Friday, May 22, 2009

A Night At The Opera




Sometimes, a thing turns out to be much better than you thought it would, as well as better than you were willing to believe when YOUR WIFE told you it would be good. This is a story about that sort of thing.

MY WIFE and I went to see Jerry Springer, The Opera. I had resisted it for quite some time. This was because I abhor television shows such as Jerry Springer. I consider them the nadir of... well, of everything. I think I might prefer having piranhas nibble at my genitals than to watch more than a couple of minutes of such crap.

Seriously.

I construct my life in such a way as to avoid - desperately - any undue contact with the types of people who populate Springer, Wife Swap, Sally Jesse Raphael, Judge Judy (or any of the other roving pack of TV pseudo-magistrates), Maury Povich or Steve Wilkos (formerly the "director of security" on Springer - nuff said.) That such cretins even exist is painful enough. Watching them parade their problems on my TV screen, while ostensibly being "helped" through said problems, reminds me of nothing more than the old-time carnival freak shows, wherein you'd pay to see a man with three eyes, two noses, and a bifurcated forehead, the major difference being that the unfortunates of old were earning a living and would have liked, in most instances, to have been more normal, while these modern-day anomalies seem to revel in their grotesquery.

Anyway, I no more desired to see Jerry Springer, The Opera than I did the actual show upon which it drew for material. So, why did I see it? How did it happen? Well, I'll tell you.

MY WIFE and I saw an advertisement, in our local paper, for a benefit show. The idea was to raise money for some folks who had lost their homes due to fire. That was nice, but we decided to go because there was going to be a big band playing. Although we don't dance, we both like big band music - 1940's-style swing - and there aren't a lot of opportunities to enjoy such aggregations live. So, we went to hear the music and, as a nice adjunct, give up a few bucks for a worthy cause.

When we got to the venue, we saw that there was a silent auction. You know the deal, right? Items are shown; there's a sign-up sheet near each item; if you're interested in the item, you write down a higher bid than the previous interested party; and, if your bid turns out to be the final high bid when time expires, you get the item.

We made bids on a number of different things. Usually, if you bid early on eight or nine of the offerings, you'll end up being outbid on the majority of them. We liked everything we bid on, but we expected to be one-upped on most. And that would have been fine. We really couldn't afford to win them all.

We won them all.

I forget the exact amount we had to pony up, but it may have been somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 - and, in some neighborhoods, that's a half-month's rent. I hope it was at least that much for the folks whose houses burned down.

I was outside, having a smoke and trading lies with another person who lives on the periphery of show business, when MY WIFE ran out and said, "Do we have any money in the bank?" That's not exactly the sort of question that makes you think good news is coming, nor does it bolster the pack of untruths you've just been telling someone concerning your career.

After being told what was going down - that we had been declared winners of about $800 worth of stuff - I said that, indeed, we did have some money in the bank; at least, enough to cover our asses for the moment. There was a branch of our bank across the street from the venue. While MY WIFE stalled the organizers, I went and got the moolah.

For the cash, we got a number of interesting prizes. We had bought theater tickets, restaurant gift certificates, and massages. Among the theater tickets was a pass for The Speakeasy, a theater in Boston's South End. Among the restaurant gift certificates was one for Picco, a place right next to The Speakeasy. And so, despite my reluctance to have anything to do with Jerry Springer, The Opera...

Before the show, we used the Picco gift certificate. Great little restaurant with a fine selection of micro-brew beers. I had two tall Golden Monkeys, a tripel brewed by Victory of Pennsylvania. Two of them had my ass half-kicked, as it is a 9.5% alcohol brew. I would have had more if I didn't have to drive us home after the show. Excellent beer - sweet, spicy, nice head, same as I like my women. MY WIFE had a couple of equally potent glasses of wine. We were pleasantly loopy as we ate our shrimp salads and fish tacos.

After dinner, MY WIFE ordered some ice cream for dessert. I went outside to have a smoke, leaning against a wall like a right degenerate, eyes at half-mast, not caring a whit if the girls walking down the street saw me staring at their boobs. When I went back in, the ice cream was in front of MY WIFE. She was enjoying it greatly. She asked me if I wanted a taste.

"What kind is it?"

"Cranberry Squirrel."

"What? Cranberry Squirrel?"

"Cranberry Squirrel... Cranberry Squ... SWIRL."

The cranberry squirrel was really good. It almost made me want to order some pigeon pecan for myself, but I didn't think it would sit too well on top of the Golden Monkeys.

Very enjoyable meal. Great alcohol. We both felt like we were dating again. If we hadn't had a play to go to, we probably would have rented a room. However, we did have a play to go to, so we weaved our way out the door and over to the theater.

And, damn it, the play was hilarious.

It truly is an opera. All parts are sung, excluding the part of Jerry Springer himself. There are three separate high C's hit during the course of the show - two by females and one by the male who sings the part of God in the second act.

