During my stint at the Dayton Daily News, I used to do career day at local schools. I think everyone at the paper just wanted a day off from me which is why they always nominated me to go. That’s ok; give me an open mic and a stage and I’m all over it!
So I showed up at a Dayton elementary school to speak to a classroom full of fourth-graders. There was the usual collection of policemen with their uniforms and shiny badges and fireman in hats — with firetrucks parked out in front for the kids to climb on later — lined up ready to speak.
And then there was me, the newspaper guy with his rolls of pages and color proofs.
This time, though, there was a quiet, almost shy, odd-looking man in the mix, sitting next to me with a large bag on his lap.
“What do you do,” I asked curiously.
“I’m a church minister,” he replied.
The minister got up to give his presentation right before me. He unzipped his bag, pulled out a keyboard, set it up and started channeling Martin Luther King, belting out a chorus of “Your attitude affects your altitude!”
I was a dead mutt walking.
When he was done, he had every kid on his feet with their hands in the air, singing at the top of their little lungs. I could have sworn that as he came back to the row of chairs all us adults with jobs were all sitting in, his eyes shimmered with an evil glint that said, “Follow that, dead tree media sucker!”
I strode to the front of the class, wondering how I was ever going to follow that. Clearly my practiced presentation I had given hundreds of times before was not going to cut it this time. I took a deep breath and I blurted out, “I’m an artist and writer for the Dayton Daily News. I got into art because I hated math in school. How many of you hate math?”
All hands shot up. And the teacher gasped in horror.
I had no idea where that came from, but I knew at the moment where I was going to go with it. By the time I was done, I had every kid in the class calculating leading percentages, guessing the resulting color from CMYK percentages, giving me the word count on a 10/12 copyflow in a 3×11 space… the usual things an artist who hates math does.
The teacher was incredibly relieved I wasn’t a math heretic.
And I think I even converted a minister that day.
This blog post is part of a blog-off series with a group of bloggers from different professions and world views, each exploring a theme from his/her world view. This was about exploring the theme, Taking as second look at the familiar. To explore how others handled the theme, check them out below. I will add links as they publish.