MY IMAGINATION: Dude. ‘Sup?
M: What? You? I mean, me? How did you get this number?
M: Never mind that. Look, I was just calling to tell you I can’t make it in for this week’s column.
M: What’re you talking about? The only reason I let you go to the Grammy Awards is you promised to be back in time to help me write.
M: It’s worse than I thought. Did you see the show? Popular music is in more desperate need of imagination than you are. I mean, Macklemore — the love child of Vanilla Ice and Milli Vanilli — wins three Grammies in the rap category? Let’s go ahead and give Kid Rock a Lifetime Achievement award.
M: So you stayed out on the coast?
M: No, I was coming back to help you, but I was on Southwest and going through Chicago and —
M: The polar vortex got you.
M: I wish. It was a taco salad in the airport. The bottom fell out of the market, if you know what I mean. By the time I got out of the men’s room, the last plane out of Midway that night had taken off.
M: I know! Why’s Sbarro got taco salad on their menu in the first place?
M: Never mind that! You’ve got to help me get this column done!
M: No worries, no worries. Let’s just start at the top. What’s the column about?
M: [a beat] You’re my imagination! You’re supposed to tell me!
M: Easy there. Of course I am; I know that. Umm. Oh, yeah — how about Bieber? That’s all anybody was talking about last week.
M: No, they weren’t. They were talking about the international conference in Davos, and the uprising in the Ukraine.
M: On Planet Doofus, maybe. In the world of imagination, it was all Bieber all the time. Mostly wondering why it took him so long to get his first mug shot. Not for lack of trying. And did you see the shot? Looked like it ought to be on a Starbucks barista’s resume. Lorde looks more thug.
M: I don’t remember my imagination having so many au courant pop culture references.
M: I forgot, your Instagram is a daguerreotype. So what’s happened that you can relate to? Oh, sure. Do a column on the Captain and Chenille divorcing.
M: Tennille. Chenille is a velvety yarn.
M: Like their storybook romance; am I right? Anyway, I didn’t know they were even still alive. I thought the Captain hanged himself in Branson a few years ago after playing “Love Will Keep Us Together” one time too many.
M: Look, I don’t want to do a column on pop culture. I want to discuss serious public policy issues.
M: I’ll tell ya what a public outrage is. You see that ad for the Hangout Music Fest, listing all the acts that’ll be there? Down in the fine print, who do you see? Los Lobos. Are you kidding me? Los Lobos has 67 times the musical skill of any of the 32 bands billed ahead of them. More Number One singles than anyone at the fest but Outkast, more —
M: Note to self: remember not to disrespect Los Lobos within my own earshot. Seriously, though, enough Entertainment Weekly. I need to express myself about significant events in the world.
M: I’ll play along. Let’s assume somebody actually wants your thoughts about, um, say, climate change.
M: Good. Now, as my imagination, help me formulate a fresh take on the subject.
M: Sure. Try this: “Hey, if we don’t change our climate soon, I’m gonna start sleeping in the refrigerator. It was so cold Wednesday morning, I saw Vulcan wearing Spanx. It was so cold, Scott Richards decided to stay at Fox 6 rather than go outside. It was —”
M: Oh, God. Somehow my imagination has been switched with Carrot Top’s. Can’t you give me something about current events? What’s going on in Washington?
M: You haven’t heard? Laura Ingraham doesn’t think Sarah Silverman is funny.
M: [sighs] This is no laughing matter.
M: That’s what she said! Well, actually, on her radio show, Laura called Sarah “a degenerate, foul-mouthed slob of a person.” Then, because nobody listens to her radio show, she went on Bill O’Reilly’s TV show that night to say the very same thing. O’Reilly was so incensed, he said he wanted to throw a pie at Sarah.
M: Now that’s comedy. Hey, imagination, since you’re fixating on amusing persons, give me something on Governor Doctor Robert Bentley.
M: Well, with the winter weather crisis in full effect throughout the state, the guv took decisive action last week. He declared a state of emergency for chickens.
M: More funny stuff?
M: Au contraire, Camembert. There’s a possibility of a propane shortage in the state, which means the possibility that commercial poultry farmers might not be able to keep their chickens warm, so the guv has suspended the rules on buying and selling propane.
M: Well, first, who knew there were any such rules? And, secondly, if Bentley’s that concerned about frozen poultry, maybe he could arrange to hold the rest of the legislative session in chicken houses throughout North Alabama.
M: Too risky. That much hot air might actually poach the chickens.
M: And all this for just the threat of a shortage? Last time I looked, there was a very real shortage of affordable health care for Alabama’s poorest citizens, and I haven’t seen Doctor Robert jump to expand Medicaid and help human beings with the same empathetic impetus he apparently has for chickens.
M: If only poor people had feathers.
M: Well, you’ve been no help at all. You may be the least imaginative imagination ever.
M: I beg to differ. I suspect you’re actually closer to finishing this column than you might think.