Steve Chatterton
Will Write for Food
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The Stand Up Set that Wasn’t

June 24th, 2014 by Steve
Photograph by Greg Daneault

Photograph by Greg Daneault

A few weeks ago I signed up to do an open mic at a local comedy club. I had to cancel at the last minute due to conflicting family commitments. Anyway, here’s what I wrote for it.

– – –

I’m doing a lot of dog training lately. Our Husky has some “behavioural issues.” It would seem he’s chosen the path of leash resistance.

Ever notice there’s a fine line between training a dog and just being a crazy person with a four-footed companion? And no one can tell the difference by looking.

You’re there with the dog saying things like: “Sit, Rover. I really need you to sit. Sit! Sit for me. Sit for me and get the treat. You want treat? Then sit. Sit Rover! SIT! That’s a good boy. Way to go, Rover! I’m so proud of you, boy!! I DIDN’T SAY YOU COULD GET UP!!!”

I don’t care how intelligent you are, the moment you try reasoning with a dog you look like a bipolar redneck on vacation in Paris with Tourette’s Syndrome: “I – need – you – to – listen – to – my – words, dammit! Good doggy!!!”

Meanwhile, the dog’s thinking: “You know, canine communication is so simple. We bark, we growl, we wag our tails. If you won’t do any of that for me, where’s my motivation to learn your language?”

A Dog-in-training get the short end of the stick in this world. We make him to bend to our will, play by our rules, and wear those stupid bandannas. Meanwhile he sees the neighbour’s dog bouncing around like a maniac, barking its head off, sniffing people inappropriately, and he got to wonder: “Why is my human such a hard-ass? That dog’s living the dream!”

– – –

We’ve got a neighbour with in incredibly ill-mannered dog. Take him out for a walk and every ten paces he’s marking his territory. He’s like: “Hey, a fence!” [mime pee] “Hey, a tree!” [mime pee] “Hey, a little puppy!” [mime pee] “Stand still, you son of a …” [mime pee]

Imagine trying to get away with that in the human word. “Hey Fred, nice house!” [mime pee] “Cool TV, but mine’s bigger!” [mime pee] “Is this your wife?!” [mime pee a complete circle]

You’d be in jail by the end of the night, but they’d never make it stick. Before they could get you to trial, the dehydration would kill you.

– – –

Once, back in high school, I got talked into going on a hunting trip. I didn’t want to go, and I didn’t mean to this, but I accidentally shot a dear … old friend of mine … right in the buttocks. He didn’t want to hear my apologies even though I said, “I will totally make this up to you if you just give me another shot.” In retrospect, perhaps a poor choice of words. Due to his views on gun control, he’s always leaned to the right politically, but now they say he leans left … to sit.

– – –

When I went to university, I had a professor who ended every lecture by giving horribly cliched advice. After the first class he said, “Don’t be afraid to live your dreams!” So for a while there, I spent my days frantically searching in vain for a washroom while talking monkeys chased me around in my underwear. At least I wasn’t scared anymore.

Another day he said, “Love others as you love yourself,” and I said, “I think we do, for the most part. There’s just a lot of self-loathing, that’s all.”

Finally, he ended a lecture by saying, “Be the change you want to see in this world.” That’s when I dropped out.

– – –

After that, I took this job at Kinko’s that required deliveries to the university campus, and I bumped into this old friend of mine from high school. (Not the same guy I shot in the butt, mind you. This was a completely different guy, altogether.) Anyway, I said, “What up? Where’s the party at?” And for some reason he’s all, “Honestly, this is a university. This is no place to end a sentence with a preposition.” I said, “Pardonez moi. Allow me to rephrase. Where’s the party at, douchebag?”

– – –

I’m getting older – I’m 47 now – trying to keep the romance alive in our marriage while my body slowly deteriorates around me. When we first got together, I’d tell my wife, “Anything you want, any time you want it, any piece of furniture you want to do it on.” Nowadays it’s more like, “Yeah, I’m up for pretty much anything … that doesn’t put weight on this shoulder.”

– – –

We’ve been married 15 years now. Wanna know the secret of making it work, guys?

Take a good look at your relationship and make a list of what you bring to the table she can’t get anywhere else. If you’re honest, it’ll be a short list. Mine only ever had three items on it.

I have a slightly longer reach for when she says “Can you get that for me?” Also, I have a slightly stronger grip for when she says “Can you open it, too?” And, I have “all this” for when she says “It’s time for making babies!”

(I’m no hero. I just did what any man in my position would have done.)

We’ve got two kids now, so we’ve essentially retired “all this.” All I have left is reach and grip.

“So what’s the secret of making it work?” you ask. It’s realizing you can be replaced by a step-stool and a monkey wrench.

– – –

I love commercials for beer and liquor. They make drinking look so cool, I don’t know how anyone could ever refuse.

They usually go a little something like this …

“Being sober sucks, but now’s as good a time as any to get loaded! You’re never more interesting than when you’re three sheets to the wind, my friend, and there ain’t nothing wrong with you that can’t be fixed by lowering your inhibitions. Everyone wants to party with you, ‘cause you rock when you slur your words, and you’re totally having anonymous sex with an incredible hottie tonight! Getting ripped is awesome!!! Yeah! Please drink responsibly.”

They can say anything they want in the first 29 seconds of a commercial so long as they cram in “please drink responsibly” at the very end.

But let’s face it, they don’t want you to drink responsibly any more than big tobacco wants you not to smoke, any more than food companies want you to count calories, or any more than the porn industry hopes you’ll stop before you go blind.

([to someone in glasses] By the way, you might wanna cut back a little.)

If they really want you to drink responsibly, they’ll use more realistic cautions, such as …

– Chances are you’ll wake up in a strange bed full of fear, loathing, and a desperate need for a shower yet again.

– Remember, the judge says you’re one bad decision away from a restraining order.

– Karaoke is not now, nor will it ever be, your friend.

– Right now would be an absolutely terrible time to call your ex. Gimme that phone.

Or, of course, my all-time favourite …

– Consuming product will most likely inhibit sexual performance at the worst possible time leading to yet another discussion about how you never follow through on anything.

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