Posted at May 30, 2020

Tugging at the Heartstrings

I made a grown man cry.
How’s that for an entrance? It’s true though. You’re probably pondering to yourselves how I accomplished such a feat, but before that, your first thought might be “Hah? Doesn’t that go against this whole website?! These tears were different. In what I thought would be a simple, everyday conversation transformed into this meaningful backstory that lasted for a good hour. A 20-year-old overpowering someone over 60 years! You should take home some of these “words of wisdom” I am going to impart to you today. When you’re in your bed, ready to go to sleep, all wrapped up in warm, cozy blankets, I want you to look up at your ceiling and imagine for just a second. Imagine what the world would be like if this happened. I know he did.
This encounter occurred at my part-time job along the coast. It’s a decent source of income but has been lately stagnant. My role was the cashier guy. You know, the people you go up to whenever you need something or just want to get the heck out of the store. The employee who always greets you with a smile but is slowly hating themselves on the inside. The one who always has the red bar-code scanner that constantly goes “BEEP” “BEEP” “BEEP” which then haunts their nightmares. However, I am not your average Joe. I actually adore this part of the work, minus the bar-code sound. I love giving everyone warm welcomes with a cheery smile; I love talking when at the register. The so-called sermon happened on a late closing day, I had to stay at the store until 9:30 PM. What fun. In order to pass the time, I usually start wracking my brain for ideas, just to see what I could come up with once I finish my tasks. Thank you imagination. Anyway, it was 1 hour before 9, and at this point in time, my eyes usually stay glued to the clock, just waiting for it to hit that hour mark. The store also, as soon as the hand hits, becomes a “ghost-town” so barely any customers were parading around the aisles. I started thinking to myself “this is going to be a normal night”. Far from it. Around 8:10 as I was starting to gather up the trash, two people came in, to which I welcomed with a happy heart, and they both looked to be around the ages of 50-60, both also wearing down jackets of different colors. One was blue, and one was red. Let’s call them Mr. Blue and Mr. Red because I don’t want to disclose names, and it seems fun to reference them by their selective outfits. Now, Mr. Red was the one who I could tell had faint positive energy to him. Turns out he was the game-changer. Mr. Blue on the other hand just got his stuff, paid for it, and left without a word. Not much from him. Ten minutes later, Mr. Red came up to the desk with a few questions on his mind, to which I happily obliged. He disappeared into the aisles after I told him where to look for sticky notes. After he got his items, he was ready to purchase. Now, his appearance looked somewhat shabby, but I’m not one to judge a book by its cover, and I’m glad I don’t. Rubs me the wrong way, to which I thoroughly despise. I mean, why do you have to judge people? It’s wrong. So instead of looking at him and deciding whether I should say hi or not, I looked him straight in the eyes, smiled and said: “good evening sir”. This got an immediate reaction. In response, he looked me right in the eyes, smiled, and replied back “Good evening! How are you doing?” I love it when people reciprocate these two things that I painstakingly put out. I began scanning his items and indulged in some small talk. As I scanned the last item, Mr. Red stopped conversing and turned his attention to my wrist. I had a very unique watch on, one that’s not from the U.S.A. This watch I had on was specially made overseas in Germany, sort of like a sports watch. Mr. Red continued to ogle at the watch until he asked me where I got it from. I told him the entire story; the watch was a graduation gift from my makeup artist whom I’ve worked on several shows with. She will always be very near and dear to my heart. However, the second I said “shows” his face light up and he started asking so many questions like “Are you an actor”, “Makeup artist?”, “Do you do theater?”, “Do you take classes?”. I was so shocked by this! I rarely get this opportunity to talk about what I love. Naturally, because of that, I tend to lose myself whenever I talk about acting. He was very surprised when he started asking more and more questions on top of that. More than that, he actually kept up with me! Do you ever meet those people who love doing what they love so much, they can’t stop talking about it and the more they trail on the more you get lost? Yeah, that is me. I remember talking to him about where he can pick up acting classes and he seemed very intrigued that he didn’t have to go all the way down to LA for them. Then he asked me a peculiar question. “How do I have such a loud voice?” He didn’t say this to be rude, he actually said it because my voice was so clear and could project throughout the store. Mr. Red was very eager to listen to my response, and i told him it was because of my various years of experience in the entertainment field. He didn’t seem to agree with this because he explained to me that he had two coworkers at his job who had the same amount of power in their voice like me, with no theatrical training of any sort. He wanted to know why. I, unfortunately, I had to shoot him down, saying that some people are born with it. As soon as he heard that answer, Mr. Red looked a little depressed. It made me feel bad honestly, so I followed up with a positive outlook, saying that it didn’t mean it was achievable. Mr. Red was back to smiling after this and we continued our talk.
