The sketching begins in earnest

Hey, it's crunch time with this senior thesis thing, so look for a lot of material in the days to come. Tonight it's three blackouts that are alternately ridiculous, offensive, and possibly not even funny. You be the judge. But first, a couple things.

I just saw a commercial for the movie "Kung Fu Hustle" in which it proudly proclaimed itself to be the "Number 1 Kung Fu Comedy movie in America!" I'm sure it's a great movie and all, but does it really have a lot of competition in that genre at the moment? I just enjoy the fact that they needed to slap comedy on there as another modifier just to make it number one.

While trying to find out the proper spelling of Yarmulke, I actually googled the phrase "Jew hat." And then I felt like a terrible person.

Anyway, enjoy the blackouts.


Setting: Creepy old deserted castle, interior, night.

Characters: Betty

Johnny…two brave teenagers like you used to see in old horror movies


(Betty and Johnny are very cautiously making their way across stage.)

Betty: I don’t like the looks of this old castle, Johnny. Let’s get outta here.

Johnny: Don’t worry, Betty. This old treasure map says the treasure’s supposed to be buried…just…behind…this…door…

(Suddenly a bat appears out of nowhere and flies in front of the kids. Then…POOF! A cloud of smoke obscures the view. When it clears…there stands Dracula himself! [In the special-effects free world of sketch comedy, this will most likely involve an actor making a bat with his hands, saying “POOF!”, miming the smoke cloud, and then becoming Dracula.])

Dracula: (in that special Dracula voice) Velcome, children.

Johnny: AHH! Dracula! Betty, the crucifix, now!

(Betty quickly reaches into her purse and pulls out a large wooden crucifix. She hands it to Johnny, who immediately sticks it in Dracula’s face.)

Johnny: Back! Back, you vile creature!

(There is no effect. Johnny shakes the crucifix a couple times and tries again. Still nothing.)

Johnny: It’s not working!

Dracula: Vy vould it?

(Dracula slowly reaches underneath his cape and pulls out a Yarmulke, which he puts on his head.)

Betty and Johnny: AHH!!! HE’S JEWISH!!!

(They run out screaming.)


“Phone Call”

Setting: A Drake University office

Characters: Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Person on phone (unheard)

(The Dean is sitting at his desk. The phone rings.)

Dean: Hello, Drake University. Dean of Arts and Sciences.


I’m sorry?


No, you’ll have to slow down.


What now?


Didn’t get a word of that.


I’m sorry, I can’t understand you at all.


No, it’s okay, you’re perfect. Congratulations, you’re the new math professor.


“Instant Message”

Setting: Cyberspace

Characters: Wishes72

MystryCat85 – two bubbly freshman girls known only by their IM screennames

(The two girls are both seated at desks, typing away on computers. They give no impression that they see each other, letting the audience know that they are not in the same room. They speak what they are typing on their instant message conversation, otherwise the scene would be very boring to watch.)

Wishes72: And then this guy was like, “You have great skin.” And I don’t even know his name!

MystryCat85: No way! What a skeeze! You’d think he’d at least introduce himself before dropping the creepy bomb like that!

Wishes72: I know, right?

MystryCat85: LOL!

Wishes72: ROFL!

MystryCat85: Winky face!

Wishes72: Smiley face!

MystryCat85: Jumping dolphin!

Wishes72: Vampire bat!

(both laugh)

Wishes72: Oh MystryCat85, you’re so cool. I’m really glad we’re friends.

MystryCat85: Ooh, that’s so sweet. I totally agree, Wishes72.

Wishes72: Hey, could you hand me my water bottle?

MystryCat85: Sure.

(She does, in fact, hand Wishes72 a water bottle.)

Wishes72: Thanks! You’re the best roommate ever!



