A comment

About stage parents. Not a generalized comment – and nothing to do with whatever weirdness went on at American Idol rehearsals last week. This is a comment about my stage parents.

Who were and are awesome.

My parents ran a touring marionette company in the NYC tri-state area from before I was born until I was in high school. I worked the show all those years and loved every minute of it.

As quickly as we could, my sister and I learned to run the show from the bridge, with our kid brother manning the sound and lights. On one memorable occasion our parents left the theater to bring back take-out lunch before the show and got caught in a monster traffic jam. Assembly period started, the kids filed in, the lights went down, and my barely double-digit siblings and I shrugged and started the show ourselves (child labor infraction no. 1).

I also took great pride in lugging the large, heavy set and puppet boxes between truck and stage. Setting them up. Breaking them down. And lugging them all back (child labor infraction no. 2).

As we toured largely to schools, and performed during school hours, my sister and brother and I missed a lot of time at our own schools. Not that we “missed” it at all. We pretty much hated school. I could go on and on about the miserable state of the education system – maybe someday I will go on and on. Anyway, there really is a truant officer and she had my name at the top of her list (child labor infraction no. 3).

Suffice it to say, we learned enough from our parents, from reading, from playing in the back seat during long trips, and, honestly, from television once we got home to do just fine learnin’ wise: we all got into Stuyvesant HS in New York, and I eventually did quite well at a little place called Harvard.

So, don’t knock all stage parents. I wouldn’t trade my sometimes deeply weird experiences growing up for anything.

Of course, reading this over, what with the truck and the touring and the lugging and the puppets, it’s possible my parents weren’t stage parents at all.

Were we carnies?

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