Don’t Kick My Chair During the Scary Part, Dude!

The play, I’ll Be Back Before Midnight,” almost scared a little bit of pee out of me.  It was great.  I generally like going to plays, always have, but I saw one this summer that just bored me to tears, so I haven’t been too motivated lately. I think you are always more disappointed in something when your hopes regarding that something are up unnecessarily high.  Needless to say I have been tentative about going to another one.  Unfortunately, I had a birthday a couple of weeks ago, so the missus wanted to take me to a play and dinner, so I said “okay.”

Kim made the reservations or at least she tried to.  My wife, as sweet as she is, tends to have issues with technology. When she is using her phone, kindle, or laptop, and something doesn’t work the way she wants it to, the conversation usually goes like this:

“Here, fix it.”

“Fix what sweetie?”

“Fix this!”  She is now shaking the device at me.

“What’s wrong with it?”

“It won’t work.”

“Well honey, I kinda figured that one out on my own.”  For some odd reason or another, that response never goes over too well.

“Is there anything in particular it’s doing or not doing?”

“It won’t work.  Fix it.” Still shaking, or wagging, said device.

Someday I’m going to learn to just take the device and make it work without asking questions.  But seeing as how I fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down, it ain’t gonna happen.  This is the same guy who asked his, not even close to being 68 year old wife, after she told him that the recent super moon hasn’t been this close to the earth in 68 years, if she remembered it looking like this. So, I take the device, which, this time, happens to be the laptop.

Tap, tap, tap, fiddle, fiddle, fiddle, adjust, adjust, adjust.

“Okay sweetie, here ya go.”

“What did you do?”

“I keyed in the password.”

“Thank yooooooooo!”

A short time later she says to me, she says, “there are no good seats until the 12th.”

Now my birthday is on the 3rd, and we had already planned to meet my mother and brother at Biltmore in Asheville, NC on the 2nd for lunch and a tour. Then on the 3rd, Kim had planned to take me to dinner at our favorite steak place (which means our favorite restaurant), the Peddler, in Greenville. Plus, she bought me a new electronic device.  So I’m not feeling slighted on the birthday celebrations. She could have stopped at the electronic device, but I’m not going to tell her that.  I’m good with my haul.  Dinner and a show is just a bonus, and it’s a play anyway, so like I said, I’m not too keen on going. But what are you going to do?

“That’s okay honey.  We’re doing enough for my birthday, don’t worry about it.”  I think I’m home free.

“Well there are good seats available on the 12th.”

“That’s okay.  We don’t have to go.”

“Okay, good.  We’re booked on the 12th.”

“But I said you didn’t have to do that.  You’re doing enough already.”

“We’re booked, we’re going.”

“So basically, this has got nothing to do with my birthday.  You just want to go to dinner and a play?”

“Not basically.  Yes!”

So we’re booked for a play, disguised as my birthday present.  It’s a comedy thriller, “I’ll Be Back Before Midnight”.  I’m not sure how they’re going to do that.  The best thriller I ever saw was the movie “When a Stranger Calls” and there wasn’t anything funny about that.  Except for the time they thought they had finally caught the guy. The mood was peaceful, everybody was breathing a sigh of relief, and then the heroine hears coming from the bedroom closet, “Have you checked the children?”  She rolls over to wake her husband and it turns out it’s not her husband lying next to her, it’s the killer.  That part of the movie wasn’t funny.  What was funny, were the 4 girls sitting 5 rows in front of me, screaming, jumping up, climbing over the people sitting between them and the escape route that was the aisle, and running out of the theater.  That was funny.  So naturally I’m a little skeptical about a “comedy thriller”.

We don’t attend the theater often, but I’ve seen movies where people go to the theater.  In my opinion we look the part of theater goers.  I’m wearing khakis and a sweater and the missus is wearing a nice outfit that I can’t even begin to describe other than, “She looked good,” which for my wife is pretty much all the time.  The only thing missing was me wearing a tweed jacket with elbow patches, and Birkenstocks with white socks.  Isn’t that how most men attire themselves when attending the theater?  Elbow patches and Birkenstocks?  That’s the way they do it in the movies.