Another long one

Hey, remember how I'm working on that senior thesis where I write sketch comedy and then call it a senior thesis? Yeah, I'm still doing that. So here's another sketch for you. I explained the premise of this scene in a car with four of my friends one time and it absolutely died. Apparently they didn't understand that I was just telling them the premise, because they thought it ended rather abruptly. So I'm anxious to hear if anyone else finds it as funny as I do. Okay, here we go.


Setting: Kooney’s, a neighborhood bar

Characters: Tim


Bill – all guys in their young 30’s. Friends since college, now family men

Brian Kooney – the bartender and proprietor of the establishment

Tim’s son

(The three men are sitting at the bar, laughing. They have a rapport that belies their long friendship. Andy is in the middle of a story.)

Andy: So NOW he’s in this phase where he’s all about running around naked, right? I don’t know where he gets it. He didn’t learn it from me, that’s for sure – I mean, I like being naked as much as the next guy, but – whatever. So I lose track of him for a couple minutes – he goes off somewhere – then he comes back, looks up at me with those big brown eyes and says, “Daddy, I made pee-pee come OUT of my pee-pee!”


Tim: Ah, there’s nothing quite like a young man discovering his pee-pee for the first time. If he only knew the sheer joy and utter embarrassment that would result from this discovery.

Bill: Listen to us, telling stories about our kids…being responsible adults. Who would have thought we’d end up like this? 10 years ago, we were sitting around in a dorm room, hopped up on Mountain Dew and Gummi Worms, playing Halo 2 until 3 in the morning. Now look at us. We’re family men, for God’s sake.

Andy: And proud of it! (lifts glass) To fatherhood!

All: To fatherhood!

(they clink glasses and drink, as manly men do)

Bill: I always destroyed you guys at Halo 2.

Tim & Andy: (angrily protesting) hubbub…I destroyed your mom at Halo 2…hubbub…fragged your candy ass… (they’re not really saying hubbub. That’s just a representation of the cross-talking.)

Bill: Yeah yeah…you know my kid can take me now? We just picked up Halo 7 – straight out of the box, the kid’s destroying me! DESTROYING me! He’s 5 years old and he’s taking his old man at video games.

Andy: There’s a blow to the old ego.

Bill: No, that’s the thing – I don’t even care! Well, maybe a little. It sucks, yeah. But I’m just proud of him. Kid’s got great hand-eye coordination, amazing reflexes…probably going to be a professional baseball player.

Tim: No joke?

Bill: Seriously. He’s got some skills. I’m just excited to give him all the opportunities I never had. I can afford to send him to clinics, get him private batting lessons – really give him a shot at his dream, you know?

Andy: Bill, he’s 5. Right now, his biggest dream is to be a Power Puff girl.

Bill: You shut your mouth. That’s just a phase he’s going through. Besides, your kid’s a nudist.

Andy: This is true. I know what you mean though – I never had it bad, but I just want my kid to have a better life than me. I think he’s going to be a lawyer.

Bill: Oh fantastic.

Andy: Shut up, I’m serious! He can argue me into the ground! He got in trouble one night and wasn’t supposed to get dessert – but he convinced me that he deserved a cookie anyway. And we didn’t even have any cookies in the house! I ran down to the gas station to get the kid some cookies – that’s how convincing he was.

Bill: (lifts glass) To our kids!

All: To our kids! (they clink again, drink again)

(Tim does not clink as heartily as before. In fact, he’s been strangely quiet during this whole conversation.)

Bill: Tim, what’s wrong, man? You’ve been strangely quiet during this whole conversation.

(Tim pauses, uneasily)

Andy: Seriously, what’s up? You know you can tell us anything.

(another uneasy pause)

Tim: I think my son’s gonna be a pirate.


(the other two burst out laughing)

Bill & Andy: (still laughing, mockingly) Arrr! Shiver me timbers! Generic pirate catchphrases!

(laughing dies out)


(Bill & Andy look nervously at Tim, who is still silent.)

Tim: I think…that when he grows up…my son…is going to be a pirate.

