Prayer
Saturday, June 22, 2002
Listen


(GK: Garrison Keillor; SS: Sue Scott; TR: Tim Russell; FN: Fred Newman)

GK: The past twenty years have brought such great technological advances ---- fax machines (FAX) and e-mail (FN: You have mail!) and portable sound systems (BOOMBOX). And the computerized sailboat-----

(GULLS. CREAK OF RIGGING)

TR (OLD SALT): Aye, sailing's a breeze with this Cyber Sailboat. Just slip the floppy into the hard drive and press Control S and the onboard computer does the rest.

FN (SALT): That she does, captain.

TR (OLD SALT): Computer raises and lowers sail, steers, does everything that needs to be done, and me 'n my good mate here, we just stand on deck in our sailor whites and keep a good sharp crease in our pants and a shine on our shoes.

FN (SALT): That we do, captain.

TR: Open up that bottle of grog, Mate.

FN: Aye aye, sir.

TR: And stand by to program the spinnaker.

FN: The what, sir?

TR: The big sail up front. The triangle-shapey one.

FN: Aye aye, sir.

TR: Press Control S-P.

FN: Control S-P pressed, sir.

TR: Not so fast! Whoaaa! (HE LOSES BALANCE AND FALLS OVERBOARD. SPLASH.) (OFF) Help! Help! Man overboard!

FN: What do I do now, Captain?

TR: (FADING) Click on Save!

FN: (TO HIMSELF) Click on Save…..hmmmmm, where is that? Oh here it is. ---- Whoops. I clicked on Send, not Save. Oh boy. Save. Save. ----- ""You have performed an illegal operation…?" Oh boy. ---- WHERE'S THE MANUAL, CAPTAIN? ---- CAPTAIN? (WIND AND WAVES AND GULLS) Where's the darned manual? I thought it was down here---- (BIG BOAT HORN) Oh boy. What do I do now? (CRUNCH OF WOOD) Uh oh. Tiller just fell off. (BRIDGE)

GK: Sometimes technology gets away from us and we find ourselves at its mercy. When that happens, we may need to return to a pre-industrial survival technique called prayer. Fervent prayer.

FN: God help me!!!

GK: You can pray a digital prayer ----

FN: One-oh-one-one-oh-one-oh-oh-one-oh-one-one-one-oh-oh….)(ETC, FADE)

GK: But the old analog prayer seems to work just as well----

FN: Please! help!!! (BOAT HORN CLOSER)

GK: Sometimes a little confession helps----

FN: I know we haven't talked for awhile----

GK: A little praise----

FN: I know you can handle this one-

GK: A sense of resignation----

FN: But hey, whatever you want----

GK: And be specific about your needs.

FN: Don't let it hit me! (BIG BOAT HORN)

GK: And when it doesn't hit you, remember to say thanks.

FN: Hey. Preciate it.

GK: Prayer. We don't keep statistics on the results, but when you come right down to it, that's what people do when there's nothing to be done.

TR (TEEN): Thanks for letting me have the car, Mom. I'll be home by midnight. Don't wait up. (DOOR CLOSE)

SS: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name….. (DOOR OPEN)

TR (TEEN): Oh, and if Amber calls, tell her I'm on my way ---- I just have to stop and pick up some---- uh---- pick up some---- uh----- potato chips. Bye. (DOOR CLOSE)

SS: Oh Thou who didst create the fuel by which the internal combustion engine runs ---- and also the barley and the malt and the hops from which various beverages are made ---- O Thou giver of questionable things, be merciful, I pray Thee, O Most High, and watch over that 1998 Honda Civic, light blue, with the squeak ---- I hope it's not the brakes going out.

GK: Parenting. It begins with a P and that stands for Prayer. You got your Catholic prayer (RAPID CLICKING, MURMURING) and you got your Lutheran prayer (TR: Uh…….yeah…….just checkin in…….see how things are goin' up there. Not so bad down here. Could be worse.) and you got your Unitarian prayer (SS: O spirit of love that is out there….somewhere……I think----or in here ---- whatever) and you got your Baptist prayer (TR: Lord we do ask thee to come down and SMITE the evil-doers and POUR OUT YOUR WRATH on em, LORD) and you got your Jewish prayer (SS: Thank you for making Larry a doctor. Now find him a wife. And one from around here. Somebody I know.) and you got your atheist's prayer (TR: Even though you don't exist, I got something I want you to do for me.) and you got your mother's prayer (SS: Please let him marry and have children so that someday he'll know what I went through.) Prayer. It isn't stylish, it isn't cool, it isn't anything you try to succeed at, you don't get mileage for it, but---- it's always there when you need it.

QUARTET: AMEN CHORUS

© Garrison Keillor 2002

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

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