Where Random Happens

Getting Sidetracked


Cruel Shoes, 1979 by Steve Martin

Copyright 2009 by E.C. McMullen Jr.

A friend of mine, Staci Layne Wilson, completely sidetracked me this morning from my Very Important Work! It was her MySpace blog you see. She mentioned Steve Martin’s Cruel Shoes and presented the transcript and link.


She botched the transcript!

Well THANKS, Staci! I just totally wasted 3 hours of my life! First you post about Steve Martin’s Cruel Shoes. Then you totally wreck the transcript of the joke, making me think, “Holy crap! Did they EDIT Steve Martin’s immortal Cruel Shoes?”

So of course I had to click on the link and listen to it. Yeah, it was all there. I should know. I’ve listened to that bit on my own record of Comedy is Not Pretty until the grooves were worn to mush ( when every “s” sounds like “sh” and finally degrades to “th” ). When Steve starts lisping its time to buy a new album ( Except for that joke where he’s lisping ).

Where was I? Oh yeah. So Cruel Shoes passed muster, but what about the rest of the album? I had to listen to the WHOLE album to make sure they got it right ( they didn’t. They totally blew the order on Rubberhead, mixing it in with How To Meet a Girl ). After my second purchase of the Comedy Is Not Pretty record turned to mush, I decided to buy a cassette of the album and they screwed up the order of the album in the credits ( the time of the two sets gave it away ).

Well, since I started with Cruel Shoes, I had to finish the album and then go back and listen to the first bit. I got to the fourth bit when some idiot called me on the phone.

I said, “Hello?”
and he said, “Who’s this?”
Which pisses me off to no end when some wrong number call does that, so I said, “I’ve no time for this shit! I’m listening to Steve Martin!”
“Listening?” he said. “Which album?”
“Cruel Sh- well, I mean, Comedy Is Not Pretty!”
“That’s a good one,” he said. “Have you ever heard Let’s Get Small?”
“God damn it! Of COURSE I’ve heard Let’s Get Small!”  and I slammed the top clasp of my cell phone down on the bottom part.
NOW I had to start all over again ( you gotta set the mood )! I began with the first bit, Born To Be Wild, when my phone rang again. FUCK!
“Hello?” I said.
It was that wrong number guy again.
“It’s fans like you who give Steve Martin a bad name!” he said and hung up.

For the record, fans like me do NOT give Steve Martin a bad name. Movies like The Pink Panther give Steve Martin a bad name.

Comedy Not Pretty

Comedy is Not Pretty, 1979 by Steve Martin

So I started listening to the whole album AGAIN! I figured that I have to do this because the album is so old that Steve doesn’t give a shit about it anymore. I mean, is Steve really going to sit in his well-appointed mansion, in his smoking jacket, leather boots, and ascot, a cognac in one hand, and sound check every online copy of his past work? Obviously not.

You Can be a Millionaire was seconds away from ending when the freaking phone rang again.
“Hello?” I said.
“Son,” I heard my father’s voice, a hoarse whisper. “I’m dying.”
“Holy Crap!” I shouted, my heart beating madly.
“SAP!” Pop guffawed into the phone. “You fall for that every god damn time! I can’t believe it! What a loser!”
Enraged I shouted right back, “Someday it will be REAL! THEN you’ll be SORRY!”
“Like HELL!” My father shouted right back at me shouting right back. “I’d NEVER call you if I was dying for real! I’d call your brother!” and he slammed his landline phone on me.

After that I had to wait a while for my temper and feelings to calm down.

He’s right. I should have expected it, since he’s done it to me almost every Saturday for the last 25 years.

He won’t trick me again though. I turned off my cell phone and my land line. Then, just to be safe, turned off my IM and ICQ. I drank just one glass of wine to soothe my nerves, plugged in my headset to silence all but the most powerful of outside noise ( the lawnmowers and the teens driving past, booming the 1812 Overture on their car stereos ), then started from the very beginning. I have to.

Comedy Is Not Pretty.


Story by E.C. McMullen Jr., originally published September 26, 2009.

CRUEL SHOES is the title of Steve Martin’s 1979 collection of short stories (Wikipedia).
COMEDY IS NOT PRETTY is the title of Steve Martin’s 1979 comedy album (Wikipedia).

My father passed away September 18, 2012 of Parkinson’s Disease.

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Also look for my story Cedo Looked Like People, in the 2013 anthology, FEAR THE REAPER, edited by Joe Mynhardt and available in Paperback and eBook.


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