TR: These are the good years for Barb and me.nIt's the end of January, and we're depressed of course and we've gained 20 pounds between the two of us and we're pale and listless and surviving on bacon and cheese sandwiches.nAnd yet we feel pretty good. Happiness is a choice.nThat's what I told Dr. Plume, when he called to tell me my cholesterol was spiking.nCut down on the bacon and cheese, he said. I said I'd think about it but it tastes so good with the bourbon.nAnd then Barb came in.

SS:nI've been thinking we should get a fireplace, Jim.n

TR:nGood grief.

SS:nThey're so romantic, Jim.nAnd spiritual.

TR:nAnd messy. And expensive.n

SS: It's a way to get centered, to look into a fire.

TR: One wrong move with the damper and they fill your house up with invisible smoke and you die in your sleep and then hot cinders fly out and light the rug on fire and the house burns to the ground.n

SS:n----You and me, sitting on a loveseat, gazing into the flames--

TR:nWe don't have a loveseat, Barb. We have an old sofa that the dog died on.

SS:nWe can get a loveseat------

TR:nBurning wood emits particulates that cause asthma, Barb. A loveseat isn't so romantic if you're sitting there wheezing and gasping for breath. And fireplaces are wildly inefficient, they heat a three-foot radius, meanwhile a houseful of warm air goes whooshing up the chimney and outdoors----- what are you doing?

SS:n(SINGS) Fever!nIn the morning.nFever all through the night.n

TR:nHouseholds with fireplaces are deathtraps. A high-pressure system moves in, trapping the smoke, and our dead bodies-----

SS:nThen let's get a gas fireplace.nThat's clean.

TR:nStudies show that gas fireplaces distort a person's reality, ultimately leading to personality disorder. Plus the risk of spontaneous combustion.n


TR:nYou flick the switch and your house blows up. Boom. I've got something better, Barb.nTake a look.

SS: What is that? A movie?

TR:nIt's a DVD of a campfire.nShot in the woods of northern Minnesota. (LOONS)

SS:nJim, that is not the same.n

TR:nAnd it has a menu option---campfire songs, on.n(BUTTON PRESS)

ALL (SING, OFF): In the evening by the moonlight, you can hear those voices singing..... (LOON)

GK: Here. A marshmallow on a stick.nWith ketchup on it. Ketchup contains natural mellowing agents that help you realize that sometimes, instead of what we want, we get something else that is not so bad. Give it a chance, Barb.

These are the good times
Pure and white and holy
Winter covers all of us
The mighty and the lowly
Life is flowing
Like ketchup on cannoli.

GK:nKetchup, for the good times.

RD: Ketchup, ketchup.