by Ex Fabula blogger Stephanie Kilen

January’s Ex Fabula theme was “It Gets Better.” However, it may not get better than having your name drawn to tell a story on your birthday and then winning Audience Favorite. You’d have to ask Bob Murray who had the crowd laughing and gasping when he told of letting himself into the apartment he had recently moved out of to use the facilities in an “emergency.” The new tenants came in while Bob was in the bathroom, but with style and grace he got himself out of the strangers’ apartment and he assured us the date he was on got much better after that.

The theme was inspired by Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” Project which was created “to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years.” The evening started out with two stories from Jody Hirsh and Tim Clark that did just that.  Both men talked about how difficult it was for them personally to grow up gay in environments hostile to homosexuality. Their stories proved that it does in fact get better as times are changing, but also because they both have opportunity to help others going through similar situations. The packed house at Stonefly Brewery appreciated their sharing and the good fortune that their names were the first ones drawn from the hat, thus kicking off the evening in such an appropriate way.

Mike Johnson told how in 1985 he thought there must be something better than February in Wisconsin so he decided to move to Miami and live on a boat. But things got worse as his wife left, his business went south, his boat sank and he ended up living in his warehouse. And then, things did get better – he moved back to Wisconsin.

Many, many things are better than cleaning latrines. Bud Dombro shared this and some of the other horrors of serving in the army in Okinawa and the belief that it has to get better than that. Things got better for Brooke Maroldi when a “skinny, little Hoboken cop gave [her] a break when [she] really needed one.” Brooke got pulled over for running four red lights on the way home from her trial “that did not go well because [she] was guilty.” The cop gave her a warning, some coffee and his handkerchief for the “torrent of tears, mucus and drool that came out of [her] face.”

Conn Hagen told of a comedy of errors that occurred when he returned to his car to find it had been running for an hour and 50 minutes while he was taking an exam at MATC. The keys were locked in it, and getting out of the situation was no small feat. But, of course, it got better – he got an A on the exam!

As proved by the crowd that came out on a snowy night, Upper Midwesterners can handle their snow. Jean-Andrew told a story of visiting friends in Washington D.C. where they are not as good about it. After witnessing folks afraid to leave their houses and preparing for Armageddon when a snow storm hit D.C., she returned to Upper Michigan having its own storm and found “even if the whole world closed down for a glacial age, there would still be school in Upper Michigan.”

Dana Lovrek finished out the night with the story of a family vacation that got better, only after she and her sister were sent down the Colorado River on blow up kayaks, missed the meet-up down the river with their parents and had to cross lanes of highway traffic carrying the kayaks over their heads.

Sad you missed these great stories in person? There’s another chance to experience the Ex Fabula magic, February 15 at the Bay View Brew Haus. The theme is “Valentine/Anti-Valentine”, so be there by 7:45 to put your name in the hat for a chance to tell a story![slideshow]