Tuesday, May 26, 2009
They Loved Me In Burns
'Getting a laugh' in a foreign country has always been a great challenge for me. And, until recently, making that tuk tuk driver in Bangkok spit water through his nose has been my greatest achievement. In many ways, Oregon is like a foreign country, especially when you get into the eastern part and towns like Burns. Known mostly for its onions and manure, Burns is populated by what I consider a 'tough audience' for my brand of humor. Cowboys, ranchers, cow inseminators. (Thanks Rich) But as those posters say in card stores, 'Face your fears and watch them disappear.' So I did. We had just pulled into a Sinclair gas station. It was early Sunday so there wasn't a lot of action in town and several of the local boys had gathered at the gas station to talk crop reports and maybe hope for a city boy to stop by that they could throw in back and beat on the kidneys with sticks for awhile. Enter me. As I pushed through the door and stepped up to the register I picked up on some of their conversation. Apparently, one of them had seen something on the tv about traffic and commutes in Los Angeles. He said, "I heard that there are people in Los Angeles with a three to four hour commute to work." My heart started to beat a little faster as I knew right where to go. I turned to the group and said, "I just moved here from Los Angeles and that was about how long my commute to work was." Wait for it Mark. Wait for it. Now. "And I only lived 10 miles away." Huge laughs. As I walked out the door to thunderous applause and laughter I could only think to turn and say, "Thank you. Thank you. I'll be here all week. Have a great time and be sure to tip your waitress." Crickets.