Before the performance we attempt sophistication by ordering a glass of wine at the concession stand. We don’t do this often and we want to fit in.   2 problems.  #1 the wine comes in small plastic cups.  If they wanted to be any more southern they should have just used Red Solo cups.  #2 the love of my life, when asked by the “bartender” what she would like, responded by saying she wanted something sweet.  We’re not exactly at a wine tasting, so the guy looks at her like I usually do when she asks me, “Are you paying attention to me?”  For all of you keeping score at home, it’s not a pleasant look.  All you husbands out there know what I am talking about.

“We have Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio.”

She looks at him like I look at her when she says, “Are you paying attention to me?”  All you wives out there know what I am talking about.  My wife enjoys wine, but is not exactly a Sommelier.  I’m not either.  Needless to say I had to look up the word that means “wine expert.”

I told her to try the Pinot Grigio, I ordered the Cabernet, and we stood there “fashion policing” the other theater patrons. There was not an elbow patch, or pair of Birkenstocks to be seen.  We crumpled up our “glasses” dumped them in the trash and found our seats.

Some guy walked out on the stage, turned out it was the Executive Director Allen McCalla, to make announcements, pitch a couple of the sponsors, and tell us a little bit about the play.  For some reason everyone applauded when he came out.  I’ve met Allen, and he’s a nice guy, but he really didn’t do anything except walk out on the stage, so I’m not real sure why everyone was clapping.  They clapped when he left the stage too.  I asked around, but nobody else could tell me why they were clapping either.  Turns out he also directed the play, so, what do I know?

The lights came down and the play started.  And you know what?  It is pretty funny.  I still don’t see the thriller part of it yet.  I should have known better.  The play is set in kind of a stereotypical thriller setting, farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, with city people, the wife played by Emily Grove, and the husband played by Sam McCalla, who have never been in the country before, renting for the next few months.  The colorful farmer, played by Evan Harris, who is leasing them the house, is pretty funny.  He tells the standard ghost story of a hermit who, years before, had murdered someone in that house and had never been caught.  Previous guests have claimed to have seen ghosts in the house.  The sightings are always mysteriously preceded by the sound of an unearthly heartbeat.  The stage is set.  You know someone, or some people, ain’t a gonna make it to the end of this play.

The play continues and the wife, who has mental issues, decides to stay up late reading. And then it happens. The lights flicker, and you start to hear a heartbeat.  The lights flicker again, and she starts freaking out a little, screaming for her husband.  The lights go out and she’s still screaming.  I didn’t know a theater could get this dark.  I’m sure they were there, I’m really not looking, but you can’t even see the glow of the exit signs.  We have now moved from comedy to “full tilt boogie” thriller.

Now back to our story.  The wife is still screaming for her husband, it’s still pitch dark, the heartbeat has gotten louder and faster, a light shines just outside a window that has mysteriously opened, and then, all of a sudden, the wife shines a flashlight around the room, and it lands on the hermit, a hideous figure holding a bloody knife ready to stab her.  She screams again, and all the lights go out again.

The lights come up, the husband rushes into the empty room with the wife still holding the flashlight screaming about the hermit with the knife.  Everybody calms down, except the wife of course, and the play continues, jokes are told, the audience laughs and the husband goes back to bed, having searched the house and not found the first hermit.  The wife, she’s still pretty worked up, kind of like me at this point, so she decides to stay up.

A little background about me, at this juncture in our story, would be appropriate.  I’ve never liked blood and guts horror movies.  However, when I was a teenager I used to love the non gory thrillers like the first “Halloween” movie, which was, surprisingly, not that gory, and the aforementioned “When a Stranger Calls.”  They were pretty fun, and let me tell you why.  My first car date, or the first date I had after I got my drivers license and didn’t need my Mom or somebody else’s Mom to drive us, was the first “Halloween” movie.  The first time the creepy music started playing, and the killer jumped out of the shadows with the knife, my date jumped straight up out of her chair and landed in my lap, where she remained for the rest of the movie.  Yes sir, I had me a good thing going.  Scary movies?  Who knew?  So, I saw all the scary movies through High School. Let’s face it, being startled is fun, and more importantly your date being startled is even better.

