choir, it was of no surprise to me when I opened my mouth and said, “No … I think they got it going on.” Of course, anyone outside my head would say I’m being absurd … ridiculous. Well right, it’s not like I don’t like it. I just unexplainably need that push.

Anyway, regardless of me and as eagerly as before, my wife joined again, and I stayed in the pews with my son, a baby at that time … and a good excuse: Someone has to watch the child for heaven’s sake. Now if it stayed like that, why am I telling you this? Because it didn’t. Eventually after a good run, my wife decided that she needed to be with my son at church, and said we should switch, and that I should take her place in the choir. Of course now the choir had been four in number, and if she left and I joined it would remain at just that … four … no squeezing anything into what it wasn’t for the sake of going unnoticed. That was good. The extra seats around the choir would remain as vacant as before and serve as good decoys. Okay stick with me … this is a head thing … maybe not a green light, but a definite yellow and no ticket to boot. Well, to cut to the chase, I joined and am still there, and enjoy the choir very much. I play guitar for them too, and at times have actually led the congregation in song, nearly by myself. Unbelievable you might say … not really … but what is actually unbelievable is my continual waiting for that push.

I have a pedometer. Where do you think I got it? Yes … you have been listening. Yes, my wife gave it to me. She has one too. A program at her work gives them out to their employees and their spouses. Now I’ve worked out before … a little dumbbells here, some stretching to there … and I’ve been pretty good when I’ve done it and don’t think myself half that bad when I haven’t … which is maybe a good reason for needing the pedometer. The program tells us what goals we need to reach each day, gives us a reward system of points, handing more of them out to us the more we do. Over a longer period of time, our performances might earn us badges … indeed, a very collective reward system. It works. I find myself making sure I don’t miss a day doing what is required of me to stay healthy. I don’t fail to clip on my pedometer to my pants’ pocket. When I’m tired, I don’t stop. I look down at the readout on my pedometer, and that dictates when I can stop. Wouldn’t that be nice if life had a pedometer to measure every first step taken, into a new job, a new experience, or just a new choir, and when that step was taken it would be rewarded by a trumpeted “Pomp and Circumstance,” bells and whistles … and perhaps a sat-upon whoopee cushion to keep everything in perspective without it getting out of hand (for all those who say, “What’s the big deal?”)?marching_band

Here for me with this blog is a new job. Here for me is a new experience … and if the words sing … and hopefully they will … a new choir. My pedometer won’t help me here … but I do believe the “Pomp and Circumstance,” the bells and whistles … and yes the fake fart bag, will show their heads and play their tunes by other means … especially … in your words you share with me. My first step has been taken…

I’m listening. Is that a fart or a whistle?

Real: Everything

Roger McManus

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