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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Otis The King, parts 1515 - 1518

1515. One wants to shout out to the child, “Don’t put your x there,” but you hold your tongue, because your advice adds up to one thing, an insistent reminder that the child is not that smart. So it was that Otis had to suffer through long games of checkers where the correct moves were so obvious it gave him stomachache. Cards were no better. Often those comedians wondered aloud, “Why is this dog wining and complaining so much when we play checkers.” 

1516. The best Otis could do was to encourage his owners to take credit for training him to do tricks. He went about this very carefully, so as not to have them realize his intellectual abilities. During the first week of his new occupation he went through all of the basics: roll over and play dead, nor eat food on the nose, walk on the hind feet, all of the simple things.  When they were in towns he sat quietly behind the stage, and wondered how it was possible that such simple stories and actions could move an audience so much.  

1517. Not only that but since the comedians rehearsed their skits in the evening Otis soon came to understand that everything was being done by rote, from memory, with no improvisation to enliven the performance. Finally he could stand it no longer, he felt he had to intervene.

1518. There was one skit involving a domestic argument. A husband and wife are having a fight about a fish pie. It was all in pantomime but the gist of the story seemed to be that the husband was complaining to the wife that the fish pie was burnt, but the wife wanted to put in back in the imaginary oven because it was not ready yet.

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