I was kicked back in my Lazyboy the other night watching a pop-music retrospective on the teevee when the oddest late, late, late show came on. There was this guy all dressed in flashy clothes (no, really, it’s like they were made out of LEDs or something), holding a microphone, staring straight into the camera. He was standing on a wharf on a huge waterway and when the wind blowed, his huge poof of hair didn’t move an inch. Tugboats pushed barges slowly downstream in the background. Oh, and he had the biggest, whitest teeth I’ve ever seen. When he turned his head just right, they reflected light like a couple of s.
“We’re here today to interview Old Man River,” he beamed, overpowering the camera until he shifted his head to look down between his feet. “And how are you?” Although he appeared to be alone, a strange, deep, burbley voice rose up from under the wharf.
“Pretty much the same,” it said.
“And what have you been doing lately?” Mr. Cheerful gleamed.
“I don’t do nuttin’,” came the reply.
The interviewer was unfazed. “And what do you think you’ll be doing tomorrow?”
“I’ll just keep rolling along,” came out like a bubbly sigh.
“You heard it here first,” the interviewer smiled. “Well, what can you expect from someone who don’t plant ‘taters. So I guess it’s back to totin’ that bale for the rest of us. Right, Jim?”
I’m pretty sure that’s when I woke up and noticed that the test pattern was on the TV screen. The stuffed beaver on the bookshelf above the television set was looking at me funny, and every few seconds the pump in my goldfish bowl burbled. I remember thinking, “That’s definitely the last time I have leftover pizza right before bedtime!”