True vocation by Matt Potter

 Clapping my hands against my cheeks, I shriek, then throw my arms around the chunky woman beside me. Screaming, we hug each other tight, jumping up and down.

“Amazing!” says Cherie. “Did you feel the emotion? Was it real?”

We nod, gasping for breath. My heart is pumping.

Cherie turns to the class. “Great pairwork! Imagine what that feels like with an entire audience doing it? It’s electric!

The class claps as we sit down again.

I smile. The four-week training course has boosted my self-confidence: no athlete or dancer or ninja is more dedicated.

A normal day begins with hair, make-up and wardrobe, then the gym for weight training and stamina building and the pool to cool off.

After lunch it’s vocal coaching: shrieking, screaming, crying Oh-my-God!-Oh-my-God!-Oh-my-God!, panting and face fanning. Next it’s ‘situational training’, where we pretend to be audience members on real talk shows and practice everything we’ve learned that day.

Every Friday afternoon we’re strapped into chairs and tests are run on our excitement levels. We’re given a grade on sweat, tears and blood pressure and how much noise we make. (Thursday nights are practice practice practice.)

Rumour says we’ll be tested on how we throw ourselves about, but I’m not sure how they’ll do that: a padded room with sensors and a camera, maybe?

I start work experience soon. I get to sit in the audience of a real talk show. I’m working on getting so excited, I piss my pants.


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Filed under Matt Potter

16 responses to “True vocation by Matt Potter

  1. Ha! Acting excited so you can get to be in an audience that you’re excited to be in. Very warped and cool!

  2. Randal Houle

    I loved this world you have drawn. …strapped into chairs… Fun read, thanks.

  3. Great lead-in, great set-up, terrific ending here!

  4. Len

    you’re so good at humor with a twist. i could never write like you. you make me laugh. i loved this piece. very clever and fun.

  5. Greg Dybec


  6. Funny. Love the ending and the satire.

  7. Thank you all for your great comments, I always love reading them. I recently watched an Oprah Christmas special on TV – Oprah was giving away gifts to audience members. (I have to say this is not my normal TV fare, but I was at my stepdaughter’s and well … they watch a lot of TV … and it was on.) But I was so shocked and revolted by the hysterical behaviour – it was a blatant sponsors deal – that I went home and wrote this story! People in the audience were like trained seals. I felt it was a new low. But writing this story was fun.

  8. I worked once, my only sales job, with a manager named Cherie. You nailed her. The entire take on that talk show, “reality TV” b.s. is really crafty here, Matt. The tongue-in-cheek humor, and slick hyperbole…laughed my ass off at the end. I am a fan.

  9. Thanks Robert – I hate bullshit TV! And it is expanding as we speak … Oprah casting herself as Mother Christmas when all she was doing was peddling advertisers’ shit! Spin on spin on spin … it’s endless. Still, I am glad you enjoyed my story. Thanks for reading.

  10. Kim Hutchinson

    Audience training is a great concept, and a great take on the theme! Love the humor in this!

  11. this made me laugh – and i don’t usually dig humorous stories. but oh, aren’t you known for writing that stuff really well?

  12. Very, very funny — and totally spot-on. Training to be an audience member — I guess it is competitive. Have you ever watched those PBS shows with motivational speakers and looked at the audience? They smile, constantly, very blandly, and nod. And clap and make oooh noises. Ugh!

    Anyway, I digress, you obviously struck a chord. Enjoyed the hell out of this story — one of your finest. Peace…

  13. Totally wack-a-doodle story, the world of tv test audiences told so vividly here, funny story, your slice of life ending made me laugh out loud

  14. I have commented on others’ stories so little recently – Pure Slush is bigger than I expected – so I am especially impressed people are still commenting on this story as we await the next upload! Thank you all, for your time and your comments.

  15. Pingback: Week #34 – Floating away | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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