Written for Challenge 51 at Rentfic Challenge: explain where Mark got his stripey scarf. This is based on a true story. I'm in a community theatre production of Oklahoma. Between dress rehearsal and opening night, plywood trees were added to our set. Jud and Laurey indavertantly crashed into one and it toppled. However, in real life, a scarf did not save Jud and Laurey. Laurey caught the bottom part of the tree, Jud caught the top and the side curtain caught the rest. Laurey said the line "Curly, I'm afraid for my life" has never rang so true.


If you ask most of my friends to describe me most of them would say that Mark Cohen is kind of geeky, pale, wears glasses, carries a camera and wears a blue and white striped scarf. Of course all of that is true, but it's surprising that they notice my scarf as much as my camera. It's not surprising though. I do wear it a lot. I consider it my good luck charm. There was a time that it saved my life.

Don't tell Maureen this, but when I was in high school, I was a drama geek. At first, I went because my ninth grade English teacher told me it would help me get over my shyness during oral presentations. Grades were important to me, so I gave it a try. It was a lot of fun, so I remained in the club for the next four years. We did a play and a musical every year. I was usually in the chorus of the musicals and had small roles in the plays.

I got my big break during my junior year. I landed the role of Jud in Oklahoma. The spring was a whirlwind of rehearsals, learning lines and songs, and dance routines. Our drama coach didn't like the concept of look-alikes in the dream ballet, so I had to dance with Laurey at the end of the first act. We practised constantly. I even took tango lessons at the Scarsdale Jewish Community Centre so the dancing would look more natural onstage.

Finally it was opening night. Dress rehearsal had gone well. We knew our lines. The school orchestra knew their music. We were ready. The curtain opened, revealing our familiar set of a farmhouse and a smokehouse but there were new additions. The set designer had added three plywood trees to the scenery. They were each over twelve feet tall and braced with cinder blocks.

The first act went without a hitch. I sang my duet with Curly and got lots of laughs when I was talking about my own funeral. I got through my solo about not waiting for Laurey any more. I danced well until I the very end. I gripped Laurey's hands and danced to the middle of the left side of the stage as we had practised. Unfortunately, the set designers had placed one of the trees exactly in our path. Due to the adrenaline of the show and the fact I was turned so that Laurey was facing the audience, I didn't notice the tree. Crash! I ran into it.

The trees were top heavy and the cinder block bracings were not enough to keep them upright after I crashed into them. I shoved Laurey off stage and braced myself for impact. The tree tumbled forward and came closer and closer to my head. All of a sudden, it stopped. Just above the visible area of the curtain, someone had tied a long striped scarf between the curtain rod and one of the winches for the set. The tree had snagged on the scarf, halting its fall.

During intermission, the janitor came with a cordless drill and four-inch bolts and bolted the trees to the stage. We didn't want another accident. The remaining shows in the run went without a hitch. We were a hit. However, all the local papers plus the school publications had taken pictures at the exact moment when I hit the tree. I was immortalized in the yearbook in a cowering stance with a look of terror on my face.

At the end of the musical's run, I asked the drama coach if I could keep the scarf.Under the circumstances he agreed that I had a right to it. Although I still have a phobia of plywood trees.