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

.TR: These are the good years for me and Barb. The kids have moved out and gradually the nightmare of parenthood has lifted and we're able to go out to dinner and talk about things other than all that parent stuff that after you talk about it you get real quiet and then start crying. We had a new carpet put in that would show spills but it doesn't have to because there aren't any. My job is good, they seem to have forgotten that I exist and I've been able to surf the Web all I want and take four-hour lunch breaks and leave around three-thirty. And then, the other day, I came home early and found Barb in the kitchen, furious. ----What's wrong, honey? What's got you all upset?

SS: Oh, it's "Days of Our Lives," Jim.

TR: The daytime dramatic series? I thought you loved that show.

SS: I've been watching that show since I was 12, Jim. And it's just gotten so strange lately. I mean, I've tried to accept things. Back when Kristin was playing about five different characters, playing herself and her brother and an FBI agent named Earl and a nun with a moustache, I said, Oh well, I suppose the writers are bored, and I stuck with it, and when Bo fled to the Bayou to find out if Swamp Girl was actually his wife, Hope, I still hung in there, but lately----- (BIG SIGH)

TR: What's wrong?

SS: The storylines have gotten completely ridiculous. I mean, what is the deal with Austin and Greta in that weird, third-dimension Garden of Eden subplot? It's nothing but a cheap way to let them show Austin in leaf-Speedos. And the whole viewer interactivity thing, where the father of Hope's child was decided by an internet vote ---- who came up with that idea and what medication was he on? So obviously everyone voted for John Black. And that whole subplot about Stefano DiMira's heir --- they just left it hanging. And the incest. Seriously. They need to rein it in. Every time you tune in, there's Belle Black flirting with her brother Brady or cuddling or wrestling or something. I mean, give me a break. I eat lunch during that show! Don't make me yark up my grilled cheese.

TR: Barb----

SS: After awhile you get just plain tired of incest! And adultery. And children being switched at birth. And slipping drugs into people's drinks. And stealing their identities.

TR: Barb, may I make a suggestion? If "Days of Our Lives" is upsetting you, why not put some ketchup in that grilled cheese sandwich? Ketchup, you know, contains natural mellowing agents that help to smooth out disappointment and distress.

SS: Oh, you're right, Jim.

TR: Of course I am. And from now on, let's watch it together, as a family.

SS: You don't need to go to work?

TR: Apparently not.


These are the good times to savor and relax
Look at the big sky lying on our backs
Life is flowing like ketchup on Big Macs
GK: Ketchup....for the good times.

RD: Ketchup, ketchup, ketchup....

(c) 2001 by Garrison Keillor