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?

TR: Mom!!!

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.

SS: "Workshop"--

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.


TR: Yes?

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.