Today is the 4th Friday of Lent, and if you’re Catholic and live in Southeast Michigan, a common place to eat dinner is at a local parish fish fry. We are fortunate to live in an area that hosts a Fish Fry Directory…click here…that puts at your fingertips location, times, prices and, of course, a list of items on the menu. St. Germaine’s Fish Fry in St. Clair Shores was recommended to me because it serves fried pickles. And since my good friend, Al, loves fried pickles, St. Germaine was the fish fry for us!
I notice when I’m not talking, I notice more. Here are a few examples.
- The St. Germaine mascot. Isn’t that the guy from Michigan State?
- Who is St. Germaine? If you click the link, you’ll learn that she is the patron saint of victims of child abuse. Hers is a pretty heavy story.
- There are a lot of people at fish fries who don’t look like they follow a very health eating plan. I’m definitely working out tomorrow!
- It’s challenging to have a conversation at a fish fry in a noisy gymnasium where food ticket order numbers are read over the a PA every 15-20 seconds. Well, it’s challenging for me at the moment.
Talking over ambient noise is a sure way to injure a vocal cord. I learned this back in 1996 when I was first treated for vocal cord issues. I was told by my doctor that the singing wasn’t as much to blame for my vocal condition as the talking I did between sets. Tonight, I really had to reduce the volume of my speech and try to cut down the number of words I spoke. I successfully achieved this level of moderation by increasing my food intake. Just for today, this was a good solution, but Lent ends in a couple weeks.
It brought to mind a business event I attended a couple years ago where I had the opportunity to talk with one of the vocalists who was providing entertainment for the evening. She was a broadway singer who really belted out a few numbers during the show. I asked her how she preserved her voice. Here she was mingling with the audience during a break after really pushing her voice to the limit on stage. First, she said, “After a show, I rest for 2-3 days. Total vocal rest. Total silence.” Next, she showed me the earplug in her right ear. She said, “I always keep one ear plugged when I’m in a situation where I might be tempted to compete with the ambient noise. With an earplug, I can hear myself clearly, so I don’t try to compete.” Great idea! I started to carry earplugs with me to my performances.
In one of the documents from my voice therapist, they use the term “vocal hygiene.” I looked up the word “hygiene,’ and according to Merriam Webster it means, “conditions or practices conducive to health.” There’s that word again….practice.
Right now, I will practice silence.