Five Random Things
1) I don’t drink coffee. Never have. (Well, okay. Once or twice in college, but I never, you know, inhaled.)
Tea, though. Tea is awesome. Lately, though, it’s nearly impossible to find a non-herbal tea in a restaurant that isn’t Earl Grey. I hate Earl Grey — oil of bergamot and I do not mix. My current favorite is #18 (Brahmin) by Steven Smith Teamaker—a Portland company!
2) My first job was at a hamburger stand in Disneyland.
I had to join the Hotel, Restaurant, and Bartenders union (Disneyland is a total union shop — or at least it was back in the early seventies). I worked there for about a year, and when I left, I was earning a whopping $1.71 per hour.
3) I once skated on the same ice as Tonya Harding. (She was just a trifle better than I was.)
Between the Nancy Kerrigan knee-bashing and the Jeff Gillooly hubcap-flinging incident, she coached briefly at the ice rink where our family was taking lessons. The rink was in the middle of a shopping mall, so the caliber of skaters wasn’t exactly Olympic quality. Watching her speed and power over the ice was pretty damned awe-inspiring. My daughter, who was in grade school at the time and in full drama princess mode, was impressed on her own behalf regarding Tonya. Who cared about Tonya’s skill? In skating network theory, by skating on the same ice, my daughter was only two degrees of separation from Michelle Kwan. Squeeee!
I started collecting books, pictures, even statuary, in high school after reading Harpo’s hilarious autobiography, Harpo Speaks. In those days, before cable and Netflix, it wasn’t easy to score a showing of a Marx Brothers movie—it was years before I finally saw Animal Crackers—but my friends and I managed. I remember standing in line for the bobsled ride at Disneyland, trading lines from one of Groucho’s scenes with Chico. Harpo was—and still is—my favorite, but it was difficult to trade any of his lines without a bicycle horn or a table over which to chase a convenient blonde.
5) In my first year as a theater administration graduate student at the Yale School of Drama, Glenn Close threatened to kill me.
It was in my first rotation, in the press office, and a second-year student and I were reviewing the proof sheets from the photo shoot for Uncle Vanya, in which Ms. Close was appearing as Yelena. This was before the release of The World According to Garp, her first big film, and she was known mainly for stage work. Ms. Close has a very forceful jaw—which I rather admire, actually—but in one of the shots, the photographer caught her at an awkward angle and she looked exactly like Ruth Buzzi’s Gladys Ormphby character. I showed it to Ms. Close — I thought she might be amused.
Not so much. Hence the death threat: “If you print that, I’ll kill you.”
Since I didn’t print the photo, I guess we’ll never know if she was serious.