The Night I Forgot The Words (Guest Post by Tim Gallen)

Day 216: Forgetful

(Picture: Juni via Creative Commons)

Today I have another guest post for you. This one is by a good friend of mine Tim Gallen. Tim’s a fellow writer from the States who writes both fiction and non-fiction, and has some great insight and real talent with words. He’s a great storyteller, and has some funny but insightful stories to share with us. He’s a top guy with a real gift and message for us today, and I’m excited to be hosting him here. He begins this post with a funny story from High School…

The summer after I graduated from high school, I participated in a theatre program where we performed a musical revue of various Broadway shows. I had participated in the spring musical a few months prior and desired — as the know-it-all 18-year-old I was — a solo to sing. Never mind that I had never sung a solo in my life.

But I always enjoyed singing and, hey, I was awesome.

Not long after auditioning for the summer program, I found out I was tabbed to sing a song. I was elated!

I don’t recall what song I sang or what musical it was from. But it was a duet, so I wouldn’t be on stage alone. As we rehearsed in the coming weeks, I’ll admit, I didn’t practice as hard as I should have. I’ve always had this tendency to wing things. And, if my memory serves me right, I winged — wung? — my part of the song.

I remember being on stage and that all-too-familiar sense of dread flooding over me. I started to sing and made it through the first verse well enough. But when time came for the second verse, my mind literally blanked. I had no clue what lyric came next. I stood there on stage, leaning in close to the girl with whom I dueted, doing my best to act like I was in love with her all the while moving my mouth to sing lyrics I had completely forgotten.

I sang the first thing that came to mind. Something about how this girl’s love made my heart aglow. Your love makes my heart aglow? What does that even mean?

I didn’t have time to think, however, as my fellow singer belted out her words just fine, drawing us to the end of the song. I’m not sure how, but I managed to stay on key with her as we sang the final lines in unison. I may have even given the few final notes a nice manly vibrato. Or not.

We stood there with faux looks of longing — though mine probably resembled embarrassment — as the music ended and the audience rewarded us with applause.

We ran off the stage and, had I not an overarching sense of obligation, I probably would have kept running. Far away from the theatre and audience and my fellow cast members.

The night I forgot the lyrics was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. Looking back on it more than a dozen years later, I still cringe.

My inner critic likes to jump up and down like a child who knows the answer desperately wanting the teacher to call on him. He wants to remind me how humiliating it was to forget the words, even after a dozen years.

Like most cringe-worthy experiences, however, nothing of consequence truly came of it. I did not die of embarrassment. Or anything else — at least, not yet. And I sure remembered the words for the remaining two performances that summer.

The funny thing is, I bet I’m the only one who even remembers.

Isn’t that the way of most, if not all, embarrassing moments? We assign some big, hairy meaning to some minor setback or failure, and thus allow it to stealthily dictate certain ways we live our lives and what to believe about ourselves. The supposed “lessons” such flubs teach us seep in down to our marrow.

We are not perfect. Despite the witty words and mask of cool confidence we reflect to the world, perfection is a myth.

Embarrassment reminds us of this fact. But this does not mean we are failures or incapable of great things.

Rather, it reinforces the necessity of relying on Jesus.

Because, unlike us, He is perfect. In every way.



5b71df9c33b2bb11b3d4832ccba8b0e8_biggerTim Gallen is a writer of the fiction, the profound, and the funny, with an occasional poem tossed here and there for poignancy. He doesn’t have an expiration date. At least not yet. 

He posts at least once a week, sometimes more, at his blog You can also follow him on Twitter.



Would you like to guest post?


DownloadedFile-1Over the next few months I’m going to be hosting more guest posts here. I’ve already got some amazing pieces lined up for you from some amazing writers.

If you’d like me to host your writing, just go here, then you can find out more about how to submit a guest post, the guidelines, and contact details, on this page.

Though I can’t guarantee I’ll publish every post, I will read each submission & give feedback.

I’d really love to hear from you. So to find out more, just click here.





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  1. Elyse Salpeter on December 9, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    I would have been soooo embarrassed – one of the reasons I wasn’t in too many school plays. Gives me stage fright!

    • tim gallen on December 9, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      ha! yes, i was extremely embarrassed at the time. though, funnily enough, nobody ever mentioned it or asked me about it. like many things, i just internalized it and was my own worst enemy.

  2. James Prescott on December 9, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    We’re not perfect. And it’s okay. Great post mate, fantastic to have you here.

    • tim gallen on December 9, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      and amen to that, right? can you imagine if we were perfect? oy!

      thanks, for having me, james. glad i dug out this post, punched it up, and sent it to you.

  3. Eileen on December 9, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    I have cringe memories like this too, Tim. But you’re right, most of the time others have long forgotten the mistake.

    • tim gallen on December 9, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      except ourselves, right? i’m my own worst enemy and critic.

  4. lisajey on December 9, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    OY. Been there, done that. LOL!!

    • tim gallen on December 9, 2013 at 9:34 pm

      haha! i’d wager many people have embarrassing stories. just some of us are more comfortable and bold in admitting and sharing it, lol!

  5. Luann Robinson Hull on December 9, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    We all have those moments that make us cringe even today… I could feel your pain as I read it though! Great post!

    • tim gallen on December 9, 2013 at 9:33 pm

      so very true, luann. thanks for the kind words. 🙂

  6. Tara Fairfield on December 10, 2013 at 12:46 am

    Love this, those moments that remind us we’re human, I’ve got more than I like to admit.

    • tim gallen on December 10, 2013 at 1:37 am

      don’t we all, tara? thanks for reading.

  7. Bob Nailor on December 10, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Been there too many times and yet, even at my young age of 67, I still go out there and put myself into those positions repeatedly. Why? Because I learn, slowly. Yes, I only remembered the first verse of the inn-keeper’s song for the church’s Christmas pageant. As I faked the 2nd verse, a nervous look between piano player and singer made sure that verses 3 and 4 would not be vocalized. Whew! The only thing to make it better? When one of ‘sheep’ looked up at me and said: What song was that Mr. Nailor?

    • tim gallen on December 10, 2013 at 11:31 pm

      haha! that’s a brilliant story, bob. i love it! i admire your approach to these moments of growth. thanks for reading. 🙂

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