GK: I've lived longer than most of you so you have to listen to me when I give you good advice and tell you that it's important to be cheerful. My mother told me that. She said, "Three things, my son: never tell lies, never go into management, and always try to be cheerful." Two out of three isn't bad. You've got to----

Look for the silver lining

Whene'er a cloud appears in the blue,

Remember somewhere the sun is shining,

And so the best thing to do is make is shine for you.....

GK: Having a cheerful attitude is so important when life seems dark or difficult, sometimes----

TR (CLINTON): I been trying that all week, smiling and being positive, and just look at all these bite marks on my ankles.

GK: It's been a tough week for you, hasn't it, Mr. President----

TR (CLINTON): Just miserable. I'm thinking maybe some kind of foreign tour might be a good idea. Go to Iraq, Iran ---- maybe me and the Pope ---- go together --- try to take people's minds off this thing.

GK: It's rough, isn't it.

TR (CLINTON): They subpoenaed my dog this week.

GK: Really----

TR (CLINTON): They subpoenaed Buddy. And he wasn't even there.

GK: He wasn't where?

TR (CLINTON): He wasn't even around when all of these things didn't take place.

GK: Listen. You just do your best to keep your spirits up, sir.

And look for the silver lining

Whene'er a cloud appears in the blue,

Remember somewhere is a grand jury,

And so the best thing to do is only say what's true.....

GK: I had a tough week too ---- had lunch the other day with my agent Leonard who has not been returning my calls lately ----- I was all set to go and (FAST FOOTSTEPS, DARTING AROUND, RUSTLING PAPERS, RUMMAGING IN JUNK) --- couldn't find the car keys - --- looked everywhere ---- all my pants pockets ---- drawers ---- looked in the dish where I keep the spare change (GLASS CRASH) ---- Oh no---- why does this happen to me? looked in my coat.....behind the couch cushions....on my desk---- (CLOTH RIP)---- Oh my gosh --- - tore my pants ----- I was late for lunch---- finally (RUNNING FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPEN, CLOSE, OUTSIDE, TRAFFIC PASSING) had to go outside on the street ----- Taxi! (SCREECH OF BRAKES. DOOR OPEN, CLOSE. PULL AWAY) ----- I'm late and (CAB SLOWING) it turned out to be one of those really cautious cabdrivers who slows down for yellow lights and who yields -----

TK: After you! Go ahead! (HORNS)

GK: Cab drivers aren't supposed to yield....come on, come on, come on.....(SLOW ACCELERATION) Finally we got to the address Leonard had given me and---- (DISAPPOINTMENT CHORD) it was a McDonald's. (RESTAURANT AMBIENCE) Ordinarily, an agent takes a writer out to someplace like The Four Seasons or La Mirabelle-- - McDonalds......

TR: Everything okay, Carson?

GK: Sure. It's fine.

TR: How's your cheeseburger?

GK: It's good, thanks. And the fries too. And this McBurgundy is not that bad a wine.

TR: 89 cents a glass. Hard to beat at the price.

GK: So----. I guess that my book didn't do as well as we'd hoped, huh--

TR: Oh, I don't know. A thousand copies isn't bad for a book about kohlrabi.

GK: It was a flop, wasn't it.

TR: The Kohlrabi Book --- quite a title.

GK: I don't know why I wrote it. I guess I just needed to get it out of my system.

TR: There's only one way to get kohlrabi out of your system, Carson. You want me to tell you about it?

GK: It was self-indulgent. I can see that now.

TR: "The Kohlrabi Book" ---- three recipes and forty pictures of kohlrabi that look like the faces of famous people. Including Helmut Kohl and Robbie Robertson. And an essay by you on the subject of land use planning and creating green belts around our cities.

GK: It didn't really hang together, did it. It's funny. You write a book, and it seems really tight and solid, and then you see it in print and you think, How could I have done that? Anyway. Time to put that book behind us and look forward to the next one. Huh?

TR: The next one? ---- The next what? What are we talking about?(MUSIC BRIDGE)

GK: Leonard told me that my proposal for a book about Cappy, my old black spaniel when I was a boy, had been turned down by my publisher, who said that any further submissions should be accompanied by a stamped envelope. I felt terrible. And yet you have to----

Look for the silver lining

Whene'er a cloud appears in the blue....

GK: I called up my nutritionist, Meghan Beige, the one who had suggested the kohlrabi book to me.

SS (ON PHONE): Carson. Hi. I'm with a client, can I call you back?

GK: Meghan, listen, I just want to say that your kohlrabi book idea, it really stank, you know that? I just wanted to share that with you. I just wanted to put that out there, okay?

SS (ON PHONE): Carson---- listen to me ---- how can I get into your loop if you're not there yourself? You know?

