Wednesday night my 17-year-old son, Derrick, was a contestant in the Mr. Miner Pageant at Park City High.
Ah yes, every mother’s dream.
Let me explain. Mr. Miner is an annual Park City High event right around homecoming week. (The “miner” being the Park City High mascot.) The student body selects 10 senior boys (this year it was 11, for some reason) by popular vote to be contestants. The pageant is in the evening (so the entire community can come see it) and runs like a mock beauty contest for guys, but with a theme.
This year’s theme was super heroes. That means in addition to each contestant vogue-ing formal wear (i.e. suits, ties, tuxes, etc.), answering goofy “How-I-will-bring-about-world-peace” type questions, and performing a talent, they also had to “walk the runway” dressed as their favorite super hero (Derrick was Wolverine). This last part is in lieu of the ever-smarmy bathing suit competition seen in traditional female-oriented beauty contests (which always objectifies women—don’t even get me started).
I bring up this piece of Middle America high school horseplay because Derrick’s Mr. Miner talent performance unexpectedly morphed into an onstage, public snafu that would make most adults crumble into dust with embarrassment…and of course, I just had to share it with you all.
Mr. Miner Hits a Minor Key
Derrick’s talent for the Mr. Miner Pageant was (as you might guess) playing his sax with a jazz combo that he formed with his high school buddies Will Schumacher (on piano), Ben Stephens (on guitar), and Jack Weinrauch (on drums). They covered Maceo Parker’s funk song An Elephant Stepped on My Foot.
But 30 seconds into their Mr. Miner performance their instruments just stopped working. The piano, guitar, and even the drums were electronic and somehow their power got cut off, which meant everything suddenly went silent. All except Derrick’s sax, which still had a mic that worked.
Turns out Derrick had unknowingly kicked a power cord loose while busting his funky moves. But nobody figured that out for a good minute until a tech guru (the real super hero) came downstage and took care of it.
That’s a long time to be onstage with everyone looking at you and nothing to do.
But instead of panicking, those kids, pro musicians that they are, improvised until the problem was fixed. The video of them is worth watching just to see how they get themselves out of an embarrassing pickle in front of hundreds people from their community, most of which are their classmates and families of their classmates. In fact their recovery was so smooth, some people thought the screw-up was part of the act. But I assure you it wasn’t. This is the stuff nightmares are made of for typical teens, or even adults—like that perpetual bad dream where you’re in front of a crowd and then look down only to find you’re completely naked.
But watch how these four kids pull it out of the dumper. I dare you not to be impressed. I’m so proud of each and every one of them, even though I gave birth only to the kid blowin’ the horn.
P.S. Derrick didn’t win the Mr. Miner Pageant. He didn’t even make Mr. Congeniality or a runner up. But that’s okay. Because this experience alone makes him and his musical buddies total winners.
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Stacy Dymalski is an award winning keynote speaker and stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.
For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon.com.