This past weekend I was asked to perform at a variety show whose proceeds benefited an inner city arts program. I volunteered the kids to do a song with me since, at the time, it seemed like it would be fun. It was, but I was recovering from sinus surgery and underestimated how far along my recovery would be.
I also envisioned that I would have been able to teach the kids some things I had neither the time nor energy to do. In addition, I underestimated my over all energy level and while I'm not sorry I did it, there was much about the experience that could have gone better. It was kind of a bummer.
Since I had a few moments between the kids song and the time it would take me to get ready for mine so I decided to tell some stories both to fill the time and, if I succedded in being amusing, cover for the unexpected weakness of my voice.
Here are my notes from the two shows. Even though I tend to improvise a lot, I still write down a few thoughts to draw on.
Ok, one of the rules of show business is never perform with Kids or Dogs…..I think I just did both.
I realized last night that both the song we just did and the one I'm getting ready to do were both from 1970. I was about Carter, Sara, and Zane’s age and absolutely addicted to my little transistor radio which was always tuned to KAKC. Top 40 pop radio played everything from Sinatra to Santana, Hendrix to the Singing Nun.
It was a crazy times and crazy times cause people to react in crazy ways and I remember my Grandfather, right around this time, showing me this 22 revolver with this 18 inc barrel he bought to protect him and my Grandmother from the Yippies. I was confused by this and asked "yippies? You mean Hippies?"
"No," he said, "Yippies are the dangerous ones." This confused me but lots of stuff back then did. I had an idea that a yippie might be a kind of reckless cowboy that rode around do horseback shooting their comically long barreled weapons in the are yelling "yippie." and that clearly was something you'd need to arm yourself against.
I had never seen my Grandfather, the toughest man I'd ever known, afraid of anything, but if he was concerned about Yippies, they must be bad.
But I learned quickly that the yippies were anti-war activists and had been stirring up some trouble and that made sense because even at that age the idea of getting drafted and going off to war scared me. I remember asking my dad if I was going to get drafted and go to Vietnam and he said, "no, but by the time your old enough, there'll be another war for you to get drafted for."
I found this, you know, reassuring.
Anyway, this song scared me at the time because it reflected all the stuff going on that was hard for me to understand and while it doesn't offer any answers, I think it asks the right questions.
What's Going On
Mother, Mother, there's too many of you crying Brother, Brother, Brother, there's too many of you dying We've got to find a way to bring some love in here today Picket lines and Picket Signs Don't punish me with brutality Just talk to me so you can see What's going on.
Father, Father, there's no need to escalate War is not the answer because only love can conquer hate We've got to find a way to bring some love in here today
Father, Father, everybody thinks were wrong but who are they to judge us just because our hair is long We've got to find a way, to bring some love in here today
The next show, I decided to follow the Kids song, Delany and Bonnie Bramlett's "Never Ending Song Of Love" with some jokes about multiples. The previous monolog was fine, but I wanted more jokes.
"Some of you might not have noticed that Carter, Sara, and Zane are Triplets and then Jesse came along three years later so I'd like to answer a few questions you I know some of are thinking:
First, No, we aren't crazy, just reckless.
Second, parenting multiples plus one is more fun than a barrel of monkeys. That is, if you like monkeys...And barrels..which, I don't
But I'd have to be ungrateful to not count my blessings like:
Thank you lord for not giving us five and Thank you lord for giving my urologist a steady hand--I'll be answering questions about that one later today.
Seriously though, there are far worse things than a house full of noisy, healthy, happy children.
Prison, I imagine, is probably worse. Although, they do have solitary confinement which, from what I understand is quiet, so that might not be so bad.
Oh, I kid because I love as Don Rickels used to say. Not that I love kids.
Yes, I'm horrible. My wife Jill is the nice one. I get by on bad jokes and bribes and Yes, children there will be Ice cream later.