corral

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The Corral Show went great until they physically pulled me off stage.

The house was packed.  It was a cool spring evening, and it seemed as if everyone – every man, woman and child in Wyoming – had come to the Civic Center to see this little variety show.  Maybe they’d come to see Paul Adam’s magic act, or the senior girls perform the Bunny Hop, or Bob and the band boys perform She’s a Witch!  Who knows?  But there were hundreds of people there.  Standing room only.  

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chemistry

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School cafeteria.  

Bob ate lunch with Doug Borges and Charlie Martins.  At the entrance to the gym area, a list had been posted.  I read the list, and infuriated, tore it off the door, walked over to Bob’s table, and thrust it at him.  

“What the hell is this?” I said.

“What?” said Bob.

She’s a Witch?

“So?”

“You signed up to do a Monty Python sketch?”

“Yeah.  Is that okay, your highness?”

“No.  It’s not okay.”

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dates

Saturday.

I had a faux-romanticized idea of what my date with Ann would be like: dinner, dancing, a movie, charming repartee and, if I was lucky, a light peck on the cheek at the end – a sign of better things to come.  I continued to have Ann pegged as a nice, normal, high school girl because up until then that was my experience of high school girls.  So I was not at all prepared for our first evening.  

We went to Zino’s, the upscale pizza joint on Little Vine, with the intention of going to a movie afterwards.  But half an hour later we were in the back parking lot literally steaming up the windows.  

The steam, in and of itself, impressed me.  Outside the car it was the middle of freezing winter.  But inside, even with the engine turned off, we were a living biochemistry experiment, generating actual heat.  Hey, condensation happens!  Here was this beautiful girl all over me and I was marveling at the science of it.  But then I let go and was in nirvana.  A rock star.  In just a few months I had transformed from dweeb loser to übermensch and the living proof was pressed up right next to me.  

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the bible

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Late October, 1980.  Governor Reagan and President Carter appeared on TV in their final presidential debate of the election season.  Carter, exhausted from a year-long recession and an unending Iranian hostage crisis, looked like one of those pink, rubber-alien dolls whose eyes pop out when you squeeze it, and he blinked constantly.  My parents were die-hard democrats, but Reagan, at 69, was attractive, chipper, and enthusiastically republican in all his shaky, Grecian-formulaed glory.  

 

At WAIF, John Zeh, a talk show host, was temporarily suspended for using lewd references including Vaseline and vibrating melons on his alternative lifestyle show Gay Dreams.  It had been a slow news week, so Cincinnati District Attorney Simon Leis decided to prosecute Zeh to the full extent of the law, whatever that meant.  A few years earlier, Leis, a backwoods good ‘ole boy, had become notorious for driving Hustler publisher Larry Flynt out of Cincinnati.  Leis had made it his personal mission to clean up the city, removing any inkling of pornographic or prurient behavior.  Over the next year, he would become the primary target for comics at the eye.  

Reacting to the sudden, unwanted media attention, and fearing possible FCC fines, Tom Knox, WAIF’s general manager, told all of us DJs to scrub our shows clean or we’d be off the air, too.  Up until then, the Six Pistol shows had been comprised of our own recorded sketches, cuts from comedy albums and the six of us goofing on each other – which included a fair amount of profanity.

“Can we say damn?”

“Can we say shit?”

“This is public radio!! What about freedom of speech?!  Fuckin’ First Amendment?!”

“So, cocksucker’s out, then?”

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the navy

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My opening bit Sunday night:

Roger Navy 4-0-9er.  You sit facing a TV screen – but it is unlike any TV screen you’ve seen before.  For one thing there are no commercials and a sweeping white band circles the screen every five seconds.  Bogie’s bearing 5-4-9 50 miles!  Suddenly, you realize it’s not just a simulation – you’re under actual enemy attack!  

I flailed around the stage, evoking young cadets smoking joints and then suddenly getting blown apart by bombs and heavy artillery.  I made shooting and exploding sound effects.  

The Navy.  It’s not just a job – it’s a life or death struggle for survival.

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WHY

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Wyoming High School.  Late October.  The office of Ken Miller, laconic guidance counselor with a graying Beatle’s haircut.  

“I want to get into the WHY program.”

“You missed the cut-off,” said Ken.

“I know – but it hasn’t started yet, right?  You’re still picking students?”

“It starts next week – but – ”

He looked through my records, grimaced.  

“Wow,” he said.  “There’s no way you could do WHY.”

“Because – ?”

“You’ve got a C-minus average.”

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