Just Another Dead White Male
Ed Budwieser, a high school English teacher, comes to believe he is Shakespeare reincarnate. His wife and daughter don't believe it. His pastor has serious doubts. Only his grandson maintains a simple, childlike faith. More
Like the legendary Walter Mitty, Ed Budwieser has an active inner life, which is inhabited by visions of enjoying the company of younger and more beautiful women than his wife Mildred, who tries without success to be his reality principle. He is easily abetted by his bright young pastor, whose idea of an Eleventh Commandment is “If it feels good, do it.” When Mildred grows tired of Ed’s antics, she seeks comfort from her dentist and boss Dr. Digby, whose wife Carole describes him as “a skirt-chasing bastard.” But this comfort can go only so far, and she ends up in a mental hospital just as her husband, caught in a blizzard while trying to escape their home in Kirkland, Kansas, finds himself in a hospital with a tag attached to his big toe. With the aid of Carole, Mildred escapes from her temporary home away from home. The two conspire to teach Ed a lesson, and in a stunning show of fantasy, they break into the home of the story’s author, where they discover the plotline of this tale. Carole helps Mildred climb into the author’s monitor with the advice to await further instructions.
Back in the hospital, Ed awakens with a resurrection body and is cared for by the two women of his dreams, who walk him down the hall into a small auditorium, where the two principals of “Wheel of Fortune” greet them with an invitation to play their game. Ed solves the puzzle, and soon he and his two playmates are in a plane heading, he thinks, to the West Coast of Mexico. Suddenly Ed realizes that they are headed to Antarctica; being the big strong manly male, he is chosen to jump first. On reaching the icy ground, he discovers that he is alone—but then he notices that he will soon have company; a single parachute wafts its way to the ground; he runs toward it to discover that it bears another resurrection body: Mildred.
Penguins suddenly surround them, and soon they are bearing him in their sleigh to a Quonset Hut at the South Pole, where a team of international scientists are celebrating Christmas Eve. Ed prevails on his charges to entertain the scientists, but after performing several skits, they ransack the barracks for Barbie and Ken dolls and vodka and disappear into the icy wastes.
After the scientists depart for the rest of the winter, Ed and Mildred find a steam-spouting manhole cover into which they climb. Finding themselves on an escalator headed into the bowels of the earth, they finally alight back in Kirkland, and after a short conversation with a Higher Being, Ed comes to realize that he has been had.
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