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A dramatic interlude: I’m ready for my close up

Sometimes, I seek to uplift y’all with The Daily Dose; to give you a medicinal tonic to inoculate you against the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” But I would remiss, if I ignored my need, my heartfelt desire, to get under your skin now and again.

Today is a dose of irritation, an emetical, not hermetical despite what spell check wants me to write for you, medicine. I’m irritated and need a break from studying romance novels, which right now make me want to vomit (see comment about emetics above). I still think the romance genre is worthy of study, but much like the Bible, to take it seriously means I have to swallow a lot of shit- and today, I have an overly sensitive gag reflex. On a day like today, it could choke the life out of me. On a day like today, I could gleefully cast a thousand books onto a funeral pyre.

Today, you see, I am an Ethel Merman impersonator playing Caliban dressed in drag as Titania in an Albee-eque musical by Beckett. I wait in the wings for my cue, watching the other performers drop lines, miss cues, misplace props. Scenery falls over. Half the audience falls asleep; half the audience leaves before intermission and half continuously boo through the second act. This, oddly enough, is all in the script. Yet somehow knowing that is not comforting.

The show must go on. “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close up.”

Are you ready to go on stage? Are you angry about the part you’ve been cast in? Do you plan to ignore the script you’ve been given, hoping that you’re up to winging it?

We are caught in a “tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Yet, meaning is what we make. That may be the only truth I believe in without reservation. We make meaning and mean our makings. I do not know what to make out of that. Excuse me, I hear my cue- or the closest thing I have to a cue in this blasted and botched tragicomedy.

I step on stage, all the various characters I ever have played hang on my dress, a ghost train dragging behind me. If this were Shakespeare, I would now deliver a passionate soliloquy. I would move you, and I have moved you, to tears. But this is Beckett mimicking Albee and mocking Stoppard, so I stand on stage with my ghost trained dress, and I stammer and stutter. I wait for you to make your entrance, for you to deliver your lines, to deliver me from suffering alone the burning fumes of the limelight.

You find all the good lines have been taken. We are left to stammer and stutter together. The play is the thing. The only thing I can be sure we have are these moments we share when we struggle to improv some halfway decent dialogue.

Me: Have you been . . . waiting long?

You: I just got here.

Me: You just got here?

You: I just got here . . .I think?

Me: You think you just got here?

You: I think.

Me: You just got here.

You: Yes.

Me: (pause) Waiting long?

You: I just got

You and Me: Here.

Me: Yes, I know. But before that?

You: Before waiting.

Me: Is there a before waiting?

You: I await your answer.

Me: Don’t hold your breath.

You: I am waiting.

Me: How long?

You: Long enough?

Me: Long enough?

You: Yes, long enough.

Me: Long enough for what?

You: I’m not sure. I await your answer.

Me: I’m ready for my close up.

You: Is that when you will answer?

Me: I will answer for many things. I will answer for my close up.

You: How close?

Me: Close.

You: Close enough?

Me: I’m not sure. What do you think?

You: (pause) I’m not sure. I await your answer.

Me: I’m not sure. What do you think?

You: I’m not sure. I await your answer.

Me: I’m not sure. What do you think?

You: I’m not sure. I await your answer.

Me: I’m not sure. What do you think?

You: I’m not sure. I await your answer.

Me: I’m not sure. What do you think?

You: I’m not sure. I await your answer.

Me: I’m not sure. What do you think?

You: I’m not sure. I await your answer.

Me: I’m not sure. What do you think?

You: I’m not sure. I await your answer.

Me: I’m not sure. What do you think?

You: I’m not sure. I await your answer.

Me: All right, I’m ready for my close up.

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