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Stage Fright

2006-08-11 15:15

  Lesson 34

  Text A

  Stage Fright

  Tom was sick with disappointment. The piano recital had turned out well, all except for his solo. He couldn't understand how it could have happened.

  He had practiced for weeks that seemed like months. He had given up sports until after the recital because he wanted to make his parents proud of him. He spent all his time with the pi

  His teacher had said he was gifted. It was true that he accepted music as another language, another way to talk to people.

  His grandparents, aunt, and uncle all came to hear him play, and he was anxious to show them that he was the best in the whole class.

  But, when he stood up to go to the piano, his knees felt weak. He looked into the audience and saw his family smiling back at him.

  His mouth went dry. His fingers began to tremble. The trembling became uncontrollable shaking as though he had caught a bad cold.

  He sat down at the piano. He took a deep breath. He played the first five bars of his music , then realized with horror that he had forgotten the rest. He started over. thinking that would help. It didn't.

  He stood up as if in slow motion and walked off the stage. He was a failure. The demon stage fright had left a brilliant musical career in ruins.

  Text B

  I Shall Never Fly Again

  Tom Jackson and Charles Brown are talking about ttheir summer holidays. TOM:   Where are you going for your holidays , Charles ?

  CHARLES:   To Australia. I'm going to visit my uncle in Brisbane for three weeks.

  TOM:   Good gracious! You certainly are lucky. How are you going there?

  CHARLES:   By air, of course. It takes over two weeks to go by sea.

  TOM:   I once went to Singa pore by air. It was very exciting-but never agaim'.

  CHARLES:   Why? Did you feel frightcned?

  TOM:   For a short time. One of the engines caught fire.

  CHARLES:   What did thc pilot do?

  TOM:   He put it out and flew back to the airport. Then he asked the pcople at the airport where the emergency runway was.

  CHARLES:   Did you land safely ?

  TOM:   Yes, we did. But I shall never fly again.

  7. Read the following passage once. Underline the key words while reading and retell the story to your partner.

  It was a dark day when we got our report cards Thesky was full of gray clouds and it was sprinkling rain. I was over to Clyde's house and Gloria and Kitty were there. Sam probably would hade been there, too, only he had got a two-week job in the afternoons helping out at Freddie's. actually he only did it so that his mother would let him be on the track team again. Sam and his mother had this little system going He would do something good-doing and she'd let him do something that he wanted to.

  Clyde's report card was on the kitchen table and we all sat around it like it was some kind of a big important document. I had got a pretty good report card and had wanted to show it off but I knew it wasn't the time. Clyde pushed the card toward me and I read it. He had all  satisfactory remarks on the side labeled Personal Traits and Behavior. He had also received B's in . music and art appreciation. But everything else was either a C or a D except mathematics. His mathematics mark was a big red F that had been circled. I don't know why they had to circle the F when it was the only red mark on the card. In the Teacher's Comments section someone had written that Clyde had "little ability to handle an academic program. "

  "A little ability is better than none," I said. No one said anything so I figured it probably wasn't the right. time to try to cheer Clyde up.

  I knew all about his switching from a commercial program to an academic program, but I really hadn't thought he'd have any trouble.

  "I saw the grade adviser today. He said I should switch back to the commercial program. " Clyde looked like he'd start crying any minute. His eyes were red and his voice was shaky. "He said that I had to take mathematics over and if I failed again or failed another required subject 1 couldn't graduate. The way it is now I'm going to have to finish up in the summer because I switched over. "

  "I think you can pass it if you really want to," Kitty said. Clyde's sister was so pretty I couldn't even look at her. If I did, I started feeling funny and couldn't talk right. Sometimes I daydreamed about marrying her.

  Just then Clyde's mother came in and he gave a quick look at Kitty.

  "Hi, young ladies and young gentlemen. " Mrs. Jones was a kind of heavy woman but she was pretty, too. You could tell she was Kitty's mother if you looked close. She put her packagege down and started taking things out. "I heard you pcople talking whcas I first came in. By the way you hushed up I guess you don't want me to hear what you were talking about. I'll be out of your way in a minute, soon as I put the frozen foods in the refrigerator. "

  "I got my report card today," Clyde said. His mother stopped taking

  the food out and turned toward us. Clyde pushed the report card about two inches toward her. She really didn't even have to look at the card to know that it was bad. She could have told that just by looking at Clyde. But she picked it up and looked' at it a long time. First she looked at one side and then the other and then back at t.he first side again.

  "What they say around the school?" she asked, still looking at the card. "They said I should drop the academic course and go back to the other one. " I could hardly hear Clyde , he spoke so low.

  "Well, what are you going to do, young man She looked u at Clyde and Clyde looked up at her and there were tears in his eyes and I almost started crying. I can't stand to see my friends cry. "What are you going to do, Mr. Jones?"

  "I'm -I'm going to keep the academic course," Clyde said.

  "You think it's going to be any easier this time?" Mrs.Jones asked.

  "No. "

  "Things ain't always easy. Lord knows that things ain't always easy. " For a minute there was a faraway look in her eyes, but then her face turned into a big smile. "You're just like your father, boy. That man never would give up on anything he really wanted. Did I ever tell you the time he was trying to learn to play the trombone?"

  "No. "Clyde still had tears in his eyes but he was smiling, too. Suddenly everybody was happy. It was like seeing a rainbow when it was still raining.

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