Monday, October 6, 2008

this is our youtube

My brother Erik and I live to make each other laugh. He has the gift of finding that special something that will send me careening around the corner to full on laugh-crying. Growing up, Erik's favorite venue for that move was church (where else?). To this day, my mom sits between us at any deadpan family event because she knows, even as adults, we cannot be trusted. All he needs to do in a serious setting is move his hand or clear his throat or breathe and I am in my own private emergency: head down, shaking, tearing up inconsolable laughter/desperately chewing on my cheeks or pinching my leg in order to slam on the behavior brakes—never to any avail.

The past couple of days, Erik and I have been sending each other youtube links at work with the implicit hope of driving the other person to leave their desk and call from some remote hallway, laughing. The odds are against me. I work for an office that is often as quiet as a morgue and distraction is never a course of action. I try to behave. Erik is a Mucky-muck at a television production company where he and his staff send absurd links to each other and consider that a job well done.

Last Friday, a complicated backstory led me to research video footage of highschool productions of Guys and Dolls. My brother was actually in Guys and Dolls during highschool so I passed a few of the doozies along. He was mildly amused and responded with links of his own. Not to be outdone, I quickly spiraled into searching terms like "awful Guys and Dolls" and "Guys and Dolls accident" in hopes of finding a complete catastrophe. No such luck. In the meantime, Erik sent the following email:

"Sky Masterson as played by 1963 Ralph Rydholm?"

I got through a total of five seconds before throwing my headphones down and running away from my desk choking. The resemblance is truly uncanny. I attached the only vintage Ralph photo I have scanned at the moment (as seen with my mom c.1976), but trust us on this one. Erik called because he made himself laugh so hard.

Today I struggled to unearth the most random, possibly youtube-able, shared childhood memory I could muster and the restaurant Al Johnsons came to mind. Growing up, our family occasionally drove up to Door County, Wisconsin during summer vacation. As a special treat we would have pancakes at Al Johnsons Swedish Restaurant. For a kid, this place is a veritable shangri-la both because nearly every dish is festooned with a Christmas tree of canned whipped cream AND because the restaurant boasts a grass roof with live GOATS grazing around on it like it's an actual, normal pasture.

And thus, this morning, completely without preamble, I sent Erik the following footage:

I'm not sure he even laughed. He wrote back an unadorned one-liner to the tune of: "Your memory is frightening."

I, however, ended up getting caught up in all kinds of random goat video and photography for the duration of the day.

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