(In which Sir Launcelot is supposed to perform some good deeds.)
There is simply no excuse! Have you ever read a book about knights that says they are going to perform good deeds, but then they go out and actually DO the deeds? Well I have, and let me tell you, this makes no sense. I think whatever author writes a book like that should get a new dictionary and stop confusing people. Honestly, you would think that a common dictionary defined perform as 1: to adhere to the terms of: FULFILL, 2: CARRY OUT, DO, and so on.
Well, I think it’s time I set down the proper definition of perform: 1: to act something out, 2: play a role that isn’t you, i.e. if you play a part in a play or movie then you are ~-ing that part.
Wow, I should write a dictionary of my own. It would probably would make a lot of money, since I know the real meaning of just about every word. Take the word pleuropneumonia, for example, why I… uh… well, everyone knows that word, so I guess there’s not really any reason for me to put it in my dictionary. Hmm, well, I guess I’ll cut the people who wrote the other dictionaries some slack and give them another chance to get it right. But if the next edition of Webster’s Dictionary still has the words wrong…
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, now that you know that perform means to act or pretend to do something, rather then actually to do it, I can get on with the story of Launcelot.
The last time we saw Launcelot was when he was narrowly missed by a truck while crossing the highway. After his heart stopped ricocheting around his body, he continued to peddle his way towards Camelot, or at least, where he thought Camelot ought to be. Presently, he came to a big building that was shaped like a globe. He found a door and walked in.
“Hello,” he called cautiously. “Is this where I pick up my pizza?”
A man came out of a door and eyed Launclot up and down. He was holding a pile of papers in one hand, and his other hand was shaking a spear wildly. “Really! Is that the best costume you could find? Well, it will have to do. Come on, it’s almost your cue.” The weird man guided Launcelot towards an open area and pushed him out.
Launclot found himself facing a sea of faces. There were several fish in the sea and he could even make out the shape of a whale in the distance. The weird man tossed a skull into Launcelot’s hands and held up a big sign with words on it. At first the sign said “GO CHICAGO BEARS!!!”, but then it was flipped around, and it read “To be, or not to be…”
Launcelot gathered that he was supposed to say the lines, and he said thoughtfully: “To be, or not to be. Now that is a question.”
A bunch of snot-nosed kids sitting in the front row let out a roar of laughter, and Launcelot had to dodge several globs of incoming snot. He tried to run off the stage and out of the building, but as he was just about to the door, the weird man rushed at him, still shaking his spear wildly.
“Hey, you’re not my lead actor,” he shouted. “But those people loved you. How’d you like to join the King’s Men?”
“Well, I was planning to. That’s why I was heading for Camelot.”
“Listen, I’ll pay you 1/9,999,999 of a penny if you’ll do my next play for me.”
“Wow!” Launcelot was amazed. “With that much money, I can live comfortably for the rest of my life. You’ve got yourself a deal!” To understand this, you must take into account inflation. Money’s not worth what it used to be.
The weird man, who’s name was Willy “Shaky Spear”, explained to Launcelot that the play he was supposed to do was about a wandering knight who ACTUALLY DID good deeds.
“Well, that should be easy for me. I’m already a knight,” Launcelot said.
“Great! Then I guess you won’t have to read the script. You can just act yourself.”
“It won’t go public that I’m doing good deeds in the play will it? I’ve got a reputation to keep, and I want it to stay squeaky clean.”
“Don’t worry,” said Willy. “You’re not actually doing the deeds, just pretending.”
“Oh, well that’s okay. My reputation can survive that, though it’s pushing it.”
When everything was ready to go, the play started. One of the stagehands handed Launcelot a prop sword that was actually made of metal. He tossed away his old sword, (which, if you will remember, was made of rubber) and shoved the new sword into his sheath. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a sheath, but from then on he had a permanent sheath in his side.
He walked out onto the stage and glanced back at the sign that Willy held high. It read: “We will win, you will lose. You can’t even tie your shoes.”
Launcelot was glad that Willy hadn’t written any lines for him to say. When the sign flipped, it said: “Go help the fisherman.”
Launcelot saw that at the edge of the stage was an actor dressed up as a fisherman. He had a one of those old style rods (you know, the fiberglass ones), and his bobber could be seen out in the sea near the whale.
Launcelot walked over and squatted down next to the actor. “Anything I can help you with?” he asked.
The actor looked up. “Nope, sonny, not unless you have a bait that will–.” The whale apparently had got hold of the hook, and the actor was jerked from his seat and went whizzing over the sea. “Oooooo,” the sea said.
Launcelot was puzzled for a moment. He turned and saw Willy waving franticly at him and pointing a another man who sat on a prop bridge on the stage. Looking around again, he saw that the entire end of the stage was filled with fishermen who were trying to catch something in the sea of faces. (One was a mother trying to hook her son.)
Launcelot walked over to the prop bridge and sat down next to the man there. But before he could say anything, the man jumped off the bridge with a parachute. He hit the stage floor and made a gargling sound, then threw a bucket of water up at Launcelot. Launcelot glanced over at the sign, “Do what an average knight would do.” He stood up and walked calmly off stage.
“What are you doing!” Willy screamed, shaking his spear even more violently than usual.
“Well,” said Launcelot, “you told me to do what an average knight would do.”
“Yes, exactly. You were supposed to jump in after the man and save him.”
“And get my armor all wet? You must be joking.”
“Well,” Willy said, getting control of his temper, if not his hand, “you could have take your armor off.”
“Oh, please, sir,” said Launcelot, offended. “I would never do something that indecent in front of other people, no matter how much money you pay me. And by the way, where’s my money for doing that play?”
No one knows what happened to Launcelot after that, although it has been noticed that Willy’s spear disappeared at the same time.