Let me be clear about something: I don’t watch beauty pageants. I wasn’t even aware that the Miss USA Pageant was on TV last Sunday night. But every time I’ve turned on the TV or the radio since then I’ve heard about Miss Utah’s answer to a question about pay inequities between men and women and what that means for our society.
To say that her answer was bumbling and incoherent would be like saying the IRS has a slight credibility problem. The line that has everyone guffawing is this: “We need to figure out how to create education better so we can solve this problem.”
Create education better?
Let the record show that I am in Miss Utah’s corner on this. Granted, her answer was lousy, but the question was hard and the moment was pressure-packed. I’m guessing that very few people who are ripping her to shreds today would have been able to do any better.
I’ll never forget the time I was being interviewed on a live TV show that was being broadcast around the world by satellite. After talking about one of my books for about fifteen minutes, one of the hosts asked me to close the show by leading the viewers in the Sinner’s Prayer. This presented a problem for me since I don’t believe in the Sinner’s Prayer (at least not in the way most people practice it.) But of course, that wasn’t the time or place to discuss my views on the subject. I had to pray, and quickly.
I bowed my head and started into a prayer that was an impromptu (and ill-fated) attempt to capture the spirit of what the hosts wanted without violating my conviction regarding the Sinner’s Prayer. The viewing audience must have thought I’d never prayed before in my life. I mumbled and bumbled and stumbled through a conglomeration of phrases that, if analyzed, would have left even my most ardent supporters suppressing a fit of giggles.
So Miss Utah, I’ve got your back. Others may laugh at you, but only because they’ve never been in a similar situation. Most of your harshest critics couldn’t have done a bit better.
One thing about failure: it makes you a lot more understanding of other people’s failures. And a lot more forgiving. For that reason, I don’t regret my train wreck of a prayer delivered on worldwide satellite TV. I do, however, hope that someone destroyed the tape.