Story: The Wizard of Mich, Part Two

Musical Theater: We do it all on this blog

So there I was in Michigan. I had made it to my destination, but the place turned out to be much weirder than I expected. I wanted to go back home to the South, but I was stuck. This being Michigan, the last tire store had moved out-of-town. Little people dressed up as football players were singing and dancing. The Wolverine one began punching the Buckeye one. The Spartan then began to punch the Wolverine. Yet it was all in jest, so they claimed. I was being told to go on a silly journey through the “mitten” to find some Wizard, and I was being told this by Tim Allen who was dressed in fairy wings. “Clearly I must be dreaming” I thought. But then again it was the North, and it was Tim Allen; and we know Tim Allen never turns down a role. On top of it all Michael $#@%ing Moore was on my case about killing the environment and voting Republican. You know, all in all the kind of stuff that happens every time I go up North.

So the adventure began, just me and Julep the dog at first. More on that later. My RV tire being busted and no replacement in site, and being creeped out by the Little Ten Kins, I decided to follow the flat and straight road across the state. As long as I stayed out of Detroit, what was the worst that could happen?

Singing…that was worse. Or rather lip synching to singing. As Julep and I began to walk down the road we heard a song. I could have sworn it was to the tune of Don McLean’s “American Pie”. Yet the Little Ten Kins were not singing the song. No, they were marching behind us, some waving, some dancing, some playing the guitar and doing other mundane things. And as I said they were lip synching. It was being filmed too for Little You Tube. Apparently word got out that I thought their town sucked for having nothing but chain restaurants and not one auto parts store. So they decided to make a”lip dub” video as both a farewell to me and a self-affirmation of their town’s greatness.  So yeah, we couldn’t wait to leave Grand Rapids.

The weird thing was the song they were lip syncing to was about me and my journey. How they recorded it and then choreographed a lip dub to it in such a short time was beyond me. But it was the Midwest and it appeared they had done these sorts of things before.

The words went:

The Day the Documentarian Dies

So bye-bye magic heroes from the sky

Flew your trailer thru the “tornader”

And the Leftist did die.

And Little Ten Kins were eating chicken pot pie,

Singing “this is the day the documentarian dies”

“this is the day the documentarian dies”.

And “so long” we say, so sad you gotta go,

But you’ve got to follow that flat and straight road,

From Grand Rapids to the Center of the Mitt.

And when you beat the Leftist of East,

That fat filmmaker, that ugly liberal beast,

You will get your wish….from the Wizard of Mich.

So farewell ye go ye Southerners of lore,

And go slay the Dragon Michael Moore,

And you will be back to your Dixie home on high…

The day the documentarian dies.

So bye-bye magic heroes from the sky

Flew your trailer thru the “tornader”

And the Leftist did die.

And Little Ten Kins were eating chicken pot pie,

“this is the day the documentarian dies”

“this is the day the documentarian dies”.

Choreography: It's replaced manufacturing as the number one employer in Grand Rapids

I have to admit, it was a catchy little tune, and anything that speaks of the demise of Michael Moore is a hit with me. “But wait” I thought “how was I supposed to take down Michael Moore?” and furthermore “who was this Wizard of Mich?”. I thought about it more and more as Julep and I began walking east. Out of the blue and without warning I broke out into a ditty. It went something like this…

The Wizard of Mich

Oh I’m off to see the Wizard the Wonderful Wizard of Mich,

Whoever he is, I’m sure he is, the only one that can grant my wish,

This trip is more than I bargained for, it’s too cold here, it’s quite a bore,

The frost , the frost, the frost, the frost, the frost the frost,

All because of a bet I lost!

Oh I’m off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Mich.

Clearly Michigan was having an effect on me. Maybe it was the winged helmet. I didn’t know. What I did know was my quickest chance to get back home was to find this Wizard and get the Winnebago fixed. I was simply told to follow the road east but I still wanted to know where I was. I looked down on my mitten and guessing that I was 14 stitches southeast of Grand Rapids I must be getting close to Battle Creek.

I walked through the nearly empty streets of the town and approached a city park. Sitting alone on a bench I saw a scruffy looking Baby Boomer. He was dressed in a 1990s business suit jacket with a t-shirt underneath. Garish, I know. He was also wearing black motorcycle boots and black jeans. He looked like an over-the-hill rocker who would play the county fair or local Holiday Inn back home. Just as I began to smirk at the idea, I had a suspicion that my little joke was all too real. As I walked closer to the figure I began to make out who it was…I thought…”Oh no it’s…

“Bob Seger’s the name!” said the man on the bench. “Looks like you and your dog there are heading against the wind.” “Yes, I guess we are” I said as I began to walk briskly away. I was followed. “Looks like you two are trying to turn the page” he said. “Yes Mr. Seger” I said…”we are, but do you have to speak in your lyrics?” “I don’t know what you mean” he said. “No, life’s been tough for me ever since people stopped taking my old records off the shelf, but thanks for asking”. I didn’t ask. He continued. “Yep, you’re right. I did out sell the Beatles in Michigan. I was big”.  “Okay…nice talking to you” I said but before I could continue. “Yep, one day you’re big and then the night moves and you’re at the bottom. Maybe my old friend the Wizard of Mich could help.”