Andy: You mean, like a software pirate? Like he’ll be standing on the street corner selling copies of Windows 20.1 out of a briefcase?

Tim: (frustrated) NO, ANDY! That’s not what I mean. I mean a real, honest-to-god pirate, with an eyepatch and a pegleg and a parrot on the shoulder! I mean swashbuckling and buried treasure and the whole seven yards!

Bill: Nine yards.

Tim: SHUT UP, BILL! This is serious, guys! I don’t want my son to grow up to be a pirate!

Andy: Well, how do you know he’s going to be a pirate? He’s 6 years old, Tim.

Tim: I can just tell. Same way you know your kid’s gonna be a lawyer, I know my kid’s gonna be a pirate. He runs around the house all day waving his cardboard sword around, wearing his pirate outfit…

Bill: Where’d he get a pirate outfit?

Tim: I DON’T KNOW!! I sure as hell didn’t buy it for him. He just showed up to breakfast one day and was like, “Hello, I’m a pirate!” Started nancying around in his frilly shirt and pointy hat like he’s Jack Sparrow!

Andy: Tim, calm down. Pirates don’t really exist anymore. They pretty much vanished along with the spice trade. How could he possibly be a pirate?

Tim: I’ve got two words for you, my friend. Cruise ships. When he sees a Royal Caribbean ad come on TV, he starts foaming at the mouth! Takes his sword out and starts muttering under his breath about family jewels and scalawags.

Bill: Well, I’m sure this is just a phase. He’ll probably grow out of it.

Tim: He downloaded the schematics for Monarch of the Sea and circled the weak points in crayon! He drew arrows to the ship and wrote “rope swing to here.” He very specifically drew where he wanted to make people walk the plank off the poop deck! It was right by the 24-hour hot dog stand!

(Bill and Andy shake their heads in disbelief)


Andy: (mutters something under his breath)

Tim: What’d you say?

Andy: (angrily) I said maybe you shouldn’t have named him Bluebeard! If you didn’t want him to be a pirate, maybe that wasn’t the best name to give him!

Tim: You shut your mouth! That is a family name!

Bill: (tentatively) Maybe…you could ask him…if he’s tried not being a pirate.

Tim: (despondent) …I have. I do it all the time. I say, “Hey buddy, why don’t we try being ninjas today? Just you and me, we’ll go be ninjas, flipping out and killing people.” But he never goes for it. I just…I don’t know, guys. I just think he’s a pirate. And he’s always going to be a pirate.

Andy: …then you’ve just got to accept the fact that he’s a pirate.

Tim: But I don’t want him to be a pirate, Andy. It’s not natural. I want him to be a lawyer like your kid.

Andy: Geez, man. I don’t know my kid’s gonna be a lawyer. So he convinced me to give him a cookie. So what? Maybe he’s gonna be a Keebler Elf when he grows up. I don’t know! The point is, you can’t choose what your kid’s gonna be. You guide them and teach them to make good choices, but in the end, the choices are his to make.


Tim: That sucks.

Andy: Tell me about it. I can’t even make my kid put some clothes on.

Bill: Hey, maybe this isn’t all that bad. The pirate life might be pretty sweet, at least to live vicariously through.

Andy: He’s got a point. You get to hear about all the adventures without leaving the couch.

Bill: If you never want him to visit, just move somewhere landlocked.

Tim: I…I’d never have to shop for jewelry again. I’d just claim part of the booty.

Andy: Now you’re talking! The life of a pirate!

Bill: The high seas!

Andy: The adventure!

Bill: The damsels in distress!

Tim: (convinced, he stands, raises glass) My son, the pirate! To Bluebeard!

Bill & Andy: To Bluebeard!

(clinking and drinking)

Brian Kooney: (stereotypical Irish pub owner accent) Aye, will ye lads be needin’ anythin’ else this evenin’?

(A small boy dressed as a pirate suddenly pops onstage. He stands behind Kooney and sticks his cardboard sword into Kooney’s back.)

