Above: Spielberg and Lucas with R2-D2. That is not my dad.
I was reminded of this story earlier this week while participating in a Twitter discussion. It had to do with being a child of a Trekkie—which I am not!
Neither of my parents care for sci-fi or, for that matter, pop-culture entertainment. Just not their thing. But they’ve always supported my interest in it, taking me to Star Trek conventions and way indulging (or overindulging) my passions.
Except for one time when I was told, flat out—NO.
I grew up on Martha’s Vineyard where my dad was a doctor, and, being a doctor, he was a well-known member of the community who occasionally got invited to social events.
Truth be told, it didn’t come up that often—we just aren’t very social people. I think he was typically invited to things specifically because he was not likely to be starstruck. (My dad would be starstruck by two people: Ray Charles and Wilt Chamberlain. Plus, I suppose, any number of Philadelphia sports heroes. Oh, and Sandy Koufax. But actors or directors? Forget about it.)
Some time in 1990 or 1991, my dad was invited to a reception at Carly Simon’s house where George Lucas and Steven Spielberg were among the guests.
Growing up on the Vineyard, we’ve known Carly forever, and her family and extended family—and I won’t say much about them because, well, that’s the Vineyard way. Although I do want to say I have only happy memories.
When I heard about this reception I flipped out and begged, BEGGED to come along!
Um…there was no negotiation. I stayed home. (Keep in mind, I’m probably 16.)
So afterwards, I asked my dad, how was it? What were they like?
He said they were both…surprisingly short. Okay, not a big revelation. By the way—so are we! My dad and I are both 5'7'', maybe 5'8'' with shoes. So if you’re shorter than us, well, you’re short.
I am, incidentally, pretty much the same height as Bill Maher, who I met once at a party at Seth MacFarlane’s house (a story for another time, but in short, that drunken libertine act of Bill’s? not an act!). So when he shakes the hand of his first guest on Real Time, I can gauge how tall the guest is.
So much name-dropping—I’m such a jerk!
Anyway, back to 1990, or maybe 1991. My dad remarked that George seemed pretty aloof and barely said anything. Spielberg and Kate Capshaw....you know what? I don’t remember what my dad said about them (or my stepmom, who was also there).
I said, dad, please please please, just tell me you told me, “Your son really loves their movies???”
I mean, that would have been so important to me.
He didn’t! And I will always remember his answer as to why not:
“Well, I knew one of them did Star Wars, and the other one did E.T….but I didn’t know which was which.”
So he didn’t want to say anything embarrassing.
I love my dad!
This is us on my sixth grade school trip (1986, I think), a week aboard the topsail schooner, Shenandoah. My dad was a chaperone.
There are a lot of perks to being a Vineyard kid!