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Copyright 1995 Nat Gertler. For on-line reading from this site only. Reproduction or performance without prior written permission is a violation of applicable laws.

Talk show setup: 1 host, 4 guests.

TOM: Hello, and welcome to Great People of History. Today, we've got a heck of a panel, with some of the most powerful leaders of all time: Louis The Thirteenth, Catherine The Great, Ivan The Terrible, and Attilla The Hunn. We have brought this group together to address a puzzling question that has long faced mankind. Gentlemen, Lady, only you can tell us: What's it like to have the middle name "The"?

IVAN: It sucks.

TOM: Care to expand on that, Ivan?

IVAN: When you're a little kid, everyone makes fun of you. And even when you get grown up, nobody knows whether to say "thuh" or "thee". You'd think that my parents would've had a bad enough time with the last name "Terrible", but then they go and stick me with "The", it just stinks!

TOM: Anyone else? Attilla?

ATT: I'm with Ivan! I mean, it makes it sound like I'm the only hunn, and trust me, the other Hunns didn't like that one bit! I wouldn't have minded so much if it was Attilla A Hunn. Now that would've made sense. Plus, all the girls would've said "Attilla, You're such a Hunn!" I would've liked that!

LOU: I don't know how good that would really be. I was talking to Chester Arthur the other day...

CAT: Louie, do you mean Chester A. Arthur?

LOU: Yeah, that's the one. And he didn't like his name at all!

CAT: No wonder! It's not grammatically correct! He should have been Chester An Arthur. Now for me, the middle name was not a problem. I got it from my great great great grandfather, Alexander Great.

ATT: Alexander TheGreat?

CAT: Yeah, that's the one! Anyway, for me the real problem was the last name. It's hard to live up to a name like "Catherine The Great". Even when I'd get, like, a b-plus in school, the report card would say "Catherine did well, but failed to meet our expectations of her".

IVAN: I think your middle and last name make pretty good first and middle name. After all, look at The Great Gatsby, The Great Houdini...

LOU: The Great Gonzo.

IVAN: Who?

LOU: He's a friend of Kermit Frog.

ATT: Kermit The Frog?

LOU: Ah, you know him!

CAT: Frankly, I think that everyone bitching about the name "The" is just making a lot of noise. As my pal Winnie Pooh pointed out...

IVAN: Winnie The Pooh?

CAT: That's him. Anyway, Winnie pointed out how we all bitch about the middle name, but we all use it. None of us just use an initial.

IVAN: I never even thought of trying that. "Ivan T. Terrible". I like the sound of that!

ATT: It makes you sound like Tom Terrific!

TOM: What about you, Louie!

LOU: Me, I like my name fine. Besides, "The" is a middle name that runs in my family for generations. All of us have it as a middle name. It's no problem for me, but my sister June, she hates her name!

ATT: June the Thirteenth?

CAT: Ouch!

TOM: Well, that's all the time we have for today! Thank you all for coming. Next week, we'll be talking wtih General Douglas MacArthur, boy king Tutankhamen, Marie Curie, and Moses, as we try to find out why you can't find a really good egg cream in Los Angeles! Good night!

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