Don’t Call Me Ishmael


Michael Gerard Bauer

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Don’t Call Me Ishmael: Chapter 30 Summary & Analysis

Ishmael knows the first sentence of his speech by heart, though his knees are knocking together and it’s very distracting. Hopefully he can make real words come out of his mouth. He says that his team will prove—but then he fumbles and comes out with “the private parts of public figures should be made public.” Ishmael can’t figure out why Razza looks like he’s dying and the girls on the other team are choking on water. They’re obviously not taking this seriously.
Because he’s so frightened, Ishmael doesn’t get his first sentence out right—and his nervousness also means he doesn’t know that he misspoke. But Ishmael is doing everything he knows how to conquer his fears and support his team, which is why he’s so annoyed when nobody seems to be taking him seriously.
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Ishmael shifts his weight before he continues, and something hard jabs him on the inner thigh. He reaches for the front of his shorts, and then realizes that everyone is staring at his groin. Ishmael says he’d like to rebut several of the other team’s points. He insists people in the magazine industry would be out of jobs if public figures had privacy. Then, he turns to his cards—which are all written by Scobie and Razza. Bill’s cards, with the prepared speech, are on the floor under Ishmael’s chair.
It makes things even worse when Ishmael discovers he doesn’t have the appropriate cards. Now he doesn’t even have the option to just read from the cards and not look at anyone, which further increases the sense that Ishmael is totally alone in this moment.
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As Ishmael tries to decide if he’ll lose points for crawling under the desk to get his speech, whatever is in his pants starts to slip. Ishmael crosses his legs to try to stop it—but despite his best efforts, something falls out of his pants. As everyone stares, Ishmael tries to pretend that peg person Ringo Starr didn’t just fall out of his pants.
Recall that Prue made this peg person. So Ringo’s appearance from Ishmael’s pant leg isn’t just humiliating. It also makes it seem like Ishmael is never going to be able to get out of his sister’s shadow—even when he’s on stage, doing his own thing.
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