For the Birds Radio Program: A Farewell to Love Stories
For the Birds will not be heard this morning so that we may bring you this special production from the Jim Baker Center for the Performing Arts, featuring the Not Photogenic Enough for Television Players in A Farewell to Love Stories.
JIM BAKER: This is Jim Baker. You know, last week I was laid up with whatever stupid virus is going around, and my mother drove up the shore with some chicken soup and a couple of books for me, and I was so sick and bored that I actually ended up reading them. A Farewell to Arms and Love Story. At first I was ticked off about the way she’s always hinting around about wanting to be a grandmother sometime during the 21st century and why don’t I give up on Blue Jays, find a nice girl, and settle down, but I got halfway through Love Story when a weird feeling of déjà vu hit me, and I suddenly realized that I was reading A Farewell to Arms all over again, only instead of a young ambulance driver in Italy during World War I, it was a young hockey player at Harvard during the 60s. Otherwise, the books were the exact same: an angst-ridden young man plays the field until he falls hard for someone who instantly gives up every shred of ambition and any spark of interest she ever had in anything and becomes totally absorbed with him. He puts up with teasing from his friends but overall, he’s pretty darned content. And then right when everything seems to be going not too bad and she’s supposed to be having a baby, she dies and he’s left all alone and standing out in the rain or snow. The End.
And I wondered how the heck my mother’s mind works that she could possibly think these books might inspire anyone to want any part of such a downer. And then I started thinking about all the money Segal made ripping off Hemingway’s plot and figured, heck, I could write a story just as good. And suddenly I had the whole thing right before my eyes, and here it is: my new Jim Baker production of *A Farewell to Love Stories,” starring me, Jim Baker, as Oliver Henry Jay IV, and co-starring Virginia Rail as Jaynifer Catherine Corvideri, and Laura Erickson as the narrator, whi is actually supposed to be me since these are both first person novels, but it was too confusing for me to narrate and star at the same time.
LAURA: Our story opens as Oliver and Jayny have just met, at a feeder filled with Baker’s Blue Jay Blend.
OLIVER: Mmmmmm. This Baker’s Blue Jay Blend sure hits the spot!
JAYNY: Well, Preppy, just because you go to Harvard doesn’t mean you have the right to hog it all for yourself.
OLIVER: The way you attack me and call me Preppy must mean that you want to make passionate love to me right this instant, this being a work of fiction.
JAYNY: Sounds like a plan.
LAURA: Our two lovebirds are very happy together even as the world around them is falling apart. The invading army from Chem-Lawn is taking over more and more territory, the allies are taking a beating, and all the birds are becoming mired in cynicism even as they pray that the US Army, or at least the EPA, will eventually come to their aid. Oliver and Jayny make love as the sinister spray of pesticides spreads in the background.
OLIVER: How was it? Did the earth move?
JAYNY: Uh, of course it moved. It’s always moving, Preppy. What–did you think a 3-ounce jay could do anything so spectacular it would affect the whole planet’s rotation?
LAURA: This leads to their first argument, and Jayny flies off without the key that they usually hide near their nest. Oliver desperately searches for her, and finally returns to find her sitting forlornly on a branch, shivering with cold.
OLIVER: Here’s the key.
JAYNY: Uh, it’s not like the nest locks or anything, Preppy. We just keep that key because it’s shiny. Remember?
OLIVER: Anyway, I’m sorry I left you out in the co—.
LAURA: Before he can finish his sentence, she puts her wing to his beak and speaks the words Oliver Henry Jay IV will never forget.
JAYNY: Love means never having to say intelligent or sensible things.
OLIVER: Wow. Whether you die in childbirth or from some awful disease from all these lawn chemicals, I’ll carry these words with me for the rest of my life.
JAYNY: I think I’m going to throw up. Hold me, Preppy. I may be dying right now.
OLIVER: Does it hurt?
JAYNY: No. According to these books, men bleed and scream whether they’re fighting a war or playing hockey, but women die with grace and style, meaning my deathbed scene can be both tragic and beautiful.
OLIVER: I wanted to say goodbye, but her mouth was as hard and unyielding as a bird’s beak. It was like kissing a statue. I went back to my tree in the rain. The End.
LAURA: A Farewell to Love Stories, starring John Keenan as Jim Baker and Karen Keenan as Jaynifer Catherine Corvideri, was brought to you by Baker’s Blue Jay Blend, helping Blue Jays stay healthy to prevent tragic romances like this since 1987.