Once Upon a Time, There was a superhero named Waterboy. He spent all of his time saving people with water. He didn’t have a fancy superhero costume. He had a polo shirt, khakis, sneakers—but had a cool utility belt with all kinds of water gadgets on it. He made water safe to drink in Africa. He made wells so people could have water. He visited factories and fixed the water to keep the factories running. He sailed the seven seas and made water for all the people on the ship to drink and to make hot dogs. He cleaned up water from the sewer so it didn’t pollute lakes and streams. He helped the police by giving them big water guns to take down bad guys without bullets. Waterboy was not the kind of superhero who could leap tall buildings in a single bound or could beat up five guys at once with his pinky. He was the kind of super hero who made a difference in people’s lives with water.
Waterboy became unhappy. He worked day and night and never slept, but never ran out of people to save. He spent so much time being waterboy, he couldn’t remember the name his Momma gave him. The people he helped all had friends, but he was always off to save the next person. He didn’t have any friends to remind him of his real name when he forgot it. He was lonely.
Waterboy quit being a superhero. He joined a theater as an actor. They gave him the name Jack.
Jack was the leading man and met Diane in a play based on a stupid old country song. They sang songs about pink houses. In the play he was a football star. They were two kids in the heart land. They became friends even when the play was over for the day. They went roller blading. Jack let Diane win at rollerblading so she wouldn’t be mad. They spoke with fake country accents and put on fake buck teeth. They had snowball fights. They decided to be forever friends.
Then Jack messed up and broke character. Actors never break character. He finally remembered his name! Jack said “My name is Pauli” She said “Your name is ..Dolly? Like a little Dolly?” He never dreamed Diane was an act too. She laughed at him. She laughed and laughed. Many words rhyme with Pauli, none of them good. “My name is….Combine Girl!”
Combine Girl was a super villain. She wore plaid shirts with the arms cut-off. She hid her hair under a baseball cap and wore a mask of large bug eyed sunglasses. She chewed tobacco and squirted it at people between her teeth. She wore rollerblades. She carried a combine gun with two barrels to shoot people. She had a gang and robbed banks
Back in the day Waterboy had fought Combine Girl. Waterboy had stopped the bank robbery with water. He had turned his water cannon on the street so they couldn’t roller blade. Combine Girl was very angry. Combine Girl quit being Diane. Combine girl went into hiding from the cops. People said waterboy and combine girl were unlikely friends
Pauli learned a valuable lesson. There are no such thing as unlikely friends. He missed Diane. The lesson was— Don’t break character! Work friends are for work. Acting friends are for acting. All friends are unlikely if you have to be the same.
Pauli found a forever friend. Real faces can’t break character. Real faces aren’t perfect like play actors who wear perfect masks and make up. Sometimes forever friends want you to put your mask on and that is okay. Like you shouldn’t talk about bacteria at the dinner table. They want you to act interested in antiques. When asked which identical yellow splotch you like best, you pick one and make up a reason why.
Forever friends have fun with masks. They wear masks for work. Pauli put on his waterboy mask at 9 and took it off at 5. They wear masks for fun. They know they are masks but its still fun. They dress up in fancy clothes and pretend to be dancers. They go to fancy restaurants and pretend to be rich. They go on trips and pretend to be explorers. They talk in funny accents to make people they meet think they are from Australia. Romance is a mask and they have fun with it. All of the actors and actresses who play characters in the movies become better friends, but not forever friends. Forever friends know the mask from the face. There are times when your forever friend wants you to put the mask on to hide your nose hairs. No friends are unlikely if you stay in character! Not all friends need to see your favorite ugly polka dotted green shorts!
The moral of the story is this: Stay in character! Then there are no unlikely friends.
Waterboy and Combine Girl can be friends if they keep their masks on. Cats and birds can be forever friends if the cat is well fed. A mask is a lie only if you say its real.
Pauli, who was sometimes Jack and sometimes Waterboy, lived happily ever after with his forever friend. They went for long drives. They had races in office chairs and pretended they were race cars. They spoke in fake country accents. They chased tires down the street. They had kids. They never broke character because they were real.
Combine Girl went straight. She traded in her combine gun for a farm combine. She gets out her angry at the roller derby by hip checking others over the rail. She gets out more of her mean as a professional wrestler by body slamming girls from 30 feet. She gets out more of her angry through rollerblading for many miles. Whatever meanness she had left, which was a lot, she gets out by going outside and screaming until she can be nice to people again. The cops don’t know it’s the same person who used to rob banks, but I’ll never tell. You know why the cops don’t know? Because she is wearing a mask! Silly