So when the wife in the play decides to stay up, I know this isn’t such a hot idea.  Sure enough here we go.  The heartbeat.  The flickering lights.  She runs over and closes and locks the window.  The heart beat gets louder. She grabs the shotgun off the wall. The heart beat gets louder and louder.  The window, that she has just locked, flies open, the drapes billow with the wind, and suddenly the lights go out.  The theater is pitch dark, again.  The sound of footsteps is audible.  The wife screams and I’m about to come out of my skin. And then it happens.  The guy behind me decides to cross his legs, and he kicks the back of my chair.  He couldn’t have picked a worse time to try and get comfortable. I mean for crying out loud you can’t do that sort of thing, at that point in the play!  I thought I had been had.  The jig was up.  They had caught up to me.  It was in that moment I thought Freddy Krueger himself was banging on my chair.  If I hadn’t used the rest room before we sat down I might have had a bigger problem.  I kid you not, I’m not making this up, I literally came up out of my chair, and hollered “Oh s#*t.”  Thank goodness at that very moment, back on stage, the wife decides to fire the shotgun, so my expletive isn’t heard by the rest of the audience.  It is, however, heard by those within my immediate vicinity, rows O and P.  The lights come back up, and I won’t tell you what happens because it is a good play and you need to see it someday, but jokes are told, everyone laughs and we break for intermission.

I am really hoping this guy is wearing elbow patches and Birkenstocks.  I turn around, and sitting there, not wearing elbow patches or Birkenstocks, is just a regular guy wearing jeans, sneakers, a Clemson sweatshirt, with a big grin on his face. He is sitting with; I am assuming, his wife and another couple.  I want to break bad on this guy so much, but he is just sitting there smiling, kinda knowing what he did, and trying his best not to laugh.  I’m 6’4 about 310 lbs., depending on what I had for dinner (we hadn’t eaten yet so it was probably close to 305), so when I turn around, and you don’t know me, after having my kicked my chair, you probably would be just a tad worried.  This guy is just grinning.

It’s kinda hard to break bad on a guy when, #1 he is not wearing elbow patches and Birkenstocks, #2. Clemson has just lost to Pittsburgh on a last second field goal, and #3. your wife is sitting next to you, with her hands over her face, shaking uncontrollably, doing her absolute level best not to fall down in the floor in hysterics.  The best I could do was look the guy in the eye, point my finger at him, and say “DUDE!!”

This was one of the times when “sir”, “hey you”, or “excuse me”, just wouldn’t work.  This was a “DUDE!!” moment if there ever was one.

“DUDE!! You kicked my chair at absolutely the worst time, ever!”

He just keeps smiling, I look down the row, and his party is basically mirroring Kim, hands over their noses and mouths, not looking directly at me, and shaking hysterically.  It is at this point Kim loses it, and everybody else blows up.  There was no hiding it.  “Mr. bad ass, 6’4” 305 lbs., scared of the dark, jumps at a shoe bump,” is now the hit of The Greenville Little Theater’s row O and P.  I shake hands with “Clemson,” watch Kim hand out tissues to everyone on our two rows so they can wipe the tears of laughter from their eyes, check my shorts, and sit down to watch the rest of the play.  It is just as good as the first part, and I still have a couple of expletives left in me for the rest of the scary parts.  Kim never fully regains control.  In fact at one point she pokes me at the wrong time, just to see what I would do.  I don’t disappoint.  I am still worked up. One week later I might still be.  I can’t say as I blame her though.  I would do the same thing if the shoes were reversed.  Dadgum play should have been called “Don’t Kick My Chair During the Scary Part, Dude!”

We still had dinner left to attend.  But since nobody else wore elbow patches and Birkenstocks, we didn’t bother with Chateaubriand and a good Cabernet.  We went to Waffle House.

 

 

 

 

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My Mary Poppins audition. Need I say more?

So this is what happens when my big butt decides that it wants to try out for a musical. First off I have to say I was coerced.  I was told that my size, I’m HUUUGGGE, to quote one of my friends’ art students, would be an advantage, and my big booming, I think LOUD was the exact term used, voice, would be ideal for the stage.  Well with ego adequately ballooned, I went on the website of the Greenville Little Theatre just to see what was what.  Turns out, that in two weeks they were auditioning for the musical “Mary Poppins”.  Now I just love the movie, and even am a fan of “Saving Mr. Banks” which told the history of the Disney® movie, how it was made, and why, P.K. Travers, the author, wrote the “Mary Poppins” books.  But since I had no training in singing, or dancing, I didn’t think it was something worth giving a shot.  But I scrolled down the list of the characters and then I saw it.  Admiral Boom.

