Okay, I know some people – some naysayers - out there are going to just shake their heads and say – “Oh, no, this is going to go badly.” I hope to prove those people wrong, I really do. I think this is going to have a happy ending, a happy Shanghai ending, not that this is the ending by any means, far from it, far far from it. This is a new beginning.
Let’s go back a few weeks ago. Okay, I know those same naysayers are already saying “This sounds chillingly close to the old Billy Wilder picture Sunset Boulevard. Will Tyson wind up with a bullet in his back floating in a swimming pool that belongs to a silent screen legend? Oh the humanity!
First of all, I am not William Holden, nor am I a down and out screenwriter, nor do I live anywhere remotely close to Sunset Boulevard, not that I know of anyway.
So, I suppose, this all started a few weeks ago when I was in the school coffee bar with Markus, the other foreign teacher and Fifi, the Chinese psychology teacher who is married to a Frenchman who does not like to wear his wedding ring. I told her that maybe it is uncomfortable for him. Jewelry is uncomfortable for some. She told me that he told her he has been married before and he does not like to look like he is owned. I then told her with that comment that he is totally on his own. Markus laughed.
That, actually, really does not have anything to do with the story really. And the other thing that does not have anything to do with the story really, is that on my way to school this morning, I saw two chickens - and remember I live downtown – during what I think was to be the last few moments of their lives. I passed these chickens squawking being carried by the necks about a block a part. Yes, it is that chicken killing time of the year again.
However, that’s not important now. Let’s go back to the coffee bar with Fifi and Markus. Fifi is very active in school activities. She has a lot of spare time because her husband lives in France. Now, does it make sense why he does not like to wear his wedding ring?
With a group of students, Fifi is putting together a model UN. She would like to enlist Markus and me to help. We both said yes. I will tell you right now this was a dire mistake.
The next thing I know, I had to proof read six two-page political toned papers. The students are dear; the students are dedicated but, after reading the papers, I really wanted to take a bunch of drugs, a bunch of drugs. Drugs that send you into that void, that void where Bobby Sherman is baking a cake for Barbi Benton; where Zsa Zsa Gabor is whipping up a nice soufflé, where Baa Baa Black Bush is just simply whipping himself.
Again, I would never want to discourage the students because they are so kind and hardworking but these papers – Lord Almighty!
But I digress, as we were sitting talking, Fifi mentioned that there could be other clubs on campus if someone had an idea. Of course, my mind started going about a million miles an hour slower than a quick thinker but I did start slowly mulling over the possibility of having one more cup of coffee.
Nevertheless, I have wanted to do a radio show since I have been here. Maybe we could do a really cool radio show. Fifi told me that the school had all of the equipment in the television studio to do such a thing. Television studio?! This really put my mind into interstellar overdrive. A television show?! Yeah. Why not?
We drank our coffee. I did not say anything about the television show. Markus mentioned that it might be cool to do some sort of television program. I agreed. That is as far as it went at that juncture.
A few weeks passed. I went about my business. I got sick. This time it could very well be consumption. To pass the time, I gave the students a more in depth understanding and – I hope – appreciation for nachos. I bought a toaster oven. I did, however, not make them nachos, I just told them of this food of the Western Gods.
But, again, that is beside the point. I bought some silver Christian Dior pants. I bought a shiny bronze faux leather Comme Des Garcons jacket which has, what I assume is, a rabbit collar. Seeing chickens being killed daily in the streets has hardened me a bit to the crimes against the animal kingdom, I suppose. I bought some divine custom made brown leather shoes. Sporadically, I thought about Laurie and Keith Partridge. Life happened.
Last night, during the spells and mania brought on from my current bout with consumption, an idea came to me. I was thinking of Mr. Zing and Tuffy, which I believe went off the air when I was in the first years of primary school.
Why Mazeppa Pompazoidi - of whom I was more of a fan – did not enter my mind, I am not sure. http://www.mazeppa.com/Mazeppa1.html
This really probably does not matter. I do not even know how much my sleeping sickness really matters. And, I do not even know how important it is that I have been listening to Radiohead’s Morning Bell over and over lately. Maybe that doesn’t really matter. Maybe nothing really matters.
Last night, I was tossing and turning with no Fifth Dimension songs going through my head. And out of nowhere, that is when I thought of Mr. Zing and Tuffy, as I previously mentioned. That is when the idea struck me. There was not a notepad by my bed. I knew I would forget the idea in the morning since I was in the throes of consumptive dementia. Well, if it is that good of an idea – I thought – I will remember it.
Where’d you park the car?Sometime, probably around 3 am, or – to make the story more dramatic – 6 am, I fell asleep and slept peacefully. I did not dream of Cathy, nor did I dream of Heathcliff.
This morning I woke. I felt hot. I thought about Black Oak Arkansas for two seconds and got up.
I did all of the usual rigmarole to get ready for school which is actually not much of a rigmarole at all. I made coffee and toast (love that toaster oven!); took a shower; shaved; went to school. I saw one scooter boy at the scooter shop on the way. The other scooter boy was missing in action. I had no idea how to find out where he had gone. And, as previously mentioned, I saw two chickens during what I suppose was the last few minutes of their poultry lives, not to get all Chicken Run on everyone.
Now during that consumptive dementia last night, of which I just spoke, the idea came to me – The Magic Tuffy Show. I love the playfulness of it and the ode to Mr Zing and (namesake)Tuffy. But then, the more I thought about it. Mr. Zing and Tuffy was really for an older generation. It did not speak to me like Uncle Zeb’s Cartoon Camp.
I could not use a name that was void of meaning that was just a cool sounding name but had no real mystical quality to it.
That is when the real name hit me, but that is not really important at this point. I went to school armed with my idea. I went to lunch. I had lunch with Jane. We ate noodles. She slurped hers up with no problem. Mine were much too spicy. Her wealthy daughter who works in Hong Kong is going in on a flat in a high-rise with Jane. Jane retires in June.
I told her my idea. She told me that she made students do little performances as well. This is a good way for them to develop their English skills. I agreed wholeheartedly.
We walked back to our office. On the way, I saw Fifi. She thanked me for correcting the papers that the UN Model students wrote. I told her it was no problem. I then sheepishly told her that I doodled some verses on the papers which puzzled the students. She laughed.
Back at the office, I saw Qi Min (tooth savior). I told her my idea. We would have a 30 minute student variety show which, depending on student involvement, would run once a week or once every two weeks. I tried to explain my plan. She listened. She has always been incredibly supportive. I was afraid she would tell me that the students have no time for such nonsense. Instead, she told me she thinks it is a wonderful idea. This will be really good. I told her we could invite bands to the school that are in town. She loved that idea. For a minute, I thought I was dreaming.
“We will exploit you” – she said. I laughed.
The possibilities are endless.
First up, the students are going to practice saying ‘It’d be a lot cooler if you did.’
The Magic Red Monkey Show.
Ethel Merman watch your back!