I am about to craft a lengthy blog post from the memories of a 30 second interaction.

Because I am awesome…………………………..

To the uninitiated, Larry David is the co-creator of one of televisions most successful shows ever produced.  “Seinfeld” ran for 9 seasons on NBC (1989-1998) and has been in reruns since at least 1994.  I remember being a kid and wondering what all the fuss was about.  I had seen an episode or two and didn’t get any of the jokes, didn’t understand any of the hype.  And then, one day, the Indians played an afternoon game on Channel 43 and were followed by a “Seinfeld” rerun.  I can’t tell you how it happened, or even the year it happened, but that was the day it started to click.  I laughed.  My sister laughed.  Two black kids from the fringes of the ghetto were being entertained by the words and actions of two Jewish entertainers.  We didn’t grow up being told what we should and shouldn’t watch, so to us, it was just like that time we discovered “Ghostwriter”.  But little did I know this “Seinfeld” thing would grow into a minor obsession and that that minor obsession would grow into something more like a full blown frame of mind.

Fast forward a few years to 1997.  I have just been kicked out of my mom’s house, I’m not doing well in school and I don’t like living with my dad too much.  The few things I had to look forward to on a daily basis were:  food, video games, internet porn and “Seinfeld”.  Every night at 7 and 11 pm I’d be able to catch reruns of my new favorite show and on Thursdays I’d tune in to the new ones.  At the height of this “minor” obsession I was pulling in about 12 episodes a week.  And once WGN started showing reruns an hour behind when we got em in Cleveland it grew to around 15.  In ’98, the week leading up to the series finale, I wrote an episode myself. (I guess some might call that “fan fiction”?)

The point I’m trying to make is that during my most impressionable years “Seinfeld” was the thing that made the greatest impression.  If I cracked a joke at school, during baseball practice or at my job after high school it was somehow inspired or lifted directly from the words Larry David had written.

For most of “Seinfeld’s” run Larry David was a faceless individual.  He didn’t really come to prominence until he got his own show on HBO, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.  On that show he essentially plays himself, a caricature in some spots, but mostly it’s a dead on interpretation.  How do I know this?  Because, last Friday, as I’m leaving a book signing (where I met with Neil Strauss, my new personal hero [That’s another blog post]) I see a white guy, bald headed, horn rimmed glasses, strolling through the mall with his wife.  Now, no offense to anyone, but this is a Jewish neighborhood I’m in and there isn’t any reason to believe the gentleman I’m looking at isn’t just some normal guy.  Except, he clearly isn’t.  Not to me, anyways.  The guy I was looking at has made me laugh more times than I can count, more times than anyone else on this green earth.  And if any of you value laughter, or cherish memories from your childhood you can easily imagine my surprise when I see the man who helped deeply affect me in both of those areas.

I’m a talkative guy, I always have a smart-ass comment, a clever retort.  But I was rendered speechless for the first time in what was probably a decade.  My jaw went agape.  The man pressed forward, his wife shooting me a glance.  It was as if she had seen this all too many times and knew what was coming next.  The man looked over, also not surprised to be getting this type of reaction.  He wasn’t shy, but he wasn’t trying to hog the limelight either.  His exact words were “Ah hah, yep, yep!”  Because, of course, I asked the stupidest question you can possibly ask someone not suffering from amnesia- “Do you, you, your….?” (I was trying to say “Do you know who you are??  You’re Larry David!”  Came up a little short, though.) He gave a full wrist handshake (presumably because he’s slightly germophobic, I don’t actually know) and bounded down the escalator to the parking garage.  I stood in amazement.  A woman looked at me and smiled, she was happy that I was happy.  Everyone else just plain old went on about their business, I mean, it’s not like they were meeting their idol or anything.

My one takeaway from the whole thing?  Just when you think things are going poorly, or that they *should* be going better there’s always something to remind you that you’re in just the right place at just the right time and you don’t need to be anywhere else.  For if I weren’t living my life as I should, or if I weren’t doing the things that made me happy, I wouldn’t have met my idol either.

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