Universal Oddities

June 6, 2002

Recently, I attended the rodeo with Natalie Portman. We came in separate cars, and she pretended not to know me. But we quickly connected over our common interests. She was interested in the rodeo, and I was interested in things she was interested in.

Suddenly, I realized I should be asking her lots of questions because she’s a movie star and that’s what they like more than anything else: strangers dressed in clown makeup asking them questions while they’re at the rodeo.

Unfortunately, girls hate me. Nevertheless, Natalie was wonderfully courteous in taking the time to allow for an interview. We stood, leaning over the railing, watching horses bounce by in epileptic fits.

Brother Jacques: So... I loved your work in The Fires of Detroit.

Natalie Portman: I was never in The Fires of Detroit. You must be thinking of Kermit the Frog.

Brother Jacques: Oh, right. Great movie. He really shined in that role.

Natalie Portman: Kermit’s a well seasoned actor.

Brother Jacques: You are an actress though, aren’t you?

Natalie Portman: Yes. But when I’m in front of a horse, it’s 100% “rodeo Natalie”. Now let me concentrate.


Brother Jacques: Hey, where were you born?

Natalie Portman: I was born and grew up in Togo.

Brother Jacques: Where is Togo anyway?

Natalie Portman: I don’t know.


Brother Jacques: Do you think you could lift a horse over your head?

Natalie Portman: Only if it was a very small horse.

Brother Jacques: Obviously... do you think you could lift a car over your head?

Natalie Portman: With mental powers or sheer physical strength?

Brother Jacques: Either.

Natalie Portman: No one can lift a car over their head with mental powers.

Brother Jacques: Abraham Lincoln could do it.

Natalie Portman: Yes, but Lincoln’s dead.

Brother Jacques: He was shot.

Natalie Portman: That’s what they want you to think.

Brother Jacques: Who?

Natalie Portman: The communists.

Brother Jacques: Are you telling me that that Abraham Lincoln could wrestle alligators in Jell-O and that he was really crushed by a car he was trying to levitate?

Natalie Portman: Hey, I’m just pointing out the facts.

Of course! Two cars! One German and one Austro-Hungarian!
In order for Lincoln’s brain to splatter as it did, he would have had to been trying to levitate two cars. One car from the upper balcony, and one from the Mezzanine.

Brother Jacques: So there must have been a second car all along!!!

Natalie Portman: Who are you anyway? FBI?

Brother Jacques: No. But I am just as qualified. I once tracked down a serial killer. It turns out he was killing people based on specific numerical patterns he derived from the marshmallow content of a box of Lucky Charms cereal.

Natalie Portman: Fascinating. But remember how we had that discussion about “rodeo Natalie”? Well “rodeo Natalie” is trying to concentrate.

Brother Jacques: Oh yeah, right, sorry about that...


Brother Jacques: So... been in any movies recently?

“Rodeo Natalie”: “Rodeo Natalie” doesn’t care much for movies.

Brother Jacques: What about regular Natalie?

Natalie Portman: Actually, I’m in the latest series of Star Wars movies.

Brother Jacques: You were amazing in them.

Natalie Portman: Have you seen them?

Brother Jacques: I’ve seen all of them. I love the one with the Tribbles.

Natalie Portman: That’s not Star Wars. You’re thinking of William Shatner’s novel Tekwar.

Brother Jacques: Really?

Natalie Portman: I helped write it. The concept of robots was my idea. Lucasfilm just swiped the notion and ran with it.

Brother Jacques: Wow.

“Rodeo Natalie”: Quiet! Spitfire’s coming out of the gate.

Brother Jacques: Wow. Is that a horse? I’ve never been to a rodeo before.

“Rodeo Natalie”: The rodeo is partitioned into a series of events. This portion of the rodeo is the one in which all the horses are classified according color and ice-cream flavor preference. It’s the contestant’s role to decide which horse belongs in which category.

Brother Jacques: Amazing. And what happens if they’re wrong?

“Rodeo Natalie”: Then they’re executed.

Brother Jacques: Sounds a bit harsh.

“Rodeo Natalie”: If they weren’t executed, they’d be torn apart by an angry mob after the rodeo anyway. It’s more humane this way. Torture is only allowed if the contestant chooses pistachio and the horse, in fact, prefers peach. Pistachio is always the wild card.


“Rodeo Natalie” (examining the horses as they dash by): Vanilla, vanilla, strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, vanilla-chocolate swirl, chocolate chip cookie dough, mint, vanilla frozen yogurt (actually, that’s considered a technical foul), and double chocolate. The next round is horse-dancing. But Wind Envelope has never been able to master the polka. After that, all the horses get together to act out scenes from The Diary of Anne Frank.

Brother Jacques: Really? That seems pretty powerful.

Natalie Portman: It’s a shame that people don’t give rodeo the respect and recognition it deserves as a serious art form.

[After a moving dance sequence and extended neighing of “The Impossible Dream (The Quest)” and various tunes from the musical Cats (done in a medley), Spitfire donned the role of Anne Frank. It was a surprisingly good rendition, which unfortunately fell a bit flat near the middle when Peter got bitten by the rat, but picked up dramatically toward the end. There were some extraordinarily graphic moments though, certainly not suitable for children. Finally, as Spitfire was marched off toward the gas chamber, the entire crowd fell silent. It took a few minutes before anyone was even willing to risk speech.]

Brother Jacques: What if the horse likes every flavor of ice-cream?

Natalie Portman: It could mean the end of rodeo as we know it.

Brother Jacques: What if the horse doesn’t like ice-cream at all?

Natalie Portman: Then may God have mercy on our souls.




Copyright © 2000-2002 Jacques. All rights reserved.