I stand before you today, ladies and gentlemen, to pay homage to a special friend of mine and one who has truly enhanced all of our lives in this room: Bob the Lemon.

Bob has been with us now for over a half hour, and in that time he has always given freely of himself, has he not? When Mrs. Parish wanted some tea, Bob gave a little of himself for her drinking pleasure. When Tracy Smith wanted to make her 6-month old brother Joey pucker up and cry, Bob was there. When little Stevie Hips needed something to throw at his principal - fast - , there was Bob. Now I know what you're saying, "Bob's just a lemon. He isn't even called Bob in real life. He's a f**king piece of fruit." Yes, yes; we can all callously stand around, denying his effect upon us, minimalizing his efforts by calling him names; but Bob's a guy just like you or me, and he has feelings too.

So why is it, now that his juice has all run out, that we here at this party are so willing to throw him away? Perhaps we should throw you away, Mr. Carnatas; you were used up several years ago. I thought about it at the time, But I said, no, Mr. Carnatas is too valuable to throw away. And how about you, Father Cartwright; you did throw away your first three children. Shame on you; they could have been useful, or at least decorative. What a waste. What a true waste when people want to rid themselves of every little object that's not giving them immediate pleasure or utility. I reuse my whipped cream. I recycle my dental floss. When the mustard is gone, I fill that bottle with dimestore fish and let them swim in 2-inch diameter circles to their hearts' content. I know how to make use of my environment in an efficient and caring way.

Go ahead, if you must. Go ahead and toss Bob recklessly into some heap with Lowenbrau bottles and the Lifesaver/avocado hors d'ouvres and the case of expired condoms and the video of last August 23rd's evening news with Tom Brokaw and the bowling ball sawed in half and the jammed tennis ball server and the Rotomatic® by Ronco that never did make those goddamned julienne salads like they said it would and the XXX-Large Notre Dame sweatshirt that Betty used to wear around and throw slumber parties in but which, ever since she started Deal-a-Meal and Notre Dame proved to be money-sucking pigs, is about as sought after as a box of drool at a convention of Canadian electrolysis technicians. Go ahead and toss him away. See if I care. See if anyone cares. Just don't come bawling to me when, 3 years from now, you need a piece of textured yellow organic rind to comb your hair with or to make the day pass faster. Because it won't be here. It'll be lying 6 feet underground, sad and frightened. Thank you very much. Enjoy the party.

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If I Had a Porch
1995 John Cady & his Lounge Life Press
In a yelling mood? Write to me: bing@umich.edu