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Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.

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November 6, 2003 |

Dear Mr. Keillor,
My wife has been your #1 fan for 20 years so when we heard you're coming to our hometown, Charlottesville, VA, I thought I'd get tickets for my wife's birthday, which is next week, and when the tickets went on sale, I was ready with a computer keyboard in front of me and a phone in each hand. At two minutes before noon, when tickets went on sale, I began furiously punching the phone buttons, whacking away at the keyboard. I'm an Army vet and I've been fired on before and not had this kind of pressure! But it was all to no avail. The phone lines stayed busy, and I could never get access to the website. The 3 tickets I needed went to someone with faster fingers than mine. What pointers could you give for success at this point?

Dear Matt,
I know nothing about how to get tickets to shows and my feeling is that any show that is this hard to get into is bound to be a big disappointment. That's my philosophy. If you have to scheme your way in and fight a crush of other ticket-seekers, then chances are you and your wife will turn to each other, sitting in row 85, at intermission and say, "Why didn't we stay home?" Home is comfortable and you can fix yourself something nice to eat, like a plate of ribs and a glass of iced tea and a salad with Roquefort cheese and slices of pear and arugula and maybe tomatoes, and you can adjust the volume on the radio, depending on your mood. You can slip away to the toilet. You can doze off and even drool and not worry what anybody thinks. And best of all, you're able to preserve your illusions about the show and about the host and think of him as elegant and beautifully coiffed and not the lumbering galoot you see all too plainly on stage. That's my advice. If you really want to be there, I'll get you in, Matt—we have a Veterans Whose Wives Have Birthdays program at PHC, which is funded by the Patriot Act, and probably you'd qualify, but think it over, pal. I'm older than you and I know more.

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