A Night at the Opera, by Tom M.  
Scene: a concert hall in Southern California

Lew, Laura, and their bunchkin have made their way to their seats.

Deryk: Did you have to embarrass me like that, Mom?

Laura: Those women weren't laughing at the way *you're* dressed. They were laughing at *me*. They're just jealous. This is the nicest dress I own. And I looked great in it in Vanity Fair. Besides, embarrassing your kids is part of every good parent's job.

Lew: You look very nice, dear, and you're the best mother I know.

Deryk: But Mom, what did you have to snarl and flex at them for?

Laura: I woulda kicked their butts to Cucamonga if there'd been a chair to hold onto. But I'm buff, and I thought they should know it.

Lew, wearily: Can't we just sit back and enjoy the opera? They're going to start soon.

Deryk: I'd rather be home.

Laura: Now sweetie-pie, there's more to life than skateboards and Nintendo and studying Hebrew. There's nothing spiritually elevating on TV except for _Law & Order_ and (raising her voice so all within 20 feet can clearly hear) my up-coming show on Paramount. (voice resumes normal level) This opera was written a long time ago, before the sixties and secular feminism. I am sure it is chock full of moving, spiritual things.

Deryk: What's La Traviata about, Mom?

Laura: I don't know; I've never been. But do as I now do, Deryk. I'm being my kid's teacher, as well as my kid's mom.

Lew: It tells about it in the Program Notes.

A few minutes later, Deryk looks up from his reading : Mom, what's a courtesan?

Laura: Why are you asking me that? What are they teaching you at that new school?

Deryk: It says here in the program that Violetta is a courtesan.

Laura: A courtesan is a slut, dear!

Deryk: Ohhh. The production commences and our happy trio is following the English translation projected onto a screen above the stage.

Laura: What?! Was Verdi out of his mind?! What's all this crap about drink and happiness?! Don't they know life is full of misery? The only thing being uplifted here is those champaign flutes.

Surrounding audience: SSSSHHHH!!!!

Later, Laura: What does that nice boy Alfredo see in that slut, Violetta? If he had my book, _Ten Stupid Things Men Do to Mess up their Lives_, he'd be singing a different tune.


The production progresses into Act II:

Laura: They're shacking up!! She's been spreading her legs for him and giving him a warm place to put it for the last three months! I thought they had standards back in the 19th century. Are you sure this wasn't written in the sixties?

Lew: 1853, dear.

Audience: SSSSSSHHHH!!!!!!!!

Later in the scene Alfredo's' father, Gastone, comes to see Violetta, tells her her romance with Alfredo has not been blessed by god, and that she must leave Alfredo in order to not besmirch the family name.

Laura: At at last, a righteous man! A man of character, conscience and courage, not afraid to denounce evil and do the right thing! I'll send him one of my "I am my kid's dad" T-shirts. Darn, I wish I'd brought one with me; I'd throw it to him right now. It's very important to reward good behavior. That's being a teacher.


During the next Intermission:

Laura: Now Deryk, there's a valuable lesson to be learned. That slut is dying from a sexually transmitted disease. So just keep that in mind. If you don't want to die, don't have sex outside a covenental relationship.

Deryk: Mom, the program says she's got tuberculosis. Do you get tuberculosis from sex?

Laura: Of course. Uh. Lew, I've got this great idea. What Gastone said to Violetta I couldn't have said better myself. It's *my* message. Let's talk to the production manager about a series of special performances in which I play the part Gastone plays, except I'll be Dr. Laura, instead of Gastone, and totally unrelated to Alfredo, 'cause no son of mine would shack up with a slut. Who'd believe it? So we'd have to rewrite some of it. Just think of it Lew! All the money we could raise for my foundation. And all the new fans of opera I would create. Not to mention me becoming an opera star!

Lew: Dear, he didn't say it, he sung it, so you're very right, you couldn't have done better. You'd have to sing the part, dear.

Laura: Well, my individual notes are just beautiful. I'll get my voice coach and his pitch pipe, and I'll sing the thing one note at a time. Dan will record each note, then splice the tape together and I'll lip sync it. The audience will never know, and since I won't have to actually form the words, they'll get to see more of my teeth. It'll be great!

The performance resumes and as the third act is drawing to a close, we find our not quite so happy any more trio on their way to their car.

Laura: I've never been so outraged in all my life! Asking us to leave! Of all the nerve! Just because I stand for something and am willing to speak out against evil. I shouldn't have been surprised when that spineless Alfredo came back to beg that slut's forgiveness, but when Gastone-- the only moral person in the bunch-- does the same thing, and takes her back as his daughter... well that's too much for me to sit still for. I'm a prophet, and I'll teach, preach, nag, and bang on pots whenever there is evil to be denounced. .... And that audience with all their shushing. They just want to drag me down to their level.

Lew: Now, dear, calm down.

Laura: Don't patronize me! And another thing. There was no call for those ushers to carry me out and say I was vibrating like a carp. Who do they think they're talking to? I'm glad I didn't waste a T-shirt on that Gastone--he's probably gay anyway. ... Well, guys, thank goodness I've got you two to support my efforts. I never realized how truly tough my task is, or how truly depraved the sixties were. I thought the sixties were bad because of what's happened since, but now I see that the sixties evil is so awful that it infected even the times that came before.

-- TJ

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