GK: I have no idea what that means.

SS (ON PHONE): Carson---- you need to cleanse. You're full of poisons. I can hear it in your voice. Try kelp.


GK: I'd been counting on earning a bundle from the kohlrabi book to make up for the thousands I've lost in the stock market this year. I have my money in a mutual fund that's run by chickens ---- it's the firm of Orpington, Leghorn, & Wyandotte. (STUDIOUS CHICKEN CLUCKING) Every morning, they lay the pages of the Wall Street Journal down on the floor and the chickens go around and wherever a chicken, you know, pppppp, makes a deposit (CLUCKING CONTINUES), they buy that stock. Over the past year, the chickens have been outperforming most mutual funds, but this year my particular chicken, Henny Penny, got a bad case of diarrhea (OFF-MIKE, ROOSTER CROWS) and the mutual fund got spread kind of thin, you might say, and ----- anyway, I've been short on cash. And I had to call up my old stagehand Chico and ask to borrow some. Which I hate to do. Chico is in Las Vegas, starring at the Phosphorescence Lounge. Used to move microphones at the show, now he's got houses in Palm Springs, Aspen, and Southhampton, and a pied-a-terre in Terra Haute, Indiana.

AF (ON PHONE): Hey---- my hero ---- it's beautiful to hear from you---- you're my hero --- - you know that? beautiful -----

GK: Chico, I was calling to see if ---- I don't know how to say this----

AF (ON PHONE): I was just talking about you! You know that? I was just talking about you to Jack Nicholson! Jack Nicholson is here! Hey! Jack! Come here! Say hello to my Boss Man. Say hello. Go ahead.

TR (JACK): Yeah? Who's this? What do you want?

GK: It's great to talk to you, Mr. Nicholson.

AF: Isn't he great?? That's Jack Nicholson! He's right here in my dressing room.

GK: Great. Chico, you seem sort of busy right now.

AF: Hey, guess who walked in! Julia Child! Isn't that great! She just walked in here. Julia! (A COUPLE OF KISSES) Here. Talk to my hero.

TR (JULIA): Hello? who is this?

GK: It's Carson Wyler, Julia. In St. Paul.

TR (JULIA): Oh. Are you with some sort of magazine or something?

GK: No. No, I'm not.

AF: Isn't she great? She's beautiful. She just brought in a hot dish for me. Noodles and cheese and sliced wieners. I love it. It's beautiful.

GK: Chico, I'll call back another time when you're not so busy.

AF: Beautiful. Ciao, baby. (MUSIC BRIDGE)

GK: I felt bad. I sat in my office, thinking about what a mess I'd made of everything, and then-----

SS: (A YOUNG WOMAN, SLIGHTLY OFF-PITCH) Mr. Wyler? May I intrude on your privacy?

GK: It was Letitia, our intern.

SS: You have been nominated for an Emily award, Mr. Wyler. They just called.

GK: Really?

SS: Isn't that wonderful? It's given out by the Girl Scouts every year----

GK: I know. I'm well aware of the Emily. It's given to a broadcaster on the basis of personal sincerity.

SS: And you're one of the nominees! Isn't that so cool?

GK: To be honored for sincerity. That's nice. Good of them to notice. Kind of was hoping that my singing might be recognized someday, but-----

SS: I love your singing. Truly.

GK: Thank you. You're kind.

(MUSIC BRIDGE) It was sort of my silver lining, the thought of winning an Emily, and I went over to my parents' house to tell them. My parents are in their early sixties years and they've been waiting a long time for some good news about me. I walked in (DOOR OPEN, CLOSE. FOOTSTEPS) and there was my brother-in-law Earl, the school bus driver---


GK: Hi. What you eating?

TR: Chicken.

GK: Oh. Is it good?

TR: Uh huh.

GK: Looks like fried.

TR: Right.

GK: Are the folks home?


GK: You don't think so? Did you look upstairs?

TR: No. GK: I see. (SS MEOW) Get out of here. Get off my lap. (SS MEOW) So you have no idea when they might be home?

TR: Huh uh.

GK: Is Janice with you?

TR: She's at work.

GK: Were the folks here when you got here?

TR: Nope.

GK: They didn't leave a note or anything?

TR: Nope.

GK: So you don't know where they went, huh?

TR: Nope.

GK: So how are you?

TR: Not bad.

GK: Good. How's Janice?

TR: Fine.

GK: You taking the day off from work or what?

TR: Yeah.

GK: How's your car running?

TR: Okay.

GK: Gas mileage okay?


GK: Earl and I don't tend to have what you'd call great conversations. Especially not when he's eating. He likes to focus on one thing at a time. (SS MEOW) Get away from me. --- I just dropped by to let the folks know that I've been nominated for an Emily award.

