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Interview with Ellis Workman

Reprinted with kind permission from the Brass Informant.

We interviewed Ellis L. Workman, Inventor/Mentor of the beloved, revered and mostly plastic Hosaphone(tm). At BI (Brass Informant) we pride ourselves on our journalistic ethics which are beyond reproach. In keeping with our in-depth format, an unedited interview directly transcribed from our BI reporter's dictation device is published in its entirety. BI caught up with Mr. Workman at his home in the foothills of Minnesota.

Editor's note: This interview was originally conducted in the Esperanto-language. It was then translated to English for review and then back to Esperanto for editing, and then in English for final publication. The potential differences in the language between Esperanto and English created a finished product which was confusing. We attribute the major source of this problem in that Mr. Workman doesn't speak Esperanto nor did he ever claim to. This is our second attempt to interview Mr. Workman.

BI: Testing. Testing, one, two. I'm ringing the door bell at the home of Ellis Workman, inventor of the Hosaphone(tm). Put on my expense report that the taxi ride from the airport was $197.50, no tip and $6.27 for the drive-thru value meal and blueberry pie at...oh, hi, Mr. Workman?

ELW: Now just what do you think you are doing here on my porch talking into a tape recorder? Huh?

BI: I'm with BI, you know, Brass Informant, I'm here to interview you.

ELW: You again? Or should I say Vi ĉi tie denove?

BI: That's not really necessary, sorry for the whole Esperanto deal last time.

ELW: What? I can't hear you! You're going to have to speak up, my family and friends are trying out this new breakfast cereal and the crunching is deafening!

BI: MR. WORKMAN, I SAID I'M HERE TO INTERVIEW YOU!

ELW: Yes, of course. Come on in to my study and have a seat.

BI: Nice place you have here Mr. Workman. My...that's quite a generous slice of cherry cheesecake you have there.

ELW: What? The interview isn't enough, I have to feed you now too?

BI: Ah, no. I was just admiring it. It looks so tasty.

ELW: That's a clever take on the Hosaphone(tm) logo you have embossed on your shirt. Odd, I don't recall licensing that to a 3rd-party. Where did you get it?

BI: That's not a logo, its a stain. Blueberry Pie from the drive-thru.

ELW: Then let me say you most certainly wear your food well.

BI: So, this is where the magic all happens?

ELW: What are you referring to?

BI: This place, your villa here in Minnesota, where all the magic happens for the Hosaphone(tm) invention.

ELW: Inventions don't occur in a place, they occur in the mind.

BI: I was so hoping to be able to tell friends I was actually at the place of where the magic happens.

ELW: As I just mentioned that only occurs in my mind. Perhaps in a way, me just thinking about you, you can tell your friends that.

BI: Well, it's not really quite the same thing is it?

ELW: No, it isn't.

BI: How about I just tell them I was in the study with the man who made the magic happen for the invention of the Hosaphone(tm)?

ELW: You could do that, but you might as well say you were on the same planet too, since physical space has no real meaning.

BI: Hmmm, really, how so?

ELW: Are you going to interview me about the Hosaphone(tm), or are you trying to engage me in a long enough conversation that you will be invited for dinner and swim in the pool?

BI: You have a pool, wow.

ELW: I knew I should have asked for a consulting fee for this interview.

BI: I was hoping that I might catch Mr. Roth, the comp(h)oser here today.

ELW: So you think we all just live in one big playhouse someplace like The Monkees TV show or PeeWee's Playhouse or some sort of Reality TV show?

BI: Ah, well, yeah, I kinda of did, but it wasn't until you said that I now realized how silly that would be.

ELW: Oh, absolutely, Mr. Roth is a very serious minded man.

BI: But isn't that his brief case there?

ELW: You must be mistaken.

BI: But it says so right on it.

ELW: Many people can have the initials of "DAR".

BI: I know that, but its printed there right there on the side of it, "Mr. Roth's Briefcase".

ELW: Well, I suppose it is. But he's not here now.

BI: Was he here today?

ELW: Is this really important to know, he's just not here at the moment.

BI: You sound a little annoyed, did you have a confrontation about the matters of the post modern age while you feel the Hosaphone(tm) is leaning much more towards a pre-Apocalyptic importance?

ELW: No, not exactly. We were discussing, you know, straws.

BI: Oh, so you two had a disagreement about moving away from the clear plastic design on the Hosaphone(tm) in favor of the commonly found kitchen straws?

ELW: No, straws for milkshakes. Mr. Roth was having a milkshake and then complained that the straw wasn't thick enough because he was getting a face hernia trying to get the milkshake out of the straw.

BI: I believe you can tell the drive-thru person to mix those a little more thinly cause a thicker straw isn't going to...

ELW: ...yes, yes I know this! We just went through all this for like 20 minutes before I asked him to leave and go get a larger straw or a thinner shake but just fix the thing cause I had an interview today with you. I didn't want to listen to him slurp his shake in the background while he snickers at old ITG Journals only stopping to scream "hernia, hernia!" while clutching his chin, in between his usual episodes of ice cream headaches.

BI: Interesting.

ELW: Ah, you're not going to publish this are you?

BI: Publish what?

ELW: The part about Roth and the milkshake. Its off-the-record as you journalists say.

