Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The funny man

“Ian, do you want to listen to the funny man?”

A very prepubescent response “sure Dad.”

There were many Saturday evenings that went like that when my father would turn on the radio. We were generally driving back from dinner or a movie, and then I would hear that voice…

It was a voice that taught me many of my foundational things: republicans were bad, the church was good, and life was a little slower on the lake. After the news was finished with the line “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average” I would be transported to a dark mystery of Guy Noir. There was something rhythmic and soothing about the voice, which made me laugh at some of the same jokes my father laughed at, thus making me feel smart and connected.

I had no idea what that voice looked like for a long time. I filled in the character. In Sunday school we would hear stories about God talking, I assumed God sounded like the voice I heard from “the funny man.”

Years later when the movie A Prairie Home Companion was released I saw what that voice actually looked like. Yesterday, I got to shake that voices hand.

Drake hosted Garrison Keillor yesterday for the Bucksbaum Lecture, a time every semester when we play host to some of the most influential people of the day. Maya Angelou, Ambassador Pickering, Ken Burns, Bill Bryson have all graced the Blue stage. Keillor is hilarious, in a kind of comedy that is unmatched. He started out singing and then went into poetry, and finished off as he does so well with telling stories.

I like his stories. I like stories. I take a great deal of joy from being able to tell stories, and one of the tenants, the foundations of my life is to have good stories. Upon leaving Oman I made a list I keep on my mobile for when I am bored or when people ask, of stories that I was a part of in Oman. Drake allowed me the chance to create story after story for myself, and yesterday gave me the chance to meet and listen to the master.

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