The show was going fine… great even.
Then I noticed more people were looking at the screen than at me.
I turned around and saw that the Powerpoint had crashed. Now it was displaying my desktop wallpaper. It was awkward to say the least.
Here I was, standing in front of five hundred students and twenty teachers. All eyes on me.
So I tried to fix it. I opened up the presentation and breathed a sigh of relief… only to see it crash again moments later.
I tried rebooting the computer. All while staying on beat with my story.
Computer rebooted and it still wouldn’t load. So I turned it off and went on with the show.
It knocked me off my game. I stumbled over my words for a moment.
But then I took a deep breath, smiled, and realized – I had to keep going.
So I did.
Without the powerpoint I grabbed the auxillery cord and connected it to my phone to play instrumental for the freestyle part of the show.
While fumbling with the cords, I asked the crowd for topics. I got: banana, money and cookie monster. Before I started I said, “Couldn’t have given me something easy? Today is already challenging day.” The teachers laughed.
I apologized once for the technical difficulties, but I didn’t come back to it. Didn’t dwell on it. The show must go on.
I thought about it after – I know that teachers could empathize. I’ve seen countless teachers get stuck trying to get their presentations working correctly. The kids? They didn’t care.
At least the music still worked.
And really that’s the thing, when something goes wrong people only notice when you notice it. If you forget a line to a song most people don’t notice. They don’t really care. (That’s why freestyling is such a great gift).
Some (most) people have their head in the clouds.
I’ve had to battle technical difficulties countless times in my career.
That time where I had a show at a University basketball game and I stood on the court in front of a thousand people when I found out the the burned CD wouldn’t play – cue the impromptu freestyle until it was corrected. Won the crowd over.
Or the time when I had a DJ but for some reason the songs were playing at quarter speed. It was as if it was chopped and screwed – the Southern style of making a song excessively slow. I played it off. Joked about it. Rapped over it slow. Then performed acapella. The manager of the headliner told me after the show told me, “Man, I’ve got so much respect for you after that.”
It’s time like these where I think of the great Maya Angelou quote…
At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.
When you keep going through adversity, people will remember that.