Boy: Arr, matey. Open yer safe or I’ll run ya through where ya stand.




We're currently filing for tax-exempt status.

Bored friends and incredible inspiration have led to this:

Scotty made this pic for The NCMD. Because of this show of dedication, we are proud to bestow upon him, at his bequest, the title of KnucklePope. Hard to be accurate, but he drives Satan crazy.

We're also looking for a new title for Keri. She's not happy with her "High Priestess" title, as it is in no way hockey-related, nor does it contain an insufferably clever Mighty Ducks pun. I suggested "Coach Bombabe," which she laughed at, but denied on the basis that it was not church-sounding. So here's my latest submission:

"She of the Soft Hands." It's Ducks-related, sounds holy, and also distinctly feminine. I think it's a winner.

Less Ducks foolishness and more sketch foolishness to come soon.
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A veritable smorgasbord of posting

Lots of random stuff today:

I don't normally link directly to my friend's blogs. I find them to be either way too emo (Jacob), incredibly nerdy (Emeric), or just plain worthless (Rob). But Scotty has had some particularly good stuff up lately, and his account of flying over the weekend is not to be missed.

I got a haircut on Monday. I have a big presentation next week, so I needed to look professional. It's shorter than it has been for a long time. I might admit it looked decent if I wasn't such a sellout.

Webcomics have increasingly become my addiction of choice, including a couple that are just too bizarre to not mention: White Ninja Comics and Dinosaur Comics. I've particularly enjoyed White Ninja Makes a Home Video and the Dinosaur Comic where the devil talked to T-Rex about the waning popularity of adventure games. Seriously, just check them out.

Call me crazy, but if I was picking the Pope, I would have gone with someone a tad younger than 78, considering the one who just passed was only 84. The newly christened Pope Benedict by all accounts seems to be in good health, but he suffered a brain hemorrhage in 1991 and seems to suffer from extreme pessimism. Apparently, one of the reasons he chose the name Benedict was because "Benedict XV, the last pope to have that name, had one of the shortest pontificates of the 20th century." Sources say, "I think he has a very keen sense that this may not be a very long pontificate and there's an awful lot to do." I give him 6 months.

Of course, if I was picking the Pope, I probably wouldn't have gone with an ultra-conservative, but I guess that's why I'm not a cardinal.

If you injured yourself while walking, it probably wouldn't be good advice to walk it off.

DuckFever is still sweeping the campus, except for a couple notable naysayers. (You have my permission and in fact my request to give them what for.) In fact, Keri and I have already decided to start The New Church of the Mighty Ducks. We don't really know what the church stands for besides having Connie Moreau and Julie "The Cat" Gaffney as symbols of the sacred feminine. We do have self-appointed positions, though. She's the High Priestess and I'm Keeper of the Cake. We told Andy to make one up and he had to go and best us all.

He's the Triple Deacon.




Take the fall! Act hurt! Get indignant!

The Mighty Ducks series is the greatest sports trilogy of all time.

There, I said it.

You may ask, "Tim, what other sports trilogies are there?" To which I reply, "Uh...shut up."

Sometimes my college friends and I get on weird kicks where we really just want to do random stuff. We've been talking about a Mighty Ducks marathon for some time now and this past weekend, it finally happened.

I dubbed it "DuckFest '05."

The main reason it's taken us this long to get around to watching the movies is that they're pretty hard to find. Guess there's not a huge demand for them at Blockbuster, because we couldn't find them there. I bet they're not even released on DVD. I should start a petition... Anyway, Keri finally had to go to this HUGE place called Video Warehouse and get them. We watched the original on Friday night and the next two on Saturday.

I'm sure it's mainly because the movies are so ingrained in my upbringing, but I find them endlessly entertaining. Seriously guys, I love The Mighty Ducks. I love Averman and Goldberg and Jessie Hall and even the dudes from the first movie that didn't make it to the second, like Karp and Tommy and Terrie and that little New York punk with the leather jacket and sheriff's badge. And don't even get me started on how much I love Kenan Thompson. Finest comedy cast ever assembled, in my opinion.