BI: Say no more, I'll take care of it. We pride ourselves on our journalistic ethics which are beyond reproach at BI. I'll edit this section out personally and destroy any notes pertaining to it.

ELW: Ah, I noticed your dictation's record light is on though.

BI: That's not the recording light, that is the battery indicator. But you have nothing to worry about, even if by some remote chance I was still recording the interview, the parts that are off-the-record would be edited out. Rest assured I pay great attention to such details.

ELW: Whew! I'm glad to hear that. I can't wait for this interview to be published, it will surely impress the local yahoos! Maybe then I can start acting like a real celeb around here.

BI: How's that?

ELW: You know, dress completely in black all the time. Become a vegetarian or maybe even a vegan. Order off the menu in restaurants. Constantly name-drop. Bore people with my devotion to yoga to prove I'm so superiorly health conscious while I sip 12-year old scotch. Proclaim my support for PETA by having a sponsor's logo stitched on a custom Gucci leather gig bag. Get an apartment in the City...

BI: What city?

ELW: You're interrupting! A pad with a modern minimalist décor with all white furniture, thus making the statement that all I really need is lots of mirrors and my large ego to survive. Answer my phone that I have a call on the other line promising to call back in 5 minutes but I never will.

BI: Sounds sweet. Oh, I didn't plan to ask you this, but I'm going to anyway. How do you respond with the increased attention you have gotten by being portrayed by fans as a romantic icon?

ELW: You're not getting the cheesecake. Just put it out of your mind.

BI: Why the Hosaphone(tm)?

ELW: Didn't you read the Hosaphone(tm) FAQ?

BI: Yes, of course, I was just seeking more.

ELW: Everything you need to know is in the Hosaphone(tm) FAQ.

BI: I want to know the real Ellis Workman. Some say he is a computer programmer. Some say he is an inventor, a mentor, a pre-Apocalyptic guru to the Hosaphone(tm). While others see him merely as a threat to an entire art performance authenticity movement. I want to get to know the man. At times we feel you are all these things and more. Tell us, Who is Mr. Workman?

ELW: That's me. I'm Mr. Workman. Is there some sort of confusion here? Your office did call me and I recall that we spoke over the phone to arrange time for this interview. See, right there on the calendar next to the window circled in red, "BI interview". Maybe you should check your calendar app and see if you are where you think you are.

BI: There has been so much talk about the so-called authenticity movement. I'd really like to get your insight on this. In my experience as a journalist, it is best to start with first things first. Let's start at the beginning.

ELW: OK.

BI: Where were you born?

ELW: Where was I born? Who gives a dusty tassel where I was born...shouldn't we be talking about the Hosaphone(tm)? I can see that CNN's Anderson Cooper doesn't have to worry about you stealing his job anytime soon.

BI: If you were a tree, would sort of tree would you be?

ELW: A birch tree.

BI: And why is that?

ELW: Because that's what is used to make birch root beer.

BI: What is the significance of root beer?

ELW: I like to drink it sometimes. It's best in a frosty mug. You can quote me on that.

BI: Looking through some old notes here...Isn't there a time where you struck Mr. Roth?

ELW: Ah, yes, but...this is off the record, right?

BI: Yes, of course.

ELW: Roth spilled some root beer on his sweatpants.

BI: So you just struck him?

ELW: You're interrupting! As I was saying, he has this thing about sweatpants. He wears them all the time. If you could have a suit made out of just sweatpants, he would have a few hanging in his closet. He was visiting, as I said, he spilled root beer on his sweatpants. He insisted they be washed right away. So I'm trying to get some work done, and here is Roth hanging around in my robe reading back issues of the ITG Journal and laughing to himself.

BI: What's so funny about the ITG Journal?

ELW: You're interrupting again.

BI: My apologies. Please continue.

ELW: So after Roth gets his sweatpants out of the dryer all toasty warm, he puts them on, and starts parading around babbling about how there must be something special in that natural-gas dryer of mine, cause he feels different. In his own words, he boldly announces "I have the strength of ten men!".

BI: He actually said that?

ELW: You're interrupting again!

BI: Then what happen?

ELW: He won't let me work until I take him up on his offer to punch him in the stomach as hard as I can, cause he said "I could take it easy. I've been doing sit-ups too." I was never going to get my work done, so I gave him a good hit to the stomach, as he requested.

BI: You must have hurt yourself, an extensive amount of sit-ups can really block a good punch.

ELW: You'd think, but Roth fell to the floor doubled-up.

BI: I guess he left after that?

ELW: No, not right away, after he got up, he realized that he then badly needed to wash his sweatpants again, so I was stuck with him for a little while longer. This is off the record, right?

BI: No problem, this conversation won't leave this room.

ELW: Good.

BI: What do you have to say about your detractors? How do you handle the dissent?

ELW: As you go through life, if you manage not to piss off anyone, it's because you simply aren't trying hard enough.

BI: That's a very good wise saying.

ELW: It is critical for someone of independent thought.

BI: Kind of like the saying, "A stitch in time saves nine", that sort of thing?

ELW: In case anyone asks you, witty banter isn't your strong suit.

BI: With numerous counter claims to your invention, how do you cope with those detractors?

ELW: I continue to draw a happy face with mustard in all my sandwiches.

BI: Does that help?

ELW: It doesn't hurt.