My wife and I went to see a concert this past weekend. Well, we, along with about 65 thousand others, all creeping along a two-lane road toward the parking lot of the NFL stadium in which the concert was held.
I wonder how many boxes of Cuban cigars we all purchased for oil company executives from all the gas we burned as we idled for over an hour during the last mile to the gate?
But I digress. As we sat and waited, it seemed as if my old Muse was in the car beside ours and whispered a story idea to me with our windows down in the 90-degree heat that reminded me of the good old EC Comics I used to enjoy so much. It’s been a while since he visited, and this is what he suggested…
When Barry Martin walked out onto the small stage, he was surprised at how bright the spotlights were. The patrons seated at the tables were no more than silhouettes, but at least there seemed to be a small crowd on hand.
“Hey everyone, thanks for coming out to the Asylum tonight. I’m Barry Martin, and it’s my first time here. Whadda ya say, let’s have some fun!
As you can see, I’m old. I get reminded of that every day when I watch TV. They play these non-stop commercials for Medicare Advantage insurance all day long, using spokesmen like Joe Namath, George Foreman, and Jimmie JJ Walker. You know why? Because we recognize them. Because we’re old! And if those don’t get you feeling old enough, along come the ones for final expense insurance because they just know we have one foot in the grave already, don’t we?
OK fine, I’m old. When I was growing up, we didn’t have these internet influencers and all that crap. No, we had fads. Remember those? The Pet Rock? Oh, another big one was the Mood Ring, the ring that changes color based on your mood. I didn’t need a mood ring. I have a mood face. We’re constantly hearing people say that 60 is the new 40, but the cop that pulled me over on the way here did not seem to share that opinion.”
Nothing, he thought. Better kick it up some, buddy, or this’ll be your last gig here.
“Now that I’ve lived through a pandemic, I understand why all those Italian Renaissance paintings were of fat, naked people lying on couches all day. Scary stuff, right? If I would have had a choice when my turn arrived, I would have chosen the Pfizer vaccine. Remember, Pfizer is the company that makes Viagra. If they can raise the dead, they can certainly cure the living! It really made me appreciate my friends, though. Good friends are harder to find than toilet paper in 2020. I even tried some of this new age stuff during that time. My wife does Yoga, so I joined her for a session. I only mastered one pose, though. The Downward Facing Chalk Outline, it was called. I got in touch with my inner self last week, and I didn’t like that at all. In fact, I asked my wife to never buy single ply toilet paper again! I even went to see a chiropractor the other day. Now, I stand corrected.”
Barry was starting to sweat now, and not from the lights. Not even titters of polite laughter from the room.
“Does anybody remember the movie, ‘Field of Dreams’? It’s the one where Kevin Costner played a farmer who cut down all his crops and built a baseball field because he heard a voice telling him, ‘If you build it, they will come’. I wonder if the guy that invented the vibrator heard the same voice? Speaking of such, I will never understand women. A woman will profess to fear and hate all things related to horror, yet her favorite position is ‘Zombie Victim’, where she lies back and gets eaten. Ah yes, good old 69, a.k.a. the meal for two with the very hairy view. Talking about women, I believe all the women who’ve had breast implants should create their own political party. Instead of Democratic or Republican, they can call it the Tupperware Party.”
Jesus, I’m working harder than an ugly stripper up here, and nothing, he thought.
“You have to be careful about what you say these days. For example, If I call a dog a Fur Baby, everyone thinks it’s cute, but if I call a child a Skin Baby, they think I’m depraved and hideous. And all this social media stuff is an absolute friggin’ nightmare. Hoping to avoid conflict when browsing social media is like jogging barefoot in a dog park and hoping you don’t step in shit. Me, I’d rather just visit a local bar and talk to people. The regulars at my neighborhood bar were so happy to see me return the other night that they invited me to be the goalie on their dart team! I’ve had people ask me if alcoholics run in my family, but I tell them nah, they just stumble around and break shit, that’s all. I used to enjoy when they’d all get lit and try singing nursery rhymes. ‘Old MacDonald had Tourette’s, E, I, E, I, fuck!’ “
I give up, he thought. Let’s wrap this up and move on.
“Hey folks, I’m Barry Martin, and thanks for coming out. If you enjoyed the show, visit my web site at BM dot funny, and no, that’s not the one about enjoying your bowel movements. I’ll leave you with a thought from the great George Carlin, who told us that there might not be an I in team, but there certainly is in Individuality, Independence, and Integrity, so always be yourselves and…”
Barry stopped, his mouth agape. The spotlights had dimmed, and the houselights had come up, and now that he could see the audience, he saw they were all corpses, in varying states of decomposition and rot.
“What the fuck…”, he whispered, hearing footsteps behind him. He turned to face a large man, dressed in a tuxedo smiling broadly.
“Nice set, Barry. I’m sure all your guests enjoyed it.”
“Guests? What the fuck are you talking about, and who the hell are you?”
“Don’t you recognize them, Barry? Look, your former wives are all together at that table right up front, there’s the group you embezzled from when you worked for that brokerage, and…”
“But…how? I mean, they’re all…”
“Dead? Well, of course they are. Many by their own hand, courtesy of having known you, Barry. And now, they’ve all come to witness your last performance and welcome you to…”
“Last? No, no, I have a gig upstate next week.”
“You had that gig, Barry. Not any longer, I fear. Do you remember that joke you used to tell about how someone would tell you to go to hell, and you said you couldn’t because the devil had a restraining order against you?’
“Y-yeah, sure, what about it?”
“Congratulations, Barry. I’ve lifted my order, and we’re all here to welcome you to Hell, a spot you’ve worked very hard to earn.”
May 24, 2022