Constructed vs. Assembled

Credits

Carl G. Brooks – Paul Ellis
Erin Lillis – Allison Baxter
Coral Baxter-Ellis – Tal Minear

Written by David S. Dear
Opening music “Coffee” by Cambo
Closing music “Life Illusion” by Ketsa


PAUL

Yes, I did!

ALLISON

No, you didn’t.

PAUL

Did you not hear the water running?

ALLISON

Yes, but waving your hands under the water like a magic wand doesn’t magically wash them. You need to wash them for at least 20 seconds. With soap and water.

PAUL

I washed them for more than 20 seconds.

ALLISON

How do you know?

PAUL

Look, I’m not going to set a stopwatch or a timer every time I wash my hands.

CORAL

Do you want the listeners to vote on this somehow?

PAUL

What?

ALLISON

What are you talking about?

CORAL

I’m recording this, so I figured I might as well put this discussion to good use on the show.

ALLISON

Why didn’t you tell us you were going to start recording?

CORAL

I did. Three times. I kept saying ‘I’m about to hit record’ then I finally said ‘I’m hitting record now’.

ALLISON

Well I didn’t hear you.

PAUL

But you can hear the absence of the  crackling of soap suds while I wash my hands-

ALLISON

Ah-hah! So you admit you didn’t use soap!

PAUL

I admit… nothing.

CORAL

So the listeners vote on what, whether you need soap? What method you should use to time your handwashing?

ALLISON

No, we’ve already got our topic picked out. We need a new bathroom vanity. Ours is falling apart.

PAUL

So we’re talking about buying one from IKEA.

ALLISON

Or having me build one.

CORAL

You’re thinking of building a vanity? Seriously?

ALLISON

Sure! There’s not much to it. Just build a cabinet box, some drawers, get a prefab top for it from Lowe’s, throw in the hardware, and you’re good to go.

CORAL

Not much to it. Sure.

PAUL

That’s why I suggested IKEA, Allison. You like to build things. This will give you the satisfaction of building it while saving us a considerable amount of money.

ALLISON

Okay, firstly: assembling something is not the same as-

PAUL

Firstly?

ALLISON

Yes. I have more than one point to make.

PAUL

That’s fine, but ‘firstly’ is not a word.

ALLISON

You’ve heard the word ‘secondly’, right? If secondly is a word, then firstly is a word.

PAUL

No it’s not. Try this: He arrived early to the party. Now try this: He arrived firstly to the party. See how stupid that sounds?

ALLISON

That’s because you’re not using it right.

CORAL

Are we really arguing over this? You two would argue about the weather, I swear.

PAUL

I’m using it as an adverb. There’s not need to slap ‘ly’ on the end to turn it into an adverb when it’s already an adverb.

CORAL

Maybe someone needs to ask Lee how he feels about that.

ALLISON

Seriously, Coral?

PAUL

Boy, Lee really gets around, doesn’t he? And this time he’s serious.

CORAL

Probably because he got slapped on the end.

ALLISON

Okay, enough from you two, Laurel and Hardy Har. It’s obviously up to me to keep this on track. So anyway, firstly: assembling is not the same as building. Secondly: you’d think you’d be on board with this, Paul, because building it ourselves will save money. You’re not having to pay someone else to prepunch holes and package up drawer rail screws and cam-lock nuts.

CORAL

I wonder what it costs them to commission the drawings of the guy with the forehead-nose in the instruction book…

PAUL

Okay, I don’t know what a cam-rail nut is, but there’s no way you can build a vanity for less than you can get one from IKEA. And certainly not in the same amount of time.

ALLISON

It will take a little bit longer, yes, but I can make it way sturdier. I would use dovetail joints for the drawers, maybe mortise and tenon joints for the cabinet box…

PAUL

You’re just deliberately using terms I’m not familiar with. Do you know any of those terms, Coral?

CORAL

I do not. Though I’m kind of impressed that you do, Mom.

ALLISON

I’ve been doing my research. Of course, I will need to buy a mortising drill, probably a tenoning jig too.

PAUL

See? It’s already getting more expensive. And it will take waaayyy longer. All those trips back and forth to Lowe’s for something you will invariably forget that you need-

ALLISON

Well I’m certainly not going to the other place that shall not be named. It’s a matter of principle.

CORAL

Not to mention Lowe’s is cheaper and closer. But it’s really about sticking to your principles, isn’t it, Mom?

ALLISON

It’s really about the satisfaction of having built something with your own two hands. You can stand back, look at your work and say “I made this.”

PAUL

But you really can’t.

ALLISON

Well not with an IKEA piece. You can stand back and say “I assembled that by following the pictures” but it’s not quite the same, is it?

PAUL

No, I mean you can’t because you never finish anything.

ALLISON

What are you talking about?

CORAL

He’s right, Mom. You have a lot of projects you haven’t finished.

ALLISON

That’s not… I have… like what?

PAUL

The credenza-

CORAL

The dining room table-

PAUL

The Adirondack chair-

CORAL

The coffee table-

PAUL

The gardening caddy-

CORAL

The changing table-

ALLISON

Changing table? Why would I finish that now? Coral’s almost fourteen.