Yes, God is a character in the second act, as are Jesus and Satan.

As you probably suspect from the forgoing, rabid fundamentalists might find the proceedings highly offensive. I'm something of a fundamentalist myself, actually, so I felt a tad uncomfortable with some parts of the second act, but not so much that I didn't laugh my ass off. Really, if you believe that God doesn't find the entirety of humanity knee-slappingly hilarious, my belief is that you're going to be severely disappointed when you die, so a bit of ridiculousness concerning a chat show taking place in Hell shouldn't worry you.

(I personally rationalized it via believing that the entire second act takes place inside of Springer's head. If his ideas of God, Jesus, Satan - and other religious notables - weren't up to snuff, well, that was his problem, not mine.)

Oh, one other thing you should be aware of is that it's the most obscene theater production I have ever witnessed. Nary a minute passes without vulgarity that would make most longshoremen blush. This will be a selling point for some of you, no doubt. However, if you would be offended by lyrics suggesting anal rape with barbed wire, soiling yourself for sexual gratification, or an entire chorus belting out "He's a cunt, he's a cunt, he's a cunty cunt cunt", then perhaps you'd be better off seeing a revival of Charley's Aunt.

(It should be noted that the play has won every major award available in London, while thus far more-or-less flopping on these shores. I'm not sure if that says more about us or them. Probably, it just says that watching somebody else's loons is more entertaining than watching your own. I mean, consider the laughs we get from just listening to the French.)

So, once again, MY WIFE was right. I did enjoy the play. Also, as long as I'm in the confessional, she would like it to be known that she very much knows how to sew, thank you, and has made several teddy bears in her life. Sheesh.

Soon, with more better stuff.


34 comments:

endangered coffee said...

Wow. I think I'll be singing that chorus all day at work now. [I hope your company has an opening if I get fired]

Michelle H. said...

Yeah, I watched Springer a little. Couldn't stand the man - so I doubt I would've lasted for the opera (although I do like operas).

It sounds like you made out big with the auction. Congrats!

Pat - Arkansas said...

I'm delighted that your auction bids paid off, and that you had a good time at Picco's. As you do, I believe God has a sense of humor (although it might have been stretched a bit by this production) else we'd have all been struck dead long ago.

Buck said...

"...while thus far more-or-less flopping on these shores. I'm not sure if that says more about us or them."

It probably sez that we... as in Americans... prefer the real thing to the opera, more's the pity.

I'd probably have to be dragged to something like that, as well. And like you, I'd probably enjoy it once there. But reading about Jerry Springer, The Opera works just as well, if not better.

Expat From Hell said...

I get to see the Jerry Springer show almost every day here - at Wal-Mart. Great review, makes me want to see the show. If the Texas ever allow it in. Can you do that musical refrain in your #2 voice?

ExpatFromHell

Theresa said...

Ugh! I'm with you. I can't stand Springer and his kind. Wow! $800 worth of stuff. But it sounds like you guys got a lotta stuff that you probably wouldn't have bought normally, so that part of it sounds really neat (especially the massages). And you helped people at the same time. Nice blog.

jinksy said...

After listening to your rolling 'r's recently, I am now wishing I could hear your rendition of 'Cranberry Squirrel'.....

Jazz said...

I want this to come to Montreal. I really really do...

Sandi McBride said...

Well, I'm glad that you had the money in the bank but I know doggone well that you are familiar with Murphy's law...I know I've heard you talk about Murph before...lucky you? Maybe not so much, but there was Ice Cream...
I once had to stay with a prisoner who was in the hospital and demanded that we watch Jerry Springer not once but three times a day. I finally reminded the idiot who was carrying the gun so we got that settled pretty quickly...and Jerry Springer turned into Jerry Seinfeld post haste...ah the joys of retirement...

Granny on the Web said...

Glad to say I missed it over in in the UK....(secret sigh, OMG) what a shame. Well if you enjoy that sort of thing, I am a bit too prudish for that sort of language....
Hope you are recovering from spending all that money!!!

Love Granny

Fire Fox said...

Jim I don't think I would like the opera. I can't stand Springer for all the same reasons you listed. I just don't think I could stand sitting (hmm... stand sitting? is that an oxymoron?)and listening to all that nonsense being sung to me. Ugh. Good for you, bellying up to the bar...so to speak!

Moannie said...

As ever you have made a nauseating subject [Jerry Springer and his ilk] hilarious but I have to say THAT word is the one word I cannot say, and I am no prude, believe me, please. But hearing it repeated again and again even in the context of Hell would be too much. I love to hear that you and THE WIFE had a great night out and you had me laughing out loud to read that you got all the goodies.

Nicole said...

I can't believe that even exists!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Love your last line...laughing!!!! And thanks for the warning...never have cared for that Springer dude... I shall call you "show reviewer extraordinaire!" Have a great weekend! ~Janine

George said...

