One of the things I love about FGS is that I get to meet people who have done things I wish I’d done. It’s not usually the big things that impress me. I already know I’m never going to climb Everest or sail around the world in a renovated hot tub. It’s the day-to-day things that make me lean forward in my chair and listen.

I have a feeling we’re surrounded by some pretty brave people and we don’t even know it. I’m willing to bet next month’s show that we have people in our audience who have stood up to bullies, bosses, spouses, neighbors, angry dogs, maybe even some rabid squirrels. A couple years ago, a friend of mine stood up to a coworker and ended up getting fired. I thought she was crazy at the time, but now she says it’s the best thing she ever did for herself. She runs her own business now and seems happier than ever. 

When I was doing comedy, I took every gig I could because I needed the money. It didn’t matter if it took me 14 hours to get to a gig on the other side of Montana. If it paid enough to justify the gas I took it. I think I ended up doing a lot of damage to myself accepting work that killed my spirit as they paid the rent. I remember the first time I ever walked out on a gig and to this day it’s one of my proudest moments.

One New Year’s Eve in the mid-2000s, I was hired to headline a jazz club in Tacoma. I got there at 7:30 for the show that was supposed to start at 8:00. By 11:30, the show still hadn’t started so the owner asked me to just walk up and down the buffet line telling jokes to tired diners as they scooped up green beans and buffalo wings. I finally snapped and told him that I wasn’t going to run around like a demented maitre’d trying to find something funny to say about pudding. Plus, there was a guy in a chef’s hat at the end of the buffet slicing prime rib. I was pretty sure someone was going to end up grabbing that knife and stabbing me with it. So I told him to keep his $100 and drove home.

That tiny moment of standing up for myself will stay with me for the rest of my life. It doesn’t just remind me of how good I felt in that moment. It also reminds me of all the times I had the chance to stand up for myself and didn’t. How much did sacrificing my dignity and self-esteem cost me all those years? I’ll never know. But I do know that when the choice comes up these days, I often look back at that night in Tacoma and say, “I did it once and I can do it again.”

That’s the kind of story we’d like you to bring to the next FGS. Tell us about a time when you stood up for yourself. What led up to it and how did it play out? Were you terrified or too angry to notice? Did you burn a bridge or did the people around you find new respect for you? Do you ever look back and wonder how you did it?

Remember to keep it clean, and practice out loud as often as you can. All stories must be under 8 minutes. It can be as short as you want but not over 8 minutes. We’re getting more names in Mr. Coffee and some folks aren’t getting to share their story because we run out of time. Thanks for understanding.

Here are the rules and guidelines for telling: https://freshgroundstories.com/2013/01/22/storytelling-rules-and-guidelines/

If you’d like help with your story, our next free monthly workshop is Feb 2. It’s run by two of our regular tellers who volunteer their time. You can RSVP here: https://www.meetup.com/Fresh-Ground-Stories-Storytelling-Workshop/

I hope to see you all February 20 at 7 pm at the Olive Way Starbucks

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com