(of) a Grandfather
first thought upon hearing I was going to be a grandfather was,
"Wait, I'm 43, I'm not ready to wear sweaters and whittle."
I had made it pathetically clear to my kids that I had no desire
of entering grandparenthood until I was at least 50. Perhaps they'd
heard me groan and curse while doing yard work and just assumed
I was 83 years old.
oldest daughter was to blame. She went off to the U.S. Army and
came homepregnant, proving once again our soldiers aren't being
provided with enough body armor.
began to obsess about being a grandparent. Would I have to get a
hobby? Or a cat? Are grandparents allowed to have sex? And what's
the whole deal with wearing pants that don't fit?
I learned from other grandparents that it might be the greatest
scam ever. They get respect. False respect, perhaps, but still an
improvement over anything I've experienced. I began to embrace the
idea of being a grandfather, standing in the maternity ward, dispensing
butterscotch lifesavers and sage advice.
that's not exactly how it went down. I missed the birth of my grandson
because I was in bed with a woman who wasn't my wife.
and it was my wife's idea.
months earlier I had made an innocent remark that actors are crazy.
The problem is my wife, Cyndee, is a talent agent, meaning her clients
are actors. I'm a TV writer and producer, meaning I hire actors.
And in that instant I became the enemy.
decided I needed a taste of an actor's life, so she started submitting
me for auditions. I went out on commercials and discovered what
I already knew -- I had no desire to be an actor, and certain casting
directors don't recognize greatness when it's staring them in the
Cyndee got a call from America's Most Wanted, the long-running,
criminal-nabbing Fox show. Someone had seen my headshot and declared
me perfect to play a date rapist.
the morning of the shoot my daughter went into labor. So that was
it then, my leading man career was over before it even began. Or
so I thought.
saw me sitting on the sofa and asked, "What are you doing?"
I never know what I'm doing so I didn't understand the question.
Then she said, "You still have to go to the shoot."
believe it. My wife was telling me to miss the birth of my grandson.
This is the sort of thing that has kept men in trouble, and florists
in business, for centuries. Didn't she know this was my grandfather
reminded me that it would reflect poorly on her agency if I were
to bail out, and promised to call with labor updates. What could
I say? Well, I could have said a lot of things, but I'm really frightened
of Cyndee, so I decided to go.
at the America's Most Wanted, or AMW, production office.
The first thing I noticed about Michele, the actress I was going
to, well, you know, was that she was attractive. I know, how incredibly
shallow of me, why should her looks even matter? It could only mean
one thing -- I was beginning the transformation into actor.
has been featured on numerous episodes of AMW. Always a victim,
she's been drugged, shot, kidnapped and the victim of some sort
of fraud or identity theft, although I could tell she thought that
last one was beneath her. "Just once I'd love to play the criminal,"
she laughed, in a way that made me contemplate whether that's how
quickly and easily real criminals are born.
first bit of business was ordering lunch. Michelle ordered a tuna
wrap, then thought better of it. "I don't think it would be
a good idea to get tuna if I'm going to be raped," she said,
and I'm guessing it's the first time anyone has ever said that exact
pondering the menu when my wife called. "Don't order onions,"
Cyndee stressed, which is good advice from an agent, but just plain
weird coming from my wife. Why was she looking out for the woman
I would soon be on top of in bed? The only way I was going to have
fun with any of this was by thinking I was at least getting away
waiting for lunch, one of the producers nonchalantly inquired, "So
what kind of underwear are you wearing?" I wish I could say
this is the first time a guy has asked me this. I told him boxers;
he seemed pleased. Then he asked if I was okay without a shirt.
I gave an enthusiastic "sure." What I was really thinking
was whether I had time to run eight miles and do five hundred crunches.
producer added, "I'm going to show you how to take off your
shirt." Now I don't want to brag, but I've been taking off
my shirt on my own since I was nine years old.
producer sensed my confusion. "Trust me," he sighed, with
a weariness that is all too familiar with producers, "you take
off your shirt wrong and show too much armpit and the next thing
you know you're hearing about it from some woman in Iowa."
not the first time I've heard this. During my years in television
I've been told that I can't write this or can't have a character
do that because I'll offend some woman in Iowa. It's always Iowa.
What I want to know is who is this Iowan and why does she terrorize
are a lot of things you can't show," the producer fretted.
"In fact, I'm not sure about your boxers. I need to make a
didn't he like about my boxers? If I had to lose my boxers, then
Iowa women and everyone else might be seeing a lot more than my
wife called from the hospital. Through lousy cell phone reception
I heard, "Everything going
The connection went dead. I had no idea what was going on, whether
a birth had taken place, if I should be elated or concerned. The
best I could deduce from the cryptic message was if I had a grandson,
his name was not Orange.
producer returned from his phone call. "Okay, you can leave
your shirt on." I felt a rush of exhilaration. "But no
pants." Shirt but no pants? That's worse than anything. I might
be playing a date rapist who drugs and films his victim, but I certainly
didn't want to come off as too creepy.
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