Frontier Former Editor

May 10, 2006

This is a test . . .

Filed under: humor, journalism — Frontier Former Editor @ 10:19 pm

I told one of my blogging acquaintances I’d post this for critique purposes,

Certain names and places are redacted to protect my anonymity.

Enjoy, or tolerate.

I should apologize to Dave —, our sportswriter, for a simple act with profoundly disturbing implications.
Come to think of it, I should apologize to our staff writers Angie —- and Jim ——- too, for committing the same act last week.
It was so repulsive that it forced Dave out of his office for several minutes on Monday. I felt cruel and embarrassed over what I had done.
And when I performed the same act before Angie and Jim, the collective look of shame and horror in their faces left me in doubt of my humanity and decency.
It hasn’t been specified as an offense in our employee handbook yet, but all things come to pass.
I sang.
Some people have a vocal gift so pure and clear that when they sing, it transcends any other sound and uplifts the soul.
Some have a rough, edgy cast to their voices that plumbs the depth of one’s feelings and carries the listener to greater and greater heights of soul and emotion.
Then there’s me, whose singing voice is automatically a class I felony in Virginia. Punishable by life imprisonment with zero chance of parole or even singing lessons, because the law already knows that I’ll be a repeat offender.
But I failed to show that same compassion and respect for human life last week when I regaled Jim and Angie with the tale of how I met Tiny Tim.
Not the little guy of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” More like the shambling, shaggy-haired, big-toothed, ukulele-wielding apparition which brought you “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.”
That story was simple enough – my wife was a reporter for the ——– ——- ——- when we got married, and I tagged along when she went to the now-extinct Western Hills Motel in ——- Virginia to interview the ringmaster of the one-and-a-half tractor-trailer Great American Circus.
The ringmaster? One Mr. Tim, or Tiny to his friends.
We knocked on the door of room 13 and, in short order, a muffled falsetto came from behind the door: “Just a moment!”
And then Tim’s insanely merry face appeared in the open door. Whisked into room 13, we were amazed as Tiny – we were friends in a millisecond – offered us a veritable feast of saltines, spray cheese and cheap beer.
Jim and Angie seemed to be enjoying the story, so I continued telling how Tim still had feelings for Miss Vicki and how he saw the Great American Circus as a harbinger of better days to come.
I held Jim and Angie’s attention as I described how the ukulele suddenly appeared, and how Tim said he had developed a fondness for many old tunes that carried imagery of the Appalachians.
Just as I had my audience on the verge of applause, I made that fatal mistake.
I tried to imitate Tim’s warbling as I sang: “In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginiaaaaa, on the trail of the Lonesome Piiiine.”
It was too late. I’d violated every scrap of humanity in my being. Jim and Angie laughed nervously, but I knew the damage was done when their eyes showed the emptiness and fear I had inspired.
Okay, maybe I put them to sleep. But it was an inexcusable act, and my callousness to their suffering led me to another atrocity this week.
As Dave sat, plugging away at his sports pages, I couldn’t resist the urge to belt out a little Frankie Laine – the artiste behind “Rawhide” and a host of other western themes for the big and little screens. And to compound my sin, I picked Laine’s rendition of the theme from “Blazing Saddles.”
“I have to go for a few minutes,” Dave said quietly, with a deep undercurrent of trauma.
Maybe one day Dave will talk to me again, if only to say . . . . shut up.


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