Monday, October 23, 2006

Writing Assignment

Below are my homework assignments for The Second City sketch writing course. The world will see it before my instructor ever does. Assuming the world reads this blog.

The assignment was to describe a place or environment, and to describe an item that has special meaning in my life. So that's what I did. Eat meat, beer and cheese.

The Laundry Room

My laundry room is pretty disgusting by most people’s standards. In addition to providing my home a facility to wash clothes, it also serves as my dogs’ cafeteria, and sometimes their bathroom. Although, they usually prefer the carpet in the family room for the latter.

The floor in the laundry room is protected by cheap vinyl tile. It is the same tile that was there when I moved in nine years ago, as is the rest of the room’s decor, so I have no idea how old it is. It is scratched and tattooed with grime in some places. I see no need to replace it. The dogs seem to like its light blue flower trim pattern. The dogs and I are the only ones who spend any significant time in there. I barely notice the floor’s imperfections unless my wet feet alert me that something is amiss.

The washer is currently unplugged, unattached and pulled away from the wall. It stopped cooperating about a month ago. I’m at the end of trying to fix it. A new washer is on the way. The dryer sits in its customary place, to the left of where the washer should be, had it been behaving. Both appliances are white and stained with the memory of bunny effluence. The bunnies were evicted a few years ago, due to their incessant violations of our boarder contract.

Outside light infiltrates the room from a window over looking the washer and dryer area, and from a window on a door, which leads to the back yard, positioned to the left of the dryer. Both windows are donned with a wardrobe consisting of matching plastic green blinds, which complement the peeling warm red wall paper. These blinds also serve as dust repositories.

To the right of where an accommodating washer should be sits an off white speckled plastic stationary tub. This , too, boasts blemishes of its own, caused by the clean up efforts of the burnt red Venetian Plaster used to adorn the living room walls. On the wall behind the stationary tub is a make-shift splash guard hewn from a piece of faux brick wall covering. This helps promote the luxurious environment required when cleaning painting utensils or hand washing delicates. An electrical outlet, which provides power to the washer/dryer, looms perilously close to the tub, halfway up the wall. It’s a wonder I have not been electrocuted yet, with all the hand washing of delicates I do. To the right of the stationary tub of potential death is a door leading to a glorious bathroom.

Homemade cabinets and drawers, constructed with the finest plywood, cover the walls opposite the washer/dryer area and form an “L” shape through the corner. These are gilded with a pristine coat of brown paint and lacquer. Not paint covered by lacquer – paint and lacquer mixed together and then applied in a hurry, apparently. Depending on the humidity, temperature and wind patterns, some of the cabinet doors and drawers actually close all the way, sometimes. The largest cabinet, in the corner, leases itself to a furnace and a water heater. A mop and a bucket and some other infrequently used cleaning supplies keep them company. The rest of the cabinets secure such valuables as dog food, laundry supplies and whatever else cannot earn a spot in the important parts of the house.

There is a hook attached to the ceiling of the room in the corner. A paint roller hangs there as a reminder to how much this room needs some restorative attention. The ceiling also supports an uncovered light fixture, which is near is a pull down staircase leading to the attic. The panel to the staircase is painted brown so as not to be confused with the rest of the ceiling, which is white, except for remnants of bunny splash and other marks of mystery.

The dogs do their best to coddle the room with their discarded hair, as it comforts the creases and nooks created by the contents of the room. They also employ their own brand of aroma therapy in there, which is only supplanted temporarily by detergent and fabric softener fragrances on laundry days. They don't seem bothered by the room's condition. It is one step above living in the wild, although they spend most of their time on the couch.

The Fabio Photo

My eight by ten autographed glossy of Fabio is FABULOUS. In fact, I think “Fabio” is Italian for fabulous. If it isn’t, it should be. The photograph is black and white in a portrait layout. Fabio stands menacingly just off center to the left as if he was just about to make a proposition – one he is sure would be accepted. One of his hands playfully hides in the pocket of his casual black jacket, while his left hand confidently supports his pose on an unseen structure – probably a Donatello bust.

Fabio wears an angelic white shirt, with buttons hidden and a band collar fastened by an elegant dark bead. His Adam’s apple peaks out just beneath his massive and powerful square jaw, reminiscent of the animated Johnny Bravo of Cartoon Network fame. His golden mane hangs calculatedly untamed around his shoulders as he stares at the viewer like a lion concentrating on a deformed zebra. His enigmatic grin reveals his enjoyment in the zebra’s final doomed minutes.

