A chimney sweep is coming by on Saturday, and I will pester this poor man to death with questions. Is he only a chimney sweep, or does he have other jobs? Does he enjoy being a chimney sweep? (If his answer is, "It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it," I will giggle uproariously and we'll be best buds for life.) Is he ever asked to speak in an 'orrible Cockney accent like Dick Van Dyke? Ok, I guess three questions isn't totally pestering, but that Van Dyke query will lead to a number of sub-queries. If you think about it, Van Dyke's role in 'Mary Poppins' might be the single greatest example of a film completely defining everything that general society knows about a specific job. The only other example I can think of off the top of my head is Norman Bates and taxidermy, but that was really more of a hobby than a proper job. Fortunately there have been more hoteliers than just Bates portrayed on the big screen, so a generation of prospective hotel/motel employees didn't discern that the best way to run an establishment is to kill your guests.
Back to Bert, Van Dyke's chimney sweep/one-man band/kite-selling character. You've got to believe that he and Mary Poppins knocked boots in the past. He seemed like an affable enough chap, and Mary was 'practically perfect in every way,' so Bert had to have at least made a pass at her. C'mon, mid-1960's Julie Andrews was well worth the effort. Presumably his pick-up line was to draw a chalk outline of a bed, which then morphed into a real bed, followed by Bert saying, "Eh? Wot about a bit 'a slap 'n tickle, love?" Reason #814 why I should do a podcast: with vocals, I could easily get five minutes of material out of Bert's Cockney pillow talk, but it unfortunately isn't as funny translated to print. Even as I'm writing this, I'm laughing at the thought of Bert trying to talk dirty in that absurd accent, topped off with him shouting 'SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS!' as he climaxes.
(When tiny Scottish soccer team Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC upset Celtic in the Scottish Cup in 2000, the Sun's headline was "Super Caley go ballistic, Celtic are atrocious!" This gets my vote as greatest newspaper headline of all time.)
Perhaps the reason that I remember the Bert character so well after all these years is that he, like I, seem to be eternally stuck in the Friend Zone. Ah, the Friend Zone. So unfortunate. Surely there must be a way that I can turn platonic friendship to my benefit; if not an actual Friends With Benefits scenario, then financial benefit. Maybe I could become a matchmaker? Gentlemen reading this post, I know a wide variety of single, attractive, charming women who are desper...er, just waiting for the right man to come along. Pass along your information and I will check my extensive matchmaking database (a.k.a. my Facebook friends list) to find the right woman for you. If no such woman exists because you're a douchebag and/or otherwise wretched person, then I will awkwardly ignore your plea to be set up and pretend this post never existed. For legal purposes, I should note that in no way am I promising sex with any of my female friends, since that would make me a pimp, which is illegal outside of the rap world. I wonder if Bert, amongst his many jobs, ever took up pimping? "Quit yer complainin', love. Me friend Mary says that a spoonful of sugar makes medicine go down, so surely a bit 'a sugar will make that go down easier too."
Yikes, that's just dirty. Dirty like....a chimney. Annnnnnnnnd THAT's what we call tying the post together, folks.