Today ends the dog days of summer, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac. Many families, including the media's, use this time to work in last minute vacations before school starts. The halls of Congress are dark. True American heroes distract us with reports of gold in the Far East. And somewhere in an alley off E Street a fiddle is beginning to play a mournful tune.
Out front, behind a cut out cardboard box, two puppets appear. In a confusing celebration of double speak, Charlie McCarthy (played by Viceroy Cooke) and Lamb Chop (played by Viceroy Hanley) start their performance. Anita Sinclair once wrote, "Through puppetry we accept the outrageous, the absurd or even the impossible, and will permit puppets to say and do things no human could. We allow a puppet to talk to us when no one else can get us to speak. We allow a puppet to smile at us even when we have not been introduced. We also allow a puppet to touch us when a person would lose an arm for the same offence."
And so the show begins. Charlie and Lamb Chop tell the assembled few of their trials and tribulations. For them, clocks only run backwards, adding hours, minutes, and seconds to already long days, months, and years. Calendars grow thicker, pages seemingly added without reprieve by Father Time. Leaves whither and fall, yet spring never reappears.
Poor Lamb Chop also draws attention to her disabilities. Being stuck in a sock handicaps the soul, preventing it from sensing life's offerings to the fullest extent. Without fingers to click a mouse, or pick up a telephone, it is easy to lose track of the world around her.
And so Lamb Chop resorts to irony for her biggest laugh. The audience watching the puppet suspend belief, if just for an instant. They ignore the Emperor's own hand moving inside the sock as she announces that she is "not privy" to the Emperor's very public testimonies. Here we have a sock, just asking to be thrown in the dirty clothes bin. Very funny stuff. Guffaws all around.
Such are the dog days of summer.