Today we lost one of the greats. Johnny Carson was more then a comedian, an interviewer, and a celebrity. For many people, he was an inspiration.
When I was a small child, my parents were convinced that I was deathly afraid of the dark. That fact couldn't have been further from the truth, but I played it up to my advantage so that I could do one thing: Watch The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
You see, my parents had a TV in their bedroom. Every night the door would close for awhile (ewww), and I would patiently wait for it to open again so that I could go in there with my blanket and pillow and "sleep" on the floor.
"There's a monster in my closet!!!" I would demand. My Dad would always get up and check, showing me that there was in fact no monster in my closet. "He must be under the bed!!" No, no monster there.
Then I'd break out the batting eyelashes and a couple of tears if necessary. Yes, I was a manipulative little fuck.
He couldn't resist that, so they'd let me make a pallet on the floor. After a couple of weeks of this exercise, they just let me come in and sleep on their floor.
They'd fall asleep immediately. I'd creep to the TV and turn in to Channel 5, usually just in time for Johnny's monologue.
Probably not something a 5 year old should be watching, but as far as I can tell it didn't dement me too much. I'd lay there watching the celebrities and the skits and listen to the jokes. At 11:30 pm I'd creep back to my bed and go to sleep.
When I got to be about 7 I figured out I could just go in the family room and watch it as my parents for some odd reason were dead to the world at this time (double eww).
I would interview the neighborhood kids and write little skits for them to perform in. I would carry my tape player around and record their responses. I would do interviews from Niagara Falls (complete with toilet flushes) and other exotic locations.
My parents learned about my Johnny Carson obsession when I was in high school, when I finally came clean about what I was really afraid of at that tender young age: Missing the opening monologue. My Mom swears that he is the reason why my face is so expressive. Years of watching him at such a tender age must have had quite an influence on me.
So Mr. Carson, where ever you are, thank you for the entertainment you gave me during my lifetime. Thank you for inspiring my creative side, and more then likely being the reason why I like to write so much.
It is truly a sad, sad day....