Show #44: New London, Conn.
Because I attended college in Connecticut, I might, at times, try to convince others that I am an authority on "The Constitution State." When driving through Hartford, I might lecture about the life of Wallace Stevens. "Wallace Stevens was not only a legendary poet, but an employee of the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company," I might say. "Remarkable!"
Still, I must admit: I know little about New London, Conn. "Melville set Moby Dick in New London," I might insist. Yet, I recently learned that Melville set Moby Dick in New Bedford, Mass. How Melville must have turned in his grave when news of my faux pas reached him!
Performing in New London this week, I did learn that the Oasis's stage is uniquely designed (see above). "Your stage is unusual," I pointed out to the New London promoter. "Stage left is six inches higher than stage right."
"Forget about the stage," the promter said. "Just avoid the alley."
"What alley?" I queried.
"The alley next door," the promter responded. "This alley is now used as a toilet."
"Oh," I said. Not two hours later, I saw this ad-hoc public toilet in action. I was standing in the street engaged in a ribald conversation with a member of Rahim (see above), fine baroque-rockers native to Long Island. As we spoke, a gentleman strolled out of the Oasis. As the promoter predicted, this gentleman walked next door and engaged in what some mothers call "Number One."
"Public urination!" I exclaimed. "The promoter was right!"
"Indeed," said Rahim's representative. He regarded the volume of the unidentified gentleman's urine as it spilled down the sidewalk to the gutter. "That young man is a healthy young man," he commented. "But when will we retire to Foxwoods?"
Four hours later, I sat playing $1-2 No Limit Texas Hold 'Em at Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard, Conn. "At work, my thumb was cut off and, later, reattached," a fellow player confided. He held up his thumb. A scar was visible. "I can't bend my thumb anymore," the player continued. "I'm going to sue my boss and represent myself."
"I must recommend that you do not represent yourself in a court of law," I said. "As you may have heard, the man who represents himself has a fool for a client." I turned away from the man and addressed the table. "Now, who can beat my pair of tens?" I queried. No one responded. The dealer pushed the pot in my direction.
"You are a bunch of Ahabs, and my pair of tens is your white whale," I joked. No one responded to my literary humor. I stacked my chips. I am an Ahab too, I thought, but did not say. And will face my white whale soon enough.