Scaley the DUI Lizard


Screw it. I don't want to get into that.

The other night I had dinner with Namoli and we slid back into comfortable for the first time in quite awhile. We both have big imaginations and tend to see the world as a movie. While eating Twix ice cream out of coffee mugs, with silver spoons found at Value Village, Scaley the DUI Lizard was born.
I'd been asked, by my friend, to first get the dog to stop chewing on her table leg and, second to tell her all about jail and the MADD Victim Impact Panel.
When I got to the MADD portion of my stand-up act, I was detailing how I felt like the program would be pretty ineffective for teens and other jaded types of criminals.

From out of nowhere, Namoli said, "Yeah, you could volunteer to talk to kids about drinking and driving and you could dress up as... I don't know... Scaley the DUI Lizard."
I laughed so hard that I peed a little and a scene, not to mention a star, was born.

In a dark and slightly moldy auditorium, a class of 6th graders would be buzzing and smelling like fart and tennis shoes since they just came in from recess.
The house lights might be dim but a piano draped with a brown plastic cover and a pair of speakers would be kind of shoved in the corner so that I hopefully would not trip on them when I walk out on stage.

The obligatory jean-jumpered and Christmas turtle-necked Assistant Principal would introduce me while I waited in the wings. "Kids, we have a very special treat for you today and I want you to pay good attention to our speaker! This is important stuff! Let's give a big, Lincoln Middle School Trojan welcome to Scaley! The DUI Lizard!"

The Assistant Principal moves to the side of the stage and out of the way of my stiff, costume steps... of course she doesn't leave the stage but sets up a metal folding chair because everyone knows that Assistant Principals LOVE attention.
The kids in the audience look like little, tiny children from the inside of Scaley's scaley head and my voice is echoic but muffled, too. Getting started, I kind of fumble around with my stiff Scaley claws to adjust the microphone when I hear a voice from backstage: "Extra! Extra!"
I turn to try to find the voice and knock over the mic with my Scaley Tail, which brings snickers and giggles from the 6th graders. "Dork!" one of them calls (On emore time, brat and I will SO show you what it means to be a dork when my show is over... You will be O-V-E-R and doomed to a life of ridicule that will not end until you go to a tiny private school for college and learn how to rock keg stands, fucker)
Game on.

My olde-timey news-boy sidekick, DeShawn, runs across the stage with a stack of newspaper props, stops in the middle of the stage and yells "Extra! Extra! Scaley Wipes Out Drinking and Driving!" and then runs off backstage to change for the rest of the show as DeShawn, Scaley's Sober Helper. Finally, the theme music queues up and this party gets started.

Duhn Duhn Duhn Duhn Dunh. Everybody dance now! Duhn Duhn Duhn Duhn Duhn

"Hi kids!
"Hey! Stand up kids! I wanna see you dance! Let's all dance!" Duhn Duhn Duhn Duhn Duhn It's gettin' it's gettin' it's gettin' kinda hectic!
The music fades and my sidekick comes back to the stage, this time dressed as a kool kid - over-alls with one strap hanging unbuttoned and a brightly striped shirt that matches his orange Chuck Taylors and orange Fresh Prince of Bel Aire-syle sideways orange baseball hat with the letter S "graffitied" onto it. He hands me a towel and asks me, "Scaley? Does dancing make you tired?"
No DeShawn but you know what does make me tired?
"What Scaley?"
"What makes Scaley tired, kids?"

"Kids? Why do people go to jail?"
Stealing! They're bad! Play doh! (There is always that one idiot kid) He killed someone!(fuck, who killed someone? I hope that kid's guidance counselor heard him) Speeding!(god, kids are dumb) Drunk Driving!(sweet. One of them knows why I'm here. That kid better not make fun of me. Is that the little O'Reilly kid from Blessed Sacrament last year? I bet he got kicked out. Ha-ha)

"Oh! What was that? Did I hear
"That's right, kids. Do you know what Scaley says about drunk driving?Scaley says Wipe Out Drunk Driving!!"
Duhn Duhn Duhn Duhn Duhn everybody dance now!

I turn around and do my signature back tail-shaking motion dance to get my Scaley Tail to Wipe off the stage floor while I am cabbage patching with my arms. I'm really getting into the Wipe against Drunk Driving and I turn to face the kids and do a swimming-arms-move, hold-my-nose, shimmy to the floor, switching my Scaley tail back and forth until the music stops and for a breath of a second, I keep dancing while DeShawn pulls my scaley tail and yells, "Scaley! Scaaaaley! SCALEY!" while the kids laugh that weird, demonic, high-pitched kid laughter.
"What DeShawn?" I kind of stumble around confused that there's no music.
"Scaley! The music stopped!"

"But DeShawn, I'm not done dancing and it's not time to go home! I have to make sure these kids will help me (turns around and shakes that tail) Wipe out drinking and driving!"
"Kids? How can you help Scaley Wipe... (I turn around and do a meaningful 1-2-3 back and forth with my tail) ...out drinking and driving?"

