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Kicking off our new Petaluma West Side Stories ‘spoken word’ series

WEST SIDE STORIES

The next live West Side Stories event is Wednesday, September 6, at Petaluma Portworks (613 Second St.). The theme for September is is “Not the Sharpest Tool in the Shed.” 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m. Reservations recommended). Tickets $10 in advance ($12 at the door, if available).

Information at DavePokornyPresents.com


[NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: This month, the Argus-Courier launches a new monthly series. The accompanying true story was recorded live at West Side Stories, a once-a-month spoken word competition hosted and created by comedian Dave Pokorny. This month’s theme was “Fish out of Water.” Storytellers are randomly selected, each story must be no longer than five minutes, and must be told without notes. At the end, the audience chooses their favorite. At the August 2 event — held at Petaluma’s Portworks — Jon Lehre, a first-time West Side Stories particpant, was the first-place awardee. Here is his story, as performed, word-for-word.]

Today’s my 50th birthday.

But more importantly, a few days ago, my wife, Monica, and I celebrated our 27th anniversary.

Now, I do stand-up sometimes, and I typically follow that last statement up with, “Yep. Eighteen happy years.”

Truth is, they’ve all been happy years.

But when you hit 50, you start looking back on your life a bit. You start looking back on where you’ve been, and what you’ve done, and you realize how many times you’ve felt like a fish out of water, times when you hadn’t figured out how to think things through very well, yet.

Going back to when we got married, my first time getting married … so far … we went on our honeymoon out to Pt. Reyes for two days. We were driving up to our hotel, which was gorgeous, as the brochure had promised. On the way there, there was this sign that said, “Horse rides.” And my lovely bride turned to me and said, “Ah, I’d like to do that. Let’s do a horse ride.”

And in my head I went, “Right, yeah. Let’s smell like horses for our honeymoon. This is going to be a great idea!” But I’d learned a little bit, so I said, “Of course. Let’s do that. Because I love you.” And she said, “Let’s do the two-hour ride.”

In my head I was thinking, ‘Uh, we don’t ride horses. The closest I ever get to riding a horse is occasionally driving my friend’s Mustang.’ So, I really didn’t think it was the best thing to do, but I said, “Of course. Let’s do that.”

We went to the corral, and they showed us all these great horses. My wife got onto a horse … I think its name was Chestnut … this beautiful horse. Mine was named Peanut Butter. Which I thought was an unusual name for a horse. Until I found out it was exceedingly fitting, because this particular horse was a beautiful dark brown … and was nuts.

And thick. And slow.

We got onto our horses, and I like to think I swung up onto the horse in a very debonair way, but I pretty much scrambled up like I was trying to climb out of a fire. But I made my way up onto the horse, I kind of settled in, and they started. We were part of this whole large group, and we started going along this trail, and our leader … his name was Alphonse … he was telling my wife Monica, about all of these great things out at Pt. Reyes. And I’m way at the end, eight horses back, just watching my wife talking with this very good looking cowboy.

WEST SIDE STORIES

The next live West Side Stories event is Wednesday, September 6, at Petaluma Portworks (613 Second St.). The theme for September is is “Not the Sharpest Tool in the Shed.” 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m. Reservations recommended). Tickets $10 in advance ($12 at the door, if available).

Information at DavePokornyPresents.com

I did not feel like I belonged.

‘Cause I really wanted to talk to the cowboy, too.

I don’t know if you’re really familiar with Pt. Reyes. It’s beautiful, there’s a lot of scrub, just a lovely place to be. But what I did not know is there is a form of deer at Pt. Reyes that is quite lethal to horses. Especially the baby ones. Because when a baby deer leapt lightly out onto the path … Peanut Butter absolutely freaked.

Peanut Butter bolted as if that baby deer was going to have him for lunch!

He started careening up the path towards everyone else.

And on a path this wide (demonstrates with his arms), a horse THIS wide, forced himself past seven other horses that wide! I went, “Love you …” (pantomiming being carried right past his wife on a crazed horse, waving to her as he suddenly takes the lead). I’m pulling back on those horsey tether things, whatever those are, and I yelled, “Wooooooaaaaaah Peanut Butter!” Which was not a phrase I ever expected to be saying at the age of 23.

Peanut Butter did not “woah.”

I grabbed those ropey things and tried to steer as well as I could, bu there’s no clutch on a horse. I tried to go through a bush, thinking, “I’ll steer toward that bush, and Peanut Butter will have to stop for the bush, but instead he went straight through the bush! So I decided not to go through a tree.

Finally we careened down into the corral, and the horse … horses aren’t supposed to skid, are they? That’s not a normal horse thing is it? They shouldn’t go (makes a skidding, tire-squealing noise), right? That’s not a sound they should make.

My horse stops, and I dismounted gracefully in a heap.

The next morning, you can imagine what our posteriors felt like. I turned to my wife, and I said, “You know, I’ve spent most of life feeling like a fish out of water. I’m just glad I found another fish to be out of the water with.”

Email editor at david.templeton@arguscourier.com