Monday, August 17, 2015


I can no longer use the phrase "Old friend of mine" here is why. It's confusing, if not insulting.  Some friends I have known for a very long time, others I have not known that long, they are just old.  I prefer to say "Friend of Mine" without a modifier.  The rest is Googleable information for those who need to know more.
So.. a Friend of Mine sent this on Facebook.  It reminds me of a story.

When I did SOAP Sandi and I didn't have kids.  When the boys were old enough to comprehend what I did for a living, any trace of my work on SOAP was stored away on Betamax tape in the closet.  Any reference to a career that took place before they were born, was just that, a vague reference to a historic event. 
One night when the boys were young teenagers, I woke up at 2:30am to sound of the television in the family room.  I stumbled out of bed and grabbed a terry cloth robe that was near and headed down the hall to investigate.  Occasionally one of the boys would fall asleep watching television and I assumed that is what happened this time.  
I enter the family room to see both boys wide awake comfortably watching TV way past curfews or common sense.
"What are you guys...." was as far as I got. Neither boy looked away from the big screen, but both together held up there hands and told me to hush up.
In that moment my Father gene took over. Not only are these two in trouble for staying up late, they are also about to be punished for blatant disrespect.
Before that can  happen I hear the voice of my wooden partner Bob, coming from the television. I look and there he is on television screen right next to where I am standing. On the television Bob and Chuck have just entered the family room of the Campbell house in matching terry cloth bath robes.  I am at that moment standing in a bath robe looking at my younger self in a bathrobe on television.  I am lost in a time warp.  I do not remember this SOAP scene nor what these characters are going to say next. I have a vague memory of the wardrobe Bob and I are wearing but nothing else. Those royal blue bath robes with the yellow collars, matching down to the shoes were etched in my brain.
At the commercial break both boys came out of their video trance and explained.  Comedy Central was broadcasting a SOAP marathon and although they had heard about the show all their lives they had never seen it.  
The Father in me wanted to say,  "Never mind that. You boys get to bed and learn to respect your Parents." But the actor/performer in me saw it differently. Since this was years before DVD's would make boxed sets of old television shows available, there was no other way to see SOAP at that time.  It felt to me like Comedy Central was providing a personal screening just for my boys. When would there ever come a time when they would binge watch a major event in my life?  
The commercial was over and their attention went back to the screen.  Standing there as an old specter of what this young actor on the screen has become, I said, "Enjoy" and went back to bed.  From then on every time I hear about a SOAP marathon I remember the faces of my boys and smile.
Thank you Suzanne for bringing back that memory.
As you were,


P. Grecian said...

I bought the boxed set a year or so ago and had my own marathon. I need to do that again. You made me laugh, Jay. You made me laugh a lot.
And the show itself was just brilliant.
And, of course, there was Becky.
Even before you were my friend, I watched your technique on that show when it was airing back in the day. You were (and are) so damn good.

Dan said...

That's a great story Jay.

Jeff Martin said...

You tell a great story! What a way to share it with your boys.

Tom Massey said...

I was watching "Soap" tonight, and looking up some of the actors. Your career and influence has been amazing. I was unaware. Your life story is inspiring. This entry is inspiring. Still, I had to get pretty far into your blog to reach an entry that doesn't scream "I hate Republicans". I've always believed that reasonable people can reach consensus, and your life story tells me that you must be a reasonable person. I am going to keep reading your blog for many weeks. I want to understand your viewpoint. I suspect there may be some distinct event or events that have created such hatred. Personally, I see the welfare state as having destroyed entire generations of people. Regardless, your life of expression and achievement speaks for itself. Cheers, Jay! Your work is immortal. You are the Bill Watterson of ventriloquism.