Zach jogged out to the sound of sporadic applause. He blocked the bright lights with his hand and became intensely aware of sweat seeping through his shirt.
“He-e-ey everybody, it’s great to be here tonight. My name’s Zach. That’s Zach spelled with an A…”
Zach waited for the proper amount of laughter and curiosity to be peaked.
It’s all in the timing “Yep...an A. I learned to spell my name very early. I heard Mom spell it many times to people on the phone, my dad, Grandma, teachers, and the doctors.”
Something sparkly to his left distracted him.
Focus, focus, wait for it... “Mom would introduce herself, then turn to me and say, this is Zach. Then she’d say a bunch of other stuff. I’d lose interest but she always ended the sentence spelling: A-D-H-D. So…my name is Zach with an A.”
Gentle laughter. I’ll take it. Zach took a deep breath and continued. “My middle name is also peculiar. Two letters, no vowel. P-K. It stands for preacher’s kid. Now I don’t know if you realize it, but A-D-H-D, and P-K don’t really mesh very well.
“I used to drive my sister crazy when I wore a striped polo shirt with plaid shorts. According to my fashionista-sista, it didn’t match. I figured I was making a style statement. ADHD and PK went together about as well as stripes and plaid.
“We won’t even get into my last name; Bjork, which is spelled B-J-O-R-K but pronounced Bee-York. My dad’s family is Swede, they don’t make jam, it’s yam, and my grandmother’s Y-ello desserts are the best ever.
“So, let me officially introduce myself. I’m Zach, that’s A-D-H-D, Zach P-K Bjork.” Pause. “My friends call me Dork.” Zach breathed an exaggerated sigh and shrugged his shoulders.
The audience applauded. Okay, they’re warmed up, Zach relaxed and dove in.
“Now that the introductions are over, I just have to say,” Zach shielded his eyes and pointed to his left. “Ma’am, your sequins top is very lovely. It flatters your figure nicely, but it’s a wee bit distracting. When you move ever so gently under these lights, I see sparks.
“Oh, is that your husband next to you? He’s big. Hello, sir. Have you told your woman how lovely she is in her shiny shirt? I’d recommend you do since a total stranger dork just did.
“Woo-boy, where was I? You know, sometimes I stop to think and forget to start again.
“Oh yeah…PK stories, they’re the best. Do you know how many times I sat and endured Dad talking about me in his sermons? Well, sat, may not be an accurate term: lay, rolled, headstanded…headstood…umm did headstands in the pew.
“One time, Mom held me on her lap in what she called the ‘Zach hold’. Sort of like a straight jacket with fingernails. I’d been contained long enough and I wanted down. Dad was closing in prayer and I squirmed in anticipation. Mom hissed in my ear: Wait until Daddy says amen. My two-year-old brain thought: Is that all we’re waiting for? I let loose at the top of my voice: Say amen, Daddy, say amen!”
Uproarious laughter erupted.
“We won’t even talk about the congregation’s reaction when I escaped from the nursery…Mickey’ Mouse Underoos around my ankles…Mom leading worship. I think that’s when I knew my calling.
“Mom was strict, but she loved to clown around...a real clown…a giant red-painted smile, clown. She’d blow up long skinny balloons,” Zach held up his example/prop, “and twist them into amazing animals. She’d breathe in big,” he sucked in air to demonstrate, “push-with-diaphragm-forcing-air-through-tiny-opening. Breathe in, push-through-tiny-opening. Breathe in… That’s not easy, especially when she was expecting moi’. She about gave birth to me three months early.”
“Another thing Mom did while incubating me beneath her clown clothes,” Zach walked over to a bundle of helium-filled decorations/props. “The night before the annual community parade, the youth helped organize balloons for my clown mother to hand out to kids.” Zach bit a tiny hole and inhaled deep. “Mama didn’t smoke, drink booze, or do drugs…but she did he-lium!”
The audience laughed at the 6’3” deep bass turned munchkin. “Apparently Mom had the youth group in hysterics,” he breathed deep of the gas again. “Fed by the laughter, she kept going until she got woo-OO-zy. Hee-hee-hee.”
“So, you see…it’s clearly Mom’s fault I’m like this.” Zach inhaled deep, tossed the deflated latex aside, and squeaked, “I don’t suffer from ADHD, I enjoy every moment…Thanks Mom!”
Ba-da-ching.` ` `
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