October 29, 2004

Guest Blogger: David Anderson


It was Halloween, 1995. I was fourteen years old, and was about two weeks away from falling deeply in love with Gwen Stefani. That afternoon, however, I was primarily concerned with the skit that I, as a member of the Academic Team, had to present to the panel of judges at the meet against Evergreen Junior High.

It became apparent during our brainstorming session that there was a problem with my voice. A day earlier, it had been high and clear, and I had been able to speak with supreme confidence. And, to the annoyance of my teachers, I had done so at every opportunity, being something of a blabbermouth. In a matter of twenty-four hours, however, my voice had changed, now coming out in an intermittent, nasal squawk.

During the discussion with my four teammates I attempted to disguise the fact by keeping quiet and making exaggerated facial expressions and hand gestures. This worked for about fifteen seconds, after which Annie, whom I was convinced I would someday marry, said "Why aren't you saying anything? What's wrong?"

When your voice changes suddenly overnight, it takes time before you fully gain control over it. I did my best to answer, but my response came out so cracked and strained that I only elicited horrified stares. My face burning with shame, I finally managed to gasp out something about having lost my voice.

Being creative individuals, we managed to plan a skit in which I didn't have any lines. I remember standing at the side, wearing a large blue piece of construction paper with the words "Potable Water" written on it in black magic marker, while my teammates explained their bold new plans for improving water conservation. I felt relieved, more than anything--grateful that I didn't have to hear the sound of my own voice.

Posted by lisa at October 29, 2004 09:39 AM
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