James Lipton and I were seated inside a dark auditorium. It looked no different than any other interview he had conducted, except that it was me on stage with him. I was being interviewed.
Normally I wouldn’t be thrown by such a thing as I am relatively quick on my feet. If you can handle the bad jokes and the non-sequiturs I can usually keep up with anything you throw at me. Or so I have always thought, maybe I was wrong. I did have one reader write me to say that he doesn’t think that I am funny.
Then again this particular reader is so anal retentive it would take a team of monkeys to remove the impaction. Ok, not funny, but I am tired and allowed to be less funny, as opposed to just funny. Funny garners a smile, less funny gets a smirk and almost funny receives a courtesy laugh.
Don’t worry if you are unable to keep up, Cliff Notes and a complete transcript will be available following the show.
So there I sat, trying to be cool and to not just be funny, or a little funny, I wanted to be “snorting milk-through-the-nose funny” and was not getting it done. The questions were flying at me.
- What is your favorite word? Monkey
- What is your least favorite word? chunk
- What turns you on? Electricity
- What turns you off? A lack of electricity
- What sound do you love? The Ocean
- What sound do you hate? Vacuum Cleaner
- What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Professional Athlete
- What profession would you not like to participate in? Garbage Man
After each question Lipton would sigh and roll his eyes, the audience was restless. I am fairly certain that I could hear someone snoring. I desperately tried to come up with a funny story, or a witty insight, I felt so pedestrian.
Lipton asked me how I felt about Cookie Monster. I must have had a blank stare on my face as he repeated the question, “Did I steal his cookies?” As the shock spread I squirmed in my seat. My discomfort grew as suddenly my son stood before me asking if the accusations were true. “It is not nice to take things without asking he said.”
I sputtered out a lame response, “Cookie has no regard for other people’s property. He is the last person to accuse anyone. And besides he is fat!”
“It is not nice to call people names, daddy.” As I hung my head my son began to cry. I had hurt his feelings over a stupid puppet. I could feel the sweat dripping down my back, the lights of the auditorium stage radiating heat. I was in hell, a very strange and bizarre hell that only grew more strange.
There was a loud noise and I looked up to see that I was standing in a ring. I was involved in my own private kumite against a group of characters from children’s television.
I didn’t have long to consider my options as I was immediately assaulted by Barney. I took the purple dinosaur and punched him the snout. As he held his wounded nose I worked on his body. With a mighty blow I laid him out on the mat. He was immediately replaced by Dora the Explorer and Boots, her pet monkey.
It didn’t take but a minute for me to give them the same treatment that Barney received.
The Wiggles entered the ring. I punched Murray in the mouth and took his guitar, which I then smashed over the heads of Anthony and Greg. Jeff took off running and the ring was empty.
They were followed by all of the Teletubbies. It only took a moment for me to snatch Tinky-Winky’s purse from him and then use it to knock out him and the others. I chuckled as they were replaced by more characters, all of them would fall, I could not be defeated and then reality hit me in the mouth.
I was incredibly fatigued and there was an endless line of fighters waiting for me. I needed a plan, a way to escape, the only question was how. Before I could come up with an answer a new challenger strode into the ring.
A furry red devil named Elmo. We circled each other like gladiators searching for a weakness we could exploit. The little monster was clever, a cagey veteran of many wars. I knew that this would be hard. Sweat poured down my forehead and into my eyes, blurring my vision.
With blinding speed he took advantage of this and began pounding my head, working my kidneys. I was losing to a muppet, I couldn’t go down this way. With a roar I grabbed him and began to rain blows down upon him, over and over I struck him and then I realized that he was laughing at me.
That was when I realized that he was trying to use the Rope-a-dope against me. It all became clear to me. I knew that my strength would eventually fail me and that without a new plan I would fall, a victim of muppetry.
With an effort I managed to scoop him up. I held him by the throat at arms length. I threatened to send him to live with Mr. Hooper, unless I was given a guarantee of safe passage to the Island of Sodor and transportation on Thomas The Tank Engine.
My demands were met by laughter and from the middle of the crowd a voice called out to me, it was the Kingpin, Grover. Grover the cute loveable blue muppet with the gay tendencies began to lecture me on my lack of leverage. He explained in detail what would happen if I didn’t give up.
The situation was dire. I knew that he spoke the truth, but still I searched for a way out. Suddenly there was a roar, the ground shook and a blinding light pierced the previously darkened auditorium.
A voice cried out to me, “Jack, we are here.” As my vision returned I looked up to see that Max and the Wild Things were next to me. I was rescued.
Strong arms lifted me up and I was carried out a thousand questions came to mind. Where was James Lipton, when would the show air, could I get a copy, was this all on television, would I be invited back and then nothing. I was asleep, exhausted from the battles of the day.
I don’t remember anything else from the dream, but when I woke up I did notice something. Lying next to me was my son’s stuffed animal, Cookie Monster. He looked at me with a big goofy smile and googly eye, mocking me as if he knew a secret that no one else did.