I have one of the best voices in the world
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At least that is what Pam said.
Pam was a customer of ours back when she was a law student at Duke. She'd come in to buy comics and we'd chat. Back then Pam liked to think of herself as 'cynical.' Long ago I wrote an entry deprecating the typical sloppy, useless use of that word.
Unsurprisingly she was another frustrated idealist. But the rare kind who might spend her free time caring for AIDS patients. And that was when she was a member of a firm, not merely a harried law student.
She's also lively and gregarious. Neither strikingly 'cynical' qualities. I'm always arrested by her knack for getting on with other people. Usually I don't like readily amiable people. But as I told her, not wanting to be guilty of mush, it is always a delight to meet one of the few sane and cheerful folks in this world. (I think Candace/frankie_f is of this peculiar species.)
Pam works seventy or more hours a week. She has her own law practice now. She makes much less than she would as a partner in a large firm. Years later she owes eighty grand in student loans. Her physical ailments have included an ovarian cyst and a detached retina. She handles it all with a serene cheer I can't imagine matching myself.
But I'm not telling you about my voice.
I don't know how much it helped but in my late teens someone gave me a book on speech. It was part of a horrid batch from a friend of my mother's. Most unforgettably was Dale Carnegie's Biographical Roundup. Written during WWII it had an affectionate portrait of 'Uncle Joe' as the paranoid mass murderered Joseph Stalin was called back when he was aligned with us against the Nazis.
I don't know why I looked at the book but I remember reciting
It isn't raining rain to me
It is raining violets
I quickly moved on to the Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes when I felt like reading aloud.
I did learn to exort the full value of the letters m,n and l. Back then I read poetry regularly and Poe was great for those consonants.
I haven't the most random guess as to why I did this. I've never wanted to speak in public. All I've ever asked from John Q. is invisibility.
Deciding that I didn't want a bachelor's degree anymore than syphillis I moved off to Atlanta. After working in a bookstore and delivering architectural blueprints I found my work despising niche as an interviewer for market research companies.
I was very good at it. People were always willing to talk to me. Having several boxcars of self-esteem I never wondered why. Thinking back it was probably my voice.
Women would often tell me how wonderful my voice was. One woman confided that if I moved North Yankee women would fall at my feet. This was long before I discovered that I might want to do anything other than shake a woman's hand.
Nobody was impressed when I moved to Boston. But I didn't give anyone much of a chance. I was looking for a job in the midst of the depth of the 70s depression and too frantic to try make friends. But I was strongly struck by how ugly Bostonians voices were. In an odd but involuntary response when I moved back to Georgia I had a more pronouced Southern accent that I'd ever had growing up in Savannah.
The first time I called Charles after our IM conservation on AOL I marvelled at his wonderfully nelly voice. He told me that my voice sounded like I'd make good therapist. Viewing psychologists as slightly above preachers I wasn't mightily flattered.
But I think that on the phone I sound trustworthy, reassuring.
It has been a long time since someone said anything about my voice. So it was nice to hear from Gordon that Pam likes it.
Listening to my voice on our answering machine I do what I've always done: flinch.