Garrison Keillor: ...brought to you by the Ketchup Advisory Board. (MUSIC)
Sue Scott (OLDER, ON PHONE): Hi, honey. It's me. Your mother. Remember?
Tim Russell: Mom. Hi. How are you? How's Dad?
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): Both of us going to hell in a handbasket. You don't want to know. Not a pretty sight. --How are you?
TR: I'm fine.
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): Good. You still working away at those temp jobs?
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): I'm sorry but I worry about you, Marvin.
TR: Well, I'm okay, so don't. Please.
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): Well, I'm glad you have some kind of a job. I don't care what it is. Just so long as you do the best you can. That's what's important. Whether you're a doctor or a lawyer, or you're a temporary office employee making photocopies for $7 an hour--
TR: Mother, a lot of people in New York work at temp jobs.
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): Marvin, you are not "a lot of people". You're you. And you're forty eight years old, Marvin. But if you don't want me to talk about it, okay, I won't talk about it. So you still living down in the East Village with the six crazy roommates?
TR: Mother-- it's three roommates. Okay? Not six. Three.
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): In a studio apartment, that's still a lot of people.
TR: It's a big studio.
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): Four people in one room sounds crowded to me.
TR: We get along fine.
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): Marvin, you're forty-eight, you couldn't get your own apartment?
TR: Mom, I don't know why we're having this conversation. I'm a grown person, Mom.
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): That's exactly my point.
TR: Could we talk about something else?
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): Are you still doing that theater thing out there?
TR: It's not a "thing", mom, but yes, I am.
SS: (OLDER, ON PHONE) You have another little show coming up soon?
TR: Actually, I'm up for a part in a play that I auditioned for last week and then I got called back, so I think maybe I've got it. It's a theater workshop called the Jane Street Studio.
TR: A theater workshop, yes.
SS: "Workshop" means you don't get paid, right?
SS: Your father has a workshop in the basement, Marvin. He makes birdhouses there. Nobody pays him but it isn't the whole point of his life either.
SS: (OLDER, ON PHONE): These roommates of yours -- they're all men, right?
TR: Yes, they are.
SS: (OLDER, ON PHONE): It might be nice to have a girl roommate, Marvin. You ever think of that? You know girls, don't you?
TR: Yes, Mother. I have friends who are women.
SS: You have girlfriends?
TR: I'm not involved with anybody right now, Mother. I don't have time for it.
SS: Okay, okay. I won't interfere. It's your life. --I saw Bill the other day downtown. Your old classmate, Bill. He's thinking about retirement. He's the CEO of his own company. He asked me, "How's Marvin?" "Fine," I said. He said, "He's not still out there in New York, is he?" I said, "Of course not, Marvin left New York long ago." He said, "You couldn't get me to live there if you held a gun to my head. Which is more likely to happen if you live in New York." I said, "No, Marvin got a big job writing for a TV series. He's in L.A., pulling down money hand over fist. We're all proud of him."
TR: I wish you hadn't done that, Mom.
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): I just want to be proud of you, Marvin. Can't you see that? I'm an old lady. I want to be proud. I'd like to have a child I can point to and say, "Look at that. Isn't he something?" That's all I want. And that's all your Dad wants. He's 75 and he's losing his marbles, Marvin. A few more years and he won't even know who you are.
TR: Okay, Mom. I'll give up New York and I'll come home and I'll get a job and I'll buy a house and I'll marry anybody you pick out for me.
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): Don't do it for me, Marvin. Do it for yourself. All I want is for you to be happy, that's all.
TR: I am happy.
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): You are?
TR: I am. I love New York. I love theater. Maybe I'll never get anywhere with it but I still love it. I'm sorry, but I do.
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): Then that's what you should do.
TR: You don't want me to come back?
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): No. Not if you're happy.
TR: Well, I am.
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): Marvin?
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): Marvin, how can you be happy working temp jobs for twenty-five years and living with roommates and spending your time doing things nobody pays you for? How, honey? --
TR: I make sure to get plenty of ketchup, Mom.
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): Ketchup?
TR: Ketchup is filled with natural mellowing agents, Mom, that help a person achieve contentment, even though he isn't a big success and he doesn't have a car or a big house or even a small house. Ketchup.
SS (OLDER, ON PHONE): I just don't understand it.
TR: Maybe you're not getting enough ketchup, Mom.
Rich Dworsky (SINGS): Springtime is coming, life is like a hot kiss.
Love is in the air -- there's no one you would not kiss.
Life is flowing, like ketchup on your latkes.
RD: Ketchup, ketchup, ketchup.