Written by Sean Nitchmann
[Monologue with onstage musical backup. Imaginary interactions should be mimed by the narrator. Written as if accompanied by more than one musician but originally performed with only one musician with an acoustic guitar. Text should be edited for plural vs. singular references to the musician(s) before performing]
My life is dull. No, I mean really dull.
Yeah sure, I was the owner of a successful and profitable business. But in the process of pursuing my wealth and power I lost sight of the things that could make me interesting and fun to be around. I never had time for love and was unmarried. The part of my personality that could gain me friends and make me attractive to women was missing. So I found myself alone and miserable.
One day I decided to change things. I set out to create a new me. To live a lifestyle that was glamorous and exciting. I needed to be bathed in companionship, I wanted to be the center of the party, throngs of people laughing at my jokes hanging on my every word as I retold some anecdote from my once boring life.
But how? How could I make so bold a change? Money was no option. But I couldn't just buy friends. I've hired Yes Men at the office but I knew that wouldn't work in my personal life. I could lose some weight, get some new clothes, hell I could even get plastic surgery, maybe go for the Fabio look, but all that would take time, and I wanted to change right away.
Then it dawned on me. I needed a soundtrack. Hey, it makes sense. How many crappy movies or television shows have you watched where the plot was flat and predictable or the acting stunk but the soundtrack held it all together. Watch people in their cars singing along with the radio at stoplights. Why do you think they play music when you're on hold on the telephone? Music has the power to make an intolerable situation bearable, even meaningful and memorable. And that's precisely what I needed to build the life I desired.
So I decided to hire some musicians. I couldn't just carry around a boom box, that would be too obvious, I needed live music. I didn't just want some Wedding band that would do covers of songs that would remind people of past experiences, no, I needed an original soundtrack that would be identified only with me. So that after an encounter with me people would walk away with a little tune or a melody stuck in their head and later they would say to their friend, "Oh yeah, that guy at the party, his story was kind of boring but for some reason I just felt like hanging around him, da da daa da da daa...."
My first choice was Dave Mathews but he wouldn't return my calls, besides, he would over shadow me and probably cause my plan to backfire, I mean, how could I possibly hold the attention of a beautiful woman with Dave near by crooning "I'm a puppy for your love." I tried a folk musician who could only come up with over-analytic introspective relationship studies, way too heavy for the feeling I was trying to get across. I almost hired a boy-band of five suave guys with trendy slicked back haircuts wearing the hottest clothes capable of dancing in unison while singing harmony but they demanded two hours of makeup time before they could go anywhere. The logistics for the gospel choir were too demanding. The Goth-Industrial group couldn't play acoustic and were limited to where they could go by the length of their extension cord. The opera singer was too loud. The cello player was too sexual. There was one guy who could play the saw, but that was way too avant-garde.
I was ready to give up when I was walking downtown and came across these guys busking....
[Musician(s) walk out playing some intro music]
They were exactly what I was looking for, mellow acoustic sounds, distinct enough to be memorable but not so over powering as to stand in my light. And they were cheap.
So we did a trial run. One Saturday I had them follow me as I walked around town. It was a success, people were drawn to us. I was able to strike up conversations with perfect strangers. Everyone was smiling as we walked by. I even got a couple of phone numbers. These guys were like Babe-Magnets. Sort of like snake charmers except on humans. I was on my way to becoming an interesting guy at last.
I decided to take them with me to a party, and sure enough, I was a hit!
[Suspenseful music building as story is told - narrator tells story to the side as if at a party]
"...so then I looked at him... and he looked at me... we were both revving our engines... beads of sweat were gathering on my brow...and then I just went for it... BAM! I pulled straight in... you should have seen the look on his face... that was the best parking space I've ever had at the grocery store, right up in front. Your going walking today Mr. BMW..."
They clapped, can you believe it?
I met a girl at the party and she actually agreed to go out with me. I took her out to dinner, with my soundtrack, of course...
[Musician(s) play choppy music - narrator sits and acts as if at a table]
"...so that's why seagulls explode when you feed them alka seltzer, they're unable to burp. Yes I am interesting, aren't I..."
And then later that night back at my place...
[Musician(s) play sad and slow - narrator acts as if he is close and has his arm around his guest]
"...I don't know why these things make me so sad, I guess I'm just too...sensitive. Maybe I should make us some herbal tea...or...or...maybe we could get naked..."
Success! This was working out better than I expected.
I took them to work with me one day when I had to let someone go...
"...no, Bob, I'm not firing you...
[Musician(s) play happy and bouncy]
"...lets just say I'm freeing you to pursue greater options. Why, I'm sure with your background in IBM mainframe programming they'll be banging at your door with job offers, tell your wife and three small children not to worry..."
Yeah, things were going great for a couple of weeks. But then I began to sense...dissention...
[Musician(s) turned away, distracted and ignoring the narrator - narrator acts as if at a party again]
"... so then I said no, the only right way to put the toilet paper on the holder is over the top... hey where are you going, I'm not done with my story..."
[Narrator speaks to the musician(s)]
Fella('s), back me up here, I'm bombing...
[Musician speaks to narrator]
We're on a break, man.
I had another date with that lady from the party...
[Musician(s) play loud and fast - narrator shouts to be heard over the cacophony - arm around imaginary guest again]
"... and a little tear came to my eye, to think that those newborn kittens would be without a mother... oh, yeah, it is getting late... ok...yeah, sure, I'll wait for you to call me... bye..."
[Musician(s) continue to play loud]
Well, I guess it was too good...
[Musician(s) stops abruptly]
to be true.
It just wasn't working out anymore. maybe soundtracks should be left to the movies...
Or maybe... it's the allure of the musician that makes the moment.
[Musician(s) starts playing - narrator is grooving to the song - narrator pulls out a kazoo and starts playing along, poorly. – musician(s) walk offstage digusted.]
Fella's... where are you going... we just need practice...
[Narrator follows musician(s) offstage]
"Personal Soundtrack" debuted August 24, 2001, performed by Sean Nitchmann.
Performed at Best of No Shame on November 15 & 16, 2001.