“You know the Wizard?” I said. “Know him? Well me and the Motor City Madman go way back. I could take you to him if you’d like.” “That’s okay” I said “I’ll just be going about my way…”

“Yep” said Seger…”I could make it big again for the fans…for people like you, if I only had some soul”….

I was dreading what was coming next and then he broke out into song…

If I Only had Some Soul

(Seger)

It would greatly please myself

My records taken off the shelf

And they played some rock n roll.

From Philly down to Frisco,

I’d shut down every disco,

If I only had some soul.

I’d open up for Kiss,

Sing songs that can’t miss,

And every show I stole.

(Me)

Well your songs would still be campy,

Because you’re a no talent Grampy,

And you don’t got any soul.

(Seger)

Oh I could top the records,

My career’d be on the mend,

I wouldn’t look so foolish,

Spittin’ against the wind.

I’d be jazzy like Sonny Rollins,

A ladies man like Phil Collins,

And I’d finally get off the dole.

Life’d be real breezy,

if I learned to not be cheesy,

If I only had some soul.

Bob Seger: As cool as the other side of a Member's Only Jacket

“All right, you can come along” I said.

So now we had another on our journey. As much as I hate Bob Seger’s music I guessed it wasn’t too bad if he tagged along. For one thing, he appeared to know the Wizard. He called him the “Motor City Madman”. Did he mean….? And anyway if we had to do battle with Michael Moore I could always use Seger as a human shield. They might badger and annoy each other to death.

So we trudged along further east. The buildings became drab and utilitarian, similar to Grand Rapids but with academic buildings rather than chain restaurants. It looked like something out of a post apocalyptic sci-fi movie or 1970s Eastern Europe. There were protest signs, Obama 2012 posters, post-modern art, and petition drives. Several people yelled out “cool outfit”. I thought they were making fun of me…but then again…I realized it was the Midwest where everything is accepted. After the tenth compliment it dawned on me where I was. It was the home of the University of Michigan…Ann Arbor. We had to be careful because this was clearly Michael Moore territory.

As we walked through campus we thought we saw a gang of #Occupy Hipsters. These were known to be Moore’s Minions. Perhaps he was looking for us. We all decided to duck into a building. Well Julep and I did. Seger was busy trying to put up flyers announcing his 1987 World Tour. We pulled him inside.

It was dark and spooky in there. We were surrounded by recycling posters. There were “Celebrate Earth Day, Every Day” signs, and bags and bags of crushed aluminum cans. It was the campus recycling center. It was something I’ve heard about but never seen in any of the Southern campuses I’ve been to. Just as I began to plan for our next move I heard a crash. I thought the Hipsters had found us and we were about to be flash mobbed…

“AHHHH DON’T DDDDDD-DON’T RECYCLE ME…PLEASE!!!!” cried the voice. “I wouldn’t think of doing something like THAT” I replied. I looked up and saw what appeared to be a giant anthropomorphic can of Vernor’s Ginger Ale, a local swill. I would have asked how a giant soda can come to life but it was Michigan. Strange things had been happening the entire time so far, so what was one more bizarre thing?

“Are you guys going to rescue me?” he asked. “I’ve been trying to avoid detection. The Hipsters have begun a drive to collect every can on campus. They are fining any student who fails to recycle with an ‘Earth Killer’ ticket. If they catch me, I’m doomed.” I was a little taken aback by the fact that people who claimed to care so much for all of the Earth’s creatures would want to kill such a nice talking can. I wondered if Michael Moore was behind this. I was beginning to wonder if he was behind all of this.

The can continued. “My name is Vernor. I’m the oldest pop around. I have been brewed in Michigan for over a century. But now I’m considered old-fashioned. I’m losing popularity to the other brands, especially the “socially conscious” companies like Coke. They’ve changed my formula and took away my caffeine. They’ve ruined my taste and so people have stopped drinking me. Soon, me and my family will be nothing but cans…used cans to be recycled”.

“Let me guess, Michael Moore?” I said. “Yes” said Vernor…”If I saw him, I’d fight him…but I’m an old can and I need more energy. If only I had caffeine”…

“Don’t start I said…..”

If I Only had Caffeine

(Vernors)

Well I’m quite the ginger ale,

The first one ever on sale,

A fact that should be seen.

