The term “bro” probably has about six months of funny left in it, so here goes.
A Friday night on the Capitol Square in Madison. A 22-year-old, maybe a bro, maybe a barely-bro, in cargo shorts and a modest green T-shirt, walks up to two people sitting on a bench. He engages them a little indistinctly at first. He wants to talk. He is friendly. They jokingly ask him if he’ll sing a song.
He reels over to a nearby fountain fixture, dips his fingers in the water. He makes a stage of the street corner and bounds around on it a bit. Alcohol or acid keeps him from feeling at all embarrassed. He’s not exactly slurring, but he’s definitely living behind an invisible, wondrous wall of unknown chemistry.
“I know one song off the top of my head,” he announces. “Would you like to hear some Gene Wilder?”
Classy. Not “Would you like to hear some Willy Wonka?” Oh no, he means to channel gentle-eyed Gene himself. From the factory to this scenic little roost near the state Capitol. Oomp-bro Loomp-bro.
Not loudly, but with absolute purity of heart and face: “Come with me, and you’ll be / In a world of pure imagination…”
He sells this for a good couple of minutes, not at all shaken or offended that the two people he’s doing this especially for are helplessly cracking up. Someone walks by in a Brewers shirt. He sings something to them about the Brewers score.
A little more “pure imagination,” then he bounds off happily into the night. The bro who did not have to serenade anybody with Willy Wonka songs, did serenade two people with Willy Wonka songs. There was nothing in it for him. No tip, no sudden murderous rage upon his lulled new friends. A great omen, beautifully warped in its trip down to the living world.