Monday, March 26, 2001

The Wolves are Swiffing My Sheep Away

"I don't have a sense of humor. I have a sense of the ridiculous but I don't have a sense of humor."
-Martha to husband George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?'

I prayed to the immoral commie God to end things here and now and quickly. Suddenly a chunk the size of a Volvo plopped down on my heady noggin. Doing my best Chicken Little impersonation I began to warn others that the sky was falling and that I had been "Mir-dered." They looked at me as if I was a dangerous fugitive that had been afflicted with either the Mad Cow or foot in mouth diseases (with a mild case of Dutch Elm thrown in to boot). "Fools," I said munching down another tainted cheeseburger...

They came and got me and took me away. It wasn't exactly a time out but more like down time. I met plenty of new friends in my crafts class.

The ever increasing number of people that now know me intimately would testify that if I have one love in life it's the theater. Those in the know know I love nothing more than watching a bunch of people up on stage recreating someone's skewed view of life almost as much as I enjoy talking to furniture.

Tuesday after a long day at the Capitol I braved the Uptown traffic along with my young colleagues, the quixotic soon to be law school bound esquire and the kickboxing instructor Australian alum, to try and score some tickets to the Guthrie's presentation of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" As we were standing in line for rush tickets we struck up a conversation with some graduating Macalester students who reminded me that any time I think things are bad now, all I have to do is remember those dreary days of my senior year in college. Good 'ole' freaking Mac indeed.

We got the last three tickets available (call it fate) turned in by nongoing attendees. Two of us had excellent seats a few rows back from the stage, the third literally sat in the final row of the balcony next to a woman that my colleague said was "desperate" what with her inappropriate sympathizing laugh at all the wrong moments. We rotated our seats following the two intermissions.

Edward Albee's play is as searing as it is a barrel full of discomforting chortles. It reminded me of every weekend at my house since the late 1940's. The play reeks of alcoholism as an dysfunctional older academia oriented couple corrupt the new professor and his wife on a single reflective, game playing early morning night.

The Guthrie's production starring Patrick Stewart (Star Trek's Cap'n Picard) as the meek history professor/wannabe author (Richard Burton's role) was exceedingly true to the emotional core of the mind f@#king story. None of the play's four characters can quite be straight with the others. Mercedes Ruehl's Martha struck the exact right unsophisticated non-academically educated, but seriously streetwise tone needed for the fabric of the story to mesh.

The moral of the story has to do with how any one of us that has to deal with a unacceptable loss can delude ourselves into thinking there might exist an alternate reality if only we turn our eyes to what is actually going on around us. Or in other words there is a rather large gap between a fantasy and a dream.

The play asks what is worse- lying to one's self or lying to another who in a discomforting moment allows an admission of love slipped out? Stewart and Ruehl were particularly effective in articulating the dynamic between a couple who know each other too well but never can quite come to terms with how hurting the other is justification for one's own self inflicted wounds. There's a booze steeped cruelty that captures the first drink joking cruelty to the acerbic down to the bone, defenses down nothing to lose moment when you know what you are saying hurts the one who loves you most and you almost find some amusement in that.

After coming home from a rather intense evening I swiffed. Call it a distraction or call it a commercial break. Years ago when I shared a room with my brother I noticed that on the Neil Simon formula I fell far more on the Felix end of the spectrum compared to my brother's Oscar Madison type tendencies. When my roommate took on a feline nature it became quickly apparent to me that there was no victory in the fight against the amount of hair he shed. So now my home d├ęcor has sort of a short gray haired texture to it.

Not that I don't have my fits of cleanliness now and then. My divine friend complete with child got me hooked on the joys of swiffing. I heartily recommend this new product. IT'S BETTER THAN MOPPING! And it makes cleaning seem like play. The last time I was so won over by a product was when my parents gave me a litter box for Mr. Max that allows you to sift the litter through leaving clumps to easily dispose of like little pieces of a Russian satellite.

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