It happened again this morning. The first time in a while, but I could pretty much predict the reactions. They go something like this:
First phase – the people don’t seem to notice me. Then they turn around all of a sudden, almost irritated, as though I’ve grabbed them by the shoulder and said, “Hey, you.” What they’re thinking is obvious. I mean, they might as yell out, “I know you.”
Second phase – they stare at me and, after a second or two, through me as they try to pinpoint an old, slippery memory. I understand why it takes them a minute, though, and have to cut them some slack. What they’re trying to remember happened over twenty-five years ago, overshadowed now by grunge and O.J., Y2K and 9/11. They focus again and say something along the lines of: “You were in Sunset Stripped!”
Third phase – if possible, they look at me even more closely when I admit that, yeah, I was Lieutenant Nick Rusco on the series. It’s a penetrating look, comparing my thickened body to the muscled, tanned cop who used to slide over car hoods and crash out of windows, arms and legs flailing, when he chased after the bad guys. Some of these fans (I guess they’re fans, even though they never seem to know my real name) laugh about the crazy mullet I used to have. But that’s only when I wear my Dodgers cap. If I don’t have it on, they never mention hair, except for that one dude who just shouted, almost as if he couldn’t help himself, “Oooo-ee, you as bald as an egg, man!” When I told this to Linda, she laughed quietly and kissed my bare scalp. I love the feeling of her lips against my skin.
So my looks aren’t up to Nick Rusco’s standards anymore. More like David Crosby’s, probably. Sometimes I even say to the mirror, “What the hell happened to you?”
But I don’t find any of this to be a disaster, to be honest. Maybe if I had wanted the recognition from the beginning, if I had gone looking for the People’s Choice Award or the TV Guide cover, I would have been torn up about the series being cancelled after only two years and the dwindling interest afterwards. I might have even shown up in a tabloid or Celebrity Rehab or something. But, luckily, I had a hobby. I just started playing with PCs again, the way I would have all along if the producer hadn’t spotted me at the technical school. I’ve always loved PCs, even back in the day when they were so sluggish and big and ugly. And then, of course, I met Linda.
She’s doing better with the remission and all. Luckily, because of the Sunset Stripped royalties and my little IT business, I have plenty to pay for her care and make her as comfortable as possible. Lately, when she pulls her own Dodgers cap low over her forehead, I sneak up behind her and yank it off. “Oooo-ee,” I say, gently kissing the top of her head. “You as bald as an egg, baby, and I just love it.”
Blog Copyright: MyFreeCopyright.com