Fabio's autograph, barely legible in gold ink, begins at his ornate belt clasp and drifts across to the right edge of the portrait. The placement of the signature reminds the viewer that the portrait is appallingly cut short at mid hip, leaving any package peepers wanting.

The picture frame protects the photograph with a frosty plane of glass. The frame is decorated with a double helix rope design bordered by two rows of half circles. The plastic construction is painted to appear as tarnished gold, as if to say, “Oh look, I’m an antique frame, but I was actually bought at a dollar store”.

On the outside of the glass pane, there is an autographed postcard of comedian Jake Johansson. He signed it, “I fucked a sock. Jake Johansson”. He didn’t want to sign it that way, but I asked him nicely, to commemorate one of his jokes in his act, and I wouldn’t leave him alone until he did. He was afraid I’d try selling it on eBay. I wonder how he’d feel sharing the frame with Fabio.

I keep the Fabio picture on my bar for all to enjoy. Friends who stop over and see it ask me if I’m gay, as if only gay people can appreciate the brilliance of Fabio. But I do wonder, sometimes, if I were gay, if I would be attracted to Fabio, and he to me. I also wonder if Fabio would ever consider keeping a photograph of me on his bar. If he did, would it be for the same reason I keep his picture – as a reminder of all that is silly in this world.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sketchy Rub

In my quest to become a Renaissance man non sequitur, I have embarked on yet another The Second City tutelage. For those of you who do not remember, or do not care, or both, earlier this year I enrolled in the first level of The Second City’s improv training program. That adventure proved to be too life threatening as I feared following in the footsteps of Chris Farley. Plus, improv makes me sweaty and sore, kind of like sex. So, I chose not to complete the other four levels of improv training and return to the comfort of staring at the wall in my family room to meditate. Even though there is a television set on that wall, with MTV airing on it twenty-four hours a day, it does not mean I was not meditating.

Who would have thought I would have become bored with Laguna Beach, Parental Control and Yo Mamma after seven short months? I needed some new terrain. I needed to find myself. I needed to spend the $260 I found in my son’s dresser before he discovered I had it. Joe Flaherty came to me in a dream and demanded that I call my friends at The Second City. He was clothed as a partially dressed Count Floyd, so I knew he was serious. I intended to enroll in their moonshine jug pottery class, but the only opening they had was in their Comedy Sketch Writing class. So I opted for that.

To prepare for the class, I watched all of Maury Amsterdam’s scenes from the old Dick Van Dyke Show. Or do you say Cock Van Lesbian? Either way works for me.

I was ten minutes late to the first class. The parking lot was full so I had to drive around a while until I was able to roll over a dead guy to park in his driveway. Mike, our reserved yet crafty and slightly crampy instructor, was not fazed by my tardiness. He introduced himself and asked me my name, to which I replied Maury Amsterdam, and I quickly made fun of the bald guy in the class, who happened to be him. I inflated the circle of seated students to create a spot for me diametrically opposed to Mike, except a little bit to the left, but I said diametrically opposed in an effort to show him who is boss – Carl Reiner.

The class consisted of one woman and seventeen men, who were all looking at the one woman with their mouths open. Even with faces agape, everyone had a look of grave concern. I thought I might have stumbled by accident into the obituary writing class instead of a comedy class. I asked the guy next to me which dead guy were we writing about? He said Maury Amsterdam. To lighten the mood, I tripped over an ottoman and Mary Tyler Moore tap danced on my face.

Mike was nice enough not to bore me by repeating the overview crap he had already presented to the rest of the class. He bored me enough with the twenty other minutes of overview he had not yet told. Eventually, we got to our first exercise, which was to interview a classmate and report back to the class how weird xe is. I was lucky enough to get to interview Kevin, a part-time college student, part-time bartender, and full time party dude. He had just gotten back from a week in the woods with a bunch of friends. He said he had to take some time to get away from all the drinking and having fun and naughty making. Good god, where the hell did I go wrong! My life sucks next to this guy! Kevin seems like a good guy and he made it a point to tell me he is not a spoiled asshole. Duly noted. He interviewed me, as well, and seemed impressed that I was not dead yet. We all told each other about each other. I don’t remember anybody’s name or anything about anybody. Well worth my son’s $260, so far.

