I be a good righter.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


A couple of years ago, I took a course on creating comedic characters. It was a really fun class, more so in the first weeks than in the latter. But, that was because the first weeks had Bill, a guy who'd say completely insane things. Like, after reading a few pages of a classmate's script about two sisters (both of whom, I believe, were married and straight) he asked: "Which one's the lesbian?" I've often wondered if the teacher brought Bill in to break the ice. In my heart, I know he's real.


In this class, one of our major assignments was to write about the quirks of our friends and family. This was my favorite part. Not just because I essentially got to gossip about my friends and family... but, because the teacher loved my people the bestest, so he read mine out as an example of how to write comedy. Which is interesting, because I don't write comedy, and I was just transcribing the actions of my friends and family, without embellishment. I guess I'm lucky, because I know some wacky folks?

The star of this assignment was my dad. He's still the star, if you ask me. This was not more true than yesterday, when he phoned me up. Now, a little background: He's always in a hurry. We've never had a phone conversation longer than, say, about one minute. Usually at the end of the conversation, just after he's asked me how I'm doing, and I'm in the middle of answering. Usually, I'm just saying "Fine, how are --" when he'll interrupt:

DAD: BooM, I'm really jammed up. You around this weekend?

Apparently, he does the same thing to my sister.

So yesterday, we had a record FOUR MINUTE CONVERSATION! FOUR MINUTES PEOPLE! At the end of which I was completely in tears from laughing so hard. Maybe you'll find it funny, maybe it's a "you gotta know him," kind of thing. You decide:

DAD: BooM, dad here.

ME: I know, dad.

DAD: Listen, you watch Survivor?

ME: Nope.

DAD: I've learned some major life lessons from that show. I think you should start watching it.

ME: I watch a lot of TV, dad...

DAD: Look, there's this guy. Everyone loves him.

ME: On Survivor...?

DAD (sigh): Yes. So, this guy, everyone loves him. But, the thing is, he's smart. He knows the score. And, when he got booted off, he said his strategy was, "Trust no one, love everyone." I think that's the most profound thing I've ever heard.

ME: Trust no one.

DAD: You really can't even trust yourself.

The conversation continued with me trying desperately not to let him hear me cracking up, and him earnestly trying to tell me how important Survivor is. The conversation ended predictably, with him being jammed up and needing to go (after imparting Survivor's wisdom, of course).

So, I call my sister and explain that our father's gone off the deep end. We're crying we're laughing so hard. So, she calls him up.

SIS: Dad, I need to talk to you. I'm just having a hard time trusting people these days, you know?

DAD: Who?

(Note: this is a loaded "who?" It's not about him being worried that my sister and I have been talking. This is about him truly being worried that she can't trust anyone.)

SIS: Friends, you know.

DAD: Well, it's times like this that I turn to the bible. (beat). Have you ever seen a show called Survivor?

At this point, my sister has to put the phone down because she's laughing so hard. When she finally composes herself, and gets back to the conversation, dad's still waxing poetic on Jeff Probst. Or, possibly Mark Burnett. Who knows? Their conversation ends with him being really jammed up, and him wondering if she'll be around this weekend...

Dad still has no clue that we think he's sweetly insane. Nor that I've been laughing so hard I've been crying since the conversation. And, maybe, you know, you don't find it nearly as funny as I do. That my dad either turns to the bible OR to the wisdom of Survivor...

It's Staffing Season. The days when the stress gets too much to bear. The days when I find myself hitting the gym about three times a day. I've taken up golfing. Hubby and I have signed up for ballroom dancing classes (this was in exchange for me learning golf for him). I've taken to going to ballet classes at night... all because I can't sit still during this stress.

However, it's in these times, as my father would tell us, we can rest assured, because Survivor is there, in all its infinite wisdom.

In the words of that one guy who got voted off the island: Trust no one, love everyone.