Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, purse-sized dogs and cats.
It is an honor and a privilege to be here tonight as a recipient of a 2015 Liebster Award, the Oscar, the Heisman, the ne plus ultra for bloggers.
I need to thank a lot of people tonight, but first and foremost, Nikki Stern, for nominating me. Nikki–are you here tonight? There she is, ladies and gentlemen, over there at table 23. Let’s give her a big Liebster round of applause.
[Tepid, golf-tournament level clapping.]
Oh, come on, people–you can do better than that! Can I at least get a couple of “woots”!
[Louder, more enthusiastic clapping, punctuated by woots.]
That’s more like it. (clears throat nervously) You know, Nikki is really the nicest person I know.
No seriously, I truly don’t think she has a mean bone in her body. That’s why I find her so . . . and I’m groping for the right word now, because I’m a happily married man . . . intriguing. I mean, it’s like we’re those little Scotty dog magnets, the black and white ones you used to see in tacky gift shops? The kind where you try to sneak one dog up behind the other, and the other–the one being snuck up upon, not the one doing the sneaking–whirls around as if propelled by some mysterious force. Like, say, magnetism.
(pauses for laughter that doesn’t come) Is this mike on? Anyway, Nikki is the author of “Hope in Small Doses,” which is a great title and a very heartwarming book if your heart needs warming. Which mine does, no doubt about it. “Hope” now comes in two decorator colors, green and orange, and as all good poets know, there’s nothing that rhymes with “orange.”
But I’ve wandered off the path a bit. I was going to say that Nikki is so nice that she’s allowed me to make up my own questions, which is a good thing, because I was never good at “slam” books in high school, those self-administered personality tests that kids would pass around for you to record your deepest, darkest secrets in, like “Who do you think is better, Herman’s Hermits or The Dave Clark Five?”
No, I had a bad experience with slam books in 10th grade. I had just started dating Lisa Flores–I think we’d kissed once at a homecoming dance. When the latest slam book found its way into my hands and I flipped to the page that asked “Who do you think is the best kisser?” I ran my finger down the column to find Lisa’s entry and it read–Junior Fidler!
[Gasps from audience.]
Well, you can imagine how I felt–not so hot, lemme tell ya!
But again, I digress. Nikki has been kind enough to allow me to make up my own questions, rather than struggle in vain to come up with a favorite color or a favorite TV show. I’ve never been able to keep a favorite color for very long–I’m capricious that way–and I haven’t had any favorite TV shows since “Sea Hunt” with Lloyd Bridges went off the air.
So here goes–no holds barred, lumberjack rules, you may tap out at any time by saying the safe word “Blog!”
1. Where did you get that the ugly car you drive?
Seems strange to say, but I inherited the 2006 Pontiac Torrent that I drive to the train station every day from my son. Not that he left it to me in his will, it’s just that he’s living in the city and it’s really expensive to keep a car and . . . maybe we better move on to your next question.
2. Who was your favorite baseball player growing up and why?
Stan Musial, no question. Great hitter, plays harmonica like me, and as my dad pointed out–he never argued with an umpire.
[Hypocritical, self-congratulatory applause.]
Oh, please. Like you don’t scream at the ump every time a call doesn’t go your way? Next question.
3. Were you raised by wolves?
What the hell kind of question is that? Of course not. They were muskrats, or something.
4. Any scars or distinguishing marks?
Whadda you, the FBI? As a matter of fact I have an unsightly mole on my right elbow that’s so big it has the right to vote in municipal elections around here.
Family portrait, Christmas, 1963
5. What surprising fact will people discover when they read your obituary?
You mean other than the cross-dressing? I hope to have that under control by the time I die. I guess it would be the curious fact that I played harmonica with both Mississippi Fred McDowell and Willie Dixon . . .
6. Forty years ago, and you’ve been dining out on it ever since.
I thought you were supposed to ask questions, not make snide remarks.
7. What exactly does “snide” mean, anyway?
Cutting, sly, malicious or sarcastic. That counts as one of your questions, by the way.
8. No it doesn’t.
You’d better quit while you’re ahead.
9. All right. What was the name of your first pet?
So you’re the one who’s been trying to hack into my bank account!
10. No I’m not.
Gotcha–you’re out of questions. So now it’s time for me to send each and every one of my 2,896 followers . . .
11. You haven’t made it past the 3,000 reader threshold after you’ve been blogging for what . . .
Nine years. Don’t rub it in. Send them over to Nikki’s blog.
12. Aren’t you supposed to recommend five other blogs or . . .
13. Or you’ll break the chain.
Let me tell you something my dad told me the first time I ever saw a chain letter.
Do you have to say everything with a number?
15. I’ll stop after this one.
Anyway, he showed it to me, and told me anybody who’d send a dollar to a stranger because an anonymous letter said something awful would happen to them if they didn’t needed to have his head examined.
Like people who fall for the Liebster Award and spend time answering questions on the internet in the vain hope it will increase their readership and make them rich beyond the dreams of avarice?
Yeah. Present company excepted, of course.