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Norm Peterson Makes Last Call

February 16, 2012

Norm

(Here is another installment from my series TV Character Obituaries.)

 

WEST PALM BEACH, FL – Norm Peterson, weight loss guru and former barfly at some Boston hole-in-the-wall called Cheers, died on Saturday as an indirect result of his having dropped 160 pounds over the last seven years.  On the night before his demise, he taped an infomercial pitching his revolutionary technique to remove fat and keep it stored in an over-sized Igloo container to be used later as paint-remover. The Peterson Protocol, as the plan was dubbed by a marketing executive whose real job is working as a consultant for a ma and pa hardware store, consisted of a steady diet of peanut butter and canned peaches to go with an exercise program of wrestling toothless alligators in the nude, with the alligator being dressed in up-scale casual attire. Norm had been fat for so long and then had shed the poundage so fast that some of his skin hung off his bones like the melting clocks draping over tree branches in a Dali painting. It was one such skin flap on his forearm that, the next morning, got caught in a wood-chipper and led to Peterson bleeding to death.

Norm’s real first name was Hillary. His father was a big Johnny Cash fan, in particular of the song A Boy Named Sue. Peterson senior thought that if he gave his son a girl’s name, then it would follow that, as in the ballad, the boy would have no choice but to be a fighter, a tough guy. He also reasoned that the “man” in “Norman” would negate the “fairy” in “Hillary.” The reality was that it led to obesity and alcoholism, with a weakness for collecting “I Like Ike” pins.

He moved to Boston to be an accountant, a barfly and an imaginary husband to Vera. He viewed the world as a dark, sinister place, as evidenced by his many aphorisms when entering Cheers. When asked how life was treating him, Norm replied, “Like he caught me sleeping with his wife.” Another time he told the bar that “it’s a dog-eat-dog world, and I’m wearing Milk Bone underwear.” At the time, he was a half-empty glass kind of guy who always wanted his beer topped off.

He often bemoaned his wife, Vera, to the other patrons of Cheers, though they only got to meet the missus one time, and that woman was an impersonator hired by Norm to squash rumors that he was a closet Jesuit priest. The real truth was that Vera was a ghost that haunted his apartment, and so became his common-law wife. They relied on dirty talk and masturbation to consummate the marriage.

In the end, Norm could not suppress his inner Hillary, as he went on to become a well regarded interior designer. The next logical step was to be the heir to Richard Simmons. He relocated to West Palm Beach to eat peanut butter and canned peaches, and to dress up toothless alligators in TV executive clothing. However, there was the problem of transferring his poltergeist wife, Vera, from out of her spirit prison in Boston, but that was solved by hiring the up-and-coming Ghost Whisperer, Jennifer Hewitt Love, to work out the shady logistics.

Now Hillary Norman Peterson is a ghost, too. It is reported that he and Vera will retire to a creepy broken down mansion in Amityville.

(Check out my website: http://www.authorjamesfjohnson.com)

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