No Shame Syllabus

All you college students buried under a snowfall of syllabi should enjoy this. It’s a syllabus for No Shame Theatre in Iowa City, which I’ve mentioned before here, and it’s the best goddamn syllabus you’ll ever read in your life. Even if you don’t go to the University of Iowa or don’t know who these people are, I still think you’ll enjoy this parody. As always, come to our shows to see more material like this!


The University of Iowa

The College of Dumb Fuckery

Department of Theater


COURSE NAME: No Shame Theater


COURSE DAY AND TIME: Friday from 11 p.m. until David wins another Cards   Against Humanity game

ROOM: 172 of the Theater Building


Tyler Levin

Nick Edinger

Zach Steil

The Blob

The Spirit of the Books

OFFICE: The Theater Lobby

PHONE: 509-676-1400

FACEBOOK: Iowa City’s No Shame Theater

OFFICE HOURS: By appointment, otherwise Fridays 10 pm- 11 pm

COURSE MATERIALS: An Imaginative Brain

                                                A Good Sense of Humor

                          A Copy of Your Piece So Lighting Knows When To Operate

                                                A Stopwatch

                                                A Goat

                                                Red Chalk


                                                The Wicked Bible*


*you’ll know you have the right Bible when Exodus 20:14 reads “Thou shalt commit adultery”


COURSE DESCRIPTION: No Shame Theater has three rules…

  1. Your piece must be original
  2. Your piece must be under five minutes
  3. Your piece cannot hurt anything physically.

Every week, audience members can submit any piece of art they want featured in that night’s show. At 11, on Friday nights, we gather up what’s been submitted and put on a kickass show with it. Students will study comedy, poetry, dancing, dick jokes, ramblings, mayhem, deviancy, and human anatomy in this class.

There is an anonymous submission box in the Theater Building labeled ‘No Shame,’ where you can submit stuff without us finding out who gave it. It’s with the other boxes. Ask Nick where it is, and he’ll keep your secret.

On the Facebook page, you can vote on which pieces you like the best in the comment section. On Dead Week (the show before Best Of), the No Shame Board will tally up the votes and choose which pieces will be preformed again at BEST OF NO SHAME. This show takes place in Theater B. If your piece is selected and you cannot attend the show, please let us know by 12/7/15 so we can replace you.

COURSE OUTCOMES: By the end of this course, you should have already…

  1. Made someone laugh.
  2. Made someone cry.
  3. Made someone cry without having to punch them.
  4. Won a game of Cards Against Humanity
  5. Gotten roped into a No Shame piece that you hate
  6. Gotten roped into a No Shame piece you wish you could play all the parts in.
  7. Teased Nick about dressing up as Hitler that one time.
  8. Asked Rai why she doesn’t play her guitar anymore.
  9. Comprehended one of Zach’s skits.
  10. Kicked Tyler in the balls.
  11. Kicked around a ball the Theater Department left behind.
  12. Kicked EVERYTHING.
  13. Whined about no one showing up.
  14. Found out what the hell ‘Spirit of the Books’ refers to.
  15. Extrapolated why art produces a visceral, emotional reaction in unique ways to such similar people, and designed a work of art that will make everyone weep with joy, with the exception of John Shang.


There are 100 points available throughout the semester.

Every guest you bring to No Shame gives you 10 points.

Every time you pull out the cheeks of a No Shame board member and imitate their voice to say, “I’m a fish, glub glub glub!” you gain 5 points.

Every second of applause your skit earns you gives you 1 point.

A= 100-90 points

B= 89-70 points

C= 69-50 points

D= 49-30 points

F= 29-0 points

G= i-100 points

ATTENDENCE: There is no attendance sign-in for No Shame Theatre. Failing to attend or submit work to No Shame will result in a whiny “Come on!” from one of your instructors.


