Today is October 15th. Or at least it is as I start typing at 11:45 PM on Saturday night. By the time I finish typing, it will be tomorrow but right now I am speaking of October 15th. It is the birthday of two very different women who have influenced me my whole life and nurtured me to be the kind, caring soul that I am today. One of these fine ladies gave me my sense of humor which some say is dry while others say is witty while still others say is completely non-existent. (I’m looking at you, Anonymous.) The other women gave me sense of drive and passion to put on an apron several times a week along with some sensible shoes and sling hash to make a living. Today is the birthday of both Penny Marshall and Linda Lavin, or as I know them, Laverne DeFazio and Alice Hyatt:
How is it that one simple day can produce two such iconic women of television? They weren’t born in the same year, but still. The only way this day could have been any grander was if it was the birthday of Florence Henderson, but her birthday is February 14 making her not only my Valentine, but everyone else’s too. Anyhoo, Penny Marshall used to make me laugh out loud on Tuesday nights when I would watch Laverne and Shirley with my two brothers. My favorite moment on the show was when the girls were were working in a diner. I don’t rememeber why but it must have been because of a strike at the Shotz Brewery or something. Laverne was the fry cook and Shirley was the waitress. Anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant can watch this scene and recognize how quickly you can go from being in the zone to being in the weeds. Happy birthday, Penny Marshall:
And then we have Linda Lavin who the world knows as Alice. It’s no secret that I have a major hankering for her co-waitress Flo, but let’s give Alice some love. There she was stuck in Phoenix, Arizona because her station wagon broke down on the freeway on her way to Hollywood to become a star. But instead of getting her car repaired and continuing onward with her dream, she got a job as a waitress at Mel’s Diner and stayed for nine years. Isn’t that how it happens to so many of us who spend years and years with a tray in our hands? We’re all, “I’m an actor who waits tables” or “I’m a writer who waits tables” and before you know it life is looking at you saying, ‘Uh, you’re a waiter, dude and I want my burger cooked medium-well.” Bravo to Alice for showing us all what it’s like to give up on your dream of singing and learn to accept the important things in life: your teen-age son, your friends, your job, and that stupid postman named Henry who always complains that Mel’s cooking is so bad but comes in every goddamn day anyway. Happy birthday, Linda Lavin:
I know that by the time you read this, it will be October 16th and it will now be the birthday of other amazing women like Suzanne Somers and Angela Lansbury. Yes, it is true, both of these grand dames were born on October 16th. Is October like the coolest month for birthdays ever, or what? Happy birthday to Suzanne here and to Angela here. I must rest. All the awesomeness of these cool ladies is too much for my weary fingers tips.