They would print it on my can,

Next to “greatest pop in the land”,

If I only had caffeine.

I’d knock out Canada Dry,

Schweppes and Seagrams’s would cry,

They’d say “this beverage’s mean!”

(Me)

Well you sing a lot of ballyhoo,

Outside of here, they haven’t heard of you,

Because you haven’t got caffeine.

(Vernors)

Oh I would beat out Coke and Pepsi,

Coffee and Red Bull too.

I tell you it’s no joke,

I’d be peppier than Mountain Dew.

My commercials would be trendy,

They’d be serving me at Wendy’s,

I’d be drunk by king and queen.

No one would “out-ran” me,

life would be quite uncanny,

if I only had caffeine.

Needless to say I was getting tired of people breaking out into song. But he hated Michael Moore and activism so he couldn’t have been too bad. So he explained more of his story and I invited him to come along with us to see the Wizard of Mich. Seger asked him if he personally knew “New Coke”. I was beginning to wonder if Seger also thought Reagan was still president. I guess in that case it isn’t too bad to be Bob Seger.

Remember Kids, Recycling Kills

So now we were four. I was beginning to remember an old children’s movie I had seen and thought that this whole thing seemed eerily similar. I knew Midwesterners loved their musicals but this was getting ridiculous.

The other thing it was getting was more barren and desolate. As we marched further east we were heading deeper and deeper into the Realm of the Loony Liberal of the East, Michael Moore. The activist posters of the Midwest turned into graffiti. Academic buildings turned into empty houses. I even saw a mouse mug a squirrel. Yep we were in Detroit.

If I remembered right I landed some time during the weekend. For an abandoned city there seemed to be a lot of hustle and bustle. I heard the sounds of cheering and then booing which got louder as we got closer to town. All of us were scared and grasped arms and chanted “Lions, and Tigers, and Red Wings, oh my, Lions, and Tigers, and Red Wings”. Then a Lion jumped out in front of us!

“ROOOOOOOAAAAAARRRRRRRR!!!!!” he said “I WILL CRUSH YOU….I WILL KICK YOU IN THE FACE….ROOOOOOOAAAAR”. He made a threatening gesture and then Julep ran up and bit him. He sat down and cried.

“I’m sorry” he sobbed. “I didn’t mean it….I never do. I can’t help it.” It was Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions, the most penalized player in the league. He had just gotten kicked out of the NFL game for making a tackle. I know…a tackle. Clearly I was sympathetic.

He then told me that recently the league had been fining players for making tackles and stopping the other team from scoring. There was a new NFL rule that players could only two-hand touch. An offensive player could yell “BASE” at any time and be allowed unfettered access to the endzone. It was all done to make the game “fair”. Could this also be the work of Michael Moore?

Suh the Penalized Lion then began to say how he wished he didn’t have so many penalties, that he’d be allowed to play ferocious on the field. Then he wouldn’t have to go around scaring people outside the stadium. He looked at me and paused. Then I sighed and said “go ahead…”

If it Wasn’t for Penalties

(Suh)

I’d kick butt at Training Camp,

And end up Super Bowl Champ,

QB’s would pay dental fees.

Sunday Night Football’d de-lay,

‘cause they’d be showing my replay,

If it wasn’t for penalties.

I’d be better than Singleterry,

Butkus, and William Perry,

Yes, I’d be greater than all of these.

(Me)

But these are Bears you all are citin’

That’s the team you’re always fightin’

When you’re getting penalties.

(Suh)

I tell you I’d be on all the commercials,

They’d say “this guy is real swell”

I’d be a hero to all the children,

If it wasn’t for Roger Goodell.

Like lightning I’d be striking,

Cause terror to every Viking,

I’d make offenses freeze.

I’d send home Packers cryin’,

I’d be the pride of these Lions,

if it wasn’t for penalties.

When he finished I told him to come along. He was a big guy and clearly would be able to take out any Hipster Minions that dared cross our paths.

It's hard being a Penalized Lion

So with that, we became a singing quintet. We were off to see the Wizard of Mich whoever he was, all five of us: A displaced Southern blogger, an intrepid dog, a forgotten rocker, an anthropomorphic can, and a would-be NFL star. It was already the journey of a lifetime, albeit an annoying theatrical one, but this being the North, I knew more strange things were bound to happen.

Was Michael Moore really this all-powerful? What did he mean when he was “going to get me”? Why were people so afraid of him? I always thought he was an annoying yet harmless loser. Were we in trouble? Had Michael Moore really destroyed this once proud state? Would I ever get home? Would Bob Seger find his Old Time Rock n Roll again? Would Vernor’s make a comeback? Would we ever see defense played in the NFL again? Could the Wizard of Mich help us?…………

Danger Lurks

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