TR: Oh yeah?

GK: It's an award given by the Girl Scouts of America, Earl.

TR: Okay.

GK: The criterion is sincerity. (CAT MEOW)

TR: How much money they give you with that?

GK: An Emily, Earl, is a coveted award, but only for the honor --- there's no cash that comes with it.

TR: Huh. You get to go to a dinner or something?

GK: The Emily is presented at an awards cookout at Point Piscacadawadaquoddymoggin in the woods of Maine. You go on a three day canoe trip and on the second night, you get the prize at a campfire, after which it's traditional to eat a raw egg and do twelve somersaults in a row.

TR: I see.

GK: I think it's nice to be recognized for my sincerity.

TR: Right.

GK: It's a real day brightener for me.

TR: I can imagine.

GK: The sad thing is that the Girl Scouts won't choose me, they'll probably choose one of the really famous nominees for the Emily and of course they can't afford the time to go canoeing all the way out to Point Piscacadawadaquoddymoggin for the awards cookout and so they send some intern in their place and so the Girl Scouts come to the campfire and instead of Ted Koppel or Charles Osgood eating the raw egg and doing the twelve somersaults, it's some junior poli-sci major from Bryn Mawr.

TR: Uh huh.

GK: Maybe I should write to them and tell them that I'm a nominee who would actually show up if the award were given to me. (CAT MEOW) You know, I am getting a little tired of you (SHARPER MEOW, AS CAT IS LIFTED. FOOTSTEPS) ---- you go down the basement for awhile. (DOOR OPEN) Go on. Beat it. (MEOW, AS CAT IS DROPPED) (DOOR CLOSE) (REVERB) (PLAINTIVE MEOW. CAT FOOTSTEPS TROTTING DOWN STAIRS. MEOW. CAT FOOTSTEPS TROTTING ACROSS FLOOR. STOP. SCRATCH ON DOOR. MEOW. DOOR OPEN.)

TK (LARRY): Oh. Hi, Kitty.

SS: Hi, Larry.

TK: How come they kicked you downstairs?

SS: I jumped up in their lap. Some guys are insecure about that.

TK: Oh. Well---- I love to have you sit in my lap.

SS: Thanks. (SS EFFORT AS SHE LEAPS UP ONTO HIS LAP) Oh I love it when you scratch my back. Mmmmmmmm. Oh yeah. Oh that's good. Mmmmmmm. A little lower. Down near the tail. Ohhhhhhhh. Mmmmmmmmm. Oh yes. Oh that's good. A little harder. A little harder. Not so hard. There. Perfect. Ohhhhhhhhhhh. Ohhhhhhhhhh.

TK: What are they talking about up there? Me?

SS: No. The tall one with the bad hair ---- he was saying he won some sort of a prize. An Emmy.

TK: An Emmy. Oh boy. I'll be hearing about that for months to come! Oh man. They'll be honking that horn for awhile. I can just hear it. "Your brother won an Emmy. He's a big TV star. And look at you. Sitting in the dark in the basement. Sitting in your lounger chair with Kitty and eating potato chips and watching Geraldo with the sound off."

SS: It doesn't matter, Larry. You're nicer than all of em put together. Yes, you are. Mmmmmmmmm. Ohhhhhhh, yes.

TK: All week Geraldo's been talking to guys who live in basements. Guys with bad hair. Wearing T-shirts. Some of em have mustaches. Really bad ones. (PAUSE) Am I weird, Kitty? Am I?

SS: You know what you need? You need a family.

TK: I got one. Upstairs. They're a pain in the butt.

SS: Not that family. A family of your own. One that looks up to you and admires you.

TK: What are you talking about, Kitty?

SS: I want to have babies, Larry. I need to have babies. Real bad. My clock is ticking. I'm almost four years old. Please. It'll be wonderful. You'll love them. Six little kitties who adore you. Please.

TK: I don't know. What if Mom and Dad get mad?

SS: We won't tell them. We'll hide the babies. Please. Open the window. Let me out.

TK: You're not going to leave me, are you?

SS: I'll be gone fifteen minutes. I promise. No longer.

TK: You promise?

SS: I can hear him. He's outside. Big John from down the alley. (HOARSE) Open the window, Larry.

TK: You'll come right back?

SS: Fifteen minutes. Please.

TK: You're not going to run away with Big John?

SS: Are you kidding? I'm only using him, Larry. You're my real guy. He's only a boy toy as far as I'm concerned. Open the window.

TK: Now?

SS: Now.



GK: A heart filled with joy and gladness
Can always banish sadness and strife.
So always look for the silver lining
And try to find the sunny side of life. (BIG END)
©1998 Garrison Keillor