  1. You are expected to not be a dick. Unless it’s funny, of course.
  2. You are expected to take your copy of The Wicked Bible and read from it when Brother Jed comes to town.
  3. You are required to have fun. Those not having fun will have a happy hot poker shoved into their nosey-wosey.
  4. You must prepare for any quizzes/tests/game shows/ Mad Libs/snake attacks No Shame will throw at you. The University of Iowa suggests readying for these by walking into the office of one of your teachers, bursting into tears, then storming out.
  5. If you are unable to take a test/ attend a show, you must draw a favorite cartoon character from your youth, then draw yourself raping the character.
  6. If you submit an unoriginal work, you must submit original work for the next three shows following.
  7. You must go to, like the page, and then post to the page your most embarrassing memory.



8/28: What is No Shame? Why does it itch?

Assignment: Preform a scene from ‘Requiem for a Dream’ with Goldfish crackers.


9/4: What are you doing in my house?

Assignment: Watch this video on transphobia in the original Star Trek show:



Assignment: A moment of silence for those married on 9/11


9/18: Why is my poop green? Why am I green?

Assignment: Eat 5 pixie sticks, and then sit still for an hour staring at a blank wall. If you don’t move a muscle, then the premonitions will begin.


9/25: Why is it so socially unacceptable to drink in the morning? Don’t some of us need to?

Assignment: Transcribe the entirety of ‘Anna Karenina’ on your Twitter page.


10/2: Can my roommate hear me while I’m in the bathroom?

Assignment: Invent a new color.


10/9: What’s in the bag?

Assignment: Celebrate the birthday of your worst enemy. Only do this to them if their birthday is not that day.


10/16: Donald Trump, Deez Nuts, or Deezald Trump Nuts?

Assignment: Drive down Iowa City for 30 minutes. Pretend you’re a self-driving car. Convince someone else you’re a self-driving car.


10/23: When pigeons headbob, are they practicing for their heavy metal band?

Assignment: Fulfill someone else’s dream, and then rub it in their face.


10/30: Why does no one come to our Halloween shows?

Assignment: Scream. Scream Louder. Louder.


11/6: Can I fit my head between the bars in this metal gate?

Assignment: Prove this fact wrong: it’s impossible for your tongue to lick your friend’s elbow.


11/13: If I turn my underwear inside out, can I use it again before washing?

Assignment: Bring Nick a gift for the next show. No, not your underwear.




12/4: Can you believe Nick’s 23 today?

Assignment: Watch the lowest-rated movie on the streaming service of your choice.







Most board members can be found between 10-11 on Fridays nights in the Theater Lobby, talking and laughing and snorting coke. Questions may be addressed to them, the Facebook page, or during the middle of a religious leader’s sermon.


is awesome and you should totally do it. Just not while people preform, ‘cause that shit’s rude.


A student seeking academic accommodations should first register with Student Disability Services and then meet with a No Shame member privately to make particular arrangements. See for more information.

Also, Tyler will carry you around if you ask.


All CLAS students or students taking classes offered by CLAS have, in essence, agreed to the College’s Code of Academic Honesty: “I pledge to do my own academic work and to excel to the best of my abilities, upholding the IOWA Challenge. I promise not to lie about my academic work, to cheat, or to steal the words or ideas of others; nor will I help fellow students to violate the Code of Academic Honesty.” Any student committing academic misconduct is reported to the College and placed on disciplinary probation or may be suspended or expelled (CLAS Academic Policies Handbook).




Just come up to us before or after a show. We love to talk with people who know what they’re doing, because we sure as hell don’t. You like that joke? Good. It was a joke, and not at all a cry for help.


Ok, I’m gonna drop the comedy act here to just say FUCK YOU if you sexually harass someone IN OR OUTSIDE OF No Shame. We’ll kick your ass. Don’t push us.

I suppose I need to do some wacky jokes about this part of the syllabus now. That’s what I have to do, being the edgy comedian I am. Ummmm… ummmmmmmmmmmm… Hey. You ever notice how… how… how… how the word ‘ass’ is in the word ‘harass,’ and that’s funny, that’s funny because, because OH CHRIST I CAN’T DO IT JUST CRUCIFY ME NOW


In severe weather, No Shame attendees should climb a telephone pole naked and scream out Bible loopholes.