Mike began to earn his money. He proceeded to teach us about character development. I will not get into the complex techniques required to build such in-depth characters, because I didn’t write them down and I forgot them all. I do remember that being a sketch writer legally allows you to be an eavesdropper, lurker, leerer and voyeur in order to build ideas for creating characters. I asked if it would be beneficial if we wore trench coats while we develop characters. Mike was impressed with my progressive thinking and gave me a gold star. He suggested we also wear the trench coats to class.

Mike is a great proponent of writing for writing sake. He declared that ninety percent of everything one writes will be crap. He must be familiar with this blog. Consequently, we should behoove ourselves to write as often as possible. To assist us in that quest, Mike introduced an exercise where we would write for twenty minutes in stream of consciousness mode, purging ourselves of all thoughts that come to mind. I am very familiar with this technique as it is what I use for Leper Pop articles. The theory is the more you write the more crap you’ll eliminate, kind of like a mental enema. He gave us twenty minutes to dislodge ourselves while he stepped out for a few bong hits.

Following is the fruit of my crap dislodging. As you can tell by reading this, I do not really need to be in this class, but it gives me something to do on Tuesday nights.

I’ve got to get me my own dumpster. This dumpster sharing is too familiar. I don’t like my garbage touching other people’s garbage. There are remnants of spit on garbage. That’s the last thing I want is my spit mingling with other people’s spit. It’s like making out with everyone in the entire building. I don’t want to make out with everyone in the building. I can’t even remember the last time I actually made out with anybody. Do people my age actually do that? Wait a minute, I do remember when it was. And who it was. I don’t want to remember that. Hard to believe I was that drunk and did not black out. Blacking out comes in handy sometimes. You can never depend on a good blackout. My power was out for three days last week. I felt like Annie Oakley. The cowgirl dress was a little tight in the waist. Thought the hat looked nice, though. I’ve never ridden a horse. A horse has never ridden me, either. So, we have a mutual respect for each other. I like to wave knowingly at horses because of it. They look at me like they have no clue what I’m doing. I know they know. They stand there chewing their cud like I don’t exist. Do horses chew cud? Cows do. What the hell is cud? Maybe I should open up a cud bar, where people can come in and chew cud from exotic places. Cows look pretty relaxed when chewing their cud. It’s probably good for the soul. I’ve never seen a cow have a nervous breakdown. I’ve never seen a human have a nervous breakdown, either. Maybe I’m just not paying close enough attention. The cud can be used for medicinal purposes as well as social. Pharmacies can create special cud sections to aid the mentally stressed. Where is the king of Walgreen’s when you need him? Or, is it a queen? Either way, I’ve never seen xe. There is a lot of stuff I haven’t experienced, apparently. I need to get out more, or at least out to more places like farms and Walgreen’s headquarters. Do headquarters have kneepads? Why wouldn’t they? The fact that I don’t know may not be a fact at all. The cream in the church cannot be investigated. There is no way to find the proper channel. Creating a mob is little different, or differs little, than undertaking a bamboo festival. The festival does not interrupt Tuesday. But, Tuesday sometimes impedes the livery driver. Still, munching seems like the best alternative, which brings us back to cud. Cud Munchers will be the name of the bar, although it may be more like a coffee house, depending on the clientele we attract.

We all felt a lot emptier after that. And a little not so fresh. Back to character development. To finish off the class, we played a little cluster exercise. As a class, we were to build three lists of ten items. I do not enjoy group exercises like these when it comes to writing. To me, writing is a personal and solitary task, and my brain doesn’t work so well when being felt up by others. I guess learning as a group is a little different than writing as a group, so I will check my whining at the door. Still, my brain wouldn’t cooperate.

First, Mike asked us to toss out ideas for types of jobs. All I could think to say was “armadillo”, which I offered three or four times while others were suggesting such occupations as policeman, architect, sheep dipper, proctologist and garbage man. Speaking of proctologist, this brings up another aspect of these group games that ruffles my pterylosae. Invariably, in these kinds of groups, there are always one or two people who can’t help but work a little blue. I’m not against working blue, but we are all aware that butts and crotches and everything associated with them and their uses are hilarious. Let’s try to be a little more creative, shall we? Nevertheless, we had to hear the likes of proctologist, OB-Gyn, sperm banks, sheep herder, breast exam, brain enema, and giant rubber dildo. We all know sperm banks are funny because guys are ejaculating in there, and what’s more funny than the look on a guy’s face when he is achieving spasmisitc bliss? Maybe Benny Hill is more funny, but that’s about it. My point is that we need to move beyond those kinds of things to find new hilariousness. Not that I’ve ever actually seen a man’s face when he was ejaculating.