And then there's the debate as to whether you're a "Connie guy" or a "Julie 'The Cat' Gaffney guy." As for me and my house, we are squarely behind Connie Moreau, but The Meez swears by The Cat, to the point of vocally berating Coach Bombay for leaving Goldberg in the game for so long. However, it should be noted that The Meez prefers the D2-era emotionally distant Cat as opposed to the out-of-her-shell D3 Cat.

This is the greatest post I have ever made. Mostly because only 4 people can understand it. And they were all at DuckFest '05.

Finally, I've determined that Ducks terminology needs to come back. The subject of this post was the battle cry for the Ducks' second game, when Bombay taught them to cheat. Hilarious. Also, I'm probably going to start calling a lot more people "cake-eaters." Turns out that phrase actually has a logical meaning, because it refers to those of the upper crust, stemming from the "Let them eat cake" phrase. Also, people in Minnesota still use it. Anyone from Edina, Minnesota is referred to as a cake-eater.

We were trying to think if we knew anyone from Edina. I thought, "Hmm...let me think of all the cake-eaters I know."

DuckFest '05. It was awesome.


Take that, big business guy

Hey, good news! Apparently, the strike is over. I assume this is true because I no longer see the old dudes sitting in their tent with signs on my way to work. The signs, the tent, and the old dudes are all gone. I suppose this could mean that someone was hired to bump them off, but I don't like to think about that. I prefer to think that their solidarity, combined with my daily "Fist Raise of Affirmation" truly brought down the corrupt bigwigs of wherever the heck they worked. Way to go, guys.

Did you know that Popes can name themselves? Seriously, after they become Pope they get to choose their name. It makes me wonder if Pope John Paul was a Beatles fan. But everyone picks such boring names. If I were Pope, I'd be Pope Batman the Destructor.

My Last Comic Standing win got a HUGE amount of Drake press. You can check it out here. Be sure to listen to my amazingly eloquent sound bite on gathering material.


Fate strikes again

So I just had maybe one of the best weekends ever.

I've already told you about winning Drake's Last Comic Standing, so I'll skip that. I got up early on Saturday to go to a Youth Ministry Seminar being conducted by my youth pastor. Well, not so much got up as awoken by a cell phone call from the people I was supposed to carpool with. Yeah, I've been pretty bogus about getting up on time recently. Anyway, the seminar was great, but I'm not to the really cool part yet.

Then I came back, took a much needed nap and met up with some friends for a senior BBQ. An old high school friend was in town and joined us. That was nice. Still not to the cool part.

After that came the big part of my night: opening for Kyle Cease. I was a little nervous because I hadn't had time to practice my act nearly as much as I wanted to (darn that nap!). But I went with what I consider my "tried-and-true" material (meaning I've done it maybe twice before), so I felt pretty comfortable with it. I made fun of the Relays theme (R.U.N. - Relays Uniting the Nation), talked about how I don't fit in cars, people who are against highway safety, why we still have a blind spot, and why cowboys ride off into the sunset. Maybe one day I'll transcribe all this stuff if you're really interested, but you probably get the idea.

Bottom line: it went really well. The audience, although somewhat stacked and sympathetic to one of their own, really ate up what I was giving. I don't want to say I killed, but...okay yeah, I killed. But here's the really cool part: Kyle, the headliner, was very impressed and complimentary. Right as I got offstage, he said I did a really great job. He assumed from my one-liners that I must be a fan of Mitch Hedberg, who was actually a close friend of his before his untimely passing recently. He said my libraries line actually had him in tears, and he doesn't laugh at anything. He also said, and this was the best part, if I wanted to do this and stuck with it, I could definitely "make it."

