Glenn didn’t think he had what it takes to be an actor.
He had always been under the impression that it takes perseverance, dedication, understanding, respect for the craft, and finally, actual talent. Actual talent wasn’t something that Glenn found himself particularly suited to. While others may have been charismatic, cooperative and cordial; Glenn found none of those attributes within himself and instead prided himself in that fact that he was quite good at identifying which states various license plates were from without having to actually read them.
It was a learned skill that he practised in his younger years while travelling across the country with his father. His father was a travelling salesman and would take Glenn along for the ride when he travelled from state to state selling office supplies and other trinkets. When he was younger Glenn believed that his father wanted to spend time with him and would often pretend to be his father’s business associate. It wasn’t until much, much later he realized that it was simply because his father had nowhere else to put him. As such, Glenn was treated as an inconvenient piece of luggage that had to eat and poop every so often and his father treated him as such. It was during this time that Glenn took it upon himself to study the license plates of the passing cars.
One game that he particularly enjoyed turned into a pretty bad habit. As a child he would stare out the passenger side window at the telephone wires that ran along the highway. He watched them rise and fall like slow waves that were drawn with a pencil between the two large polls that supported them. The car would often go so fast that the time between the polls was mere seconds and Glenn would grind his jaw as if you take a large bite out of the wires that ran alongside them. It was a game that Glenn excelled at and because of its simplicity he found himself still doing it to this day.
He excelled at it so much so that over the years he’d found it quite difficult to give up and it wasn’t until his dentist asked him why his teeth were so poorly damaged that Glenn actively made it something to try and stop doing. As he left his Dentists office he found himself momentarily torn between the professional advice offered to him and his childhood game which brought him a small amount of joy. In the end he sided with the Dentist and because of it, Glenn’s self-esteem had never been lower.
Regardless of what Glenn thought of himself, his friend and co-worker was an overly effective self-esteem booster and saw Glenn as her Mount Everest of spirit bolstering. Compared to Glenn’s rather sombre demeanour she was highly flammable nitro glycerin infused with cocaine. She was a firecracker by all definitions, to the point where she had driven most people out of her life with her over-enthusiastic nature and constantly chipper demeanour. All of this resulted in a tightly packaged and potent self-esteem booster named Susan.
The problem with Susan’s overly effective self-esteem boosting was that she rarely stopped to consider whether or not her target actually needed the self-esteem boost. In the case of Glenn, it came in the form of him watching an episode of LOST on television one night. The next day he absentmindedly mentioned to Susan while the two stocked the shelves of the pantry aisle that he “found Evangeline Lilly to be a remarkable actress.” Furthermore Glenn stated that while he respected the profession, he didn’t think he had what it took to be an actor.
Unfortunately all Susan heard was that Glenn didn’t think he had what it takes to be an actor, a statement which is, in fact, objectively correct. However growing up with an overbearing mother who constantly reassured her young daughter Susan that she was overweight and would in fact die alone, made her feel that it was her duty to self-assure Glenn’s fleeting thought and turn it into a pursuit of theatrical fame.
The two went back-and-forth for a short while, Glenn passively attempting to dismiss her objections and Susan actively trying to convince Glenn. Eventually Glenn gave up as he always had and Susan felt an odd sense of accomplishment in unknowingly forcing her friend to do something he truly had no interest in doing.
As the weeks passed, the two met nightly to run lines. As Glenn slowly grew more comfortable, Susan began to realize that while she still wholeheartedly supported Glenn’s pursuit of acting; he was in fact terrible. Unfortunately she mistook her objective criticism for what she felt was the voice of her mother and instead of engaging Glenn about her concerns she blindly continued to support and bolster Glenn’s self-esteem to the point that Glenn himself started to convince himself that he was in fact a good actor.
The day came in which Susan had organized an audition for Glenn in a local production of “The Music Man – The Film” which was based on the film “The Music Man,” which was, in turn, based on the Broadway Production of “The Music Man” which Glenn personally disliked but decided to not say anything to Susan about for fear of hurting her feelings. Susan also disliked the musical but was concerned that her comments would deter Glenn’s enthusiasm.
The two met for breakfast the morning of the audition each ordering a plate of eggs with bacon. Susan hated bacon and Glenn despised eggs. In general neither of them enjoyed breakfast, however they were quite concerned at what each other thought and so they each separately decided to eat it to appease the other. The breakfast was objectively terrible, but afterwards each exclaimed how they would definitely go back for fear of what the other would think of them. The thought of having breakfast at that place again made each of them shutter, yet after sharing a smile they both lied saying that it was their new favourite spot to eat breakfast.
As Glen stood backstage, flop sweat forming on his brow, Susan reassured him that he can in fact “follow his dreams” and as Glenn stepped out onto the stage he felt an odd sense of hatred for the person shining the light directly into his eyes. He took a deep breath and before starting he shot an innocent look back at Susan who was anxiously watching. It was in this moment that Susan realized she had not bolstered someone’s spirits in support of what they truly wanted to do, but rather forced someone into a situation they had no interest in. Glenn turned to the Producers in the audience and began acting the scene they had prepared. As he recreated his prepared scene he thought of all the missed opportunities he had lost because he was too afraid to say anything and a vague sense of realization washed over him.
Glenn didn’t think he had what it takes to be an actor and apparently neither did anyone else.
As the Producers told him this he nodded and walked back stage to join Susan, through a half smile he realized that he needed to be honest with her and in that moment she realized that he deserved to be told the truth. Though he couldn’t make eye contact when he said it Glenn let his feelings be known to Susan, he admitted that he should have been more open about what made him happy and Susan in turn, relieved that he had started them on this path, agreed that she also had not been honest.
As they walked out of the theatre, each vowing to be more open an honest they made plans to get breakfast at their new favourite place tomorrow morning.