True thoughts from Maine

On my birthday in Maine, while lounging on a bed in a three-bit motel, I watched an interview with humorist Garrison Keillor on a Maine Public Television broadcast. Keillor was asked: Whats the difference between Midwesterners and Mainers? Keillor, looking at the ground and speaking with about one-third the energy it should take to get his practiced stunted speech from his diaphragm through his larynx and out his mouth answered (the following is a close-to-the-bone transcript of what Keillor said, it was hard to stay awake during it; but, yes, Garrison, your technique mostly kept my attention): Well, the roads. The roads, auhh, in the Midwest, you can see, people out therrre, can see other people coming from a long way awaaay, because the roads are flat and it gives them time to see you coming, from a looong distance, and it gives them time to lock the doors and hide. Here, in Maine, the topography is hilly, the roads bend, and, and people just appear; you look up and, theyre there. Keillor accented the final two words by raising his bushy eyebrows and opening his eyes extremely wide the way you might, on a hike, if you were to stumble upon a porcupine breeding a snake. If Maine Public T.V. asked me the question, instead using Maine and Vermont as the examples, Id answer directly with energy and glee Maine and Vermont are, if you count Maines ocean and our mountains as a push, the same. The highways, the same. Maines small malls, used car lots, broken-down houses, diners, volunteer fire houses, elementary schools, and trinket shops, are the same as youd find along Vermonts secondary roads. Only thing is: Maines trinket shops push lobster and ocean; Vermonts trinket shops push syrup and mountains. I also feel the folks that inhabit and drive by all of the above are dang near the same. But if you really, really want me to find conflict, Id say Maines fog is thick as pea soup while Vermonts is thick as peanut butter. Im so stupid I have no idea what Garrison Keillor was getting at. I wonder if hed be impressed that I had to look up the spelling of his name on the Internet? Anyway, hes a talented dude and he puts on a great show. I sure cant carry his gigantic cup of latte. Now a guy came to my stage show last night and said he was a storyteller. During the show he was laughing; he seemed to be enjoying himself. We ran into each other at the Y this morning and when he asked how I felt the show went I said, Very well. I asked him what he thought of it, and after a pause, he looked straight at me and said with a question mark, I think youre talented? Were all talented at something, but still, that was a nice thing for him to say, if it wasnt that he said it in question form. A back-handed compliment or what? I thanked the man and changed the subject. What I think he really meant was he thinks Im not utilizing any talent I may have properly. I also think by complimenting me on what he thought about my general abilities, he was leaving me the choice whether to ask him what he thought of the show itself the material and how it was presented. I didnt ask him for fear he might have explained his thoughts Garrison Keillorishly. I didnt want to spare the time. It being my birthday, Im allowing myself to feel a titch snooty. To the I think youre talented? comment, Id rather have replied: No crap, Sherlock, thats why I have $20 of your dollars, and you, valuewise, experienced at least $40 worth of my entertainment. Snooty, eh? Dont you wish you could, at least one day a year (perhaps on your birthday), be like Garrison Keillor that is, in any chosen situation, really just say anything that comes to mind and in the manner you wish to say it (even if it didnt make sense to dumb guys like me and even if it were to come out sounding snooty?). I dont. Im chicken and what I have to say isnt all that important in the grand scheme. Rusty DeWees tours Vermont and Northern New York with his act The Logger. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at rustyd@pshift.com. Listen for The Logger, Rusty DeWees, Thursdays at 7:40 on the Big Station, 98.9 WOKO or visit his website at www.thelogger.com

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