We have our own version of Hawkalert, where Rai just shouts “SHIT’S FUCKED” over and over until the threat goes away.


Snap when you hear something you like/find meaningful. Laugh when you want to laugh. Applaud people. Don’t be a cunt.

RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS (this is the serious part)

Let’s Get Cracked! Introduction

So we’ve all heard of, yes?

Why does everyone over 30 act bemused at the title anyways?

It’s a good website. I love it. I’m not sure whether it was the buffalo that started the stampede of list articles choking the internet- it’s a contemporary of Buzzfeed, at least- but Cracked’s the most well-groomed and well-fed of that herd. They cover a wide variety of topics and attack them from various angles, whether through vigorous research or just by plum asking the people involved in said topic. You’ve got inspirational-yet-tough articles from John Cheese and David Wong, music insights by Gladstone, funny and informative readings from the other contributors, and, my favorite series from the site, Luke McKinney’s Dick Moves in Online Gaming Series. Excellent stuff all around. They might not always check their facts the best, but the great outweighs the bad like a lion on top of a brussel sprout.

And if you do read Cracked, you might have noticed this…

Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 2.27.14 PM

Oh hell yes we’re there!

This’ll be the start of a miniseries of blog posts called “Let’s Get Cracked!” I’ll journal my journey to a spot on the site, be it a single article or an entire column under my name. You’ll learn how I made it and what to do/not do in the process. There’s no set timetable on this- I’ll update when I make progress, with no stone dates for accomplishing anything yet.

Keep reading Cracked. Or start reading Cracked. Whatever you do, watch the bylines.

On Writing With Depression: Part 2

Welcome back.


In my first post about depression, I talked about my hospitalization during my junior year of high school as a result of my poor state. Let me elaborate. I could not walk. I underwent physical rehab, as well as hundreds of tests, just to be able to stand up again. We thought chronic fatigue caused the incident at the time. I thought depression caused the incident a week ago. Now, I’m not so sure, because it happened again.

In analysis, both events follow a similar pattern. The first time took months, the second one took days. There’s the wonderful start that fulfills all your being, even in rough times (beginning of sophomore year last time vs. vacation this time). There’s the exhaustion you get in the middle of great exercise, coupled with a renewed drive to do more and be more (loads of high school extracurricular activities vs. continued activity after a 10 and a half hour drive back home). There’s a sudden travesty that throws off everything and fuels anxiety and depression (overworked weekend vs. breaking the bike rack on my dad’s car). There’s the anxiety and depression. Then, both 6 years ago and 3 days ago, I awake from a 3-hour nap to find myself paralyzed, awake mentally and asleep physically. My brain sometimes heated up into thoughts of movement before melting into my blood and travelling through my bloodstream like a sleepy tourist.

But this time, I dealt with the issue faster. After an hour like this, I could lurch forward. I tumbled out of the couch and began moving in exhaustive spurts. My brother passed by. I spoke, and only silence came out. It took a heroic lunge of my hand to show him I needed help up. By this point, I could whisper, and I instructed him to take me to the bathroom, because goddammit this situation does not need to be more embarrassing. Once on the toilet, I called my therapist (I was late for an appointment) and sputtered out how I pulled a reverse Rip Van Wrinkle and travelled back 6 years, losing everything to atrophy as a result.

This is not uncommon, says my therapist. He later sends me a link to this site, which talks about the freeze state some people enter into. It’s different from how I usually feel depression- in those moments, I can at least go out and buy food or use the bathroom. And this time, I tell my therapist, I don’t even feel the absence of emotion that is depression. Forget thinking of myself as an empty box, there isn’t enough heat to support the universe that created the empty box.