Mike wrote down the first ten of our suggestions he knew how to spell. He then asked us to name examples of emotions. Again, “armadillo” was all I had, and I shouted it a few times, progressively louder each time. Others competed for hilarity with their inane proposals such as torpidity, languishness, gnarlish and tetchy, among the usual emotions, like pretty. Nobody was pretentious enough to suggest “ennui”. I was thankful for that.

Finally, Mike asked us to purge our thoughts about types of places.


Mike pretended to write it down to make me feel better. I don’t remember what everybody else said, since my last outburst caused me to fall to the floor and writhe. Before we moved on, Mike asked us to compile one more list - a list of the most common road kill in Texas. He did this for me and my armadillo obsession. Unfortunately, my mind was road kill at the time and could only produce, “Sea Urchin”. We didn’t use that list in the exercise, but Mike gave me a copy of it for home use.

We chose one item from each list and built a character and a scene out of them. Well, they did. I sat there and wondered if a sea urchin has ever been run over by a pick up truck in Texas. But, I did learn that characters need to have a “want” in a scene. That knowledge should come in handy. I wondered if sea urchins ever want to be run over by a pick up truck in Texas. I wonder if Will Ferrell could play a believable wanting sea urchin. Did Maury Amsterdam ever want Rose Marie? What about Millie? Most guys probably think she was a real goer in the sack since she seemed so dippy and naïve on the surface. They may think she unleashed herself in the bedroom as the sultry bush woman seething with tangles of lust that she really was. I don’t think so. I bet she and Jerry never even did it on Jerry’s dentist chair. Why keep your dentist office at your house if you and the little woman never do it on the dentist chair? What a despicable waste. It saddens me to consider it. I’m glad this class session is almost over. I don’t think I could learn anymore in this emotional state.

Before we could bolt out of class, Mike harnessed us with a homework assignment. I didn’t write it down, so I’m not sure what we are supposed to do. I’ll make a macramé flower pot holder this week and hand that in. He’ll probably admire my progressive thinking and assess it as a metaphor for being a peeping tom, which is the foundation for building multi-dimensional characters. I can tell I’m going to be Mike’s favorite student.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cuts Like A Knife

Sid: Remember, Mom, I have my surgery tomorrow.
Mama F’er: Right. Where are you having it?
Sid: Elmhurst. You know where that is, right?
Mama F’er: Yes, I think that’s where your grandma was. In fact, I think that’s where she died.
Sid: (laughing) Thanks, that makes me feel better.
Mama F’er: Oh, shit, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that.

Admissions Witch: Have you had anything to eat or drink since midnight?
Sid: No, ma’am.
Admissions Witch: When did you last eat?
Sid: 11:45 p.m. – four fried chickens and a coke.
Admissions Witch: Anything since then?
Sid: Nope
Admissions Witch: Take this form, take the gold elevators to the fourth floor.

Michelle, Coolest Nurse Ever: Can you tell me why you’re here today?
Sid: I heard it was Ladies Night.
Michelle CNE: You were misinformed.
Sid: So my ass is hanging out of this gown for nothing?
Michelle CNE: No, that’s just for our entertainment. Now why are you here?
Sid: I suppose you can take this lump out of the right side of my neck.
Michelle CNE: It says here it’s the left side.
Sid: I ain’t paying for this if he takes anything out of the left side.
Michelle CNE: Let me call him and have that corrected.
Sid: That would be swell.

Michelle CNE:
OK, I have it corrected. I need you to sign the surgery consent form.
Sid: (reading) So this gives him permission to slice my neck open.
Michelle CNE: Yes.
Sid: Cool. The last guy that did that to me didn’t even ask.
Michelle CNE: Now sign the anesthesia consent form:
Sid: (reading) This says I can die.
Michelle CNE: You won’t.
Sid: (reading more) It says I might remember stuff about the operation.
Michelle CNE: Yeah, that would suck.
Sid: Here ya’ go.

Michelle CNE: (starting IV) You have good veins.
Sid: I bet you say that to all your patients.

Michelle CNE: Transport should be coming to get you soon – you doing OK?
Sid: I could use a jelly donut.
Michelle, Worst Nurse Ever: No.

Transport Girl #1: Can you get up on this table for me?
Sid: Can you stop looking at my ass?