The description was for a large man, between the age of 40 and 70, with a loud booming voice.  I instantly did my Meerkat imitation, and sat up and took notice.  I’m a big guy, 6’4”, 310 lbs., right age, and have a booming voice?  If they had asked for bald I just might have picked up the phone and hired The William Morris agency, so big loud Mark could get paid for this gig.  I’ve seen the movie about 100 times and Admiral Boom does absolutely zero singing and dancing.  All this guy does is stand there, be big and loud, and order his lackey to shoot off a cannon.  Right in my wheel house.  I am a world champion at being big and loud and giving orders.  Not so much on having people obey those orders, but what are you gonna do?  Just ask my wife and anyone in my Sunday morning bible study, Wednesday bible study, anyone that has ever known me, and pretty much anyone that has come within 30 feet of me.  I read further in the character description, and it seemed as if Admiral Boom might have a little singing part at the end of the play with the ensemble; still no big deal. Okay, what do I have to do to audition?

Oops.  It said be prepared to sing a song from the play or the same genre, and come dressed to dance a short routine.  Keep the phrase “short routine” in mind because you will need it later on. I’m now getting a little nervous, maybe this isn’t such a good idea.  But I did some further research and Admiral Boom really does not do any of that stuff.  So I try and pick a song.  I settled on “Spanish Ladies”.  Robert Shaw sings it in Jaws.  It’s a good sailing tune, Admiral Boom is a sailor, so what the heck I’ll give it a go. I’ve got two weeks.  I loaded the song in my phone, listened while I worked out, and rehearsed while driving and folding clothes.  Annoyed the dog to no end.  Usually she just plops on the floor while I fold.  Needless to say she spent a lot of those two weeks outside.  After you read about what happened at the audition, you won’t blame her.

Before I get into the disaster that was my audition, let me be clear that the people of the Greenville Little Theater were just plain and simply, great people.  No matter what happened they were very encouraging, helpful, and complimentary.  No matter how bad things are going to seem in these later passages, it was still a lot of fun and it was because of the staff of the Greenville Little Theater.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.  So I arrive at the audition about 15 minutes early, mistake number one.  A very nice young lady, Emily, who is the marketing assistant/associate artist, handed me a form to fill out.  Emily, as it turns out was auditioning too and she did a lot better than I did, she was really good, more about her later.  Anyways back to the form; part interested in playing? “Admiral Boom”.  Parts you will not consider playing?  “Mary Poppins, and Jane, but will consider Mrs. Banks if the price is right.”  Experience?  Please use the back if necessary. I crack up at this one.  It’s been 38 years since I did a high school church play.  So down went, “Zero, nada, zip.  1st timer.  Last play I did was 38 years ago in a high school church play.“ Look, there is no way I’m getting a call back, let alone the part, so I might as well have a little fun while I’m here.

Allen, the Executive Artistic Director, announces, “Auditions will be performed in the order that you arrived.”  Not a good sign.  I was really hoping to be able to observe and see how things are done before I have to get up there and embarrass myself.  He continued, “Additionally, Kimberlee, our choreographer, will be taking you through a short dance routine (remember I said you will need the phrase “short dance routine” later on, well it’s almost, but not quite, later on). We will be taking you in groups of 10.  The first 10 will sing a short verse of song, and then as a group you will go through the short dance routine.  Then we will take the next 10, and so on.”  A little pee came out of me because I was definitely one of the first 10 to show up.

My first move after that terrifying announcement was to stand up and give my chair to a lady who had just come in and had no place to sit.  Being the gentleman that I am, of course it was the right thing to do.  Unfortunately the room had gotten deathly quiet after Allen’s announcement, and when I stood up I dropped my iPad on my big toe.  Not flat on my big toe, but the corner landed perpendicular to my big toe.  In other words it hurt.  Fortunately the bad word that I wanted to say did not come out of my mouth, but I also dropped all my music and nice folders that contained my music when I leaned down to pick up the stupid iPad.  Then I had to lean down and pick up all that mess, and then I dropped my iPad again.  The lady looked at me and almost gave me back the seat.  I however beat a hasty retreat to the back corner of the audition room to await my name being called.