This was a leap off a lifeboat headed to shore for me. But it confirmed a theory. A while back, I talked about being forced to do a bad thing in ‘Spec Ops: The Line,’ which stimulated a “safe” depression. A similar feeling appeared in me while watching Season 1 Episode 3 of ‘Review’ (a great show, by the way), where the protagonist is also forced to do something that damages others. And here I was at the end of a chain where one of the links was “having done a bad thing that damages others.” My reaction to guilt has something to do with depression. I found out the berries were lethal the same way our ancestors had to have found out.

I want characters in fiction to go through this exact thing. I want characters to not notice the foreshadowing for the choice or event that strips off their skin and force-feeds it to them. I want characters, seeking a priceless Tibetan artifact, to be caught within the radiation zone of the atomic bomb that destroys the golden talisman. I want characters to have their legs crushed by a semi in the middle of a marathon. I want characters that choose to take the brainwashing pill that makes their empire-dispensed rotten bread taste only like moldy bread. And then I want these characters to win. Not only that, I want their victory to come about because of how they reacted to the crisis. The tastewashing allows our heroine to detect a chemical that’s keeping the population docile. The marathon runner crawls to the finish line 10 miles later and becomes the most celebrated man alive, winning his husband back. Nuclear radiation doesn’t taste good to the carnivorous alien beasts guarding the mountains of treasure underneath the golden talisman, whose inscribed ancient script turned out to read “SHITTON OF GOLD TWO LEAGUES DOWN.” Properly handled, the reversal can be the most powerful aspect of your writing.

You’ll notice that these examples are rather silly. Well, let me challenge some conventional wisdom- depression is stupidly silly. I lost control of my muscles and lost all hope for myself because I drove into a garage with the bike rack up? Now, we all know that’s not the full story, but what else do we have to go on? I know my parents aren’t the type to shout or belittle, so what was I afraid of? This is why everyone, including me, laughs at depictions of depression by Linkin Park and Papa Roach. It’s like a Babelfish translation- a language difference translated by someone separate from the subtleness of the conversation. Depression sufferers convey something alogical to a world striving for logic. How do you do that? This isn’t an impossible goal, getting people to fear silly things (people fear clowns, don’t they?), but it’s a goal that might take up my entire career to accomplish. Because, in my experience with depression, a depressive mood puts me in a state of unthought. I wasn’t thinking to myself, “I’m such an idiot for destroying the bike rack,” or anything else for that matter. It’s more of an atmosphere than anything else.

If you do write about depression, don’t be afraid to venture outside the facts a little. Depression varies depending on each person, and sometimes weird shit like this happens. Perhaps it’s the depression sufferer’s desire to be taken seriously that limits them from talking about such a silly, deadly disease. Or perhaps I just need to stick marshmallows up my nose and cry.

The World’s Worst Private Detective Agency- The Asshole Edition

Note: If you don’t read the original version here, you will be confused. Just… so, so confused.

WOMAN waits at table. DETECTIVE enters.


You made it.


I’m sorry I’m late, Mrs. Gently. It’ll become clear why soon.


Did you find anything out about my asshole?


Mrs. Gently, you contracted my asshole one month ago about your vanished asshole.


Plenty of time for assholes.


Well, no one had seen him since the disappearance, and the one asshole that matched his description turned out to belong to an asshole from Glasgow. But when investigating your asshole for clues, I found some assholes indicating that Asshole Kutcher once owned your asshole.




I’m not finished. I looked up Kutcher’s asshole and discovered that he’s actually an asshole. His asshole’s name is Michael.


Asshole, I fail to-


Now Michael himself has shown a great asshole in the Great Asshole Derby of the 1930s, according to his Internet asshole. Do you know what that is?


Internet asshole?


The Great Asshole Derby. When Charles Vance Millar died, his asshole granted his considerable asshole to whichever asshole in Toronto produced the most assholes in the ten years following his asshole. One of the assholes, Pauline Mae Clarke, produced ten assholes in all- five sets of assholes. A representative from each of those assholes have been in contact with Michael Kutcher once every year for the past 20 years. I eavesdropped on their asshole this year, and do you know what the most repeated asshole was? “Our genetic assholes.” When digging through the asshole outside Michael’s asshole, I found out he had a secret asshole: as the asshole of Extra Asshole of Asshole of the Asshole, EAAA, an asshole designed to discourage protected asshole and encourage asshole. You see the connection to the Great Asshole Derby. So did I- item asshole on the asshole for their asshole was changing Bill Gates’ asshole to match that of Charles Vance Millar. And it turns out “our genetic assholes” refers to-


Stop! Does this have anything to do with my asshole?


