|Darwin (Jay) and Dale (The) ..|
make up your own story for
I have a picture story, one with a moral and everything. It's not a story of the picture on the left. Make up a story of your own for that one. The story I am about to tell involves the picture at the end of this blog. Here goes.
The setting of this story is my back yard at 3:32 pm on Sunday, July 17, 2016, So.California. I have the house to myself because Sandi is off at a family baby shower in Portland.
There are two characters in this story, three if you include me. Although the cast might be recognizable from the photo, it is important to know the players.
Bambu (Boo) is my dog. Dog owners will understand, when someone says "my dog" it implies a human canine relationship like no other. I was gone four days, and Boo had been alone most of the day when I returned. She was very excited to see me.
The other character is a puppet from my show. It may look like a tennis ball and surely started out to be just that but with a little craftsmanship a tennis ball becomes my co-performer named Spaulding. Spaulding was created for "Jay Johnson: The Two and Only" and has been part of the company since. I remember spending hours trying to get the cut on a tennis ball just right so it would transform from sports equipment to stage performer. No two tennis balls cut or bend the same, so when that perfect combination comes together, I tend to treat that tennis ball like is was a McElroy Figure. The original Broadway Spaulding is enshrined at Vent Haven Museum. So that said, here is the story.
I arrive home from the Vent Haven Convention on Sunday afternoon.
Aside: If you have never been to a Ventriloquist Convention before I will try to explain. The Vent ConVention is a gathering of professional, semi-professional, dilettantes, hobbyist, puppet makers and evangelists for the Art of Ventriloquism. Whatever your interest in Ventriloquism you can find experts and fellow artisans of what you love about this art form at the ConVention.
The idea is that we "older" performers help inspire and promote ventriloquism to a new generation of the ventriloquially smitten. The truth is, it always inspires me more. In fact I came home and immediately started to work on a puppet character and act that I abandoned long ago for lack of inspiration. I have plans of using the character in a performance on Saturday.
A sidebar for those who may have attended the ConVention, I did not borrow someone else's idea. Although one of the lecturers suggested that ideas and intellectual property can not be legally protected and therefore these "ideas" are free to "borrow", In my opinion that is not the proper "take away" from the ConVention. However, given the lecturer's success I decided to take him at his word. I began to "borrow" from everyone who attended. In fact I didn't just borrow it, I flat out stole it. But it was not some other ventriloquists act, puppet character, intellectual property or "idea" that I "borrowed". What I stole was inspiration. I disagree with the lecturer's thesis that ideas are not proprietary, but have no disagreement that inspiration is absolutely not. What I stole from everyone was their passion, their sense joy and wonder for this unusual art form.
I also stole some great memories. Time spent in laughter with my friends and peers is a priceless possession. When you have so much in common, laughter is as natural as breathing. I have evidently been inducted into something called the MFC which is an honor and a joy. Thank you to the secret committee who nominated me.
My job at this ConVention was to lecture on the technique of the art as taught by The Great Lester; I was traveling as light as I could. I brought only characters that would fit in my carry on case. Being the size of a tennis ball, Spaulding was the only character I had room for.
Now back to the story: I arrive home from the Vent Haven Convention on Sunday afternoon. My cheeks hurt from laughter and I have some strange desire for curly fries. I am exhausted from the 4 hour flight but my creative juices are flowing. I begin to unpack but get distracted by every scrap of paper and bit of swag I brought back. My suitcase looks like it has exploded in my bedroom.
All Boo wants to do is play. She brings me every toy from her chew basket but she can tell I am more than distracted. I am taking things from the suit case back to the office. I grow tired of stepping past the mess so I decide to finish unpacking first and then I can start creating.
|Spaulding and Boo|
The suitcase is now empty and I realize something is missing. Spaulding is not there. I check in the office, around the dirty clothes, under the bed and retrace every step I made. It might seem a little weird to be concerned to the point of panic over a cut up tennis ball, but like I said, it is one of my characters. In my frantic search I notice Boo out by the pool playing with one of her toys, or so I thought until I realize what was going on. She was, at that moment, nuzzling, chewing and drooling on Spaulding. Boo had found Spaulding in my suitcase and decided it was a new toy I brought back for her.
The minute I opened the patio door her tail started to wag, she grabbed Spaulding and took off. For the next few minutes it was a game of keep away. She would get close with Spaulding in her mouth and just as I thought she would drop it like I demanded, she sprinted away, very happy I decided to play with her. Finally I was able to get her to drop it in anticipation that I would toss it. I quickly snapped a picture.
There is an object lesson to this picture story. Boo "borrowed" something from me. To her it was a tennis ball like so many others she plays with. To me it was a puppet, a cherished part of my act. As smart as dogs are they will never get the concept that borrowing, taking, or stealing something from someone else has consequences. They don't know the difference between legal rights and ethical principles, and have no concept of ownership... if they like something... they take it. I am glad humans can operate on a higher level.
As you were,