I completely understand if the following incident seems a bit unbelievable, but it is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.
When I was in the fullness of middle age I went to see the Blue Man Group* at the open-air Starlight theater in Kansas City, Missouri, but I went alone because the gentle people who are my usual friends would not go to such a raucous, bizarre performance. Personally I enjoy observing the edges of society, and blue men jumping around and banging on PVC pipes are fairly fringe.
Before the performance I wandered back to the open-air concession area and I noticed one of the blue man group, disguised in his blue costume, crouched against a pillar. Most people walked by him unaware. He was observing the crowd just as I was, but when I tried to catch his eye to give him a smile of appreciation, he steadfastly ignored me. Okay, I have worked on stage before the public (teaching, volunteer work, etc.) and I understand that sometimes you just want to concentrate into yourself before you go on, or maybe he had other concerns. So I went on my way. I found a stone bench to sit on and commenced to watch the crowd assemble. The different sorts of people attending the Blue Man Group performance were so interesting that I did not notice the time, and before I knew it the show started on a bare stage with a rousing, recorded rendition of the American national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, with a voiceover of The Pledge of Allegiance.**
As one the seated audience rose to their feet and placed their hands over their hearts, as did I. That is the kind of group drawn to Blue Man Group performances. However, about fifty people who seemed to be concession support staff and a few straggling customers, were milling about or seated in the concession area and they did not stand, they did not place their hands over their hearts. They continued to move about and talk, in fact, they began talking louder to hear themselves over The Star-Spangled Banner and The Pledge of Allegiance. Their disrespect grated, and it interfered with my observance of that moment of American pride and loyalty, sooo...in my best teacher’s voice I bellowed, “Stand up and put your hands over your hearts.” Their heads swung this way and that to see who was telling them what to do, but I stayed quietly disguised as a middle-aged woman at attention, looking straight ahead with my hand over my heart in respect for my flag and country. Slowly, one-by-one, then almost all of them stood, turned toward the stage, and placed their hands over their hearts. It was gratifying. As I said, when required I can control crowds. I have done it before, and if necessary I will do it again. My head and heart are willing, just depends on my corporal form. Crowd control was a handy superpower to have.
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* "Blue Man Group is a performance art company formed in 1991. It is best known for its stage productions around the world. It combines many different categories of music and art, both popular and obscure in these shows." In the 1990’s critics used to describe the Blue Man Group as "ground-breaking," "hilarious," "visually stunning", and "musically powerful", and they set a wild trend that many have since followed.
Caption: Blue Man Group Promotional Pictures