What I discovered deals with-


A yes or no will suffice.





I’m not paying your asshole.

WOMAN begins to leave.


Wait! What about my asshole? I have the assholes to prove it! Assholes are really alien assholes that rule over assholes and take sexual pleasure from the assholes of baby assholes!


Sir, I don’t disbelieve your asshole. I don’t doubt the assholes you hold there. But until Mr. Squiddles is back in my asshole again, I have no use for your asshole.

WOMAN leaves.


(Throwing down files)

Assholedamnit! It’s all useless!

Hang on… why are there asshole marks on my asshole?

DETECTIVE opens folder, finds hamster.


Mr. Squiddles! You’re alive!


Mr. Squiddles is my asshole.


You can talk?


The Genetic Assholes mutated me, but I rebelled. Together, we can save the-


Hang on. So you’re not Mr. Squiddles?


No, but-



I’m the worst asshole ever!


The World’s Worst Private Detective Agency

WOMAN waits at table. DETECTIVE enters.


You made it.


I’m sorry I’m late, Mrs. Gently. It’ll become clear why soon.


Did you find anything out about my hamster?


Mrs. Gently, you contracted my agency one month ago about your vanished hamster.


Plenty of time for results.


Well, no one had seen him since the disappearance, and the one animal that matched his description turned out to belong to a dentist from Glasgow. But when investigating your house for clues, I found some paperwork indicating that Ashton Kutcher once owned your house.




I’m not finished. I looked up Kutcher’s biography and discovered that he’s actually a twin. His brother’s name is Michael.


Sir, I fail to-


Now Michael himself has shown a great interest in the Great Stork Derby of the 1930s, according to his Internet history. Do you know what that is?


Internet history?


The Great Stork Derby. When Charles Vance Millar died, his will granted his considerable estate to whichever woman in Toronto produced the most children in the ten years following his death. One of the women, Pauline Mae Clarke, produced ten children in all- five sets of twins. A representative from each of those twins have been in contact with Michael Kutcher once every year for the past 20 years. I eavesdropped on their meeting this year, and do you know what the most repeated phrase was? “Our genetic overlords.” When digging through the trash outside Michael’s house, I found out he had a secret identity: as the leader of Extra Helping of Salt of the Earth, ESHE, an organization designed to discourage protected sex and encourage childbirth. You see the connection to the Great Stork Derby. So did I- item 1 on the agenda for their meeting was changing Bill Gates’ will to match that of Charles Vance Millar. And it turns out “our genetic overlords” refers to-


Stop! Does this have anything to do with my hamster?


What I discovered deals with-


A yes or no will suffice.





I’m not paying your fee.

WOMAN begins to leave.


Wait! What about my discovery? I have the files to prove it! Twins are really alien doppelgangers that rule over us and take sexual pleasure from the sound of baby cries!


Sir, I don’t disbelieve you. I don’t doubt the files you hold there. But until Mr. Squiddles is back in my arms again, I have no use for you.

WOMAN leaves.


(Throwing down files)

Goddamnit! It’s all useless!

Hang on… why are there bite marks on my paperwork?

DETECTIVE opens folder, finds hamster.


Mr. Squiddles! You’re alive!


Mr. Squiddles is my twin.


You can talk?


The Genetic Overlords mutated me, but I rebelled. Together, we can save the-


Hang on. So you’re not Mr. Squiddles?


No, but-



I’m the worst detective ever!


Want to see a spin on this skit? Click here!

Song of Astronaut

I guess I’m just in a poetry-posting mood. Here’s another one, less esoteric, more serious. Also, here‘s the poem it’s based on.