Anesthesiologist: Have you had general before?
Sid: Hell, yeah.
Anesthesiologist: Any problems?
Sid: Hell, no.
Anesthesiologist: Let’s rock n’ roll.

Unidentified Masked Woman #1:
We’re going to give you a sedative……
Sid: Zzzzzzzzzz…..

Recovery Nurse:
Hey, Sid.
Sid: Hey, recovery nurse lady.
Recovery Nurse Lady: How’s your pain?
Sid: Got any Demerol?
Recovery Nurse Lady: How about some fentanyl?
Sid: I hear it works better if you mix it with heroin.
Recovery Nurse Lady: I don’t think so, Sid.

Transport Girl #2: I’m going to take you back to your room now.
Sid: You’re not Phoebe Cates.
Transport Girl #2: And you’re not Brad Pitt.

Mrs. F’er: Hey, Sid.
Sid: How was your test?
Mrs. F’er: It went well.
Sid: Zzzzzzz….

Mrs. F’er: Hey, Sid.
Sid: How was your test?
Mrs. F’er: It went well.
Sid: Zzzzzzz….

Mrs. F’er: Hey, Sid.
Sid: How was your test?
Mrs. F’er: It went well.
Sid: I already asked you that, didn’t I?
Mrs. F’er: Yes.
Sid: Zzzzzzz……

Mrs. F’er: Hey, Sid.
Sid: How was your test?
Mrs. F’er: It went well.
Sid: I already asked you that, didn’t I?
Mrs. F’er: Yes.
Sid: Zzzzzzz……

Michelle CNE: Do you want something to drink?
Sid: Bombay Sapphire martini, up. Shaken, not stirred.
Michelle CNE: How about some juice, Mr. Bond?
Sid: Fine.
Michelle CNE: Here are some crackers if you feel like eating.
Sid: I love you, too.

Michelle CNE: So when you get home, blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah blah.
Sid: (blank stare)
Michelle CNE: Any questions?
Sid: (looks to Mrs. F’er)
Mrs. F’er: I’ve got it.

Michelle CNE: How’s the pain?
Sid: How about a T3 for the road?
Michelle CNE: I can do that.
Sid: I love you, you know.
Michelle CNE: I know. Go home now. And good luck.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Call Me Kitty VII - Oktober Fest is Oktober Best

Yes, it's a little soon for another Call Me Kitty installment, but again the season dictates. So if you enjoy the adventures of Dave, crack open a cold one and read on. If you don't, then crack open a cold one and go look at some porn or something.

“One can drink too much, but one never drinks enough."

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Gotthold rocks for an old German dead guy. Bet his drinking buddies made fun of his name. In any case, Gotthold has been brought forth from his old days writing dark comedic drama in the 18th century as he is hereby deemed the patron saint for the day. The final day of Oktoberfest. Why did Dave wait so long? Did the dark German beers frighten him? I think not. Did images of Chevy Chase in European Vacation flash through his mind? Of course not. Was it an irrational fear of being clubbed with a bratwurst and having the dark, spicy mustard splatter and stain his favorite white T-shirt? No. Through intensive psychotherapy he had overcome that fear many years before.

Nobody knows what made him wait until the last day, but it was clear from the yodels coming from the shower and the feather in his hat that today would be the day he would gather up his woman Iguacu and hit the annual fest. Iguacu was new to the country from her homeland of Brazil. Sue, as she liked to be called, had come to America to study dam building with the Army Corps of Engineers after her father was swept away in the currents of the river for which she was named and was tossed over the Iguacu Falls to his wet, messy death. She was distracted from her studies by our wide selection of single barrel bourbons and instead met Dave while sampling some at a local watering hole. Today, she would sample other beverages at another typical suburban homage to the great German festival running concurrently across the Atlantic....

Hoping to get an early start, as they had later commitments, they arrived for the 11 a.m. opening, only to find that it was really a noon opening. Explains the good parking spot. No problem - within eyeshot, a neighboring restaurant that should be open for lunch. Bonus points for knowing the local barkeep that can supply discounted screwdrivers before local ordinance allows. Rock on.

Before they know it, noon rolls around and with it another round before closing out the tab. Amazing how they add up. A generous tip for their old friend and a slightly lubed walk across the street into suburbia’s version of Bavaria.

