“Green alligators, long-necked geese,
Humpty-backed camels, and chimpanzees,
Cats and rats and elephants,
As sure as you’re born,
The loveliest of them all was the unicorn.”
I show them how to act out the animals, arms outstretched in front of the chest, moving up and down like an alligator’s jaws; both hands up in the air, bent at right angles at the wrist, like a goose’s neck and head, and so forth.
I see Michael asking one of the others, "What’s Seamus doing?" because I’m demonstrating the motions, not describing them. So one of the girls takes his hands, and starts guiding him in the movements. He’s into it.
Then I get silly.
I’d been playing golf that afternoon with Dave and Declan, so I have a couple of golf tees in my pocket. I decide to stick one of them up my nose. (I didn’t say this was a class act.) I’ve done this on quite a few occasions, sometimes with a five-inch nail. It’s a simple geek show trick that anyone with a nostril and a sinus can do, for heaven’s sake. You simply tilt your head back, insert the nail into your nostril and gently push it all the way back into your sinus. It’s not going anywhere near your brain, so you don’t have to worry about that. But it’s a great little attention-getter that can liven up the dullest dinner-party or soirée and cause a heave or two, even in the strongest stomach, especially if you pull your nostril over the nail head so that it can’t be seen. Then you look at someone and say, "If I sneeze now, you’re dead!"
Anyway, I slowly shove the golf tee into my nostril, gradually, until only the head is visible. The girls are squealing again and pretending to cover their eyes; the guys are laughing, and poor old Michael is saying, "What’s he doing? What’s he doing?"
I realize that this is distinctly unfair, and he deserves to be an equal participant in this showbiz extravaganza. So I call out, "Michael, I’ve a proposition for you. Come on up here on stage with me, and if you’ll take out your glass eyes for the audience, I’ll let you push the golf tee up my nose with your very own finger!"
Well, this is obviously an offer that no red-blooded, All-American blind guy can refuse. He stands up immediately, pushes his chair back, and allows one of the young ladies at the table to give him her arm and lead him to the stage to tumultuous applause and encouragement. "Go, Michael!"
I help him up, and he stands beside me, facing the audience. I insert the golf tee into my nostril about three-eighths of an inch or so and take his hand. He extends his index finger, and I place it on the head of the tee. The crowd is screaming hysterically.
“Now push gently."
And he does so, a little at a time, until all three and a half inches of the tee are in. His friends are doubled over. Then I pull the nostril down over it, and I let him run his finger over the little bump to assure him that it is, in fact, all the way in. Michael is giggling.
"Okay," I say. "Your turn."
He tilts his head slightly, rolls his eyelids back, and removes the
glass eyes. The crowd is close to wetting themselves now. I believe there may have been a few involuntary squirts from the owners of bladders who were afraid to go to the bathroom in case they missed any part of this once-in-a-lifetime magic show. He holds the glass eyes up and displays them triumphantly, like a gladiator holding aloft a pair of heads severed from the shoulders of slightly less-skilled opponents. As in the Coliseum, the crowd roars its approval.
Then he drops one.
"Oh, shit!" he says as it hits the stage and bounces onto the floor and under a table. Pandemonium! His friends all rush forward, and hunker down in a search and rescue mission. It’s nothing so small as a contact lens, so I know it’s not going to take long to find. While they’re occupied with the hunt, I turn to find Michael on his hands and knees, feeling around the stage.
"Michael," says I, “what the hell are you doing?"
"I’m looking for my goddamned eye."
A few moments later, the eye is recovered and returned to its rightful owner, who’s relieved to have both headlights functioning again. Order is restored, Michael rejoins his pals at the table, and folk start breathing normally. This has been the highlight of the evening, I’m sure of that; nothing is going to top it, so I do a song to wind things up, and I bid the audience adieu, reminding them to tip their bartenders and waitresses.
And then, as I usually do last thing before I leave the stage, I say, “Please drive safely. I’d like to see all of you again.”
And Michael stands up and hollers, "I will!"