A lone spotlight is splashed upon the stage at a local open mic, not like water is splashed, but like the stage was lit up due to the spotlight. Nothing was wet is what I mean. In the back of the room sat a young kid named Joe Wilson, nervously eyeing his spot on the stage. This was his shot to be heard, he had to make it count.
The MC went back on stage. He complimented the last performer, and started to introduce Joe. Nobody knew anything about young Joe; this would be his first time on stage. The MC gave the standard and pleasant welcoming of the next performer to the stage, except he also made a crack about how odd and pointy Joe’s forehead was. The room chortled at the joke. It was a good joke, his head was shaped very weird.
Joe sat quietly, only crying slightly at the forehead joke aimed his way. He rose and made his way to the stage. Once in the completely dry spotlight, Joe grabbed the mic. The polite applause had faded away and only the clinks and clangs of the wait staff was left. Joe’s first words fell upon the crowd muted as he spoke too soft and away from the mic. A faceless man in the crowd shouted, “speak up!” Joe leaned in closer this time and a roar of feedback filled the room, inciting the ears he meant to inspire. Joe took a deep breath, and told himself to rely on the material.
Joe began his work. “Hey, how many black people does it take to screw in a light bulb?” The couple of seconds between the setup and punchline seemed to last a lifetime, and in that space Joe breathed and congratulated himself on a perfect set-up, perfectly delivered. His monstrous detour of a forehead did not get in the way of his joke as the MC had wrongly guessed to the audience moments earlier. The foundation had been set, the crowd was now on his side, drooling with anticipation as to the number that would inevitably follow and set their funny bones aflame.
The crowd would soon be mistaken in their assumptions, and Joe stood higher now with a confidence that straightened his whole body, but not his forehead, that still looked weird and somehow curled. He had the crowd in the palm of his hands, waiting for a joke to land. He was after all, a joke teller in a place of jokes, but could it also be a forum for change? Young Joe knew not, but he did know that he had to finish the joke. Now was the moment. He approached the mic once again, speaking with great weight, the words spilled out, “ALL RACES CAN CHANGE A LIGHTBULB EQUALLY AS EASY.”
The room went deadly quiet once again. Airs of thoughtful concern spread over the sea of faces as they let this joke, this message, sink in. Finally one man stood slowly and began to clap, tears filling his eyes. It got quiet after several minutes of applause, and the man yelled, “What you’re doing is important!” The crowd cheered in agreement. Joe had known this all along, but was unsure whether the powerful message would be revered in his lifetime. He had clearly found the answer, as did the comedy club that night.
Joe was swept up by his new followers and crowd-surfed out the door and into his home, at least five hands were able to fit with ease on his forehead. Joe slept easy that night, dreaming of the better world he was sure to make. He awoke the next day to find he was right. Waiting for him outside his home was none other than the president of the United States, and with him, was Steve Jobs.
“We need your help,” said Steve and the president at the same time.
“Jinx you owe me a soda!”, hollered the president. Steve looked pretty pissed at this. He flicked off the president.
Joe looked on in awe, “Steven Jobs, aren’t you dead? And what do you need from a simple comedian like me?”
“Yes, I have passed on and am now a ghost, but I’ve come back to get your help in changing the world” spoke Steve.
“He’s an iGhost,” the president snickered, laughing hard at his own joke.
“Buzz off,” sneered Steve, rolling his eyes. Now addressing Joe, “We need you to come with us to the United Nations, so you can tell your paramount joke to the whole world.”
“Of course!” delighted Joe, and as soon as their talks ended they headed to the airport and then straight to the UN. Joe was so humbled by the presence of these two figureheads, and so charmed, they had only made a handful of jokes at the expense of his copious forehead.
The time flew by, and suddenly it seemed Joe was back again in the spotlight, only this time it was at a podium facing a crowd of hundreds of thousands and being broadcast into the homes of billions. This fueled Joe, as did the simultaneous slaps on the butt that the president and Steve Jobs gave him as he approached the podium. He began his speech again, and with equal results. The world collectively came together with rapturous celebration. Within the next week all war would cease, world peace reigned, and world hunger ended too. It was pretty great.
Before Joe left the stage, the president leaned in and grabbed the mic, “Hey, I bet this guy’s forehead could change 100 light bulbs easy!” Together the whole world pointed and laughed. It didn’t make any sense, but they laughed. The world can be cruel.