POETS Day! Walter Savage Landor

Walter Savage Landor

[This entry is cross posted at ordinary-times.com]

I like Jeopardy. They read the answer and you respond with the question? That’s crazy. Backward games fascinate me. I like the “get to know the contestants” segment after the first round of plaintiff lawyer and Rinvoq ads. Ken Jennings or Mayim Bialik, depending on who’s turn it is to be unfairly compared to Alex Trebek, says hi to each player and prompts them to tell a little about a producer-approved vignette from their life so viewers get a humanizing glimpse of the person they just made fun of for thinking the Bismarck bombarded Spitzbergen in September, 1943. A recent contestant was asked about playing in cornhole tournaments. She played in two. In one, her team placed third, but she said they did better in the other, by which I assume she meant they took second. She added that there were fewer teams in the second tournament. This wasn’t James Holzhauer with a thirty-two game win streak and reams of biographical material already spent trying to cull together some parental awws as filler. This was the woman’s first and possibly only “my life” story in front of a national audience. The big time. As it turns out, she won and became the new champion, so on the next show we got to hear the penultimate scintillating producer-approved morsel from her time on this planet: A famous person told her “Happy Mother’s Day.” As it turns out, the famous person was speaking at her daughter’s graduation so the “Happy Mother’s Day” was to the audience. But she was in it! Unfortunately, she didn’t win again so there was no dramatic rendition the following day of the time she thought her front tire was flat but it turned out to be a shadow. All we got was that she threw bean bags moderately well and sat in a crowd.

I want to know what stories the producers passed on. Did cornhole and a speech attendance get picked because they were somehow the most interesting, or was she freakishly NC-17 and everything else she shared involved farm animals and out of state fireworks? I’m imagining a wits end production meeting: “Backstage at Guns & Roses is a no-go, the statute hasn’t run out on the Florida trip one, and the airplane stunt… I keep telling her you can’t say midget on T.V. anymore but it’s like I’m speaking to Don Rickles. I can’t believe we have to go with cornhole – which is still a risk considering the mouth on her. Did she really know Adam West?”

If bean bags and general well wishes were as interesting as it got, you may be saying she needs a POETS Day release to make memorable mischief. If she’s running ultraviolet on the network-okayed colorful character spectrum and the show settled for the only stories they wouldn’t have to bleep, you may be saying she needs to be honored as a POETS Day Patron Saint. I don’t know enough to decide either way, but I am saying Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday because you have to grab a Friday afternoon away from work and watch Jeopardy. It’s on at 3:30 in my market and I’m assuming a similar time in yours. It’s a great show and that cornhole lady seemed sweet.


When I was in school I read all the poetry I was supposed to read. I knew about “Evangeline” and “The Faerie Queen” even if I don’t remember much now. I read Paradise Lost, “Annabelle Lee” and “The Raven,” “Leaves of Grass,” and I learned about tigers burning and despair. I still remember the first twenty-plus lines of The Canterbury Tales and can say them really fast. I also still remember old English bad words for lady parts from “The Miller’s Tale.” I did what was asked and passed the tests.

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