Al Kammerer is the winner of the 2010 Willa Pilla Award, for “‘Bianchi’: That’s Italian for Little Tiny Bicycle Seat.” The Award was presented by Bob Thacker, the previous year’s recipient, who had encased the “pilla” in a ziplock bag due to fear of contagions.
The presentation of the Willa Pilla Award during the WLA Saturday business meeting is a favorite conference ritual. The Willa Pilla is awarded as way of acknowledging the long tradition of western humor and is given to the funniest paper delivered at the conference. The winner receives the ceremonial pillow (or pilla) and is crowned with the Willa Pilla Award Hat, both of which the winner is allowed to keep in his or her possession for a full year. At the conference the next year, the winner passes on the pilla and hat to the new awardee.
I’ve pasted in below several comments posted by Al since winning the award and about the pilla itself, which we are all happy to know, made it safely to Duluth (its new home for the year).
Al Kammerer reports:
The Willa Pilla, after a turbulent ride in the cargo hold, is safely in cold storage here in Duluth. Due to Bob Thacker’s qualms about micro and macro organisms accruing on or about the pillow, I’ve taken the liberty and considerable expense of placing it in a brand new zip lock bag and destroying the old one.
Let me say that there is nothing I wouldn’t do to fulfill my duties as this year’s recipient and reigning king of comedy in the west. I’m also willing to do nothing itself.
Even now, I’m planning a session on humor writing that could provide a springboard for not only discussion, but the lightening bolts of big laughs that all humorists should aim at, avoiding at all costs what Twain called the lighting bugs of “mere humorists.”
From David Cremean:
There is an amazing Willa story from the Pilla’s sojourn here to Spearfish, but I’m (mostly) hoarding it for this year’s presentation introduction of the award. A couple folk, such as Sabine and Dru, know the story. A tantalizing hint: It concerns a Black Willa spyder.
From Al Kammerer:
Now that it’s been revealed, teasingly, that the pilla may have the eggs or full embodiment of spiders, I am upgrading the pilla from regular strength zip lock to a heavy-duty, freezer grade one and removing it from under my pillow to an unatttached garage. With all due respect.
I will stand the considerable expense of this two way protection gladly due to my respect for this honor that can only be compared to the Fishnet Leg Lamp of Christmas Story which is available online, unlike the pilla, for 49.95.
I would ask that none of the elements of humor be moderated in my postings. The lightning bolt quality of the humor must be carefully preserved and protected from censorious moderators who would reduce my comments to the level decried by Twain as lightning bugs. Feel free, however, to place disclaimers before and after any and all offenses reasonable persons or committees might find that are against good taste or the common good. Any rebroadcast, however, is strictly prohibited without the expressed written consent of major league baseball.