Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Say What?

As a kid, I never had an “imaginary friend.”

But I’ve had a LOT of imaginary friendships …with real people.

People like Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Lash Larue, Charlie Choo Choo Justice, etc. I’ve written often about the thrill I’ve gotten when, on occasion, I’ve been lucky enough to meet a few of these icons of mine in person.
Shelley Long

I've even had one imaginary friendship as an adult.  It happened in the late '70's and early 80's and involved a woman; one of the cutest ones I had ever seen on TV. I was smitten. She was in the series called CHEERS and her name was Shelley Long. I never met her, or even mentioned this relationship to anyone except my wife. And I didn't have to tell her. Wives have a way of knowing instinctively what their husbands
are thinking by picking up tiny signals….such as sudden heavy breathing …drooling...tongue hanging out..and stuff.

This beauty became known at our house as, “my girlfriend.” as in,
"Come on upstairs, Ed, your girlfriend is on TV."

And speaking of Television, the late 70's and early 80's  were years of transition for me. Local television stations began hiring “consultants” in their quest for even greater profits and, surprise, surprise, these consultants did what consultants do…changed things. The consultant at the last station I worked for recommended that the station fire everybody….and hire him to run the station. They did, much to their regret.

The joke going around town a couple of years later was that the reason it took so long for the FBI to finally find kidnap victim Patty Hearst was that she was hiding out as the 11 o’clock anchor person at my old TV station.

Meanwhile, I had taken a job with a film company called Byron Motion Pictures in Washington where I was hired to work with one other fellow in the sales and public relations department. There was a lot of travel involved, both by air and by car. The company provided a car, but unfortunately there was only ONE car and TWO of us.

Bruce Tyson
Bruce Tyson was my partner’s name and we worked out a plan whereby each had the company car every other week. Bruce was a very nice person about 10 years younger than me and very sharp. We were a good team.  Our offices at Byron were right next to each other. This was before the era of “cubicals,” nevertheless, the proximity of the offices became the only “issue” that ever came between us. And it was a  minor one.

He claimed that it was very distracting when I was on the phone with clients, because I talked too loud.

On the other hand, I tried to get him to talk louder and  more  assertively on the phone. The least it would do would be to save him an enormous amount of time.
Honest to goodness, he spoke so softly on the phone that it normally took at least the first two minutes of every one of his calls for him to repeat his name enough times for the person on the other end to finally understand who was calling. Often they would hang up after the first minute and a half...probably thinking it was just a crank call.

I also took the liberty of suggesting that if he followed my advice, his social life might pick up as well. He was good looking and single but I had the feeling that he might be coming up a bit short on the Washington dating stick. That may or may not have been the case, but I've never been one to just shut up and mind my own damn business; especially if it involves someone I like. I feel duty bound to offer my helpful advice.

What a shame it would be, I pondered, if Bruce wound up a lonely and bitter old man....just because all the women he was interested in...and vice versa...just thought they were getting crank calls.

(Stick with me dear reader, this boring story has a surprise ending. -Ed)

So for two years, Bruce and I  worked smoothly together during the week and on weekends we’d get together at least long enough to swap cars.

We both knew that the film business was rapidly coming to the end of the road so we were quietly making plans to move on. He jumped at an opportunity to enter the investment banking business on the West Coast, and a few months later I agreed to open a Washington office for a Video Disc Production company in Detroit.

The last time I saw Bruce, I let him know how much I had enjoyed working with him and how confident I was that he was going to be a big success.

But, I couldn’t resist one last “dig:”

"A good looking single guy like yourself is going to meet a lot of fine women out there on the West Coast..and when you do, try to arrange all your dates person.

Not on the telephone!"

I like to think he took my advice, because I read one day a year or so later that he had gotten married.

 I read about it in the Enquirer.


Newlyweds Bruce Tyson and Shelley Long