Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Silence of the Frog 

I've had a chest cold for several days, and I've lost my voice. Rather, my voice is the basso croak of a male pond frog. This is embarrassing enough when talking to clients on the phone, and in a client meeting, I sounded like I was on my deathbed because my voice began to go.

Well, wouldn't you know that I had a half-hour television program taping to moderate last night? On air for a half hour with a voice that no mother -- not even a frog mom -- could love. It is a tribute to throat lozenges -- lots of them -- that I was able to get my voice back to the basso profundo croak from the somewhat indescribable sound it had in the afternoon. But along with "deep throat" came periods of uncontrollable hacking and coughing. I wasn't sure I could make a half-hour on air without shutting down the audio system during an attack.

So I stuffed my cheeks like a squirrel with Cepacol lozenges and had one of the cameramen get a class of water on the set. That carried me through 13 minutes. I hacked a couple of times in the 14th minute, and we went to a one-minute break. During the break, I broke open several more tin foil blister packs of pale yellow lozenges and stuffed them into my mouth. The hope was that the lozenge would prevent coughing even if it could not prevent a voice change. Unfortunately, I blew the cue into the second section, and the director had to reset the system. There went the lozenges and by time we started to talk, my mouth was dry. I let the guest speak as much as she wanted and nodded my head most of the time. I didn't dare say many words.

We made it through and everyone was happy with the program. No one teaches you these tricks in professional communicator's school.


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