(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell, RD: Rich Dworsky)
....after this word from the Ketchup Advisory Board.

TR: These are the good years for me and Barb. The cat died, so we don't have to deal with that anymore, and the kids' therapist convinced them that, as part of taking charge of their own lives, they should stop calling us up late at night and yelling at us. The minister at our church, the one who used to look down and stare at us at a certain point in the sermon --- he's gone and there's a new man who doesn't know us at all. And I've been getting along with Barb's parents so much better now that their senile dementia has kicked in. So I thought we had it pretty good, and then late one night, I found Barb sitting at the kitchen table (COMPUTER KEYS) typing at her computer.

TR: Barb, what are you doing? It's three in the morning.

SS: I just had a sudden inspiration to write a book, Jim.

TR: A book? About what?

SS: It's about an eleven-year-old girl named Harriet Trotter. Her parents were killed and she's living with her aunt and uncle, Fester and Marigold Pugsley and their son Buddy, and she's attending a school called the Hog Pimple School of Sorcery and Spiritualism....

TR: Honey----

SS: And she has a pet eagle named Ingrid.

TR: Honey----

SS: And she does battle with the evil wizard named Cold Sore.

TR: Honey---

SS: What is it?

TR: Honey, a woman named J.K. Rowling got there first. The woman who wrote the Harry Potter books. --- Harry Potter. You know? The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?

SS: You think it's too similar?

TR: Yes.

SS: What if I changed mine to the Pig Pimple School? Or the Swine Sore?

TR: I don't think so.

SS: Darn. I figured if she could do it, I could do it. I mean, how hard could it be? They're children's books. Easy words. Short sentences. The same basic plot.

TR: I don't think Harriet Trotter is going to work, Barb.

SS: Darn. And it was going so well. The headmaster, Fumblemore, had just broken the spell that Professor Snopes had put on the Hog Pimple cribbage team that Harry is a member of.

TR: It sounds wonderful, but I think you should give it up.

SS: I was going to call it "Harriet Trotter and the Amazing Liposuction Machine."

TR: Barb, why are you doing this?

SS: Why? Why?? Some unemployed librarian in Edinburgh goes and sits in coffee shops writing on scraps of paper and produces a series of children's books that chew up the bestseller lists for years and I, an American, am supposed to just sit and watch her do it?

TR: Barb, please----

SS: She's depleting our forests, Jim. She's earning buckets of money. And she's brainwashing American children into spelling "color" with an -our and theater with an -re and referring to potato chips as crisps and candy as sweets.

TR: Easy, Barb.

SS: Before you know it, we'll be a nation of Nigels and Penelopes.

TR: Easy----

SS: We'll be drinking terrible coffee and serving our eggs with fried tomatoes. Yecchhhhh.

TR: Speaking of tomatoes, you know what you need right now?

SS: No. What?

TR: Ketchup.

SS: Ketchup? But---

TR: Barb, everyone knows ketchup has natural mellowing agents that help combat feelings of inadequacy. Plus extra endorphins, for creativity.

SS: Oh, Jim.

TR: What do you say I rustle us up some scrambled eggs and serve them with a nice layer of ketchup?

SS: Oh, Jim. I feel better already.

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

GK: Ketchup....for the good times


(c) 2000 by Garrison Keillor