Song of Astronaut

By Nick Edinger


For seven hours, I float in burnt-steak smell

Because the tear in our solar array

Cuts power to our station. While I dwell

In space, my hands the supreme tools, I stay

Between Man’s built outpost and given world.

With foot attached to metal arm, I whirl.


The Pacific engulfs the planet whole.

Australia, California are like

The fingers on a great blue ball that bowls

Through the cosmos. The little men, their Reichs,

They cannot leave that spin with all their spite.

“We should focus on earth,” they all recite.


I turn myself, a world in a suit,

To fix again what gives this station life.

These panels, tapestries in a mosque, loot

From the sun’s core, cut her up with a knife

So her blood can course through electric gold.

This tool of man is equal to behold.


And still, I find my eyes drifting to earth,

Where nature, like advanced machines, rolls on

To fight the infection of man. Our worth

We proved when we turned all the world our pawn

In pitiful battles of countries flawed.

Was this ev’n in imaginings of Gods?


But why be king of all chaos down there

When I can focus on this honeycomb

Of a snagged circuitry and fix with care?

With last stabilizer, I turn from home

And place the hardware down in now-filled gap.

From my earpiece, I hear my partners clap.


Like boastful Sisyphus, I bask in the

Relaxed muscles: a job well done. Ocean

Beneath is packed like bedsheet over fleas,

Which I can’t reach without forward motion.

I live between my dreams and planet’s skin.

The arm, attached to me by foot, draws in.

Rime of The Foolish Edinger

So I’m on vacation right now, and had a bit of an adventure. I made a silly poem about it. I encourage you all to do this occasionally- write not for yourself, but for another person as a gift. Takes you out of your head for a while, even if the meter ends up messed up or not all the rhymes work. Such exercises remind you who you’re really writing for anyways. My family really seemed to like the poem (partially because they were involved in it), and the project gave me a break from some other stories and screenplays that eat away at my head. In fact, if anyone here has any requests for a story or a skit or a poem, I’d be happy to oblige. But that’s enough stalling. Enjoy my Coleridge parody!

Rime of the Foolish Edinger

Far back when New York Chills did blow

over Lake Skaneateles,

there was a drunk cruising the waves:

a dullard, a ninny, tactless.

He painted his waves over water

like a wild modern artist.

The Edinger boat looked like port to him-

we learned he wasn’t the smartest.

So with the engine’s snarl behind,

and a beer in his beer-soaked hand,

he accelerated and- how do I say this?

You ever take a rock to a coke can?

The Edinger boat was torn apart,

despite its previous endurance.

The drunkard looked at the sinking wreck

and realized he had no insurance.

A crew arrived later to survey the wreck-

the pontoons, the engine, the prop-

and ferried it out of Skaneateles…

forgetting the bimini top.

(You all know about bimini tops,

correct? Covers half the hull, bit

that’s like a canopy for the boat,

gives real nice shade- eh, just google it).

For eons the bimini top languished

like a mute man’s speaking wish-

surrounded by piercing zebra muscles,

bits eaten by confused fish.

There it remained until the arrival

of the city-born sons of John.

These Edingers journeyed to the small speedboat

that replaced the boat that was gone.

They jumped off the dock, swam past Dan’s boat,

acting careful not to touch;

then Sue’s boat, then raft, then the small speedboat-

beyond that there’s just not much.

There was Rob, son of John, devourer of Worlds;

there was Matt, the man of Iron.

There was Nick, who skied on one ski once,

but afterwards found himself tired.

As his brothers climbed the ladder of the boat,

Nick peered to the green abyss

to find the relic of the old pontoon boat.

And then he called “Oi! What’s this?”

Nick picked up the metal scrap and pulled,

and surfaced just once for a breath.

He dropped the wreckage and gasped for air-

no way to complete a theft.

His family applauded his deep lake find

upon return. His uncle was curious.

“If you found that, Nick, perhaps you’ll find

our lost cover, if the trip’s not injurious.”

