An assignment came across the wires from ChicagoNow this morning. “Write about an inanimate object you have a strong attachment to.”
Ha! I don’t really form attachments to inanimate objects … well, maybe there is one. Roseanne’s pumpkin seeds and wristband. I’ve had them since 1993.
But first I had to find them. They were somewhere in back of this.
I know. I was aghast, too. That’s quite a hoard of books and that’s just a drop in the booket.
It’s possible I’m attached to a few inanimate objects.
In July 1993, I’d just graduated from law school and completed the bar. I went to visit my brother in L.A. I’d never been to California and after three years of dealing with craven law students and bell curves, I needed sun and a silver Thunderbird. I didn’t actually know I needed the Thunderbird until Hertz sua sponte upgraded me from a Tempo which is the only good thing that ever happened between me and a car rental company.
Sua sponte is Latin for “of its own volition” and is one of the two things I remember from law school, the other being that Nabisco stands for National Biscuit Company.
My brother had a friend who was a writer on the Roseanne show. I’m blessed with thoughtful siblings and he knew I loved Roseanne Barr and also that I was half out of my mind with the lingering heaviness of contracts, torts and laws of poopootyity. Like I said, my memory of all that is dwindling.
I had instructions to drive to Studio City, where if the silver Thunderbird wasn’t enough in itself to get me through the gates, the guard would have my name. I was directed to a parking space, but as often happens when it comes to parking lots, I became disoriented and couldn’t find the entrance to the studio.
The only possibility was a narrow door with a light above it. The light was on and I can’t remember if it said, “Recording” or “Filming” or “Halt! You, idiot!” I had enough sense to wait until it was off, turned the handle and found that I’d materialized in the middle of the Conners’ living room.
A wild-eyed man ran by me, screaming “What happened to Tom’s food?!!! I need Tom’s food!!!” (This was in the Tom Arnold era.)
I wandered through Roseanne’s living room, now more disoriented than ever when a sweet looking guy saw me and took pity.
“Are you lost?”
“Yes. I’m not sure why I’m in the Conners’ living room.”
“Are you hungry?”
(I apparently looked very lost.)
“I’m in the living room, but I’m supposed to be in the audience.”
“It’s okay. You have time.”
He brought me over to the craft table, gave me a wrist band so I could at least pretend to look like I knew where I was and told me to choose anything on the table. I wanted something that I could hold onto forever. Also something that maybe one day I could plant and that would come up a princess carriage to remind me how lovely it was to be treated with such kindness and thoughtfulness after three years of jousting law students. And yes, law students do carry javelins and impale each other behind the stacks. It’s not a myth. And of course, to remind myself that I’d been in the living room of one of comedy’s most extraordinary goddesses.
I eventually did find my way to the audience. I have the pumpkin seeds and the wrist band close by to this day.
And really, how do inanimate objects become so beloved? They symbolize what is least inanimate, the people who made the object poignant in the first place. Yes, Roseanne, yes the sweet A.D. who didn’t kick me back out into the parking lot, but most of all, my wonderful, thoughtful brothers.