I like Jerry Springer, so the idea of an opera sounds somewhat intriguing to me.

I'm glad you ended up enjoying yourself. I'll have to try some Strawberry Squirrel myself. :)

Also, you da man just for this line right here: "sweet, spicy, nice head, same as I like my women". Classic!

Ananda girl said...

Oh what a hoot! Sounds like a heck of a night. I love it when life surprises me like this.

Once again you have entertained and amazed. (And I'm hoping it comes my way... though I don't know if I can get anyone to go with me.) Also not at all a reality show, talk show of this ilk, etc. fan. I'd love to see this lampoon. Big grin!

Merisi said...

I always knew that Jerry Springer one fine day will show up here! *giggle*

His show seems so quaint now,
compared to the reality shows that are now on TV.

GreenJello said...

Cranberry squirrel. Heehee!

Christina LMT said...

Sound like you needed the "lubrication" to enjoy the show!

Karen said...

I started laughing when I saw the mental image of piranhas nibbling at your genitals and didn't stop. Seriously, $800?

lime said...

lol, i tend to agree with you about avoiding all things springer so i also would have avoided the opera. i am thinking seeing it while half flagged may have improved it? then again i have a bawdy sense of humor so who knows.

glad yo uand your wife were able to enjoy such a good time.

lakeviewer said...

Oh this is a good one. Glad to know you enjoyed yourself.

Chris @ Maugeritaville said...

Hey, let me tell you, if you've never seen Pigeon Pecan sitting on top of Golden Monkeys, you're missiong out on some great animal kingdom porn, my friend.

Excellently written as always, Sully.

The Things We Carried said...

I don't know if I could take Springer in opera, but, you sure did make it seem plausible!

As always, you have me laughing out loud and reading this to my husband. Nobody makes me laugh harder than you as a writer. YOUR WIFE, the bank account, and the Cranberry Squirrel ice cream...priceless! Have a good weekend, though, I suppose you will not see this until next week.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Congratulations on your "roast!" It couldn't happen to a nicer guy :-) Have a wonderful Memorial Day!! ~Janine

Jenn said...

So here is what I want to know...did you still feel like you were dating after seeing that insanity? Sounds like you done a good thing for the auction to help out those families and enjoyed the fruits of the labor. Very nice.

imac said...

Hi Suldog, came from David's, Not sure who got Roasted tho - I must be 50% happy then.lol.

Enjoyed reading this post, sounds a great evening, what with a meal and BEER plus a show and spending your money too.

Snowbrush said...

I take it then, that the opera is not for Springer fans? Such shows are a strange phenomenon. You want to think good about your species, then you see a show like that, and you think, "Oh, my god."

Eddie Bluelights said...

I think I'll 'piss' on the show (sorry, I mean't to say 'pass' - hit the wrong key!) Actually, as it turns out my first word is probably more apt! - thank you God. Don't like Jerry Springer and if I was around he would certainly hit top C.
I loved this commentary and your post - I have at last found someone with 'my sense of humour' - I have signed up as a follower.
Also I've just seen you on David's ROAST and remarked that you seem to be a "modest sort of guy!" LOL to the power of n where n = infinity.
Hope to see you soon ~ Eddie
PS The word verification I had to key in was "madness"

Lola said...

Ciao Jim,
David gave me the key to your place, I hope you don't mind I made myself comfortable, reading this while you two were getting reciprocally roasted.

We have many mutual blog-friends in common and they were right. You ARE a wonderful, witty, bold and outspoken read. I like that in a blogger.

So if you don't mind, I'd like to stay a while and snoop around in your archive. I have a feeling I'm going to like it here.

My kitchen door is always open. Homestyle food, family size servings, excellent vino and good conversation are always on the menu.

Come by, sit and pour the first glass while I cook up something to eat, while we get acquainted.

Ciao,
Lola

Chuck said...

I have a friend who did a play based on the Jerry Springer Show at a small theater in Wisconsin. It sounded amusing but it was produced before I started going to see his shows so I never got a chance to check it out.

Woman in a Window said...

You won everything? How lucky for you, ah, ya, lucky.

I find all of those tv shows terribly depressing but I do remember watching Judge Wapner after school as a kid. Who the heck raised me? Judge Wapner!

The opera sounds interesting though...but not enought to actually pay for it.

Carolina said...

Well, at least you are enjoying all your auction 'winnings'. Cranberry Squirrel sounds like a Ben&Jerry's flavour. Something with nuts. Which brings us back to Jerry Springer ;-)

Janet said...

So congratulations or possibly condolences on winning ALL the auctions! Sounds like a very funny show (vulgarity and all). I never actually watched him, but you couldn't avoid the commercials.
Cranberry squirrel made me laugh. And I think you're right about God's sense of humor. The entire human reproductive process is too ridiculous to be anything but a huge cosmic joke.