*Author’s Note* Do NOT send emails to the address below! They belong to real people, apparently. Or rather, if you do choose to, don’t mention me, please!
“My biggest accomplishment to this date is quitting my job,” said the random inspirational speaker I was watching on YouTube. My mother always tells me that these videos are “a great way to broaden my horizons.” Personally, I think that she just wants me out of her hair. For the life of me, I can’t imagine why. Observe:
Today I saw an ad for foot fungus, and it made me think of you. Don’t give up the fight for clean and clear feet!
Ernest P. Wishingheart
On second thought, that may be it.
“I got out of the confines of accounting and pursued something greater,” continued the tinny voice of the man on the video. “And to this day, I don’t regret it at all. Coaching is my life’s work, and it’s worth it. We can work out my family’s budget around it…”
A thought struck me like a flash of lightning. My dream could come true! I would become an actor! A thespian of American Entertainment! I called my boss over at the Burger Barn right away.
“Ernest? Where are you? Those burgers aren’t flipping themselves, am I right?” asked Rainer, my boss. I can’t help but think of what should be his middle name- Shine. Rainer Shine! Wouldn’t that be positively hilarious? I thought about that for a long time. My creative genius astounded me sometimes.
“Ernest,” said Rainer. “Did you hear me?”
“Oh, yes!” I said, snapping back to reality. “By the way, it should be properly noted that I don’t flip burgers anymore. Remember? The incident?” Apparently, my burger-flipping trick hadn’t amused everyone.
“Oh, yes. Are you coming or what?” For some reason, I got the notion that Rainer wasn’t in a very good mood. Maybe he needed a hug. Or surgery on his nose.
“Or what. I’m sorry, Rainer, but it’s time to part ways. I know that you count on me every day, but I’m pursuing a greater lifestyle. I’m going to be an actor!” I exclaimed. I waited patiently for him to reciprocate my enthusiasm.
“Well- okay.” I could practically imagine Rainer seeing my potential as I did. “You have to leave a two weeks- you know what, never mind. Go live your dream, bud.” He then put up the phone. He didn’t hang up all the way, though, because I heard a muffled voice and some cheers in the background.
How sweet. They were cheering me on!
Now, to find out how in the world I was to become an actor. I hadn’t ever read Shakespeare, but I had read some Shel Silverstein, and in my experience, those were the real classics in modern poetry today. I practiced my recitation right there-
“Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too
Went for a ride in a flying shoe.
"It's time we flew!"
Said Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too…”
I ran around and recited other works such as this while I phoned my mother to tell her the good news. She must have been sitting on her phone or something because my first thirteen calls were rejected. On the fourteenth, she finally picked up.
“What could you possibly want now, Ernest?” Wow, apparently everyone was in a bad mood today. Rainer, Mother…. Come to think of it, that was pretty normal whenever I talked to people in general. How odd.
“I just wanted to tell you that I have, how do you put it- ‘gotten my life together.’”
“Really?” Mother’s voice brightened considerably. I find it endearing that she sounds so happy whenever I call her. She’s a lonely old soul, really. “Dale, he’s come to his senses!” she squealed to my father.
“Yes, I quit my job at the Burger Barn.”
“So you’ll get a degree? And find a girlfriend? And get rid of that dreadful Bert and Ernie dress suit?” I frowned. What was she talking about? My mother loved my fashion endeavors. Maybe not outrightly, but in her heard she loved my suit, I was sure. I was wearing it right then, in fact.
“No. Degrees are confining, girls have cooties- come on, basic second-grade life skills here- and my Bert and Ernie suit is in the dry cleaner’s.”
“Nevermind, Dale… false alarm.” My mother sighed. “Alright, Ernest… how are you going to get your life together?” I could practically hear the love and support practically reverberating through her words.
“I’m going to be an actor! I’ll be all over the big screens. Fame and fortune will befall me, and-”
Mother hung up. She must have had another engagement. It’s the only logical explanation. I researched how normal actors started out, and after three hours and thirteen minutes, I found out that most start with commercials. (I got a tiny bit sidetracked with at three-hour loop of the Ice Age baby eating a watermelon- there’s something so addicting about a cave baby with a melon)
I called around, and who should be holding auditions for a commercial but the Burger Barn!
I called Rainer right away. The caller ID must have been malfunctioning, because he didn’t answer until the twenty-third call. Curse America’s phone system!
Finally, the call went through. “What could you possibly want, Ernest?”
“I want to audition for the Burger Barn commercial. You know, for old time’s sake. Plus, it’s my life’s work!”
“Old times being this morning,” mumbled Rainer. He didn’t sound amused, so I resorted to a tactic that always worked- begging.
Begging is an art. You have to put the proper amount of whine and pleading without being annoying.
“Pleeeeeeeeeease please please please with cherries on top! I’ll never ask you of anything again!”
“Heck, no. I just got rid of you, Elmer.”
“And bananas and strawberries and blueberries and whipped cream and- you know what, the full effect won’t work unless I come up there.”
“No! No… don’t. Just… be here at twelve next monday, alright?”
“Oh, thank you, Rainer Shine!”
The whole next week I spent planning my costume. I had the script, too, but I figured I could improvise there. I wore my official Burger Barn work suit, bright orange flip flops, and huge rhinestone sunglasses. I got there at twelve A.M. I then promptly went home, because apparently, Rainer meant twelve P.M.
When I got there, the director- James- had a double-take, but then grinned and handed me a script. I did some jumping jacks and some “vocal exercises” (EEEEAAAAYOOWWWWZAAAAA). Finally, I got up with my script. I Held a burger and placed my sunglasses on my head. I cleared my throat. Rainer groaned, but James leaned in to watch.
“HELLO, world!” (I added this for my own benefit) “Ernest here, and I’m here to tell you about Burger Barn’s premium combo pack. Only four dollars- FOUR DOLLARS!” I was really getting into the groove now. “Everybody raises up a hand for four dollar premium combo packs, am I right?”
Then some catchy music played and I danced around spastically. Finally, I struck a pose and held for applause.
Rainer leaned across to talk to James. “I don’t know him.”
“Oh, he’s great.” James stood up. “New, fun, weird… you got it!”
I grinned and took a bow. Never mind all the skeptical faces! I was an official thespian of the arts!
Wait until I called Mother.