Two things happened this past Friday night that were fairly exciting:
1) I had a good improv show, the first in a long time. I’ve been in several shows over the last few months, but they’ve mostly been … okay (imagine waggling of a hand at this point). Nothing spectacular, but not awful. Just okay. “Okay” is fine if people are laughing, but it gets old and gets depressing. “On fire” is more where you want to be, and I was told by a couple of fellow performers that I was.
Though I can generally tell when I’m “off,” I rarely can tell when I’m “on.” It’s weird, this self-critiquing gene I have. It is maddeningly selective. It was nice to hear from others that I was having a good night.
(Please don’t take the preceding paragraphs as boasting, as that’s not how they’re meant. I have way more off nights than on anymore.)
2. At the show, the lady who did the announcing for the show (Kathy) said, “Hey, I’ve got something for you.” I only ever see her at shows, so I couldn’t imagine what it might be. Turns out, it was a program signed by John De Lancie – and not just signed, but signed, “To Mark.”
Not all of you are geeks, so I shall further explain: John de Lancie played “Q” on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Sure, he’s done other things, but this is his claim to fame. In the very first episode of ST:TNG (“Encounter at Farpoint”), when Captain Picard and the gang run into weird happenings, Q shows up and says he’ll be testing the crew and watching them to see how they’ll react. Since he can do pretty much anything, it’s a little frightening. The point of the character, of course, was to show Gene Roddenberry’s beliefs that humanity is basically good and can overcome evil on its own. It’s a bunch of hogwash, but it’s at the core of Star Trek. The Q episodes were always some of the most enjoyable (and he even turned up on Deep Space 9 and Voyager, largely because fans loved the character), so it’s a real treat to have his autograph.
He was in town with Ed Asner and Alley Mills (she played the mom on “The Wonder Years”) to do a production of “The Great Tennessee Monkey Trials” at Purdue. (Semi-interesting side-note: John replaced James Cromwell, who also played Zefram Cochrane, an important figure in Star Trek history, in Star Trek: First Contact. Zefram Cochrane invented the warp drive, without which interplanetary travel would take far too long.) Kathy did lights or sound or something for the show and ended up spending a lot of time with John de Lancie. Kat and Matt went to the show, and I had asked them somewhat jokingly to get John’s autograph for me, never figuring they could. Kat passed my request along to Kathy, and there’s your story.
If I were going to start keeping a record of how many celebrity autographs I had, the official number would now be “1.”