So I'm all aglow because this professional comedian thinks I'm good. I sit down to watch his set, which was really great. Apparently, he's been doing this since he was 12, and he's 27 now, so he knows his stuff. It's great because he can talk about generational stuff, like blowing in Nintendo cartridges and Sunny D commercials. Good stuff.

I went to talk to him after the show and get a picture with him and he had more good stuff to say. I kept trying to compliment his set, but he just wanted to compliment me. He asked me if this is what I want to do, and I replied yes, in a way. I want to be professionally funny, but I don't know exactly which route I want to take. So then he tells me that if I ever make it out to L.A., I should give him a call and he'll get me set up in some clubs. He said he's gotten a few people started out there and that I should think about it. We exchanged numbers and he said to give him a call next week to talk about my material and the life of a stand-up.

With my head swimming, I went to DICEfire, a bonfire for DICEY and DICEY-related peeps. There, I enjoyed great company, great S'mores, and smoke that made my clothes smelly. But I was floating, so I didn't even mind.

I really hate to sound like I'm bragging about how awesome I am, but it just meant a lot to hear from a professional that I've got potential. Now, am I going to drop out of school 4 weeks before graduation and go to L.A. to hang around seedy comedy clubs and wait for my big break? No. I'm going to wait until after I graduate. No, just kidding. Calm down, Dad. Second City's been my dream for a while and I'm not ready to jump off that ship before I even start. Not yet, anyway.

But did this weekend prove to me that my dream of being professionally funny is a reality? That I was created and put on this earth to bring joy to people through comedy?

Without a doubt.


It's official.

I'm the funniest guy ever.

Tonight at Drake, there was a stand-up comedy competition: Last Drake Comic Standing. About 8 students went up and did 5-minute acts and there was some pretty stiff competition. Some pretty funny stuff was said. The audience voted and 3 were picked to move on. Then those 3 did 3-minute bits and the audience picked a winner, who would be given the opportunity to open for Kyle Cease, the professional comedian performing tomorrow.

Well, I won.

For the first act, I came out and did some one-liners, then talked about NASCAR for a while. My second act was all about how I'm tall and don't fit in showers. I'd transcribe it, but it's really late and I have to get up wicked early tomorrow. Anyway, it was a great night. Lots of fun. Now I just have to get my act ready to open for a real comedian tomorrow night. It's kind of comforting because I know he's going to destroy me, but that's his job and he gets paid for it. I'm just there to have a little fun, warm up the audience, then get the heck out of the way. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

Man, I love making people laugh. I've got to find a way to get paid for it so I can do it forever.


Be strong, my eskimo friends

Every day on my way to work, I pass a big mail processing place. I think that's what it is - it's something to do with the Postal Service. I think. Whatever, it's a big building. Lately, there have been a group of employees on strike. They sit around outside the place with signs that read "Unfair Labor" and "Scabs Go Home." I have no idea what their beef is, but every time I drive by, I throw up a fist and nod as if to say, "Be strong, brothers." I doubt they see me and I doubt even more that they would care, but hey, solidarity.

In other news, the NESkimos are a great band that does metal-esque covers of old Nintendo songs. They're awesome if you're into that sort of thing, but don't play them on your radio show and expect vocals to come in. You'll be sorely disappointed.

Lastly, do you think book publishers are ever like, "LIBRARIES!!!" (shakes fist at sky)


A DICEY to remember

Monday night was an unusual, but memorable night at DICEY. The national champeenship game was going on (stupid Tar Heels...grr...) so our normal rehearsal space was abuzz with activity. A bunch of guys sitting around playing pool and watching the game, girls feigning interest but really gossiping with other girls who are not even pretending to be interested, and people studying (who DOES that?!) made the stage not a good choice for DICEY. So we did what any good improv troupe would do - we moved outside.

In the renovation of our quad that took place a few years ago, they put in a reflecting pool (which is still conspicuously empty) and this thing called an agora. It's very Greek in nature and has nice columns and whatnot. It's basically an outdoor stage that is very rarely used. Not once have I seen someone orate there. And that's a shame.

