TR: These are the good years for Barb and me. Our neighbor got a 54-inch high-definition TV and now with a pair of binoculars we've been able to enjoy his DVDs. And we've discovered that a lot of movies are actually better without dialogue. So I don't know what that writers' strike is all about.......
What with gas prices so high, there's no chance the kids will come home for Christmas and Barb was feeling bad about that and talking about how if we'd only taken them to Sunday School they wouldn't have turned out so rotten and awful and suddenly she had a powerful irrational urge to go to church Sunday and she picked the wrong one. The minister talked about Advent meaning "the coming" and that led him to the Second Coming and End Times and Armageddon and pretty soon people were shouting and dancing and hugging and we got down on our knees and crawled out the side door as fast as we could go. Barb thought maybe it'd cheer her up to get her hair highlighted.
But she didn't want to be show-offy about it, so she got the underlayer highlighted and left the top hair the same old color. So it's our little secret. And that gave Barb a big idea......
SS: I thought we could go to New York for Christmas. What do you say?
TR: Barb, New York is a madhouse at Christmas. Why would we want to do that?
SS: Because the alternative is Christmas with your family, Jim.
TR: We don't have to invite my family.
SS: Jim. Every year we say we won't, but every year we are drawn inexorably into the dark vortex of Christmas with your family. You know it and I know it. They sit around the Christmas tree and moan about taxes and politics and their medical problems and the cost of things -- they're just a bunch of pills.
TR: I like hearing about their medical problems, Barb. It makes me feel fortunate-
SS: New York would be so invigorating--we could go to the opera, Jim-the Met has standing room tickets for 15 dollars--
TR: Standing still for 3 1/2 hours while large women shriek in a foreign language is not my idea of invigorating, Barb.
And then the blood pools in my legs and I get a blood clot that migrates to my brain and I have a stroke and they haul me out of the opera and into an ambulance and off to a hospital that doesn't take our insurance, and it's a hundred-thousand dollars out of pocket, and we sell our house and live in a tiny basement apartment and meanwhile I can't use my right hand and I can't remember words like "invigorating" and "standing". And "room".
SS: Then we won't go to the opera. We'll get a guidebook and a map and we'll walk around and see things.
TR: Sure. Great. We'll walk down some side street in search of somebody's birthplace and be looking for the plaque and a gang will come up and club me to the sidewalk and steal our credit cards and I'll go through years of physical therapy not covered by insurance.
SS: New York is one of the safest cities in the United States now-
TR: Right. We could be standing on the curb waiting for a green light and suddenly a water main breaks and we're riding a geyser eighty feet into the air.
SS: Jim--
TR: We could get in a cab and then the cabdriver kidnaps us and takes us to an abandoned warehouse in Queens and a bunch of big guys in dark suits are waiting to work us over, thinking we're from a rival gang and nothing we say can convince them. Pow. Kapow. Krrack. Down I go.
SS: Jim, I wonder if you've been getting enough ketchup. Ketchup contains natural mellowing agents that help you see that New York is just a place, like other places. Just because it's big and noisy and crowded and expensive doesn't mean we can't have a good time.
TR: Well maybe you're right--
These are the good times
Life is rich and creamy
Movies, ballet, opera
Rudolpho sings to Mimi
Life is flowing
Like ketchup on sashimi.
GK: Ketchup, for the good times.
RD: Ketchup, ketchup.