The Best Seat in the House

*The following was my November guest blog on the wonderful Letters Inside Out.


My 24-year-old daughter has played a big part in the success of The Door in the Sky, having helped me every step of the way right up to the book’s publication. She continues to help by acting as my Social Media Manager, a job she actually holds in real life for a real company that, unlike me, pays her in real money. In an effort to show her my appreciation, I decided to take her to see one of our favorite comedians, Craig Ferguson.

The show was held at one of those gorgeous old theaters in Chicago — the aptly named Chicago Theater. This opulent auditorium was built nearly 100 years ago and is one of the most beautiful concert halls in the world. To give you an idea of how luxurious this theater is, the interior was patterned after the Paris Opera House and the Royal Chapel at Versailles.

The problem with old theaters is that while they seat 4,000 people, they have approximately six toilets. Folks in olden times apparently really knew how to hold it. I, on the other hand, have never made it through a sporting event, movie, or even an episode of Revenge without having to use the loo.

Thus, imagine my distress at seeing a line for the ladies room that stretched from the gleaming marble bathroom through the ornate lobby to  halfway up the grand staircase (not so grand when you’re hopping from leg to leg).  They refurbished the theater in the 1980’s at a cost of nine million dollars. You’d think they could have sprung for a new toilet.

Another problem I had with the Chicago Theater was the elevation between rows. As in, there was none. We had box seats, which always reminds me of where Abraham Lincoln was seated when he was assassinated. There was literally zero difference in height between my row and the row in front of me. And considering that I am just over five feet tall, and there was a human giraffe in the row in front of me, this was a big problem. I spent the majority of the performance staring at the back of a balding man’s head. If I leaned way over into my daughter’s lap, I could just make out Craig Ferguson’s shoe. This led me to a controversial new theory about Lincoln’s assassination — John Wilkes Booth did not shoot Lincoln over a difference in political beliefs, he shot him so that he could have a clear view of the stage.

In addition to not being able to see Craig Ferguson, I also couldn’t hear him. This had nothing to do with the theater’s sound system and everything to do with the woman sitting behind me. As near as I could tell, she was recovering from the Bubonic Plague. She had a hacking cough that sounded like a cross between a vomiting Chewbacca and an asthmatic elephant.

At this point you may have come to the conclusion that I did not enjoy the show at all. On the contrary, I had a wonderful time. Craig Ferguson was hilarious. At least that’s what the lady in line behind me for the ladies room said.

All in all it was a delightful evening and one that I hope showed my daughter how much I appreciate all of her hard work at the very reduced price of nothing. For her Christmas bonus I am going to do an extra load of her laundry.

“Would you mind shutting the door?”