These microshort humor essays were originally commissioned to appear on the labels of gourmet roasted coffee bean cans. Instead, they remained tucked away for 10 years in the author’s desk drawer. His instructions were simple: Mention the word “coffee” at least once, keep them family-friendly, and keep them under 300 words. He almost did it.
TENK YOU, BOYZA!
You don’t have to be Norwegian to understand Lawrence
Welk, but apparently it helps. The other night I had my trusty
mug of coffee in one hand and the tv remote in the other,
scanning the channels man-style for something to watch. You
know what man-style channel surfing is like- give each channel
exactly three nanoseconds to prove itself worthy of a stop. Sad
to say, partial nudity does play a part in the decision-making
I took a few sips of strong, dark courage and eventually
settled on the red-headed stepchild of the free broadcast
world- PBS. In defense of public television, may I say how fun
it would be to watch a show like Fear Factor have to beg for
every nickel it needs, while the Antiques Roadshow gets a million
dollars per episode. But I digress.
There on my screen stands bandleader Lawrence Welk,
fronting a band outfitted in what can only be described as early
Paintshop Explosionwear. I understand that color television
was a new and wondrous thing in Welk’s day, but couldn’t they
have limited the clothing scheme to colors that exist in
nature? I managed to catch some episodes from the early 60s,
and I must say the boys looked mighty sharp in their tailored,
thin-lapeled suits with the Cuban boots. Then all of a sudden
the spirit of good taste and restraint passed right over the studio
door. The result was a collision between a Day-Glo paint
truck and a circus train.
Even more disconcerting than the clothes were the performers
themselves. I had no idea you could actually airbrush
a live human being. Maybe it was the coffee talking, but I started
to feel like I had tripped into the Stepford Wives Comedy
Variety Hour by mistake. All that was missing was a surprise
appearance by the Pointer Sisters and the comedic stylings of
Mr. David Brenner.
You know, it’s a funny thing about nostalgia. Dylan might
have been onto something when he said ‘what looks large from
a distance/Close up ain’t never that big’, but when it comes to
the Lawrence Welk show and all of its apparent corniness,
perhaps it’s we who have gotten smaller somehow. Enna one,