Nake My Day
PLEASE SIR, MAY I HAVE SOME MORE?
by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- Betty: Hello, and welcome to yet another WPTV public television membership drive! My name is Betty Snodgrass, and I'm joined by my colleague, Earl Harshbarger.
We're here to ask for your support for public television. We only come to you three times a year, or whenever those Sesame Street leeches hit us up for another $20,000 because they've fallen behind on Barney the Purple Dinosaur's "protection money."
Earl: But this isn't one of those times, is it Betty?
Betty: No it isn't, Earl. This time we're coming to you during one of our regularly scheduled membership drives. Although our critics in Congress call this our "Begging Time," a membership drive is when we drive our members crazy by suspending our regular programming, including the surprise ending to last week's Mystery, and ask you to make another donation to this station. Our goal is to raise $10,000 during tonight's programming, and with your help, we know we can meet it!
Earl: And even though we'll come to you 63 times each night for the next eight weeks and ask you for money over and over, we invite ourviewers to tune in tomorrow night when we'll have a very special treat for you.
Betty: That's right Earl. Despite the fact that thousands of you have told us we've been running this whole Irish thing into the ground, tomorrow night we'll be showing Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance, The Making of Lord of the Dance, and The Making of The Making of Lord of the Dance.
After that you'll see A Day In The Life of Michael Flatley, thenThe Making of A Day In The Life of Michael Flatley, followed by A Making of Michael Flatley's Tap Shoes. Then we'll finish the evening with a special 30 minute film that Michael Flatley made with a hidden camera in the women's dressing room at a Lord of the Dance performance, set to traditional Irish music with tap shoe sound effects.
Earl: Sounds exciting Betty! I know everyone loved it when we first showed Riverdance six years ago, so it stands to reason that everyone will love it even more when we show nothing but Irish-related programming for hours and hours and hours.
Betty: And we promise to only interrupt every 4 minutes, or right before a show gets interesting.
Earl: But before we start tonight's programs, we here at WPTV would like to apologize for last night's ... unfortunate incident. We offer our sincerest condolences to the victims and survivors of the Sewing With Nancy live studio broadcast.
Betty: We never realized she was carrying so much pent-up rage, or that a three-hour show on quilting could end in so much carnage.
Earl: All of us at WPTV are praying for you.
Betty: Now it's important to remember that a large portion of our funding comes from you, the viewers. Nearly 17 percent of all funding comes from government support and foundation grants. The remaining 83 percent comes from private and corporate donations. Of course, of that 83 percent, only five percent of it comes from you the viewer, while the rest comes from wealthy corporations and people wit hmore money than God.
And that's why we run five-minute-long "underwriting messages" even though they're really commercials and everyone knows it! But since you little peasants only pay for five percent of my total salary, you can all just kiss my - oh my, did I say that out loud?
Earl: I'm afraid you did, Betty. You'd better take your pills.
Betty: That's a good idea Earl. I'll get my medication, which is underwritten by the fine folks at Bio-Calm. Remember, when the voices in your head start telling you that Ray Suarez from "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer" wants you to kill everyone in the control booth, it's time to talk to the fine folks at Bio-Calm. Yes, Bio-Calm, making the workplace safe for public television professionals and postal workers for 23years.
Earl: But joining WPTV has more benefits than just greatprogramming. If you make a pledge to WPTV, we'll send you a thank yougift along with your membership information. Betty: If you pledge at the $60 level, you will receive the Dean Johnson and Robin Hartl Hometime salt and pepper shakers. At the $90level, you can choose between a WPTV soup bowl or a WPTV soup spoon. Andat the $120 level, you can receive both the bowl AND the spoon. And forthose of you who have more money than you can reasonably spend, if youpledge at the $300 level, we'll send you a piece of paper that MichaelFlatley stepped on in a parking lot last winter.
Earl: But without further ado, let's get started with tonight's special WPTV membership drive programming: a six-hour Red Greenmarathon! (All phones immediately begin ringing)
Earl: It looks like Ralph, one of our phone volunteers is trying to get my attention. What's that, Ralph? You say you've got eightdifferent callers who will each pledge $50,000 if we cancel the RedGreen marathon right now?
Betty: Well folks, it looks like we've come to end of another great night of fun and pledging at WPTV. Remember to support your local public television station, and keep your stick on the ice!