UNPOPULAR POSITIONS (a play in one page)
BY PAUL HAGEN
(Lights up on a EZEKIEL, a confirmed bachelor sportring a smoking jacket and a pencil-thin mustache, sitting in a red leather club chair in front of a roaring fireplace set into a wall full of taxidermied animal heads. In his lap, he aggressively handles a — living — fluffy white cat.)
I do prefer espousing an unpopular position.
When everybody hails the new, that’s when I cheer tradition.
When talk turns to conservatism, I lurch to the left.
When everybody’s laughing, that’s my time to act bereft.
If someone brings up fashion, I can only talk of sport.
In gatherings of deadbeat dads, I bring up child support.
I’ll go to Sunday services, declaring myself a Wiccan.
And always swerve well in advance in every game of chicken.
When I attend White Party, I wear red — and I wear black.
I buy clothes, leave the tags on, wear them and I bring them back.
I go to safe sex rallies advocating for barebacking;
At cyberterrorism conferences, I go hacking.
And outside synagogues, I get defensive about Gaza.
To guests at the Four Seasons, I say: “Shame you missed The Plaza.”
At AA meetings, I show up and bring a box of wine.
To friends who’ve renovated, I suggest a redesign.
And if you ask, “Does this make me look fat?” The answer’s yes.
And if you ask “Remember when we met?” Won’t even guess!
The recently engaged get diatribes about divorce.
And those who’ve cooked me dinner heard critiques of every course.
The recently impregnated? I’ll push ‘em down the stairs.
And if you’re passionate about a cause, my answer is: Who cares?
If you’re sad someone’s passed, I’ll say we’re better off without her!
And if you’re sure of something, I’m its pre-eminent doubter.
You see — it doesn’t really matter what I think or feel.
Just being constantly contrary is, to me, more real.
Dependably, I’ll say the things nobody wants to hear.
Yes truly I, for others, am a kind of funhouse mirror:
Reflecting back their fears, their enemies, and their afflictions.
Oh, no, it’s not a quiet life — but rich with contradictions.
So come on! Step up! Who’ll be next to offer competition,
And tangle with a truly diametric opposition?
(EZEKIEL stands and hurls the cat into the fire, then removes his smoking jacket to reveal that he’s wearing a PETA t-shirt. He strides confidently offstage. End of play.)