Recent personal revelation: when I get nervous, I speak in monotones.

It doesn't happen often. One of the side effects of parenthood has been increased difficulty in certain emotions. I do not scare easily. It takes a lot more to startle me. And I rarely get nervous. Fear, shock, and awkward nerves were all far more common for me before I started raising little humans.

So I do not often feel nervous. Stressed out? Frequently. Anxious? Sure. But nervous? Not so much. I walk a tightrope between confidence and insecurity so deftly that the two extremes might as well be conjoined.

In fact, it has been a long while since I have genuinely felt nervous for an identifiable cause. (For reasons unknown is a different story.)

When, a couple weeks ago, I found myself in a cramped office interviewing for a possible promotion, it surprised me when I was suddenly struck with the curse of Ben Stein.

image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Why? I was confident in my past experiences, qualifications, and ability to do the job for which I applied. Yet once the first question was asked, inflection suddenly became a forgotten skill. I answered questions as competently as I could, but with a flat and even tone that would make any Toastmaster cringe.

I understand why I was nervous. The people conducting the interview were mostly colleagues I have known and worked with for years. I was placing my fate into their hands. What if their preconceived opinions of me skew their views of whether or not I could fulfill the role they need? What if they already knew who they were going to hire and they were only interviewing me as a courtesy? What if I overestimated my own abilities and I am completely unqualified for anything more than what I am already doing? What if there is a massive government conspiracy controlling not only my employer but our entire industry?

Yeah, forget about that last one. Sometimes, I get carried away.

Nervousness appears infrequently enough that the sensation is unfamiliar. But at least I am able to identify why I felt that way. What does not make any sense is the sudden onset monotone.

Why did I suddenly turn into Ben Stein to compensate for my fragile nerves? Unsolved Mysteries.