"Alright, soldiers, is everybody having a good time? <spirited applause> That was Team Sleep tearing it up, here at another USO Partython Thursday. Whoo hoo! Team Sleep, their first album will be out later next month. Now before we get to tonight's headliner, the lovely and talented Martina McBride <cheers>, we've got a surprise guest for you. Ladies and Gentlemen, put your rifles down and prepare to give it up for a man who needs no introduction, the Secretary of Defense, Mister Donald Rumsfeld.
<Cue music 'Antler Time' by Rummy and the Rhinestones. Cheers and applause. Enter Rumsfeld stage left, dark suit, fingers forward, and a swivel in his hip. Shouts of delight. Before you know it, everyone is doing the Antler Dance, and the Baghdad dust is filling the air. Rummy does a split on the final beat of 'Antler Time' and the crowd goes wild.>
"Whew... thank you... let me catch my breath... I'm not as young as I used to be... Okay. Whew... You know, I just flew in from Washington, and boy are my arms tired. <laughs> Say, I just ran into Martina backstage <cheers>, and I'll have to be honest. That is one good looking broad. <hoots> And funny, too. She told me a little joke that I'll share with you... What do you get when you play a country record backwards?"
<shout> "What's a record?"
"A record? Oh my goodness, surely you must've seen a record before. They're round and made out of plastic..."
<grasping> "Like a Frisbee?"
"Much like a Frisbee in shape and size, but records are black and have music on them..."
<still grasping> "A Frisbee can be black..."
"Yes, but a Frisbee doesn't have music on it. I suppose that would be technologically feasible, but it would be impractical due to the cost of re-engineering all of America's turntables."
<shout> "What's a turntable? Some kind of weapon?"
"Oh my, no, although with some of the racket out there - no disrespect to Team Sleep, who seem like a fine group of young people - with some of that heavy metal and rap music it does have weapon-like capabilities... Say, it occurs to me that many of you young people may be familiar with the turntable if you listen to the rap music. You know when the fellow takes the record - the round black thing - and puts it on a device, and then rubs it back and forth to make those irritating sounds... that's a turntable."
<sounds of waking cognitive awareness> Scratching?
"Yes, exactly. So, what do you get when you play a country record backwards on a turntable?"
<shout> "Who's the artist?"
"The artist? It doesn't, uh... the Oak Ridge Boys. What do you get when you play a country record by the Oak Ridge Boys backwards on a turntable?"
"Well, yes, to some extent, although scratching is more defined by the back and forth motion of the needle in the groove then it is by the more linear technique of playing a record backwards in it's entirety."
<Authoritatively> "Forgetting for a moment all the technical jargon such as 'needle in the groove', if you were to play this theoretical 'record' backwards, wouldn't you just get a bunch of malarkey?"
"Heh, heh, I suppose that's true, although in certain cases you might get a secret message, like 'Worship Satan' or 'Paul is dead'."
<shout> "Paul who?"
"Paul McCartney. He was..."
<incredulous> "So now it's just Ringo?"
"No, Paul is still alive, I'm just providing an example of an actual message that might be found if one were to play a record backwards..."
<shout> "Bring on Martina!"
"We will get to Martina in all due time, but for now, let us attempt to reach closure on this joke. Now can somebody please tell me what you get when you play a country record by the Oak Ridge Boys backwards on a turntable? No? There's no takers? Well, first you get your job back, which is a sign of an expanding economy, and then you get your wife back, and..."
<shout> "I don't have a wife!"
"Well of course you don't, being that as you're a woman. But keep in mind that this is the Oak Ridge Boys we are talking about, and as far as I know, they are all heterosexually inclined. So they would get their jobs back, and their wives back, and their pickup trucks back. Heh, heh."
"Whew. What a tough crowd. May the fleas of a thousand camels buy time shares on your crotch. <laughs> Thank you... May Abu Musab Zarqawi seek refuge beneath your mother's skirt. <big laughs> Thank you, thank you... May a yak with a bladder condition take a liking to your duffel bag. <howls> <cue 'Antler Time'> Goodnight everybody!" <cheers>
©2005, Mark Hoback