There are those who would argue that I never tire of my favorite subject: me. But after this last week, even I have had enough. It all began months ago, when I (foolishly?) agreed to make some public appearances around the Upper Delaware valley. Truth be told, these requests for my presence were, as always, actually invitations for Dharma the wonder dog to participate in local events.
Last July, North American Cultural Laboratory (www.nacl.org ) cofounder Tannis Kowalchuk placed a call to Yarnslingers’ (www.facebook.com/yarnslingers ) director Ramona Jan and invited the storytellers to appear at the theatre. “We’d love Jonathan’s dog to host the show,” Kowalchuk whispered to Jan. “Do you think she’d agree?” Ramona chuckled and suggested that they make it seem like I was also a part of the equation and called me to inquire as to our availability. Unsuspecting, I checked my schedule and noted that we (I mean she) was already booked to be a judge at a canine costume contest in Jeffersonville that same weekend, but I told Jan that I would “pencil it in.”
As summer flew by, I conferred with Ramona on various aspects of the Yarnslingers’ event, “True Confessions: The Game Show,” and we began the laborious process of casting, reading and writing (there was even some arithmetic involved!). In between phone calls and columns, I admired myself and the endless list of invitations that came my way, still not realizing that most were disguised desires to bask in the glow that is Dharma. Summer gave way to glorious fall foliage and rehearsals for the NACL show began in earnest.
Still thinking that I was hosting the NACL show, I took my tux to the cleaners and patted myself on the back just before the phone rang with a reminder from Towne Gift Shoppe proprietor Kristen Fischer that my “life partner” (I mean dog) was slated to help celebrate the two-year anniversary of her store in Jeffersonville. “You’ll be joining contest judges Brenda Seldin and Cassandre Egan,” Fischer told me before the inevitable, “Don’t forget to bring the pup!” The party was a huge success and the doggy parade was cool. Dharma gave “paws up” to all, but after conferring with the other judges, we (I mean they) agreed that there were some stand -out costumes including “best-in-show” Ripley, “most original” winner Barracuda and “too-cute-for-words” Aubie.
Then we zoomed off to dress rehearsal at the NACL. Checking my visage in the rear view mirror, I admired what little hair had grown back in and cooed. “You look good!” I told my reflection, “I’m sure you’ll steal the show!”
In hindsight, I should have known better and checked my ego at the door. While “True Confessions” was in fact, a smash, it was Yarnslingers Joanne Geraine, Michele Schuchman, Jonathan Hyman, Neil Deutsch, Kazzrie Jaxen, Shawn Michael Porter and Colette Ballew who shone.
Fabulous musical interludes were provided by Max and Cat Wilson and Ramona Jan’s hilarious costume changes were met with thunderous applause. Still deluded, I took the mic and led the audience through the game show, stopping from time to time to help the sold-out crowd attempt to unravel who the “liars” were. I strutted about and preened, thinking that folks were looking at me, but the audience participation painted a story that I had not foreseen. Playing along, they asked questions of the game show contestants, sprinkled with requests for (uh huh) “pawtographs” and a desire to know more about the furball. Deflated but stalwart, I pressed on, still believing that (IMHO) there was some interest in me, but as the show came to a close, I finally realized that the attention was being showered on (sigh) others.
Contemplating whether my freshly cleaned tux would serve as a costume for the upcoming Halloween party at the Dancing Cat (www.dancingcatsaloon.com ), Yarnslinger Joanne suggested that it didn’t really matter what I wore, since “All eyes will be on the dog,” and then she added that it might be time to “Get with the program.” Nice. As invitations flood my inbox, I’m taking Geraine’s advice and (finally) admitting that my false sense of popularity is based on my “adorable” dog and that I’m just along for the ride. As the light bulb flickered on, I glanced over and admired her myself. “Might as well wear the tux and inform anyone who asks that I’m dressed as your chauffeur,” I wheezed in her general direction, since she wasn’t paying any attention. “Oh well,” I thought—but enough about me.