Most of you have probably heard of Merlin the great wizard who once tutored King Arthur of Camelot. But, I bet you didn’t know Merlins real name was actually, Marvin Popplebottom. It’s true, of course, all that was back when Marvin was still working at a Denny’s in Hoboken, New Jersey — where he’d worked as a dishwasher in training for nearly 58 years.
As big a story as that might be, though, it pales in comparison to the story of how Merlin (first known as, Marvin) came to be in King Arthur’s court. That ones a real doozy!
Stardate 3364.12, the evening Marvin arrived home after watching the latest Rocky sequel — Rocky CVIII — down at the local cinema. He walked in, flipped on “60 Minutes” just in time to catch the breaking news about ‘The Borg” (Earth’s greatest menace), having just launched a full-scale Thermonuclear attack on earth and all its inhabitants. Yes, our planet’s imminent destruction was only minutes away.
Now history tells us, Merlin, lived in reverse. In other words, he arrived in Camelot having come from the future. But how? Well, that calls for a little back-story.
Marvin (in need of some wheels), had recently gone down to the local CARFAX in search of a used motorized wheelchair. The dealer escorted Marvin to the backlot where, sitting under a tarp, was this odd-looking machine.
The dealer — believing Marvin to be a real pigeon — immediately launched into his sales pitch, telling Marvin that the vehicle before him was the last known prototype of H. G Wells time machine, and as luck would have it, that he (the dealer) had been unable to sell it because — it came with no wheels!
Now, unbeknownst to the dealer, Marvin (an avid H.G. Wells fan) instantly recognized the time machine as being the real deal and offered the dealer his last $84 dollars, all he had left in his pocket. With tax and licensing it came in at a little under $87 and 12 cents — $86 and 10 cents to be precise. Marvin, went home, broke into his piggy bank, and returned to the dealership with the balance.
Both men shook hands on the deal and the time machine was delivered to Marvin’s basement later that afternoon where it sat waiting for just the right moment for Marvin to give it a try.
Well, upon hearing that The Borg were about to annihilate earth and all its inhabitants, Marvin — having become a recent convert to the idea that ones future might lie in the past — felt the moment to test that idea (and his time machine) had suddenly arrived.
With only minutes to spare, Marvin raced down to the courthouse and had his name legally changed to Merlin the Magician. No one really knows why —not even this writer.
Then donning some vacation attire, he quickly took a correspondance course in magic from the director of the Magic Castle — Neal Patrick Harris — before leaping into his time machine and pulling back the throttle only to be sent skidding into the past at a breakneck speed — without his time machine.
Not exactly what he was expecting, but effectively escaping earth just as it was being obliterated.
Probably the best $86.10 anyone ever spent.
Now traveling backwards in time, Marvin began absorbing all the accumulated knowlege of man, along with many of the advancements throughout the centuries.
For example; he learned what kind of berries and mushrooms not to eat by watching other dummies keel over and die after randomly sampling a few of the wrong kind — and without there ever having consulted the Food and Drug Administration to see if they were safe to eat in the first place.
He also discovered how two-ply toilet tissue always felt infinitly better to that of being squirted on the backside with water from a little fountain inside a Bidet.
Naturally, this sort of knowledge helped Merlin win over King Arthur shortly after he slid into Camelot.
There was nothing Merlin couldn’t accomplish. Turn Arthur into other animals to learn how they think? No problem. Better another upstart wizard in a duel? Done! Merlin could even wash dishes with just a wave of his wand — not that he needed a wand since he already had 58 years of experience.
Those living in the dark ages … never stood a chance. Until, that incident with the convertible.
What convertible, you ask? The one Arthur’s next door neighbor, Sir Gwain, had sitting in his driveway. It was a bright red Farrari Portofino with black leather interior. No one knows how, or where he got it, but there were rumors that a mysterious Lady of the Lake might have had something to do with it.
Arthur wanted that car. But, being that it was already regestered to Sir Gwain (and not for sale) Arthur went to Merlin instead.
Arthur said to Merlin, “Make me a convertible like Sir Gwain’s.” To which, Merlin replied, “Horsefeathers.” Arthur, perturbed at Merlin, then asked “What do you mean saying ‘horsefeathers’ to me? I’m the king!”
Merlin went on to explain that he would need a few horsefeathers in order to accomplish Arthur’s request.
So, the next day, Arthur returned with a few horsefeathers with Merlin performing some kind of incantation and … POOF!
Arthur became a convertible —complete with four wheel drive!
“What have you done?” said the king, now a bright red Farrari.
“I turned you into a convertible just like you asked.” replied the befuddled wizard.
Well, the next thing you know, Merlin was hauled into King Arthur’s Court and put on trial for performing witchcraft — but without a license.
Under cross examination Merlin lost it and finally had had enough. Forgetting himself, and viewing the whole mess as a pit stop gone wrong, Merlin stood up and screamed that famous quote from the Disney film “The Sword in the Stone”…
“Well, blow me to Bermuda!” Only, he had forgotten there was no Bermuda to be blown too.
Anyway, god only knows where he went. But … at least Merlin (Marvin) could say that he had his day in court.
Uh … King Arthur’s Court.
And that’s how Merlin found himself in the court of King Arthur.