Topic: "Remote Outpost" (7)
There are six games remaining in the 2011 schedule of the gallant Braves against the world, and none of them are being played this evening. Concomitantly, there is another of those infernal "debates," this time emanating from Florida, in which eight men and one woman seek to play Gotcha on beams delivered into the living rooms of those unfortunate enough to have lost favor with Netflix in recent days. So illustrated is Frodo's quandary this eve, on some channels there is nothing worth watching, while on others there is nothing to be watched, and Frodo is not excited about either prospect.
Mick, the Wonder Dog, has drifted into his before bedtime nap. Sam is reading a book on loan from the library which has something to do with Sweden, and does not appear interested in anything that might involve Frodo. Considering the wealth of postings on favorite internet sites not recently reviewed by the critic du jour, it would seem logical that the Hobbit drop little pearls of wisdom for friends named Merry and Pippin, but he is even a little lackadaisical toward their talented and thoughtful musings. So what does he do, dare you ask too? He pushes and pushes and pushes the buttons on the remote control.
Chester A. Riley (played by William Bendix), used to say "What a revolting development this is," and Frodo is reminded of this phrase as he thrashes from news to sports to comedy to movies to reality (a misnomer, for sure) to advertisements for all the country music ever recorded or for the company that will buy all of your golden heirlooms. Surely, he thought, that on at least one of the satellite stations there must be something that will challenge the Hobbit out of his malaise.
Since the end is in sight for further adventures in Space during the lifetime of the Hobbit, even the NASA Channel is merely broadcasting a picture of the Moon. Frodo decides to hone in, and see if there is something digitally-enhanced which replaces the sheer spectacle of said lifeless rock from observation in the cool open air. He immediately thinks of the story told by Jonathan Winters, perhaps the funniest man who ever lived, about working in a nearby hardware store. One day, said he, a map of the Moon was found laying open upon a desk in the storeroom. As he glanced thereon, he noticed a whole box of those little pushpins with plastic heads, in different colors, nearby, and that set his comic mind to work. He took the map out and hung it in a prominent position above the cash register. He then took a couple dozen of the little pushpins, all the red ones he could find, and he began to place them in random spots all over the map. He then went about his chores just as several potential customers entered the store.
Eventually, one of the customers, each of whom was to be mimicked by the aspiring comic, came up to the register with his purchases and confronted the Moon map with red pushpins scattered thereabouts. He whispered to Winters, "What's the story on the map of the Moon with the red pins in it?'
"What are you talking about?", responded Winters,
"Why, the map right there behind your head," said the customer.
"Are you feeling all right Oswald?" since that was the name of the shopper, "There's nothing back there." As the staggered customer turned and walked away Winters pointed his finger at his own head and turned it like a gyroscope in the universally-accepted method to indicate less than rational behavior.
One-by-one, each of the customers received a different story from Winters. To some, he acknowledged the presence of the map, but denied any significance which wasn't labelled "Top Secret" by the Air Force. Slowly, as each customer left, Winters noted their return, with a neighbor or close friend in tow. Before long, and as it approached closing time, the tiny hardware store was host to the largest crowd in that town in many years. Nobody wanted to leave until they got a good look at the map and prepared themselves for future discussions about the Moon map in the hardware store.
Frodo smiled as he thought about the simplicity of comic genius, and the vicissitudes of human behavior upon which it is based. He got up from his keyboard, and he wandered toward the black-and-white, now tuned in to the Republicant debate, and he pressed a few post-it notes (all red, of course) on the screen.
A few minutes later, Sam entered the room.