Friday, June 29, 2012

I Was Just Seventeen ...

by Perry Block 

 Yet another in that never-ending series of movies in which a parent and child switch bodies. This one, however, will cost you nothing and is mercifully brief!

As presented in three acts on the New York Stage
 at the Helen Hayes Theatre.
(No truth to the rumor that Helen Hayes actually got up and walked out.) 

Cast of Characters

Perry Block, 61 years old 
Brandon Block, 17 years old
Leona Bushman,  the Hottest Girl in All the Eleventh Grade
First Teen
Second Teen

It's  morning about 7:30 at Perry Block's residence.   Perry sits in the kitchen at the PC with the television  on.  His 17 year old son Brandon enters the room to grab something to eat and head to school.

Brandon:  Hi, Dad.   Say, you don't usually watch The Today Show in the morning. 

Perry:  No,  I just wanted to get my last minute fix of  Ann Curry before they axe her for not being as smart or attractive as Al Roker.

Brandon:  I see. Anything interesting in the news? 

Perry: There was a bizarre story about some guy addicted to LinkedIn.  Pathetic! 

Brandon: What are they doing for him?

Perry: The doctors are gradually weaning him off LinkedIn and getting him addicted to Facebook and Twitter, like normal people.

Brandon: Hope it helps.  (pause)  Hey, Dad, have you seen this?

Brandon produces from his pocket as jagged oblong stone several inches long.

PerryThat looks oddly like Sara Jessica Parker's profile, only less equine.  Where did you find it?

BrandonOut back last night.  It was glowing in the darkness.

Perry:  Oh my God!  That could be a cosmic relic left over from the original Big Bang, some 15 billion years ago!  

Brandon:  Really? 

Perry:  Or it might have dropped out of some kid's Happy Meal. 

Brandon:  I picked it up because it  looks like the kind of object that could do magical things. Like cause people to change identities in those movies where parents and kids change places. 

Perry: (laughs)  If only that could be!  Even for a day. 

Brandon:  As they say, careful what you wish for ....

Perry: How many of those stupid movies did they make anyway?

Perry approaches the stone with a growing fascination. 

Brandon: Well, let's see: There's Freaky Friday, Vice Versa, Like Father Like Son, 18 Again, 17 Again, two remakes of Freaky Friday, the similarly themed  Big ... there must be thousands!  

Perry:  What if there were just one more?  (begins singing, if you could call it that)  I was just 17.   You know what I mean.   And the way I looked was way beyond compair-aire!  

As Perry sings (if you could call it that), the stone begins to glow a bright green.  Both Perry and Brandon begin to squirm, make goofy faces, and act weird.  Nothing new for Perry.

Brandon:  Dad, what's happening? I'm feeling faint ... feeling strange ...

Perry: I warned you about the sushi at Miguel's Little Touch of Tijuana!

The lights flicker on and off several times.  When they remain on at last, we witness Brandon with a smirk on his face and Perry looking like someone dropped the world's largest goldfish down his pants.     

Perry is now in Brandon's body (the audience sees Brandon).  Brandon is now in Perry's body (the audience sees Perry.)  I know what you're thinking --- what audience?

Brandon (as Perry):  I feel awful.  I feel neurotic and insecure.  I need therapy.  I need a blankie!   Dad, how do you feel?

Perry (as Brandon):  Ready to rock and roll!  


Perry (as Brandon)  walks through the hallways at the high school  looking  giddy as a schoolgirl!  Although he is actually a schoolboy --- that's just an expression.  We're not going to pull a gender swap on you too!

Perry (as Brandon) Wow!  Look at all these young people!  And I'm  one of them!

First Teen:  Hi-ya, Brandon!  How are ya?

Second Teen:  Bran, my man!  What's  goin' down?

Third Teen (Benji) :  Bran, over here!  Got somethin' to talk to you about!

Perry (as Brandon): Ah, to be popular again!  (pauses)  What am I saying?  I was never popular.   I was voted "Most Likely to Be Voted Least Likely."

Everywhere, from all sides, Perry (as Brandon) is eating up the attention and acceptance. 

Perry (aside) OMG, look at that one!  Why, she must be The Hottest Girl in All the Eleventh Grade!   And ... and ...  she's coming this way!

Leona: (flirty)  Hi, Brandon ....

Perry (as Brandon):  (clumsily trying to be flirty back)  Hullo!  No, no ....  I mean Helll-OOO!   No, no .... I mean  Hey There, Hi There, Ho There!  (idiotically going into the Mickey Mouse Club Theme Song from the 50's TV show.)

Leona:  Somthing wrong, Brandon? 

Perry (as Brandon):  No, just clearing my throat ...

Leona: Brandon, I wanted to say that being together yesterday was great!  I can't believe we did EVERYTHING!

Perry (as Brandon):  (clueless) Yes, it certainly was great!   Doing EVERYTHING is always so ... (pause)  wait a minute ... what?  

Leona:  I can't believe we did EVERYTHING! 

Perry (as Brandon):  That's right, of course.  We did EVERYTHING.   Umm ... what did we do?

Leona: (giggles) Silly!  You know.  EVERYTHING 

Perry: (high-pitched) You mean, EVERYTHING  as in EVERYTHING  EVERYTHING???!!!  

Leona: (playful) I was really hoping this afternoon we could ... you know, do some more! 