CORAL

Sixteen.

PAUL

The workbench-

ALLISON

Well you have to admit it’s hard to finish all those other projects without a workbench…

PAUL

Well it would be nice if you either finish your fifty-something-odd projects or get rid of them so I finally have room to park in the garage.

ALLISON

What are you talking about? You couldn’t get your car in there even if I got rid of all my projects. Which I will finish, I assure you.

PAUL

I’m not talking about my car. I’m talking about my motorcycle.

ALLISON

You don’t have a motorcycle.

CORAL

Oh gods. Here we go…

PAUL

That’s because there’s no room in the garage for me to put it.

ALLISON

No, that’s because I don’t trust you to ride a motorcycle and come home alive! I’ve told you a hundred times you’re not getting a motorcycle!

CORAL

So should we go with whether or not Dad gets a motorcycle for this vote?

PAUL

You just don’t want to have to get rid of your “projects”. I tell you what… you can keep your graveyard of ambitions in the garage and I’ll just pour a concrete pad for the motorcycle and park it out there. I can always throw a cover on it.

ALLISON

We would have to tear out the lawn to do that and I already told you we’re not tearing out the lawn.

PAUL

Because you love to mow it so much. Oh wait, I’m the one who always has to mow it!

ALLISON

That’s really why you want to tear it out, isn’t it? So you don’t have to mow it?

PAUL

What I really want to tear out right now is my hair.

CORAL

So are we switching this to whether or not we should keep our lawn?

ALLISON

Do you think I love hearing you complain every time you put gas in it? “Gas is so outrageously expensive these days!” Coral, go get my checkbook so I can write your dad a check for seventy-five cents.

CORAL

Checkbook… Is that the thing old people use to hold up the checkout line at the grocery store?

PAUL

Simple solution. Tear out the lawn. Put in a concrete pad for my motorcycle.

ALLISON

So then where would Shaq the Hooperman do his business?

PAUL

Shaq. It’s Chad the Doberman and you know it.

ALLISON

The question stands. Oh, wait… does that mean you’re actually going to start taking him for walks now?

PAUL

You know, you could just take him with you when you coach lacrosse country. Let him run with those kids.

ALLISON

It’s cross country.

PAUL

That’s what I said.

ALLISON

You said “lacrosse country”. Lacrosse is one word, just “lacrosse”. There’s no country in Lacrosse.

CORAL

Maybe there is the way they play it in Nashville?

PAUL

I think it would be good for him to do a little lacrosse country running with the girls.

ALLISON

Now you’re just trying to annoy me.

PAUL

I really don’t have to try all that hard, apparently.

CORAL

So you want the listeners to vote on whether or not you should take Chad to-

You know what, I’m not going to bother.

ALLISON

Maybe if you didn’t have to try to turn everything into a joke.

PAUL

Yeah? Well two Allisons walk into a bar. So the bartender says “What’ll you have?” and the two Allisons say “You know, that Paul really gets on my nerves!”

ALLISON

Uh, what?

CORAL

Yeah, I don’t know…

PAUL

Knock Knock.

Who’s there?

Allison.

Allison who?

Allison Baxter, that’s who. So stop knocking on the door, Paul. You’re getting on my nerves!”

CORAL

I think he’s starting to lose it, mom.

ALLISON

Alright, alright, calm down, Paul.

(beat)

You know what? Go ahead and get that motorcycle. They are kind of expensive, so you can forego buying a helmet for it-

CORAL

Mom-

ALLISON

And really see what it can do. Take it out on a rainy day and try to get it up over a hundred-

CORAL

Mom-

ALLISON

Test it over railroad tracks, manhole covers, construction plates on roadways, really push it.

CORAL

Mom!

They are all silent for a few moments

PAUL

Alright! I’m getting a motorcycle! Time to go research colors…

PAUL excitedly sets down his headphones and dashes out of the room

CORAL

Nice going, Mom. I guess we have nothing for people to vote on now.

ALLISON

Sure we do. Just have them vote on if your father should be cremated or buried.

(setting down headphones and getting up)

I’m going to Lowe’s to pick up some plywood.

AFTERWORD

CORAL

Great. I hope Dad doesn’t end up buying that motorcycle. Wait, what am I worried about? He’ll see how much one costs and he’ll cheap out and change his mind. Plus he hates buying gas anyway.

You’ve seen it before where Mom gets mean and Dad just kind of gets all indignant, right? I think he might have been messing with her that time. Maybe he figured he wouldn’t let her get to him and that way she wouldn’t win this time. Maybe he was calling her bluff. Maybe she was calling his by getting the stuff to build a vanity. Maybe. Sadly, no one will be calling anyone’s bluff because neither of them will follow through. As usual. So even with the vanity and the motorcycle and the yard and the lacrosse country thing- I don’t know what that was all about- just to humor me, you can vote on whether mom should build a vanity or if dad should get a motorcycle. I’ll tell them which one you all picked just to see how they react. But don’t be disappointed if nothing happens either way. I’ve learned how not to be disappointed by them. Anyway, make your pick at dcritpodcast.com. I’ll see you all next time. Bye.

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