The Exploding Can of Soda

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.


Finals were never a fun time for me and I’d done alright for most of the finals period at the end of 1997, but my final in Directing I, a full scene I’d put together, was probably the most horrible academic experience of my life. It could be summed up with one horrific image — an exploding can of lemon-lime Slice.

Because all of the other students in directing were more popular with the theater crowd, I’d ended up with the last actors available. While none of them were truly horrible, none of them were truly great either. Despite my best attempts to get the scene into shape before the final, I just knew it was going to be terrible.

Jill, who was playing a distraught girlfriend, was supposed to be sipping from a can of soda. She was supposed to have finished most of it before she hurled it at her boyfriend during the scene’s climax. However, Jill just didn’t listen to my direction and she’d barely had two sips of the thing before she hurled it at the boyfriend and WHOOSH, the can hit the ground and soda sprayed into the air like… like I don’t know what.

The directors who followed me were none to happy about having to mop up the stage before their scenes. My professor and many others had an unplanned laugh at what was supposed to be only a moderately funny piece of business.

I was very happy the semester was almost over. Break was coming up. I’d been e-mailing back and forth with Tracy, whose address I’d gotten from JonMartin or someone, and we were planning on getting together for lunch. My family was coming up. I was going to spend New Years with friends in New York City. Life was waiting for me on the other side of finals and I guess life just had to humiliate me one last time before letting me move on.