An Unlikely Series of Events: George Barris and Henry Winkler

My life is a non-stop bizarre bazaar of pop culture icon intersections. When I heard car designer George Barris–creator of THE Batmobile–died this week, my heart sank. I spent time with George at his shop in L.A. when I was the writer/producer on cars-and-stars nationally syndicated TV series, The Super Chargers. George provided us with vehicles for one of our episodes–I believe it was the Sally Struthers episode that we shot at her residence, as well as Universal Studios.

The genius, Mr. George Barris

But even more unlikely is the story I’m about to tell. As I write this, I’m still busting out into giggles, since this JUST happened:

I recently took on a subcontractor job, and I was warned that the surveillance was so onerous, I could only communicate with The Sister Wives via texts when I went to the bathroom every 90 minutes. Our daily text message chain is a leviathan tome of non-stop, hilarious commentary. One of the Sister Wives–I believe it was Gina–started calling me “The Fonze” because I was always signing my texts “from Denise, in the 4th stall,” an act Gina deemed as “Stepping into my office,” a.k.a., the public restroom. It was like Happy Days, but smellier, and minus the wholesome fun of 1950s Milwaukee.

I had to add this graphic, since Gina found it and it's so perfect for this blog.

I had to add this graphic, since Gina found it and it’s so perfect for this blog.

So you can just imagine how hard I laughed when I learned that–of ALL peopleHenry Winkler was appearing with Dave at Rhode Island Comic Con this weekend! I texted Dave and begged him to do me this one favor. And he did. In a rare moment of compliance, Dave gave in to one of my typical madcap requests. Somehow, he convinced Mr. Winkler to sign this for my Sister Wives:

Henry Winkler/The Fonze writes: "The Sister Wives, from the 4th stall in my office"

Today Henry Winkler/The Fonze writes: “The Sister Wives, from the 4th stall in my office”

You can ask my BFF since 7th grade, Marovich, or my BFF since kindergarten, Darlene. I’m never one to let an inside joke die…to the point that I’ve not only jumped the shark, but I’ve also made a bitchin’ necklace out of its teeth, a cancer-treating soup from its fin, and wallets from its first layer of glistening skin before I’m done. Who am I kidding? I’m never done.

I will get this treasure-beyond-measure matted and framed. I’m sure it will be rotating the walls of my Sister Wives’ homes. And Dave won’t even have to buy me a Christmas gift this year. This. Was. Perfect.

Dave was a good sport, as was Henry Winkler, truly a class act.

Dave was a good sport, as was Henry Winkler–truly a class act.

 

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Lesson Learned: Don’t Ever Say The Chicago Blackhawks “Made a Point!”

Marovich and I played our first round of tennis last night for this season. It felt so good. We decided to serve and volley for the cardio, rather than play out actual points…except that Marovich couldn’t stick to the script…she cannot resist abruptly ending a great back-and-forth volley with one of her decisive killer shots. Sadly, in neither racquetball nor tennis is my 1.5″ height advantage over her 5’4″ Mighty Mouse physique any advantage at all.

Tennis Bitches

Tennis Bitches–We belong on a Wheaties box!

Post-tennis, Marovich tried schooling me on hockey, since our Chicago Blackhawks are once again in the Stanley Cup play-offs, and we were watching the game. “They made a point!” I squealed, caught up in the excitement of the last minutes of the tight game. Marovich’s head whipped around faster than Regan in The Exorcist, scowling at me in disgust and shaking her head. “Promise me you will never utter those words again. They scored a goal.” My sports vernacular is sorely lacking, but at least I didn’t ask “How many quarters are there in a game?” like her brother Joe once did, which I brought up right away, attempting to make myself look like less of an idiot. It feels like for the past several months the Blackhawks been in some form of play-offs, and every time I specifically asked, “So when do they actually play for the Stanley Cup???” Marovich would deliver this long-winded explanation of all of the play-off games and series they’d have to complete…with my ADD, it was forming this confusing, infinite M.C. Escher painting in my mind’s eye, and sounding a lot like Charlie Brown’s muffled teacher…I think there was something in there about having to sacrifice albino virgins during high tide in a harvest moon. I know nothing about hockey, but I did have my Blackhawks brush with greatness back in the early ’90s when the Hawks were playing for the Stanley Cup. Blackhawks player Chris Chelios lived in the same Oak Brook neighborhood where I was working out of Jan Gabriel‘s home, writing and producing motorsports TV series, “The Super Chargers.” Jan even shared the same cleaning lady, so I knew which house was Chelios’. (She steadfastly refused my requests to steal a pair of his boxers.) The morning after they lost the Stanley Cup, I drove past Chelios’ home and there was this guy passed out on his front porch. I was actually concerned he might be dead, so I pulled over, got out of my car, and poked at his unconscious body with my foot. He stirred a little, and I recognized who he was, and that he was just drunk. I rolled him over so he wouldn’t aspirate on his own vomit (Hey, with my anxieties, SPINAL TAP is a cautionary tale).  The snoring carbon life form was one of Chelios’ Blackhawks team mates, who shall remain nameless. I didn’t follow the Blackhawks too closely after that, but perhaps my random act of kindness was some sort of tipping point, like George Bailey saving his brother from drowning, or preventing the grieving pharmacist Gower from that deadly pill prescription error in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I’ll never know… and I’ll never know sports speak without the benefit of Marovich’s incessant, stern coaching.