It was now 30 minutes to closing, and it was only me and Mr. Red up at the front, talking our hearts out. I would also like to thank my coworkers for this little bit because as I continued with Mr. Red, there were a few other customers that came up to the front. This makes the retail position into a huge conveyor belt system: Customer comes up, purchases, then they leave and the next one comes in. That would also mean the ending to a perfectly amazing conversation. My coworkers know that I love to talk and sweeten people’s minds with a little positive outlook on their day. As such, one of them came up to the front and manned the other register to take care of the other customers, just so I can continue talking with Mr. Red. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Anyway, back to the story. Mr. Red and continued smiling while still talking about acting. Then as if to challenge me, Mr. Red gave me this particular question, provided some context to help me. Mr. Red brought up Ronald Reagan and how he starred in the “EG Hour” show. There was a rumor that Ronald Reagan only had to do ONE perfect take whenever the creators wanted to bring him onto the show. Mr. Red wanted to know why. This actually brought up a very valuable point that i was thinking about after listening to a TED Talk about procrastination. In this TED Talk, the speaker talked about Martin Luther King Jr. and the day before his speech that abolished slavery and established economic rights. It was 2 AM in the morning, he was sitting at his desk, trying to come up with his speech. He didn’t know how to convey his feelings and what message to pass on to the citizens. He was truly in despair. Then, morning came around and the president was standing up on the podium, facing hundreds and millions of people, waiting to hear what he wanted. Then, the most beautiful thing happened. He forgot his entire speech, and spoke the words:
“I Have a Dream”
Those five words were not scripted, those were made up. Martin Luther King Jr. had no plan. More than that, just saying those few words helped captivate the hearts of people all over the world, and made him go down in history as a hero. Do you want to know why this happened? If you think about it, Ronald Reagan and Martin Luther King Jr. are similar. The reason why Reagan could do everything in one take and could really talk to people and understand them, why he was able to speak with us so well and was able to capture our hearts was the very same as Martin Luther King Jr: He spoke from the heart. There was nothing restricting him as to what he wanted to say, he just did it. Why do you think we remember them so much? I know it sounds like a weird concept, but think about it this way, simplicity’s sake. Which person would you rather listen to? Someone who reads from a script or someone who doesn’t use a piece of paper to hold them down? Who looks at you dead in the eye and talks about his belief to reform the entire United States? You would drown from that person because that’s what feels more appealing to you. What “responds” to your heart. That being said, I told this to Mr. Red and…He was absolutely baffled. He literally took about five seconds to process everything I said. No words escaped his mouth. His eyes were just wide open and he was standing still, not moving a single inch. Then as if all the puzzle pieces fit together, Mr. Red finally understood. He then asks me “is that what acting is?” I smiled. Then I spoke: “Yeah because acting is all about speaking with the heart.” The tears began to form in his eyes. It felt so cool to say that, and it felt so right. Before he left, he told me that this was one of the most memorable moments in his life and he hopes to see me again. I really hope I get to see him again.
These are the words I want you to take home today: Be honest with your thoughts and do not let the walls that close off your heart form. Imagine what the world could be like if everyone was honest if everyone didn’t have to steel their hearts because they are afraid to get hurt or worse. If everyone could really, really speak to each other. It’s a true gift humans have, because speaking your mind like that, could not only tug at someone’s heartstrings but change their life and your life for the better.
Thank you for reading 😀

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