Anyway, it was really nice, so we went to DICEY in the agora, which was pretty fun. And after our performance on Thursday (in which we played pretty much every game we know), I felt pretty gamed out, so I thought the night was right for experimentation. Wait....what? Oh, no! Not that kind of experimentation! IMPROV experimentation, you perverts. We tried our hand at long-form and it was a great time. I taught the troops the basics of Harold-like editing and we just went at it. Nothing I would ever consider putting up for public display, but a fun experiment nonetheless. We got an inside look at a papal campagin that promised every mythological holiday creature their own place in Catholic canon, the true feud between robins and sparrows, and what happens when a character gets written out of reality TV. I think a few more nights at the agora will be in order before the semester comes to an end.

Here's the best news I've heard for a while:

Stryper signed to BIG3 RECORDS

The multi-platinum and Billboard charting legendary rock band Stryper have signed a multi-album deal with Big3 Records. The band will release their first full-length studio record since 1991 this year. The official release date will follow soon.

To hell with the devil, kids...


Get those scrolling fingers ready

I seem to recall promising a new sketch in my last post, so here we go. This is a longer one - not a blackout, but an actual, fully developed sketch, which gives the scene time to develop. This scene satirizes our beloved Sodexho, the food provider on our campus. Students love to complain about Sodexho and the unfair meal plans. One of their favorite complaints is that Sodexho doesn't let people use their board meals for anyone except themselves, so they can't share their meals with a friend. They also get mad because unused meals don't rollover to the next week and that the food generally sucks. This is a look at what would happen if Sodexho extended their tyranny to other areas of life...


“Sodexho Preschool”

Setting: CrossBlocks, the Ultimate Preschool Experience

Characters: Sodexho Rep

Mother, Father

Two small children

(The Rep guides the two parents into the scene from upstage left. He is a master salesman, but not smarmy or arrogant. Just sincere and confident. The two children are playing with blocks downstage right)

Rep: And here we have the play area, where the children are allowed access to our many toy-related activities, which are both enjoyable and intellectually stimulating. And that about wraps up the tour. Can I answer any questions you may have about CrossBlocks, the Ultimate Preschool Experience?

(Mom and Dad are both hopelessly suburban and optimistic, still flushed with the excitement of being able to provide the best preschool money can buy for their first-born.)

Mom: Oh, I don’t think I have any. Everything just looks great. I can’t wait for little Dakota to see all this. She’s just going to love the finger painting area. I never knew there were so many colors of finger paint, did you, honey?

Dad: It boggles the mind, sweetheart. Say, I have a question. Have I heard that slogan somewhere before? It sounds awfully familiar.

Rep: Oh, you mean Ultimate Preschool Experience? You’re probably thinking of CrossRoads: the Ultimate Dining Experience.

Dad: Yeah, that’s it! CrossRoads! That was our dining hall back in college! Remember, honey? Say, this place isn’t owned by Sodexho, is it?

Rep: Guilty as charged! Our management system for college food service was so effective, we’ve branched off into many other areas with similar success. Sodexho owns paper manufacturers, steel mills, temp agencies, French prisons…


Mom: French prisons?

Rep: Joking! Just a little inside joke!

(laughter from all three)

(laughter dies down)

We really do, though.

Dad: Oh, I see it now! Look honey, the play area is set up in stations, just like our old dining hall!

Rep: You are correct, sir! We’ve got a block station, a painting station, a doll station…stations to complement every style of learning and play. As we say around here, ‘If your child can’t find something they like, they’re probably autistic!”

(silence, shocked expressions)

That was inappropriate. I apologize.

Dad: Okay…let’s talk about payment plans, shall we?

Rep: Great idea, Mr. Schell. Let me just go get some paperwork…

(looks at kids playing, trails off)

Dad: What is it?

