What can YOU say in six sentences?
At noon tomorrow, in a ballroom at Houston's Royal Sonesta Hotel, some Etta James will play in the background, then Ray LaMontaigne, Beatles, Alanis and Van Morrison. On a big screen, the young faces of autism will slowly fade in and out, one of them my five year old son wearing a red tie and holding a stuffed Kermit the frog.
The director of the Westview School will say a few words, a group of children will sing, and then a woman who looks like me will rise, walk self-consciously to the stage, and stand behind a podium to address five hundred people despite her diaphragm seizing with panic and disabling her lungs.
Five hundred people staring equals what she feared under her bed as a child, all the soulless dead things in the dark.
The woman's speech is about her son's autism journey, and she's noticed that sometimes during practice runs she doesn't cry at all, but other times she does, inconsistently during the first or third parts, so tomorrow is unpredictable, like so much under our beds and in them.
Eleanor Roosevelt said to do at least one thing every day that scares us, but I say just do one thing a year, a thing you fear will kill you, and when it's over, you'll have killed it.