(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell, RD: Rich Dworsky)

(brought to you by the Ketchup Advisory Board)

TR: These are the good years for me and Barb. We got a good hard frost so now we can stop taking care of all the plants she bought. And it was warm last weekend and so I got the leaves all raked up and that's how I found my billfold. Which is where I keep the little slip of paper where I've written down Barb's birthday. I was worried that maybe it was coming up in November. Nope. May 15th. So I was doing okay. But that night I came home to find Barb sitting in the living room watching Teletubbies. (TELETUBBIES SFX)

TR: Barb? Is something wrong?

SS: Oh Jim. It's weird, isn't it.

TR: It's all right, Barb. A lot of adults like to sit and watch bulbous figures prance around on the hillsides and squeak at each other.

SS: I know it seems silly but for me the Teletubbies is the closest thing to the drug experiences I used to have in the Seventies. And that Tinky Winky - he reminds me of a guy I used to date.

TR: Is something wrong, Barb? Tell me.

SS: Oh - tonight I came home and I forgot the password for the microwave so I had to fix dinner on the stove and it burnt because I was trying to figure out what to do about this grinding noise in my laptop and I tried to call you at your office and I tried your cellphone and your pager and the carphone and then my hard drive crashed and now I can't remember any of my jokes. I had hundred and hundreds of them. I can't remember a single one!

TR: The one about the two penguins? You remember that.

SS: I don't.

TR: Where the one penguin says, "You look like you're wearing a tuxedo."?

SS: Yeah?

TR: And the other penguin says, "How do you know I'm not?"

SS: I don't get it.

TR: How about the one about the lady who took valium instead of her birth-control pills? She had fourteen kids but she didn't care.

SS: I never heard that before.

TR: You told me that joke yesterday, Barb. We were at The Ecstatic Zucchini. You were having the spinach pesto.

SS: The worst of it is, all of the kids' e-mail was on that hard drive. What if I can't recover it? How will I know where they live?

TR: We don't have addresses?

SS: I thought Debbie moved to Utah but I don't know. Doesn't Jim Jr. live in Texas somewhere?

TR: Well, I'm sure they'll get in touch if they need us.

SS: Jim, life is just too stressful. Let's quit our jobs and take early retirement and move to Alburquerque and be happy. Why not?

TR: Barb, all we need is a little more ketchup. Ketchup has natural mellowing agents that help a person accept disappointments. And natural endorphins that help combat feelings of inadequacy.

SS: Oh Jim -

TR: What do you say we go find ourselves a bottle right now?

RD (SINGS): These are the good years, in the golden sun
A new day is dawning, a new life has begun
The river flowing like ketchup on a bun.

GK: Ketchup. For the good times.

(c) 1999 by Garrison Keillor