A continuing series by former ER writer Shannon Goss.
If I could travel back in time and have a tête-à-tête with my kid-self, I would say, “While in college, go on a study abroad. You’ll think your world revolves around what happens stateside, but it doesn’t. And while you’re at it, learn a foreign language. Oh, and take more creative writing classes.”
I would also add: “There are guys who won’t treat you right and will break your heart. Wait it out. Good things happen during the writers’ strike of ’07.”
At that point, my kid-self would ask, “What do you have to do with a writers’ strike?” And that’s where I, self-proclaimed nerdy square-pants, get to look cool in front of my younger self.
As a kid, I had Tiger Beat posters on my wall. I wrote fan letters and, like Joanie, I loved Chachi. According to my diary, I also loved John Stamos.
So, when I joined the ER writing staff, I got to meet the guy I first knew as Blackie on another hospital show. After dropping the “John Stamos is my co-worker” bombshell, I imagine my kid-self would gloss over the fact that I landed a coveted job I had long pursued and go straight to, “Why aren’t you two married?” My kid-self apparently has an inflated sense of how much mojo I have as a grown-up.
I would explain that I have a boyfriend who I love very much. Boyfriend? As recently as college I imagined my 30s to include a husband and children, to which I say “boyfriend and dog” are the new “husband and children.”
So while my kid-self bombards me with questions about why I’m not yet married, I would distract her with tidbits such as: The man who created your favorite show, Laverne & Shirley, guest starred on this ER show (which made Jo Polniaczek’s boyfriend on The Facts of Life a huge star). And during a table read you will get to read opposite him. That’s right, kid-self; you will run lines with Garry Marshall.
And speaking of The Facts of Life, your second episode of ER featured Charlotte Rae, TV’s Mrs. Garrett. You will have and use Mrs. Garrett’s phone number.
I’m not sure how my starry-eyed younger self would handle this onslaught of awesomeness. To know that as an adult I would live blocks away from the man who played Jameson Parker’s brother on the TV show Simon & Simon?
“You mean, the guy who played AJ Simon’s brother? The AJ Simon I named my gerbil after?”
“Yes, that guy.”
Side note: I just realized Jameson Parker is two years younger than my parents. It’s a little weird to think that had things worked out as I had once hoped, I’d be married to a full-fledged member of the AARP.
Life is funny. I may not be able to hold a conversation in any other language or say I have ever lived abroad, but I can say that I’ve met Judd Nelson. And that’s saying something.
– Shannon Goss