Turns out I was number 6.  The first guy got up there and sang his song acapella, and even did a few lines from the play.  Fortunately it was not Admiral Boom, but he was good.  The next few went and then it’s my turn.  I forgot to tell you that I changed my song to “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” the day before. I had practiced and practiced, and I knew it cold, and I really sounded good…in the car.  Not so much in the audition room.  Anyway, my name is called and I walk up to the piano player who is off in the corner.  I pull out my professional binder, the one that I had previously dropped and that my wife Kim insisted that I take to keep my music in, and I attempted to pull out the sheet music for “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”  I brought two copies, 3 pages per copy, and the papers stuck together.  I could not get the music out of the damn folder.  As I am fumbling with the pages, I failed to notice the wires on the floor and my big feet got all tangled up, and I launched.

Fortunately I caught myself on the piano; unfortunately I landed with a loud thud.  Not that my tone deafness would ever have noticed but I probably knocked the thing out of tune.  I gathered up what was left of my dignity, and proceeded to trip over the speaker to which the previously mentioned wires happened to be connected. This time my lift off was interrupted not by the piano, but by the piano player himself, Tim, the Music and Educational Director.

OK. Now I’m vertical and passed all tripping obstacles. However I still can’t get the damn music out of the folder. Tim was trying to help me, but his fingers couldn’t seem to separate the pages either, so I finally pulled out all the sheets, handed them to him and said, “Just pull out the top 3”.  Which he did.  I must say he was really cool and nice about it, and we were ready to go.  Well, he was ready to go, I’m not sure I was, but off I went anyway.

I walked to the center of the room, nimbly and deftly dodging the evil wires and speaker, very confident, and dignified, just way Admiral Boom would be.  I tucked my thumbs behind the lapel of my blue blazer and announced, in the requested loud and booming voice, “I will be singing Let’s Go Fly a Kite…I hope.”  I got a polite, courtesy giggle from the audience.  By the way you aren’t just auditioning in front of the directors and producers.  You are singing in front of everybody that is auditioning, so no pressure right?  I made my announcement, the piano player started playing, and I started “singing” (notice the quotes), got through the first 6 words, and forgot the rest of the words.  I promise you, what I said, verbatim, was, “Oh Crap, I forgot the words!!”  Seriously.  I forgot what the next word was and said so, in the requested loud and booming voice.  I stopped, Tim stopped playing, and the director said ,as I was walking back to pick up my sheet music, “you are allowed to look over Tim’s shoulder and read the words if you want.”  Thanks for the tip.  As I was going back to the piano player, guess what, I tripped over the same dadgum wires, and caught myself on the piano, again.  As I was walking behind Tim, in order to see my music, guess what again?  I tripped over the same speaker, caught myself, again, landed on Tim, again, but before recovering, tripped on the wires, again.  So far so good.  My dignity has left the room and is pulling out of the parking lot.  I could not have scripted it to be this bad.  The audition, while not technically over, is over for all intents and purposes, but at least I have something to write about, right?

Anyone with a smidge of dignity would have just bailed right then and there, but dignity has never been one of my strong suits and I’m pretty sure it’s not one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), so I kept going.  We started over.  No I am not kidding, I kept going and I got through it.  Was completely off with the piano, and sounded like a screech owl.  I definitely sounded better in the car and should have said so, but I was sweating like Donald Trump being questioned by Meghan Kelly, so I got off stage and went back to my seat.  People actually applauded though, and the ones I passed on the way back to my seat, including Emily, were nice enough to say I did a good job.  That’s what I like about theater people; they are very supportive and nice.  Not very truthful, but truth is not what I wanted at that particular time.  A good stiff, brown liquor drink, maybe, but the truth, I could have done without at that particular point in my theater career.

You would think that would be the end of my nightmare, but oh no.  We have to take this all the way.  As Kimberlee, the choreographer said, “it’s a very dancy play.”  Dance time.  Oh crap…again, but this time not in a loud booming voice.  I thought I might be able to get out of this one.  I thought putting non-dancing Admiral Boom on my character preference would get me out of it, but what the heck, I’ve gone this far, might as well go whole hog.  I take my jacket off, kept my eye out for rogue wires and speakers, and headed out to the dance floor with the other 9, who almost all, by the way, are wearing dance shoes and tights.  I thought about wearing something I could move better in than my khakis, but figured if I needed to move more than my khakis allowed then I was in even bigger trouble.  I did have on my slick dancing shoes, or to put it another way, shoes I could dance in.  All 10 of us go out on the floor, and Kimberlee proceeds to show us the “short dance routine” we are going to do.  For those who haven’t kept up, it’s now later on.

