I was sitting at the bar at Haab’s a few weeks ago, enjoying a beer, when thickly-bearded local troubadour Patrick Elkins sidled up alongside me and whispered in my ear that, at that very moment, a crew was assembled at the Dreamland Theater, busily working on a “Mark Maynard puppet.” Or, he may have said marionette. I can’t remember. I was just staring into his beard face, trying to process the information.
I guess that was my chance to stop it. I could have headed around the block to the Dreamland, banged on that expensive new door of theirs, and demanded that the abomination be destroyed. But, instead, I had another beer.
A little while later, I’d hear through the grapevine that the Mark Maynard puppet was created with a purpose. He was going to have a role in their big upcoming show about the history of Ypsilanti. I was also told that, instead of making a head for me, they’d be using the head of a fetal pig. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I received the attached photo this evening. Not only am I not porcine, I’m also incredibly skinny, and uncharacteristically clear-eyed. (The whites of my eyes, when not filled with blood, are usually a watery grayish pink color.)
The last time my likeness was offered up for mass consumption, it was in a comic produced by my ukulele-playing nemesis, Doug Skinner. He portrayed me as a sweaty, grunting lump of naked flesh. It was disgusting, but, I’m sad to say, relatively accurate. The Dreamland version of me is, in comparison, almost beautiful. There are no pit stains. There is no sense of impending doom in the face. The eyes are not full of blood. And the hands aren’t shaking.
As I know that people don’t see me like this, I have to wonder what’s behind this almost angelic representation. Could it have something to do with the fact that I, along with my fellow members of the Michigan Design Militia, voted not too long ago to award the Dreamland a grant for the production of this piece on the history of Ypsilanti? My guess is that they started out with a horribly disfigured monster of a puppet, and then felt too guilty about it. They may have considered the effect it would have on Clementine and then changed direction… Anyway, here’s the point of this post… I want to publicly thank Naia and the folks at Dreamland for bestowing upon me this great honor, and I want to give them permission to add bloody eyes, man boobs, and whatever else they deem necessary to tell the story of Ypsilanti accurately.
And, I should point out that, as of right now, I still have no idea whatsoever what puppet me will be saying on the 5th, when the show debuts. My hope is that there isn’t a graphic 5-minute tutorial on ball shaving, or something equally as grotesque, but you never know.
Oh, and, if you do go see the play, I want for you to keep the Anthony Hopkins movie Magic in mind. (It might be the fever talking, but how cool would it be if this puppet Mark Maynard started settling scores with my perceived enemies by night?)