so this is a thing i am doing.

So I guess I’m a guest columnist in the student newspaper now…
(I say “I guess” because I just now submitted my first column, and the editor may very well come up with a politely vague excuse as to why there’s no space for it this week…)

She approached me about writing a humor column in The Mirror a couple of weeks ago, and I suggested an improv-style column might be fun, where students write in suggestions and I make up a column based on that. (Totally ripping off The Mystery Hour improvised monologue…)

I got a list of suggestions from The Mirror staff to get me started:

-Pumpkin Spice Latte
-Harvest Moon and Snoopy
-Eating pizza in a Gondala
-Randomly singing in downtown Springfield
-Jack-o-latern apples (versus pumpkins…)
-Flying south for the winter
-Mac v. PC
-Candid Camera (imagining in your mind…)
-Cases of Diet Dr. Pepper
-Getting lost (somewhere random)
-Mentally creating a marriage proposal
-Building a haunted house

ps–I feel comfortable telling you all of this because
a) those of you who read my blog don’t read the mirror.
b) those who read the mirror don’t read my blog.
c) even if you/they did, i don’t imagine too many complaints about column spoilers. Maybe I’m wrong.

So I chose “Randomly singing in downtown Springfield,” and here’s what came out. (Eek! I’m nervous about it. This isn’t something I would’ve ever agreed to do as a student. Too worried about what people would think. Now that doesn’t bother me, I just don’t want to be unfunny. Kind of an issue with a humor column, no?) Here we go:

This suggestion first makes me think of one thing: sweet browns. Stick with me, and I’ll explain why. My bucket list includes a few exciting and improbable experiences: to slow dance in a spotlight on a gym floor to “When a Man Loves a Woman,” to have David Sedaris write a jacket review for my first book, and to be a part of a large, impromptu public dance number. Wouldn’t that be amazing? One minute you’re walking downtown, talking to someone about how awesome Bistro Market is, and the next minute you’re belting out “Food, Glorious Food!” from Oliver (or some other situation-appropriate show tune), doing perfectly choreographed dance moves with 100 strangers.

Wouldn’t that just be a delight? (If your answer to that question is “no,” I may not have much to offer you this week. My guess is you don’t like Glee, either. Come back next week, and I’ll try not to alienate you. But seriously, isn’t Sue Sylvester the most deliciously wicked television character of all time?)

I say this suggestion reminds me of sweet browns because I was at Gailey’s enjoying some brunch deliciousness with friends last weekend when a particularly catchy and kitschy song came on (I think it was something by Billy Joel). One of them mentioned this idea of random public singing, and I was glad to learn I’m not the only one who thinks this is a great idea.

Maybe what’s most appealing about this straight-out-of-a-movie moment is the absolute and unbridled joy of it. You can’t be sad while you’re doing a jazz square. You can’t harbor a grudge against someone when you’re harmonizing. I’m not saying group musical numbers could solve all the world’s ills, but consider the 2006 Oscar winner for Best Live Action Short Film, West Bank Story. This musical portrays rival falafel joints—one Israeli owned, one Palestinian—against each other, where Kosher King and Hummus Hut are a Middle East microcosm. I won’t spoil the ending, but let’s just say those Glee kids may be onto something with their musical and multicultural harmony.

That’s what “randomly singing in downtown Springfield” makes me think of: sweet browns and my entirely improbable dream of public musicals. So follow your dreams, students. See you next week.

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5 thoughts on “so this is a thing i am doing.

  1. wow. as a student from yesteryear who used to read The Mirror, i’m sorry to say that it’s incredibly unfair for the editor to allow you to submit such a glorious article to this publication (although i did see it at the mudhouse on my last venture to SFD and was quite impressed with this savvy circulation addition). it’d be like selling sweet browns at burger king — you know they want them, but they make the whopper look that much less appealing. i’m so glad we’re friends…and that we met dsedaris together so that when he writes his review for you in the near future, i can brag.

  2. I meant to comment on this earlier. If you EVER get the opportunity to do some kind of public dance number, PLEASE invite me to participate! It is only one of my greatest wishes in life. And I’ll do the same for you, but knowing who your friends are, I bet you’ll hear of a chance first. :)

  3. Amanda Jane, you’ll be the first one I call. (Even if we have to wait until either of our weddings, this dream will come true.)

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