Friday, March 12, 2010

Theater and Colons

(News-Herald, March 11) From my mailbag:
Dear Fake Journalist Guy, What do you do with a bunch of ideas that are too small for a full column. Signed, Fake Reader.
Dear FR. By use of seamless transitions, we make separate ideas seem totally related. Watch. Sincerely, FJG.
Sometimes when a week is dragging on, you need a break from routine. For creatures of habit, it can be as simple as a different breakfast cereal. After a steady week of Cheerios, little marshmallow charms can create some excitement.
But sometimes that isn’t enough. So last midweek, I arranged to change up my routine with a colonoscopy.
This was a routine procedure, one of those tests one gets as a reward for being A Certain Age. It’s not the procedure itself that is the fun part. The night before, you drink four liters of a mix-it-yourself concoction made from the sweat of demons who have been roasted while being whipped with the rotting skunk skins and packed in blue cheese.
Okay, I may exaggerate, but when medicine admits on its own label that it tastes awful, you know you’re in trouble. Colyte’s label says, in part, “Keep this refrigerated because when it’s cold it will gag you less” and “Seriously, you want to gulp this down as quickly as possible.”
The stuff lived up to its press. Tastes rather like brine, with a relentless numbing saltiness that skips over the taste buds and heads straight for the gag reflex. I did try mixing this with cran-apple juice and quickly realized that A) it still tasted horrible and B) I had just made MORE of it.
But after a couple of hours, this magic fluid roto-roots your insides, leaving three feet of squeaky clean pipe where your gastro-intestinal system used to be. You would think that the subsequent fasting would be taxing, but by this time my weary innards didn’t care.
And here’s the thing. The next day I went to the ambulatory care center at the hospital, which is clean and friendly. Because this is Venangoland, my nurse was a woman who played in high school band with me and whose sister double-dated with my sister at their prom. My doctor explained everything to me, a nice anesthetist explained what was going to happen. Then somebody said something about injecting stuff into my iv, and the next thing I remember is waking up back in the room, more or less ready to be driven home by my sister-in-law, who deserves some sort of merit badge.
Was that it? Almost. Later comes the part where my doctor leaves me a message that the one polyp they removed was pre-cancerous. In other words, at the expense of the physical equivalent of a bad 24-hour flu bug, I get to not have a doctor tell me that I have colon cancer 3-10 years from now. There are worse things you can do than have a colonoscopy.
But there are also better things. For instance, the highlight of my week was attending Pump Boys and Dinettes at the Barrow.
The show (appearing Friday, Saturday and Sunday) deserves a larger audience. Pump Boys is a concert show, a la Forever Plaid and Nunsense, with just enough story to flesh out some fun characters and tie together a bunch of good music. The style here is what is traditional country; not glossy faux twanging, but the kind of folk-based music that can be readily enjoyed by people who don’t care for either modern C&W or typical musical theater fare.
There are some gorgeous vocal harmonies as well as some hilarious performances (hard to go wrong with material like “Farmer Tan”). Brett Sloan and Suzi Beach are, as always, total pros in their vocal awesomeness, and Richard Roberts’ skills as an entertainer are on full display. The rest of the cast is solid, but the new treat for Barrow audiences is Jim Helmetzi, a veteran bluegrass player who handles all manner of instrument and performs with relaxed, capable stage presence.
Some blues or gospel leaks in, too. The cast ably handles it all. The songs are fun, and treat small-town life with humor without dopey disrespectful cornpone abuse. You will hum many for weeks. It’s a relaxed, fun evening of good music, well-done and well worth your time.
On your way out, you’ll smile and think, “Well, that improved my week way more than a colonoscopy would have.” (Barrow, feel free to use that line on posters).
And that, Fake Reader, is how we do it.

1 comment:

Joe said...

As Little Johnny said, "Rectum? Nearly killed him!"

From my Flickr