My wife and I were at or favorite Italian restaurant last week for lunch.
We were being served by a waitress who had only been there for two weeks, so she was new to us.
She was a spectacular waitress.
When you go out to eat, having a spectacular waitress is a real perk.
Having an only mildly interested waitress is a bit of a letdown.
Having a less than interested waitress, one who makes little or no eye contact with you when she passes your table, who manages to get lost periodically, even when the restaurant is relatively empty, is a real bummer.
It negates the entire "going out to eat" experience.
And we usually tip accordingly.
We have even, on rare occasions, stiffed the waitress and complained to the management.
At that point, you're better off just ordering your food to go.
By the way, all of this applies to waiters as well.
Nothing sexist here.
But on this afternoon, we had this spectacular waitress.
In her early forties, enthusiastic, helpful, and putting on a very entertaining show.
A good server is also a good showman, or show-woman.
We were in awe, and complemented her effusively.
We spoke to the manager about her in the most glowing terms, and told her that we had done so.
She seemed quite grateful.
We acknowledged that this was not an easy thing to do.
And she made this quite profound statement:
"Hey, life is too short to not have too much fun."
This statement stuck with me all the way home.
It still sticks with me.
We got home, I went to my computer, turned it on, and immediately learned that the actor Dennis Farina had died at the age of 69.
From what I knew about him, from a couple of sources, I thought "Hey. Who better embodies that profound statement, 'Life is too short not to have too much fun' than Dennis Farina'?
My friend, actor-comedian Larry Miller worked on a movie with him once, and described him as one of the coolest guys he had ever met.
That he really charmed the ladies.
That he asked the craft service girl for cups of coffee all day long, always referring to her as "sweetheart" in a way that you couldn't help but love him for if you were her.
Larry asked him how he could drink that much coffee in one afternoon.
Dennis replied "Try some"
"Go ahead. Try some"
Larry tried some.
Oh, there was some coffee in the cup, but it primarily consisted of bourbon.
All day long.
Jackie Gleason was boorish and flamboyant about this sort of thing.
My friend the late, great Harry Crane, who wrote for him, described a typical party that Gleason used to throw at his suite at the Park Sheraton after his show ended on a typical Saturday night.
The liquor never stopped, and the women never stopped.
Harry was always greeted at the door by Gleason with "Come on in, pal. Grab a booze and a broad!"
Harry never quite got over the inelegant way it was put.
Gleason also had his fun, and died at 71.
Dennis Farina only made it to 69.
But his fun was handled in a far more quiet and dignified way.
He was a great actor, a great cop, and he was what I suppose I aspired to be: a man's man.
I'm just sure he loved his life.
I don't consider myself a man's man.
The best image I can hope to have for myself is "a man's Jew"
That can't help but be anything but a diminished image.
Dennis Farina was one of those people I would have gladly traded places with.
Even if I did only make it to 69.
My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays", and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne & Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.
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- mark rothman
- Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at email@example.com. Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."