Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Have A Gift: A (Not So) Short Story About My So-Called "Gift"

So I have this amazing gift, being that I can almost instantly recognize people’s voice when they do voice over work in cartoons or commercials.

Ok, maybe it is not a “gift” per say, but it is a really impressive!  Ok maybe it isn’t even that impressive, but I think it is cool.

It is like a game to me (and only me).  I will hear just a quick snippet of someone in a cartoon or commercial and I will have to be the first to say who that person is.  Of course I think I win every time since no one else thinks this is a “game” but rather me just being annoying.  Tomato…uh, Tomato or do I spell it Tomahto?!?

My skills would be even more impressive if I always knew the person’s name instead of saying “you know that girl who is really tiny and a blonde with a bit of an accent and was in that Christmas movie with that guy who use to date Jennifer Aniston?! Uh, you mean Reese Witherspoon? Yeah…that is her voice!”  It is kind of my curse with this gift, I am really good at voices but I suck ass at remember people’s names.

But either way, I managed to thoroughly impress Terry (which is really hard to do) a few weeks back when I recognized a voice that was from a computer video game my sister and I played back in the early 90’s! I know, I AM awesome!

So this is how it went down…. (Insert dramatization)

It was just a regular night at the H. household.  The cats were all curled up on their fleece blankets, there was a slight briskness in the air which meant I needed to wear multiple layers of non-matching clothes as well as my leg warmers while I perused the World Wide Web and while Terry was sitting in his comfy rocker (circa 1974) watching cartoons.  He was watching the classic cartoon known as G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero from the 80’s.  I was tuning pretty much everything out when all of a sudden I heard it, a familiar voice from the past.  A voice that took me all the way back to 1993, sitting in the bedroom playing video games where I was just a goofy 13 year old and my 5 year old sister was better at video games than I was.

I flung around in my chair, tightly gripping the back of the folding chair and yelled in a voice that reeked of assertion… "I KNOW THAT VOICE.”  Terry, startled by the fact that I just yelled at him like we were at an Iron Maiden concert when he was only a mere 3 feet away from me paused the TV show, turned to me and said in a quiet, more refrained voice “would you mind repeating that but using your indoor voice.”  Anxiousness filled my body as I tried to control my excitement and more calmly and quietly say “I know that voice, the one that was just on whatever that cartoon is you are watching.”  Terry looked at me and said “first, THAT cartoon is G.I. Joe and he is a REAL American Hero; second who is this so-called person you recognize?”

And folks, that is where the curse sets in.  I don’t know his name.  Now granted this is from a long time ago, but chances are even if it was someone from today it would take me awhile to remember the name.  (I also suck at trivia as my brain is slow on the recall.)  So it begins, I try to explain to Terry who this guy is.  I am still excited from recognizing the voice and while I still grip the chair with one hand and the other flails around like there are bugs around me, I try to explain how I know his voice.

Me: “So there was this game Kristen & I played when we were younger, like in the early 90’s.  It was on the computer and you had this guy and you went around to different parts of a village and you could get magic spells and stuff and you had to save the princess!”

T: “No idea.  I didn’t play computer games in the early 90’s.  I was in college and doing cool stuff.”

Me: “Oh that is right, you are old. Either way you must have heard of it?  I think the game started with a K.  And this guy was the narrator.  And you fought people.”  This goes on for at least 3 more minutes of me attempting to explain the game.  I shall not bore you like I did Terry.

T: “Jenn, you are describing pretty much every game made around that time.  You need to be a little bit clearer.  How about you go to IMDB, look up G.I. Joe, and find the character Flint and see who did the voice.”

Me: “OK”

Now let it be said at this point Terry does not believe that I am correct in knowing this voice.  It was from so long ago that he really doubts my self-proclaimed gift is correct.  But even though I interrupted him in the middle of his cartoon and have been pestering him for about 10 minutes, curiosity gets the best of him when I tell him that I found the guy.  I click on the name Bill Ratner to see his IMDB page.  It is a good start for me as I see he is a professional voice over guy!  So Terry leans over my shoulder as I scroll down to see if I can find this alleged game starting with a K.

And there it was!!!  Everything clicked in my head and I knew it was the right game!  Bill Ratner was the voice of the narrator in King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow! So that must mean only one thing…..I WAS RIGHT! AHHHHHHHH!

“Terry!!  I was right!  I KNEW THE VOICE!  And it was from soooo long ago!  How cool is that, how cool am I?!”

Terry smiled, honestly impressed that I recognized the voice. (Or at least made me feel that he was impressed so he could get back to his program…..which I will still take!) “Yep, that is pretty cool.  Nice job!”

Of course I proceeded to talk about it for the next 30 minutes, which I am sure he thoroughly enjoyed.  And even though it was just 2 weeks ago I still talk about it: “remember that time I recognized that voice from that game I use to play as a kid?  Yeah, that was cool.”  Yeah, I still didn’t remember all the info.

So there it is.  No lessons learned or great morals to this story.  Just a story about a girl with a huge gift that she try's to share with the world….one cartoon voice at a time.


  1. Jenn, you are awesome! Great post!

  2. Jenn, I know that my wife is really impressed with your skill. She is always doing the recognizing of people in our house, and I do the T part and say "you are so smart honey!"

  3. "First, THAT cartoon is G.I. Joe and he is a REAL American Hero." HAHAHAHAHAHA!! That just cracked me up so hard!

    Also, "...where I was just a goofy 13 year old and my 5 year old sister was better at video games than I was." At least you know your place.

  4. You? CRACK ME UP. :) I laughed the entire way through this. Ha!

  5. This is so many levels of awesome.