My friend Steve is a rather singular individual, to put it mildly. He’s a writer, a poet, a web designer, a triathlete, a painter, and a creative force to be reckoned with. A couple of years ago, he was kind enough to visit our church the week we were beginning a study of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. We introduced him, and he presented the whole sermon. Not as a recitation, but as Jesus– he walked on to the stage, got into character, and launched into the whole sermon as if he were Jesus and the words were just occurring to him. It was indescribably arresting, and deeply stirring. Then we said ‘amen’ and he joined us next door for a burrito. The man is really something.
Several Thanksgivings ago while he was visiting his family for the long weekend, I set up shop in the bedroom where Steve was living at the time to do some plaster repair for his landlord. For several days straight, I would move around almost every surface of the walls and ceiling, circling again and again and again in painstakingly slow laps of increasing scrutiny as I tried to transform cracks and gaps into smooth, invisible seams. All with endless repetitions of the greatest album by BT expanding my mind and soul as I became one with my drywall tools, “shifting and convolving… ’round again”, and again. Slightly insane from the repetition and confinement, I came upon what seemed like a brilliant idea: once the repairs were complete and sanded smooth, and before I applied primer and paint to the walls, I’d take a pencil and write a single word on each wall. Four prayers over my friend while he slept and wrote and lived his life. Four words that would never be seen again, and which I promptly forgot as soon as the room filled with potent scent of stain-killing primer.
Later, when I had sobered up, I proudly shared my little gem of an idea with The Wife, who instantly offered two thoughts:
1. That’s very weird, and kinda crazy (“I think you’ve been working too much” were her exact words, as I recall).
2. Steve will love it.
And she was right. When I told him about it, he just smiled and nodded. He knew that he didn’t even want to know what the words were, and so he didn’t ask. He just kept writing, and sleeping, and living.
Now he’s married to a great woman, and getting ready to move to SC, and finally getting a chance to perform his one-man show (well, he’s got some co-stars, but they aren’t real. Well, not really real. I mean, they’re really, existentially existent, but they’re socks. Real socks, and real co-stars, but not real. Not really, anyway).
As usual, my efforts to describe the show pale in comparison to Steve’s words:
Well, the day has finally arrived. After 5 years of writing and rewriting, thinking and praying and wondering if this would ever get done, tickets go on sale today for my one man show, The Gillerds Show, which I will be performing during the DC Fringe Festival. Many of you have heard me talk about this show over the years and some of you may be tired of hearing about it. Well, good news. The days of talking are over. It’s time to do it! The only problem is that I’ve never written a play nor have I ever been in one. And yet, I am being called to do both. So this outta be a real hoot. If I do it right it will be a real hoot. Funny that is. It’s a comedy. I guess I won’t really know if it’s funny until people laugh. But it should be. It’s written to be funny so people had better laugh. It’s about a guy writing a reality show about sock puppets. But the funnyman of the show, a sock puppet named Pete Gillerd, decides he doesn’t want to be in the show. So the writer has to figure out a way to get him back in the show. And this will hopefully make people laugh.
I can’t wait.