Not quite a Mr. Excitement

Published 11:49 am Thursday, November 5, 2009

Back when Johnny Carson was the king of late night television, the leader of the NBC Orchestra was a trumpeter by the name of Doc Severinsen. He was known for his flashy outfits, his colorful wardrobe and wild lifestyle even though it probably wasn’t as wild as projected.

Every now and then, Doc would be out on the road playing some gig and his replacement as band leader would be the sartorial antithesis of Severinsen, a guy named Tommy Newsom. Tommy became the foil of Johnny as he deadpanned his way through the simple questions that Johnny might ask him. Newsom wore, more of the time, dull brown or blue suits and Johnny, searching for any kind of laugh he might find, would poke fun at the boring Newsom and sarcastically call him Mr. Excitement.

One time Tommy wore an uncharacteristically loud sport coat.

Email newsletter signup

Carson asked, “Tommy, where did you get that coat?”

Tommy simply said, “I found it in my closet,” and brought down the house with laughter.

Mr. Excitement.

Most of us will never be known as Mr. Excitement and don’t necessarily want to be. At the same time, we might not want to be considered boring or dull. But boring or dull is not all that bad. When I think about most of the decisions I make, I could be considered pretty mundane and un-exciting. I’m not a very adventurous guy and that’s fine with me.

For instance, I might walk into a Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlor. It used to advertise 31 flavors. Now a quick visit to their Web site touts that, since they began more than 60 years ago, they have introduced more than 1,000 flavors. Wow!

You probably are excited to see Pralines and Cream or Mint Chocolate Chip. You might want to give the newest flavor, Cappuccino Blast a try. Me?

If I stay par to the course, I will leave there with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a plain wafer cone. Boring. OK, I have thought “out of the box” a time or two and walked away with some strawberry, but that’s about as unconventional as I get.

How about morning cereals?

Did you know that you can find a cereal that begins with every letter of the alphabet? Of course it’s easy with some of the letters. For “A” there are at least seven varieties of All-Bran. The letter “B” is easy also. For Halloween everyone could have had some Boo Berry cereal from General Mills.

Most letters were easy, but certainly there is no cereal that begins with “Q.” Wrong, there is one made by Quaker Oats known as Quangaroos. How about X, Y and Z? Kellogg’s makes X Men 2 cereal, General Mills makes Yummy Mummy, and Zoe’s Foods makes Zoe’s O’s. Check it out if you want, but there is a cereal that begins with every letter of the alphabet.

But, what does Mr. Excitement choose over all those exotic varieties? I choose the greatest and, possibly the oldest of breakfast cereals, Kellogg’s Cornflakes. They were accidentally created over a hundred years ago and still hold the fancy of boring people like me.

Last week, I proved my boringness as Donna Sue and I went out to dine. We went to a franchise steakhouse that could not be called a fancy restaurant. Expensive maybe (for our pocketbooks), but not fancy. Our server, no longer called a waitress, came by and took our drink orders. Water, of course. We were looking at the menu.

It was at least six or seven pages in length and gave us the option of many delicious dishes. I looked it over and, sad to say, nothing piqued my interest. There was Wild West shrimp, Firecracker chicken wraps, a 22-ounce porterhouse, an 18-ounce ribeye, salmon, lobster, shrimp scampi (whatever that is). You get the picture, don’t you? Plenty, plenty to choose from.

But, I didn’t see chopped sirloin or, as we sometimes call it, a hamburger steak. Why? Too boring. I asked my waitress, uh excuse me, my server, “Do you have a chopped sirloin offering?” I would have asked for hamburger steak, but that was too embarrassing!

That’s what I wanted. Well done. Baked potato with butter. House salad with ranch dressing. The Bible says, ask and ye shall receive. I asked and I received. And I enjoyed! Plus, it didn’t cost $24.99! I like dinners that are “bird-priced.” You know, “Cheap, Cheap!”

Ever been to a really good seafood restaurant and wanted a hamburger? The table is full of people getting the Pistachio Parmesan Crusted Rainbow Trout topped with artichoke hearts and fresh basil butter.

“Ooh, it is so delish!”

You would really like a hamburger. But you’re too chicken (excuse the pun if it is one) to order it because you’re in a seafood restaurant and it would be too embarrassing. Speaking of chicken, fried chicken strips might have been your preference.

Well, don’t be ashamed to be Mr. Boring or Mr. Un-exciting. Instead, blame it on me. Just say, “I think I’ll order a Lynn Roberts Special. I’ll take a hamburger with mustard and ketchup and some French fries. Give me an order of Cornflakes on the side and, for dessert, bring me a scoop of vanilla ice cream.”

Then, after your spouse looks at you as if she could hit you over the head with a hamburger steak, smile and lie. Say, “Just kidding, I’ll have the same as ya’ll!” Then just try to enjoy that Hazelnut Crusted Wild King Salmon. It’ll give you heartburn and cost 14 times what a hamburger steak would have. But at least you won’t be boring like me!

The Rev. Lynn Roberts is pastor of the Sutton Chapel United Methodist Church, located on Vada Highway.