by | Nov 21, 2008 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

“And now, it’s time for our mystery guest. Would you enter and sign in please! . . . Dar-ry-l Ro-ger-s (applause) . . . welcome, Mr. Rogers.”


“OK, panel. You know the rules. You ask questions and try to guess what Mr. Rogers does for a living. Let’s start with you, Kitty.”

“Thank you very much. Mr. Rogers, is your job primarily animal or vegetable?”

“Well . . . we have some of each.”

“Are your animals fierce?”

“On their good days, yes.”

“And the vegetables?”

“That would be our punting team.”

“I beg your pardon?”


“Are you in the comedy field?” “On our field, we do comedy and tragedy.” “Hmm. Is your occupation ever dangerous?”

“Against certain defenses, it’s suicidal.”

“Defenses? So you do offensive work?”

“Some people find us very offensive.”

“I see. Is your organization well-known?”

“In certain places.”

“Would I have read about it lately?”

“Not unless you read the obituaries.”

“Sorry, Kitty. That’s a no. We’ll flip the card over and move along to Bill . . . ” They try to make contact “Now then, Mr. Rogers, judging by your silver-and-blue sweat suit, I’d say you were involved with a professional sports organization.”

“That’s what I keep telling myself.”

“This activity you engage in, would you call it a hard- contact sport?”

“The way we play it?”

“Well, I mean, is it something I could lose my life doing?”

“Only if you’re on our punting team.”

“Death by collision?”

“No. I might strangle you.”

“Sorry, Bill. That’s a no for you and that’s two down. We move on to the lovely Arlene.”

“Thank you. Mr. Rogers, you look like a sensitive, dedicated, sincere type of person.”


“Someone who believes hard work and mature effort will bring about good results.”


“Someone who respects the people he works with and believes that self-respect is the only way to achieve results.”

“Yes, yes, yes.”

“Therefore I would guess your organization has been very successful under your guidance.”

“Uh . . . “

“We’re going to have to call that a no, Arlene, and go to our last panelist. Soupy, it’s up to you.” The wrong neighborhood “Mister Rogers, first let me say how much I enjoy your TV show, where you come out and sing to the kids and take off your sweater, and I was wondering if you ever need a guest host or –.”

“Thank you. That’s somebody else.”

“Oh? Well. Sorry. Now, then. This sport, is there any special preparation?”

“We run, we lift weights, and we pray.”

“Is there a special diet?”

“Well, lately it’s been a lot of humble pie. Sometimes this dish called pride. Occasionally, we eat dust.”

“Do you use a ball?”

“Only when it’s absolutely necessary.”

“I’m afraid that’s a no, Soupy. And I’m afraid our guest has stumped you, panel –.”


“Sorry, but time is –.”


“No. I –.


“No, that’s not –.

“Panel, I’m flipping all the cards. Darryl is the coach of the Detroit Lions football club.”

“OOOH!” . . . “GREAT!” . . . “Who?”

“The head coach of the Detroit Lions.”

“Oh, yeah, I think I heard of him.” . . . “Who?” . . . “You big liar, you never heard of him.” . . . “Who are you calling a liar, mule-breath?” . . .
“MULE-BREATH?” . . . “percent$!*!#!” . . . “AYEE!”

“Tune in next week, folks, for another edition of ‘What’s My Line?’ “

“Hey. Can I ask a question?”

“Of course, Darryl.”

“Can any of these people punt?”


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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