Monday, September 16, 2013

How You doin'?

It has been said before but it still remains true that the question, "How you doin'? has a whole other meaning in the limits of Los Angeles County.  It is a signal to give "the one sentence" of your resumé. Typical conversation in said boundries:
"How you doin'?" 
"I just wrapped an episode of (fill in this blank with an impressive show/movie/ or series title - avoid saying Duck Dynasty-it has no cashe in LA.) with (in this blank say name of the star  in said series, movie or show even if you had no scenes with them nor ever met them on set)

Or if it has not been your year:
"How you doin'?" 
"My (pilot, screenplay, novel, career) is in turn around.  My (agent, lawyer, producer, network executive, business manager or ex-wife) screwed me."
The point is: In the Motion Picture & Television business "How you doin'?" is never a question about your health.

So when you go to the Motion Picture & Television Fund Hospital for a physical and the doctor asks,
"How you doin'?" ... An (actor, ventriloquist, writer) has a career flashback before the thought of health comes to mind. 
It is the way we have been trained here in Hollywood. Everyone you meet could be a possible acting job, so you want to get some credits out there quickly.  Just something we do like piggy back parking at the Hollywood bowl.  
Once there was an actress, whom will remain nameless, said, "How you doin'?"  to a fellow actor on the street.  The actor responded with "I'm doing a one man show.." 
To which the actress replied, "Is there a part in it for me?" 
And they do not make it easy to stop thinking about your career at the MPTF Hospital.  You check in at the Jack Skirball Center. You walk down the Jack Oakie hallway and turn at the Natilie Sheaffer wing. You get on the Lou Wasserman elevator and go to the Cary Grant waiting room. (look them up - they were all famous actors and producers once) 
In the waiting room  you are surrounded by black and white photos of celebrities and movie stars in their prime. There is a loop video on the television of Ronald Reagan as governor of the state of California flanked by 60's movie stars cutting the ribbon of the Skirballl Hospital more than forty years before.  It dawns on me that everyone in the pictures on the walls and video on the screen is dead. 
So.. Here I was just waiting... waiting to get my picture on the wall?
 I began to meditate on my career. The doctor was running late and I must have dosed for a while. Out of a dead sleep I hear someone say, "Jay" 
I jump awake and blurt out ,"Beavers and Ducks" as I stand.  An old man is standing and walks to the nurse. She says, "Jay?" The man says "Yes". She begins to escort him out of the room. I am trying to figure out if I am still dreaming and why I said...Beavers and ducks. 
The nurse says, "Jay Johnson?"  The old man is irritated at her and says "Yes... uh no.. my name is not Johnson."  I say to her "that is my name." She confirms this by verifying my birthdate.  The old man shoots me a look.  He thinks I have jumped ahead of him in line, but the room was empty when I arrived. He must have come in when I was asleep.  He is upset with me but he doesn't know why so he sits back down.  
I don a beautiful piece of wardrobe call an examination "robe"and sit on the table as instructed. The doctor enters, fires up a laptop and starts asking me health questions. I get prodded and stuck, measured and weighed.  There is a pause in the procedure and I hear a question I have already answered. The doctor catches the mistake and apologizes.  Says I am the 8th physical of the day. 
I say. "Wow you're busy." 
The doctor says, "Very busy... you're lucky I don't try to take a Pap smear." Ha Ha Ha Ha... 
It was a doctor joke that didn't seem so funny to me.  The exam was over rather quickly but I passed out when they took blood so it might have just seemed short to me.  
Before I left the Motion Picture & Television Fund Hospital, I went back to the Cary Grant waiting room and googled every celebrity who's picture was on the wall. There were a couple of questions I needed answered.  1) How did they die and  B) who was their doctor.

As you were,


P. Grecian said...

Beavers and Ducks was a vaudeville team that contributed money for the east wing, I think.

Dave Robison said...

"Beavers and ducks" sounds like a punchline to an unwritten joke about the mistaken pap smear