The kids call out loudly: Don't drink and drive! (Dumbass, you're in the 6th grade and if I ever hear of a sixth grader either drinking or driving, I will personally hunt you down in my Scaley suit and scare the doody out of you myself. At night. When it's really spooky)

"Yes, don't drink and drive! Who drinks and drives?"

My brother! My mom! Grandpa!
(Jesus Christ, what is this, the fucking Come on Barbie, Let's go Party Family School?)

"O! Kaaay! And how can we stop drinking and driving?
Do we stomp it out?" (stomps Scaley foot)
"Do we swing it out?" (swings pretend baseball bat)
"Do we wash it out?" (scrubs Scaley head)
"Do we Wipe it Out?"

"Let's Wipe out Drinking and Driving together! Everybody dance now!" Duhn duhn duhn duhn duhn!

The kids are back on their feet and we're all doing the Wipe and even DeShawn is cabbage patching My nonsensical, friendly load of crap seems to be well-received.
Even the teachers and the Assistant Principal, who still won't leave the stage, even though I am thinking about accidentally knocking her with my tail, right in her white-tighted knees. (bitch, you bette' bounce! This is MY show. MINE!)
The whole crowd is doing the Wipe with me and generally getting jiggy, including the adult dance members who are danicing 'appropriately', way that teachers dance.

I'm Wipin' but suddenly the music feels really far away and the kids seem like fake ones who are laughing at me. I have what can only be decsribed as a Scaley epiphany and realize that this whle thing is a complete load and this time, before the music - while everyone else is still Wiping out Drunk Driving - I just stop and sway a little.

The kids sense something in the room has changeed, even though the Assistant Principal is still rocking out like a dork at a Good Charlotte show until the music is killed suddenly, like when your parents come home while you are hostessing a really awesome party.
Silence, even though they are slowly lowering themselves back into the old seats.
"You can't Wipe out drinking and driving. But if you drink and drive, you will go to jail.
You will owe your ex-boyfriend either sex or money.
You will suffer through evaluation, testing, stories about people whose husbands became vegetables in 1978 - yes, shut-up, you were not born then, DUH - and how then they started drinking.
You will spend at least one night in the slammer with hookers and crack-heads as your only company and hookers and crack-heads? They don't have very many teeth and they smell like gingivitis and pus.
You will embarrassed, angry, and your friends will have to put up with you but some of them won't do that.
Some of them will quit you like Scaley quit smoking back in 1998 - yes, shut-up, you were not born then, and again, I offer: DUH.

Don't drink and drive when you're grown-ups. I'm a fucking lizard and I'm telling you that a dui sucks more than meatloaf day in the Licoln Middle School Trojans' Cafeteria.

Don't get in the car when mommy smells like medicine.
Don't call Grandpa for a ride after 11 o'clock in the morning
For the love of god, do not get in the car with your brother until he is at least 47 years old. And children?

Don't forget to floss. It's really important. You'll know this if you chose to ignore Scaley and you go to jail."

The Assistant Principal looks on in silent, frozen horror, and the microphone makes that feedback noise when I turn to calmly walk off the stage and Scaley's tail hits it and knock it over again, only this time, NOT as part of the act.

DeShawn waves and does a quick Wipe in his little attempt to close the show, shrugs at the Assistant Principal as he runs off stage to find me.

Scaley! Scaley! What happened back there?
"I can't do it, DeShawn," my Scaley head now removed and my head hanging low in my Scaley claws, the sweaty pieces of pony-tail sticking to my neck stick to each other as DeShawn tries to smooth my hair out of my face.

"I can't tell these children to dance away a dui. They are going to go to high school and to college and pledge sororities and get date-raped and get STDs and find religion and lose friends to drugs orworse, marriage. They are going to have a drink at a Christmas house-warming party and they are going to get pulled over by a lying police officer and they will go to jail. I can't stop that, DeShawn."
Scaley? I believe in you. You're a lizard who dances and those kids need you. You can tell them and Scaley? If you change one little life, god Scaley....
My god.

I raised my eyes, to meet DeShawn's and there, in his youthful eyes, I see how much he needs Scaley. I see how much the children need Scaley. He believes in Scaley, just like those kids believe in Scaley and that creepy Assistant Principal believes in Scaley, deep in her nerdy, jumper-covered heart... even she needs Scaley. Behind him and in my peripheral vision are the now-quiet children standing up, classromm-by- classroom to shuffle back and get ready for lunchtime.

I turn to DeShawn with fire in my belly and strength in my voice: "Queue the music DeShawn. Queue it now."

I stand and jump into my Scaley head while running full-speed back to the stage.
"Hey kids!", I shout, "Hey! Let's Wipe out DUI!" duhn duhn duhn duhn everybody dance now! duhn duhn duhn duhn duhn

arizonasarah at 7:42 a.m.

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