Perry (as Brandon)  More EVERYTHING?!!  No, no, Brandon can't ... I mean, I can't do any more EVERYTHING today!  Or any day!  I ... umm ... have to be in the synagogue!  

Leona: The synagogue?

Perry (as Brandon): Yes, yes, I'm becoming Orthodox!  Actually, an Orthodox rabbi!  I won't be available for the next six months ...  I mean, six years! 

Leona:  Brandon, are you feeling well?

Perry (as Brandon):  Just swell!  Gotta go!  Coming, Yahweh!

As Perry breaks away from Leona, he stumbles into Benji.

Benji:  Brandon, comin' over to my house later?  We've got another batch of that Great Shit we had last weekend. 

Perry (as Brandon):  (intriguedGreat Shit?

Benji:  Yeah,  remember?  Last week we had to scrape you off the ceiling it was so awesome!

Perry (as Brandon): (flusteredOh ...that Great Shit!  That awesome! Well, thanks so much, but I've got to cut down on my scraping!  Doctor's orders!

Breaking away from Benji, Perry is buffeted about by the other students in the hallway, finding himself face to face with two kids sitting at a desk in front of a poster that reads "FUTURE TEA BAGGERS OF AMERICA."

Perry (as Brandon):  And you two .... Don't even think about it!

Perry (as Brandon) races out of the school.  


Perry (as Brandon) bursts into house.  Finds Brandon (as Perry)  dressed in ill-fitting workout clothing attempting unsuccessfully to touch his toes.

Perry (as Brandon):   Brandon, we've got to switch back!

Brandon (as Perry): I'll say.   Being in this body makes a night in the Bates Motel seem like a weekend at the Four Seasons.

Perry (as Brandon): Well, you shouldn't expect to be able to touch my toes right away.

Brandon (as Perry): Touch your toes?  I can't even wave to your knees!

Perry (as Brandon): (changing tone) You've got some things to answer for, mister! 

Brandon (as Perry):  (surprised) Like what? 

Perry (as Brandon):  Like doing EVERYTHING yesterday afternoon with Leona Bushman, the Hottest Girl in All the Eleventh Grade!

Brandon (as Perry): Doing everything yesterday afternoon with Leona Bushman, the Hottest Girl in All the Eleventh Grade?

Perry (as Brandon):  I didn't do EVERYTHING with ANYBODY until I was twenty-fou ... umm,  umm .... I mean, a little bit older than you,  and it was a considerably worse looking ANYBODY that I did EVERYTHING with and probably a considerably worse EVERYTHING with ANYBODY that I did! 

Brandon (as  Perry):  (calmly)  Dad, we did EVERYTHING on the book report we've been working on together in the library this week. We were going to do more today for extra credit.

Perry (as Brandon): (deflated) Oh.  (picking up intensity again)  But stay away from that kid with the Great Shit so awesome they have to scrape you off the ceiling!

Brandon (as Perry): You mean, Benji?  His mom's dynamite chocolate chip cookies?  Why?

Perry (as Brandon): (deflatedOh.  (picking up intensity again)  But stay away from ...

Brandon (as Perry):  .... of course I have no intention of signing up for the Future Tea Baggers of America.  

Perry (as Brandon):  Oh. (mildly) Glad we had this little chat. 

Brandon (as Perry):  I've got an idea.  (approaches the stone and begins singing, if you can call it that)  I was just seventeen, you know what I mean ...

The stone begins to glow and in a instance the two are returned to their proper bodies. Each breathes a sigh of relief.

Brandon:  So, glad that's over!  Being 61 was about as much fun as looking 61.   

 Perry: Yeah, well ... hey! (shoots him a look)  Y'know, I didn't like being 17 either.

Brandon: You didn't?

Perry: I didn't particularly enjoy passing up on things I would have enjoyed because I don't want you to enjoy them.  At least, not yet.

Brandon: That didn't make any sense.

Perry:  It did to me.

Brandon:  Know what, Dad?  We ought to get rid of that stone.  Like Harry does with  Voldemort's wand at the end of Harry Potter

Perry: Well, let's not be so hasty!  Maybe we could ... umm ... try it again, but instead of with you maybe with one of your friends who's kind of riff raffy?

Brandon:  Nah, I'm going to take it and throw it in the trash dump, Dad.  And then I'm off to the library.

Perry:  Sure.  (a bit sadly)  Say hi to the Hottest Girl in All the Eleventh Grade.

Brandon leaves. Perry gives a peculiar look, gets out the telephone book, and dials.

Perry:  Hi, is this Benji's dad?  Hello, this is Perry, Brandon Block's dad.  Y'know, Brandon's been bragging  about the chocolate chip cookies your wife makes,  and I wondered ...   Oh! She does bake cookies.  Happy to send me some? Scrape me off the ceiling, you say?  Thank you so much.

Perry hangs up. 

Perry:  DAMN!



Lexi said...

I like it. (What's a Tea Bagger? Is it as rude as the Urban Dictionary says it is?)

Perry Block said...

Thanks, Lexi.

Yes, that's the group, but the definition is a bit strong, even for me.

"Narrow-minded gun-loving moron," sums it up just as well, and so much more diplomatically!

Perry Block said...

Yeah, it's true. I don't really want to go back to being 17 either.

Thirty-two. Find me the stone that makes you 32. I'll ingest it.

Thanks for writing, Libby!