Churchgoers are often expected to be contrite, especially those of us with obvious disabilities, but I stumbled across a congregation with a contingent of souls who liked to laugh, especially in their annual Untalent Night. It was a dedicated event each year when I could play the part of Crazo on Wheels and know my behavior was duly sanctioned.
Untalent Night had only one rule: absolutely no authentic talent allowed. Maybe you always wanted to sing or play an instrument or perform Shakespeare or put on a skit. You could do it on this one night of the year as long as you were truly untalented. A panel of peers would judge you, and if you were really really bad, you just might win.
I had always wanted to be a ventriloquist, so I cajoled my 8-year-old daughter into dressing like a doll. My wife drew freckles on her nose and vertical lines on either side of her jaw to make her into a dummy, we stuffed her into an old trunk and stashed her on stage. I wheeled up a homemade ramp, the curtain opened, and there I sat next to the trunk.
I opened the trunk, took my dummy out and placed her on my knee. I squeezed the back of her neck to signal her to open her mouth and I supplied a silly high-pitched voice, making weird jokes about well-known people in the church. I had written a script fit for adolescents, so my dummy daughter ended up pouring water on my head and slapping a whipped cream pie in my face. We were bad, but just talented enough not to win.
The next year I organized Rubberdance, a group of clompers clad in fluffy clothing and rubber boots. I chose the clumsiest people I kne