Full Disclosure: This posting is a replacement for a posting I was going to post, but decided instead to delete. The other one was too gloomy.
Sometimes, you can’t help that. Everything you write, or at least everything I write, or at least everything I write in a blog, is a direct reflection of your – my – inner…weather pattern. You feel gloomy, you write gloomy. But you duzzn’t has ta publish it. Who wants to read “gloomy”?
I choose instead to look out the window, on a mint perfect January day in Southern California. And to be reminded, of how, on many a similar sparkling January day not that long ago, I could be found, camped out on the steps of the Writers’ Building at The Mary Tyler Moore Company, dressed in a t-shirt, cut-off jeans shorts and sandals, armed with a ballpoint pen, yellow legal pad and a clipboard
…working on a script.
These were truly the most glorious days of them all. The days of wonder. (The days of younger.) The days of illusion. The days when a just-starting writer could feel blissfully content being exactly where he wanted to be – writing for the best show on television, and getting a tan in January.
The Mary Tyler Moore Company was industry-famous for insulating its “creatives” from the lacerating incursions of network interference, primarily through the crisis-deflecting auspices of company president, Grant Tinker.
Compounding this feeling of protection were my bosses, who restricted my activities to only what I enjoyed and was good at – writing scripts – free from the stress and messiness of temperamental actors and debilitating late nights.
No overwhelming pressure, no “crisis of the moment”-inducing stomach aches. I was the luckiest guy around. I just wrote, and went home.
Later, as my duties and my paycheck expanded – the former still unthreatening to my sensibilities, the latter barely noticeable on the budget – I giddily retained my excitement. On the occasions when I was required to attend runthroughs (rehearsals), while some writers would walk from the office to the (sound)stage, and others climbed into available golf carts, I alone
Would run down to the stage.
(Or at least as close to running as a non-running person can run.)
I could not wait to get down there.
When asked “How are you doing?”, my inevitable response was an irrepressible,
“Happy to be here.”
One of my bosses, seasoned and battle-scarred, seemed particularly offended by my Gomer Pyle-ish “Gawww-lee” enthusiasm, whining, whenever it flared up, ”Enough with the shitkicker routine!”
But I couldn’t turn it off. Because it was real.
Later, as a warm-up man, unpolished and entirely lacking in jokes, I faced an audience of strangers coming to see the show with nothing but my “happy to be here” mentality and made them happy to be there too. It was a powerful experience. The feeling was infectious. And the “carrier” was me.
As a chronicler, it is difficult to leave the story there, unturned and incomplete. But I think I will anyway.
It’s what I need today. And on this blog, if nowhere else, it’s not Tony Danza, and it’s not Judith Light.
On this blog, readers and commenters,
I’m the Boss.