Rep: It’s nothing…just…just let me take care of something really fast.

(goes over to kids and whispers something. It’s stern, but quiet enough so that the audience doesn’t hear anything except maybe the word “sharing.” Returns to parents)

Sorry about that, just a little discipline to ensure the proper protocols are being followed.

Mom: What was that all about? Are those children doing something wrong?

Rep: No, not really. Well, yes…it’s just…oh, come on…

(goes back to kids and whispers again, louder this time. We can make out most of what he’s saying.)

No, look. These are your blocks. These are yours. No sharing.

(returns to parents)

I apologize again. You know kids! Never listen to a word you say! Ha ha!

Mom: I don’t understand, they just look like they’re playing. That boy is making a great block castle! Are block castles not allowed? Is there a ban on medieval architecture?

Rep: No, that’s not it at all. I assure you that all styles and eras of architecture are encouraged here at the Ultimate Preschool Experience. It’s just that…oh, SON OF A BITCH!

(storms over to children)

Mercedes, stop giving Quentin your blocks! Those are your blocks and he may not use them! NO SHARING!

Mercedes: But he needs them for his…med…medee…med-ee-val castle.

Rep: I don’t care about his stupid medieval castle! Nice vocabulary though. Gold star for that. But you know the rule about sharing!

Dad: What’s the rule about sharing?

(returns to parents)

Rep: There is none. No sharing allowed.

Mom: What do you mean, no sharing allowed? That’s important for kids to learn!

Rep: (becoming irate) Oh, who told you that? Some doctor? Dr. Spock, maybe? Bull crap. That’s what you get for taking child rearing advice from a Vulcan. What kids need to learn is a sense of ownership. We provide that. Your fees provide a weekly block allotment for the children. They get so many blocks per week and that’s it. If they were allowed to share, it would throw off the whole system.

Mom: Well, why don’t you let him have more blocks from the bin? There’s plenty in there!

Rep: OH, you people just don’t get it! Along with having so many blocks per week, they also have a limit on how many blocks they can use per day! Quentin has already removed his limit from the bin, so he’ll just have to make do with his incomplete medieval castle. Maybe he’ll have to make it a shanty. That’s life.

Dad: That seems like an awful lot for little kids to handle.

Rep: Yeah, well so is pooping in something other than their pants, but they get the hang of that eventually.

Mom: They’re not even good blocks! The brightly-colored letters are backward, they’re not even level and that one’s got sharp metal spikes coming out of it!

Rep: Quentin’s going to need that for the ramparts – helps keep away invaders. Look, I can assure you that our blocks are of the highest quality and besides, the children always have options.

Dad: But if your options are crap, crap, and crap, any way you go, you’re getting crap.

Rep: Well, that’s very clever, sir…OH, YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!

(returns to the kids)


Dad: Jesus, who talks like that? This guy’s crazy!

Mom: Yeah, let’s get out of here.

(but they don’t. And the guy continues yelling.)


Dad: Okay, that is it. We’re leaving! There is no way we’re sending Dakota to an environment like this. I don’t care how many finger paint colors you have.

Rep: (instantly calm and composed) Sir, wait. I’m sorry you feel that way about our policies, but the fact is that they’ve been working for many years. But I tell you what. We’ve been having a lot of complaints about our block plan policy, so I’ll have someone look into it.

Dad: (strangely placated) Oh, did you hear that, honey? He’s going to have someone look into it.

Mom: Oh…okay. But only because someone’s looking into it.

Rep: Great, let’s talk payment plans. We’re on a per week basis here, so your fees will get Dakota five days per week.

Dad: If we don’t use all of the days in one week, do the extra days transfer to the next week?

Rep: (pause) That’s ridiculous. We’re only open five days a week. Where would you use the extra days?

Dad: (pause) That makes perfect sense.

Rep: (takes a deep breath in order to launch into another loud tirade, but stops.) Oh, fantastic.