My wife and I both have taken dance lessons before and we were both awful at it.  Don’t get me wrong we “got moves”, but we couldn’t remember the dance steps.  And for me to successfully execute something like I was about to do, I have to practice, and I mean practice a lot.

Before I describe this dance routine, I need to say, for a big, loud guy, I’m in pretty good shape.  I swim a mile 2-3 times a week, lift weights, and cycle the other 2-3 times a week, either on the trainer for an hour, or outside for a couple of hours.  I’m not out of shape.  I am however out of dancing shape as you are about to find out.  I think if I gave all the other stuff up and took up dancing I would be in better shape.  Doing 15 minutes of what I am about to describe instead of all that other junk that takes a lot of expensive equipment, and at least a couple of hours a day, might be the ticket.  Someday I’ll have to write about the time my friend in High School, Lisa Leathers, now Lisa Blanton, talked me into being her partner for her dance class’ recital.  Now that’s a story.

Kimberlee begins by stating something I will never forget, “this is real easy, nothing complicated so just watch me”.  Well she does about 5 dance steps to begin with that I don’t really follow, but figure with a couple tries I could get it down.  One of the steps is the box step.  I learned that one in 6th grade so I get excited.  My excitement didn’t last.  The box step she did, didn’t look like no box step I ever done.

So we try the first 5 steps and as expected I screw it up, including the box step, but it’s just once so I’ll get it the next time or two.  No next time or two.  She adds another 5 dance steps to what we just learned.  Yep, you got it, “Oh Crap!”  This goes on for what seemed to me about a thousand dance steps, but what turned out to be about 20.  But after 5 it might as well have been a thousand, because there was no way I was getting this today.  Give me a couple of days and 8 hours a day of practice and I could have pulled it off, like I said I got grooves, but not in 15 minutes.  So we go twirling around to “It’s a Jolly Holiday with Mary”, that’s the song with the penguins, and all I’m doing is watching the girl in front of me, who just happens to be Emily, the nice person who told me I did a good job singing and handed me my form, and trying to keep up, of which I am doing a lousy job.  There was one step where we twirl twice to the right then twirl twice to the left, and we stick our arms out like we’re playing airplane.  So not only am I trying to keep up, I’m trying not to clock the guy to my right and Emily in front.  However, I could only get in one twirl at a time so the odds of decking someone with an errant spin were reduced by half.

We do the whole thing through once, and I think we’re done?  I hope so because I have worked up a sweat, I’m breathing hard, and I think I have dehydrated.  I’m completely gassed.  All these other young girls in the front line are smiling, not sweating, and looking very refreshed, I just wanted to smack ‘em.  Emily is not seeming as nice as I thought she was.  In Emily’s defense things were getting kind of fuzzy, and if Santa Clause himself had shown up I might have thought him to be not so nice too.  But we’re done.  Yay!! I’m outta here and I got to hide in the back the whole time!!

But guess what happens?  Kimberlee, says, “Ok, back line to the front, front line to the back.”  I have to do this whole routine over again, and not only that, but I don’t have Emily to watch in front of me anymore.  The odds of me hammering someone with the airplane spins are now pretty good, I’m hosed.  The music goes off and I just start making it up.  I’ve blown it, but you know what, who cares?  I ain’t getting paid.  Let’s have some fun.  So I go through the whole routine and actually get all the moves wrong up until the final 5 which I get completely right.  Who knew?

We all stand around telling each other how well we all did and once that was over I beeline for the water fountain, tank down a couple of gallons, grab my jacket, music, iPad, pause to make sure I’m not being followed by the demonic wires and speaker, and Houston we are go for launch.   I’m out the door.

Next time, IFFF, I get a call back, (I didn’t get a call back, what a shock); I’m bringing my cycling shorts, Under Armour® workout shirt, two towels, doo rag, and about a gallon of Gatorade®.  I might also ask if they can come out to my car so I can audition there.

All Admiral Boom does is stand there and be big and loud.  Why couldn’t we have auditioned that?