I am sitting on the bed with the comforter pulled over my head. Not because I am reliving my childhood, although given the state of the world, retreating into a blanket fort sounds really good right now.
But I am not under here with a book and a flashlight. Instead, I am illuminated by the flickering blue screens of a computer and a smartphone, recording an audio version of this column because my boss says I have a good radio voice and he thinks I would be funny out loud.
My husband was the one who suggested I put the blanket over my head. It’s supposed to muffle the background noise. It’s what professional NPR reporters do when they’re out in the field. (My husband once worked for a public radio station, so he knows this stuff.) (Do you think he could be pranking me?)
It’s not the first time I’ve tried to be funny out loud. Back in high school, I competed in a speech event called “Humorous Oratory” in which I had to write something funny then stand up and perform it. I wrote about the common cold. I don’t remember anything about the speech except that I fake-sneezed several times, loudly.
If only someone had told me back then that I could have pursued a career as a failed stand-up comedian …
Instead I settled into being funny in print. I used to write a humor column about pop culture, which entailed going to a lot of bad movies and making fun of celebrities.
And then I had kids, and a whole new world of comedic possibilities opened up.
The first time I used my children as comic fodder was actually … wait for it … on the radio.
Before I wrote these little whimseys for the newspaper, I used to write and record them for Alabama Public Radio.
Back then, there were no smartphones. To make recordings, I had to travel up to the radio station at Jacksonville State University, where an extremely helpful student would put me in a sound booth, record me on big fancy equipment and then edit out all the times I stumbled over words. (Shout out to Brandon Hollingsworth, now enjoying a successful career with NPR.)
That was more than 10 years ago. My kids grew up and stopped doing comical things. And I can now record my own self using the Voice Memos app on my phone.
You can hear me online at the Anniston Star website. The audio versions are included with the regular columns. You get me in all my unvarnished glory. I stutter. Sometimes I have a stuffy nose. There are words I’m not sure how to pronounce. (Is it ci-KAY-duh or ci-KAH-duh?)
This is because I have no idea how to edit an audio file.
If I want to fix a mistake, I just have to start over from the beginning.
And I don’t have time for that, because it is hot under this blanket.