Hi, Norm! It’s me, Julie! I know you’ve had a lot of students over the years, but I’m pretty sure you remember me: the doughy 26-year-old who tried kissing you on the mouth at Conservatory graduation in May, 2012? After you slapped me in the face in front of my peers, I was pretty shocked, so I left town for about a year to try to find myself in the Caribbean*. I had a lot of time to reflect on that fateful night, and now that I’m back in town and 27, I’m ready to say two words to you:
You weren’t expecting the first word there to be “thank,” were you?
No, Norm. You rejecting my advances, though probably very difficult, was the best thing you could have done for me. It allowed me to shed my Norm-colored glasses and really look back on my time in class with you and think about what I had learned. And when I thought about it—when I really thought about it—I had a lot more things to thank you for than just not returning my affections.
And, because this is an internet article and not a private note, I will thank you for those things in list form:
1. Thank you for teaching me that I could do anything.
Norm, remember that day in Level 4 where you brought in Baby Richard and told us that we could do anything we wanted to do onstage? I’m sure some people take that the wrong way and like, try to take dumps in theaters, but for me it was very freeing. Mentally and artistically, not bowel-lly. I want to make that clear.
2. Thank you for being a bomb-ass director.
I am 99% sure that you are some sort of directing witch doctor. You can look at a scene, give one simple adjustment, and like a comedic chiropractor, that sketch is properly aligned. Watching you direct has helped my writing exponentially. I mean, look at that last sentence about the chiropractor. Pretty good, huh?
3. Thank you for always wearing leather.
Norm, your wardrobe. You are the coolest fucking person in the room, and I’m pretty sure you know it. I have never seen you out of uniform, no matter what the weather is like: black t-shirt, jeans, steampunk sunglasses, and that badass leather jacket that looks like it was worn during hand-to-hand combat with a bear. An outfit like that makes me want to take up smoking and buy a motorcycle, but I won’t, because I’m a pussy, unlike you.
4. Thank you for doing the right thing.
Hey, remember in Level 6 when we were putting our show together and people (people=girls) started literally crying about not being featured as much as others (others=me)? You took me out of one sketch and scrapped another of mine altogether. At first, I thought are we breaking up? But then I realized that a) this sort of thing probably happens all the time, and that b) balance is important in a revue, and that c) you probably thought I could handle it. Which brings me to my last point…
5. Thank you for believing in me.
If it wasn’t for you, I would have never had the opportunity to get over you in the ocean. And if it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be in the position of writing you this public love letter. You are an incredible mentor and crush, and any student would be beyond lucky to have you. Biblically.
I love you Shit
*That story is actually almost 100% true
Julie Marchiano is a graduate of The Conservatory and Writing Programs at The Second City Training Center and a two-time BoatCo alum (NCL Dawn, NCL Epic). She currently performs with Twisty: An Official House Ensemble of The Second City Training Center and all about town with people she loves. You can find out more about her at www.juliemarchiano.com.