Monty Python, for the record | AspenTimes.com

Monty Python, for the record

Barry Smith

It’s been almost a year now since I retired from my part-time job as an AV Guy in order to pursue a career as a full time non-AV-Guy. So far things are working out, though I do find myself wearing a small flashlight on my belt from time to time for no obvious reason.When I think back on my 10-plus year career as an AV Guy, I’m surprised that I lasted so long, due to my lack of things like skill and professionalism.One particular example comes to mind, from not nearly as long ago in my career as I’d wish.It was a simple gig – I was in charge of the audio portion of a medical conference. Generally I don’t understand a word that’s being said at these conferences, as it’s all “atrial fibrillation” and “bezate coagulates” and such. But one speaker was discussing ways to make even more money from your medical practice, so he used words I understood, like “repeat customers” and “yacht.” He was one of those motivational speaker-type guys, the type I secretly aspire to be; charismatic, witty and comfortable in front of an audience. At one point the guy says – and I’ll admit to not knowing the context, as I wasn’t paying much attention up to this point – “It’s like John Cleese said in ‘The Holy Grail’: ‘I’ve run rings ’round you logically.'”OK, so this may not mean that much to you, but you have to understand that this was the most exciting thing that happened to me all day, possibly all week. What the guy was doing was quoting the film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Or, more specifically, ATTEMPTING to quote that film. He was close – his “run rings…” quote was a Monty Python quote – but it was not from the Holy Grail film.OK, look, it’s not like I go to fan conventions dressed like a lumberjack or anything. I just happen to really like Monty Python, so I know this stuff. And yes, I realize that others don’t take these things as seriously as I do, and that if they misquote them it isn’t out of malice. I can let these things slide. Because I have learned to take deep, professional breaths.After his talk, I was helping the guy pack his stuff up for the day. “That Holy Grail quote really went over their heads,” the guy said to me. “Let it go, Barry,” said the voice in my head, the voice of Maturity and Professionalism. “Just let this one go.””Shhhhh,” I said to the voice.”That, uh, wasn’t actually from the Holy Grail,” I said, tightly wrapping a cable.”Yes it was.””No, it wasn’t,” I said to the speaker. “It was from their Flying Circus TV series.”Again, this is nothing I’m proud of, but I just happen to know the exact sketch that line came from, and I felt, despite what that pesky voice of Professionalism told me, that it was my duty to set this guy straight. Besides, he started it.”No it isn’t,” he said.”Yes, it is,” I replied. “It’s from the ‘Penguin on the Telly’ sketch.””No, it isn’t,” the guy said. And he left for the day.I went home – no, I RACED home – and did a little bit of Internet research. The next morning I handed the Python-misquoting speaker a plain folder.”What’s this?””Oh, nothing,” I said, pretending to busy myself with some duct tape. “Just a copy of the ‘Penguin on the Telly,’ sketch with the quote in question highlighted in yellow.””Hmmm. Well, I guess I was wrong, then. Could you help me put this lapel mic on?””You’ll see that I’ve also printed out selected parts of the ‘Holy Grail’ final shooting script, specifically the scene where you think that quote came from. Notice the lack of highlighted text in that section? That’s because the quote isn’t there.””Interesting. So, the microphone …””AND, you’ll see that I did a search for the string ‘run+rings+logically’ in all Monty Python printed and performed material, and have included the results on the last page. You were way off, basically.””Do you have a supervisor I could talk to, maybe?””Yep,” I said, handing him the company business card. “In fact, I’ve already told him to expect your call.”Barry Smith’s column appears on Mondays. He is currently in Vancouver, B.C. sharing his experience as a Jesus freak with Canadians at a performing arts festival. He can be reached at barry@irrelativity.com