Sunday, December 27, 2009

Trust me, it was funny

I've been contemplating what to write about my church's (www.valleycc.org) recent children's dinner theatre adventure, in which I participated as the father of the girl who has a dream about her father being the owner of a camel lot (Get it? Camel Lot? Oh, it only gets better from there.) in Bethlehem on the night of the Very First Christmas.

I could tell you all about the six-year-old shepherd turning to the audience and, in Munchkin exasperation, clearly intoning, "She didn't let me finish my line!"

I could describe the round of applause that the lead pastor received just for walking on stage in a bathrobe.

I could share the perfect sense of joy when the preschoolers were the cast for a nativity scene and Mary REALLY preferred that Joseph hold the baby-doll Jesus. ("Thwack!")

I could attempt to do all those things, but mere words on a page could not imbue to you the feeling that encompassed the room when the only person to totally forget a line in the whole show was also the only one with professional theatre experience.

Yeah...that's right...I absolutely "went up." Didn't have the inkling of a clue as to what words ought to have been springing forth from my mouth. That in itself would have been satisfying enough for the huddled masses (in a neener-neener sort of way), but the thing that lit the fuse to the Bomb of Jocularity was my pre-teen acting partner looking me in the eye, circling her hand, palm up, and leading me on with the first words of my line: "I finally realized..."

The place exploded...but I guess you had to be there.

Love and joy comfort you...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Good Christian men, rejoice!

I went caroling a week and a half ago. The reason I'm finally writing about it now is that it has taken me this long to recover.

This was not a pleasant stroll through the neighborhood with a group of guys and gals, getting invited in for hot chocolate and cookies. No. This was a group of 11 men on a mission to spread good cheer, like it or not.

You've got to understand: When left to their own devices, men carol the way they shop. You know what I mean, don't you? When women shop, it's an opportunity to leisurely examine all the wonderful options available...preferably with a friend or two so that it can also be a social event. But men? When men shop, they've got a list (that they've already checked twice) and they know exactly in which store they are going to purchase the items on said list. In. Out. Done. No browsing, no comparing fine details, and as little time away from the television remote as possible.

Operation Manly Caroling was the same way. We met at the church building, piled into three vehicles, and were off to remind all in our path of the sweet baby Jesus asleep in the hay on a silent night in a little town. We drove to a series of houses, though only the event organizers in the first vehicle knew to whom the houses belonged...and I'm not really sure I didn't just lie by saying that they knew.

There was someone home at only half of the houses. None of them knew we were coming (so, of course, they didn't bake a cake...or cookies...or make hot chocolate). And we actually got chased away from one house with a threat that the police would be called...by the neighbors...when they heard the shotgun blasts that were about to happen if we didn't "get [our] fa-la-las off [his] property."

We should have known it was going to be an interesting night at our very first stop: a nursing home. We strolled in to the sun room with smiles on our faces and a "hope you don't mind if we sing a few Christmas carols" on our lips. And to tell you the truth, it looked like we were immediately having an evangelistic effect, because a woman started praying right away. At least I think she was praying. I know she closed her eyes (rather tightly), turned her head away from us, and intoned, "Oh, God..."

The real clue that we maybe weren't getting off on the right foot was when someone turned up the TV so they could hear "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." An employee turned it back down and started moving the gal closer to the set. Apparently, the quiz show fan wasn't used to getting moved around and yelled, "What are you doing?"

"These men have come to sing some Christmas carols, and so--"

"I don't care what they came to do. Leave me alone and give me back the clicker!"

* * * * * * *
I found a new hero that night. She had bluish hair...and a decent right hook.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tootsie lovers, unite!

Sometimes, life just piles up on you until you get crushed by the sheer mass of it all.

It's not enough that everything from poor retail sales to less-than-glorious church offerings can be blamed on The Recession.

It's not enough that Chicago's song, "Dialogue (Part I & II)," especially the part about "does it make you angry, the way war is draggin' on," is still appropriate thirty-seven years later. (For a vintage video of a live performance, click here.) [However, it IS nice that the song ends on an optimistic note...several notes, actually.)

It's not even enough that Jessica Biel is still a member of the Screen Actor's Guild, in spite of incontrovertible evidence that she cannot, in fact, act.

No, gentle readers, all of this pales in comparison to the one thing I recently discovered that, to this very moment, has me looking over my shoulder to see if the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are approaching.

Tootsie Roll Pops now come in Pomegranate.

Pomegranate!

This disturbs me for two reasons:
  1. Who decided that Grape, Cherry, Chocolate, Raspberry, and Orange weren't good enough anymore? Was there some kind of secret poll taken that I missed out on? (Okay, I'll admit that Chocolate leaves a little to be desired on the flavor scale. In the candy drawer under my Grandma Roth's refrigerator, they were always the last to be taken; along with the jawbreakers that had escaped their wrappings and rolled around collecting dust, lint, and roach spittle.)
  2. Who are the fine folks at Tootsie trying to kid? Do they think that we'll think that adding pomegranate flavoring to their high fructose corn syrup actually makes a TRP, you know, healthy?!? What's next, Acai Berry? Broccoli?
But hey, maybe we should take a cue from Chicago and decide that if individuals get together, they can have a positive influence on the world. I'm thinking...Tootsie Roll Pops with the heavenly flavor of Dr. Pepper.

We can make it happen. Yeah! We can make it happen!