Only a quick glance to the booths hawking food, drink, and wares was permitted as the first stop would be the ticket booth. Thirty samoleans for the first drop - again, time considerations, you know. Direct shot to the best beer tent - slightly off the beaten track to avoid imminent lines. Overly friendly banter with the staff to ensure they remember you when the amateur crowds begin growing. A quick mention that you are sure that your personal friend Dr. Peter Hellich, brewmaster of the Paulaner brewery in Munich, would be proud of the service and selection found today. After all it is his mastery of the Bavarian summer barleys and wheat grains, carefully malted and roasted, fermenting in the Alps water with the choicest of Hallertau hops is what you will be drinking today. Careful to leave the out the brewmasters exclusive yeast strains - the chicks just don’t dig that word. Tough enough as it is to get them to down a cold one.

Dave then impresses with his own mastery - choosing his beer much like a fine wine. Taking into consideration not only time, but the season, weather, time of day, and food, he requested a Hefe-Weizen. It was the obvious choice given that it was the only working tap at the tent. Add in the .5 l souvenir glass with discounted refills and the party continued. Armed with fresh beer, it was time to attack the midway. Nothing like being flung around the twisted arms and metal platforms of hastily set up carnival rides.

The red pods of the Tilt-A-Whirl beckoned first. The music at the rides that were childhood favorites were always more laid back than the metal tune streaming from wilder rides. Some cool blues, maybe Luther Allison, stung the air as they sipped and strutted their way to the spinning orbs. Can’t leave a beer one sitting out while one rides (could be hazardous to any unattended passing tots), so the remaining contents had to be dumped. Not on the ground, but into their guts. Quickly and efficiently. Tickets pass hands and a good car strategically chosen. With the German beer glass safely on the sideline, the debate begins... will a wilder ride be achieved with their own bony asses in the car or with a load of lard asses? Dave’s brief and unsuccessful study of theoretical and applied mechanics proved useless as the debate wound down and the ride wound up. Trying to throw your weight in the direction of the ever changing slope is part of the fun, and most of the ride was spent trying to coordinate their uncoordinated efforts. As soon as they thought they had it figured out, the ride slowed and their pod came to a pendular stop. They hopped out and found their beer glasses waiting patiently, yet empty, on the sideline. Rewarding them for their patience with another long pour of the Hefe, it become clear more tickets would be required.

With another $30 in pocket, it was back to the midway to the Vishnu-like arms that attracted them to the next ride. Although the beer level had gone well below the .5 l line on the glass, the remaining again had to be dumped to the gut as they approached the line. They set the empties to the sideline again, this time searching for a car on Vishnu’s arm of Padma and the glorious existence and hoping the punishing gada cars would not be running that day. The ride rocked and they didn’t hurl. Good sign, eh? The October sun couldn’t have been warmer, and the same wind that had given their hair a new texture brought the ever increasing smells of the fired up food tents.

But first a refill. The friendly vendor seemed to enjoy watching the couple’s itinerary for the fest develop as he poured another Hefe. Dave exchanged some tickets for the fresh brews and walked off with a loud, “Prost!” to anyone in the vicinity of the tent.

Silver foil trays of brats were the obvious choice for Dave, but Sue wanted to search around. Although she was enjoying the beers that day, brats did not appeal to her despite her increasingly numbed senses. In fact she was even more adamant about finding something more to her liking. A less traditional booth served up some french fries more to her liking as Dave shook his head and went for the condiments. Setting down his beer and shades, he made sure the brat was evenly covered with the spicy mustard and sauerkraut. Sue caught up and got a good supply of ketchup before he was finished and led the way toward the sounds of a nearby tuba. She disappeared into the main tent followed by Dave and together they grabbed a table near the dance floor. Several families polkaed - odd combinations of three generations did their version of the traditional dance. It provided excellent entertainment while face stuffing, and Dave was wishing he had worn his lederhosen. His mind drifted to his fantasy trip to the Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame and the words of America’s polka king Frankie Yankovic... “Polkas make you forget your troubles... it’s the happiest music this side of heaven.” Not being of Slavonic heritage, Dave had always kept this secret obsession to himself. Dave had not noticed that Sue had wandered off and wasn’t sure if it was her return or the chill that came over him as he imagined a young Walter Ostanek listening to the old Yankovic records as he began his journey to becoming Canada’s own polka king. In any case, the food was finished and Sue was ready to drag him back out to the midway. Today he would not dance. But after grabbing the fresh beer Sue had just returned with, he raised his glass to the band with a knowing glance and ventured back into the bright September Sunday. Only the shock of the sun brought him back to reality as he searched his head for his sunglasses.....