Five Bowls of Oatmeal: An Unusual Review From The Most Unusual Man Ever To Live

November 22, 2011 | 826 Blog Post

As you (hopefully) heard, this past Thursday saw our second-annual festival of student-written, actor-acted one-act plays, Five Bowls of Oatmeal: THE RETURN OF OATMEAL. It was, not to put too fine a point on it, AN INCREDIBLE SUCCESS! We learned about zombies with a heart, traveled through the Upper Peninsula in search of oatmeal, and saw Chuck Norris sing Katy Perry’s “Firework” on American Idol. (Oh yeah, that last thing TOTALLY happened.) We heard Dave Eggers wax rhapsodic about the importance of writing and shook hands with some incredible playwrights both small (7 years old) and not-small (18).

Suffice to say, by Friday I, for one, was pretty worn out. When I came into the office that morning, I expected nothing but a quiet day of catching up on e-mails and washing out all those oatmeal bowls. So I was surprised and dismayed to find on my desk a snot-green envelope with a single, elegant toenail clipping placed upon it — what I knew could only be a note from our nefarious and highly bizarre publisher, Dr. Blotch.

(For the uninitiated: Dr. Blotch is responsible for many of our gorgeous student publications and we are so grateful THANK YOU DR BLOTCH IF YOU ARE READING THIS but he’s also weird and creepy. He has underground lairs in Pennsylvania and Estonia, is approximately 345 years old, and loves to eat boogers and cats. Insofar as he can ever love anything, which is not much. He also hates children above all and is convinced they all smell of diapers. Although none of us here at 826michigan have ever seen Dr. Blotch, we know to keep a secluded spot reserved for him at all our events or risk his wrath. He particularly loves (to hate) Mittenfest, so keep an eye out for him this year.

We’re also beginning to suspect that he may be a fan of The Phantom of the Opera.)

The note read:



You are all FIRED.

For being LYING LIARS.

I happened to be in the area last night visiting my new booger farm in Ypsilanti (which is coming along very nicely, although none of you rude lying liars ever asked) and decided to stop in to this “Five Bowls of Oatmeal” event you were making such an unseemly fuss about. I was disappointed and, quite frankly, ENRAGED.

826michigan, how many times must I tell you? You CANNOT persist in spreading this LIE that these plays were written by CHILDREN.

For one thing, I did not smell one SINGLE diaper in the entirety of Rackham Auditorium. Even if there were no children at the production, everyone knows that the stench of diapers clings to ANYTHING written by the horrid creatures.

Secondly, the plays were ENTIRELY too good to have been written by children! The muscles at the corners of my mouth twitched upwards SEVERAL times with what I suppose a coarse, foul person might call “happiness” or “laughter”? Do you have any idea how much that hurts? I particularly enjoyed the play “Zombie on the Couch”, about a zombie who wants to learn to live and love. Much like that zombie, I too am covered with oozing sores! Unfortunately, I found his desire for human connection to be utterly unrelatable and off-putting, but I could not deny that it was written particularly well. (AND THUS NOT BY A CHILD, TEENAGER, OR ANY KIND OF “YOUNG” “PERSON”. QED.)

Thirdly, although it hurts me deeply to praise you disappointing lying liars, I must say you did an excellent job constructing the small, child-like cyborgs that answered interview questions between presentations of the plays. Although they were obviously entirely too articulate, charming, and interesting to be actual CHILDREN, I did find the farce somewhat amusing. In a limited way.

TO ALL LYING LIARS AT 826MICHIGAN, give up the ghost! In all future presentations of one-act plays, you may NOT continue this deception that horrid diaper-beasts have had anything to do with anything of such high quality! Pursuant to your IMMEDIATE termination, I expect signed letters of apology FROM EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU in the vestibule of my Estonian lair TOMORROW.

Please also send your small companion mammals, for I am hungry.

Not yours,

Dr. Thaddeus Blotch, Esq.


Understandably, we all feel compelled to respond publicly to Dr. Blotch’s assertion that the plays at Five Bowls of Oatmeal were not, in fact, written by actual students aged 7-18. Sorry to continually disappoint you, Dr. Blotch, but these plays — in all their hilarious, insightful, poignant and zany glory — were ONE HUNDRED PERCENT student creations. And they were great.

(Public, don’t worry about us all being fired. It happens on a regular basis. I think Amy Sumerton in particular has been fired by Dr. Blotch exactly 1,476.2 times. Correct me if I’m wrong, Amy.)

Thank you to The Penny Seats Theater Company for acting out our students’ words! To our sponsors University of Michigan MFA Program in Creative Writing, Sava’s, Kroger, and Ann Arbor State Bank! To the inimitable Dave Eggers and Joe Horton! To photographer Nick Azzaro ! To volunteers Carolyn Racine, Chantay Woods, David Tumbarello, Elizabeth Mikesch, Quinn Strassel, and Becky Welzenbach! To playwrights Matthew, Susan, Emma, Hanel, Derek, Adomino, Walter, Celia, Alex, Ben P, Ben J, Brian, and Ishaan! And to everybody who turned out to help us celebrate them!

And to Dr. Blotch: NEENER NEENER.

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