Nick dived to the treacherous depths below,

but found no cover, just wreckage.

The family council upon the hill

then chose to test Nick’s essence.

“Nicholas, the council decrees that you

bring up the top to a dry spot.”

That’s what Nick heard. He suggested it first,

and the drinking adults replied “Why not?”

A rowboat with a rope hung to the docks,

with the walls of waves it wrestled.

Nick witnessed the dinghy and shouted out,

“This will be my questing vessel!”

Nick sprinted down the hill’s stone steps,

at the rowboat’s docking did they meet.

Nick took his grand odyssey’s first step,

and stepped right onto the seat.

For those not nautically informed, the rowboat’s

seat is quite unsteady.

You can slip and fall off like a child on a raft,

and our hero Nick was not ready.

After the laughter from the hill died down

and after Nick spat out the water,

our hero climbed back onto his steed

and sped through the lake like an otter.

An otter high of meth, to be frank-

long ago, Nick’s rowing skills died.

If the police were on patrol then,

they’d’ve given another DUI.

But Nick arrived at the wreckage site

and dived with a rope in hand

to attach the bimini top to the boat!

This was as far as Nick planned.

Nicholas climbed back on the boat-

it was harder than it seemed,

due to that insidious Faustian deal

known only as Krispy Kremes!

Nick began his journey back to the cottage,

but forgot an important factor-

due to the front rope dragging the load,

he’d have to make the back trip backwards.

With pulls that pulverized his biceps,

with no drink to make the trip sweeter,

Nick strained and pushed ‘till his shoulders gave out

and found he travelled, like, a meter.

But Nick could not give in front of his folks,

so he lifted and churned and shoved,

and looked to the hill, until he saw

two dragonflies- making love?

It looked like that, they were together joined,

and one of them kept bucking

against the other… Nick pondered this:

what’s it like when dragonflies are… hugging?

So he kept his mind on insect love,

and the exercise made the work lighter.

But when he looked up and scanned the lakeside,

it didn’t make his day brighter.

He only had arrived at the boat of Sue,

his muscles were sore and stunted.

the waves were knocking his small progress back,

and now the rowboat was flooded!

Every shift of his body brought liquid in.

And when Coleridge made that one quote;

“Water, water, everywhere,”

Nick knew he didn’t mean the boat!

It was then a savior in a kayak came,

a resident of neighborly fame.

“Is there anything I can help you out with?”

said the wonderful Lady What’s-Her-Name.

Nick only asked for a sole bucket

and explained why, in the past hour,

he rowed in place, creating only splashes

in a pitiful display of power.

So the lady brought over a bucket from Nick’s mom,

and Nick heaved the water out!

Now, instead of moving like a rock,

he could move like a brain-dead trout!

But even right here, Nick didn’t give up-

he merely reconsidered

as he looked to the slightly shallowed bottom

of a lake that was zebra-muscle-littered.

It was here an idea struck our hero

like a get-rich scheme to a hobo-

“I can’t carry the load for the boat- I’ll just carry

the boat! Like Samwise did for Frodo!”

Nick jumped back in, flooding the boat again,

and dove to where the rope held taut.

He pulled and he swam and he dragged the top

across the rocks in his great plot.

He dove and strained and surfaced for breath,

and repeated this all down the path

back to the cottage, just missing Dan’s boat

and avoiding that apocalyptic wrath.

Nick swam past the dock, safe from the muscles.

The feet until land were few.

So he heaved the bimini top out of the water,

and carried it with a “hhhhrrrrrrgggggggAAAA

The bimini top had reached the shore!

Nick ran up the hill, still coughing,

to exclaim his victory to the unwinding folks

who responded “We really weren’t watching.”

“Well, Grandma saw when you rowed in place,

and the lady’s bucket came from your mother,

but we were chatting and having our drinks.”

Then Bob said, “Did you find our cover?”

So thus I conclude this epic tale

of trial for trial’s sake

to document the folly of all of those

living Skaneateles Lake.