Here is another portion of my unfinished comedy routine. The fictional town of Bourbon it describes was inspired by roadsigns I have passed for actual towns in both Indiana and Missouri (but not dry towns, as far as I know) named Bourbon. I wrote this "orally" (i.e. it only got written down when it was this far along) and once declaimed it to my Dad, who said the character voice I used reminded him of "that actor who used to play Mark Twain in a one-man show." Gosh.
"When I first heard there was a town called Bourbon, I just knew I had to live there. It sounded like my kind of place: streets flowing with whisky and beer. It didn't turn out to be quite the way I'd pictured it. Matter of fact, Bourbon is a dry town. I'd never heard of such a thing before I moved there. It's just ain't natural. I'm thinking of suing the city for false advertising, luring me there under false pretenses. I haven't been so disappointed since I moved to Hooker, Georgia.
"Folks in Bourbon prove every day that taking the drink away don't solve everybody's problems. You can be just as miserable without alcohol as with it, only it ain't half as much fun. Why, folks in Bourbon don't have anything to do for fun except sit around sipping lemonade and listening to country-western songs about Jesus. You ask me, if it don't mention alcohol, it ain't music.
"I'll give you an example. There's a well-preserved old lady in Bourbon, her name is Naphthalene. I won't tell you her last name, out of respect for her privacy. A creature of habit was old Naphthalene. At the same time every day she worked in her garden, went to the grocery store, cleaned the house, played bingo, and served tea to some of her neighbors. One day Naphthalene realized that she wasn't going to live forever. A horror came over her, not at death as such, but at how it would change her daily routine. Lying around in a coffin all day, doing nothing, would be quite a change from her high level of activity. She didn't think she could stand it.
"So old Napthalene goes around asking people what's the best way to break old habits and get used to something new. Most folks told her she should work her way into the new stuff gradually, get used to it little by little. So Naphthalene goes to the funeral parlor right then and buys herself a coffin, has it delivered to her house. She sets it up in her living room and starts spending a few minutes every day lying in it, to get used to the feeling.
"Napthalene had it all planned out. Little by little, her quiet time in that coffin got longer and longer. The time came when she could lie there for hours without twitching a muscle. We were all so proud of Naphthalene.
"Then it came to her that she had to be prepared for people looking at her while she was lying there. So Napthalene started scheduling her lying-down times to coincide with the tea parties she threw every afternoon. The neighbors would come by and sit around, drinking tea and eating cookies and paying their respects, and then leave. Naphthalene would put everything out with a card saying, 'Don't mind me, I'm just practicing being dead. I'll wash up after you're gone.'
"At first, we were all a bit uncomfortable, calling on Naphthalene when she was like that, but we got used to it. The cookies were good, the tea was refreshing, and old Naphthalene never was much of a conversationalist anyway. So it was all going swell until the day Naphthalene's guests noticed that the tea was stone cold, and the cookies were the same ones left over from the day before.
"They started whispering among themselves: 'Do you suppose she's really...' 'Naw, look at her, she's so natural,' and so on. Finally one of the neighbors decided to do something, to test Naphthalene's vital signs. He goes over to the coffin and does something with his hands that nobody could see. Suddenly Naphthalene sits up and slaps him right across the face and hollers, 'Shame on you, Johnny Bob! What do you think you're doing? Is this how you show respect to the dead? If this is the behavior I can expect at my funeral, why, I'm halfway inclined never to die at all!' And with that, Miss Naphthalene sent us all packing. She sold the coffin back to the funeral parlor, and she's alive to this day, is old Naphthalene."