Sunday, December 30, 2007

Born in Arizona, Moved to Babylonia

steve-martin-letsgetsmall.jpgIn 1963, when I was 8, we moved to Inglewood, where I attended nearby Highland Elementary School. I remember my first day of 4th grade; I met a guy who became one of my best friends for over a decade, though I haven't been in touch with him for the past 30 some years. The first thing I remember about him is playing "robots" during recess. Everything we knew about robots came from "Robby the Robot". My friend lived in a small bungalow on Venice Way, directly across the street from Highland school, so it was easy to hang out with him in the afternoons. We both got paper routes and would sit on his front porch folding papers and waiting for the Helms Bakery truck so we could get doughnuts, cream puffs and miniature pies for nourishment.
My friend's family and my family both moved away from that neighborhood a few years later. Then some other stuff happened and then, a few days a go, I received a copy of "Born Standing Up", by Steve Martin as a gift. Steve Martin was never as much an influence on my comedy as, say, Bill Cosby, but I really liked him when he first started and I saw him on the Steve Allen show. His "let's get small", balloon animals, and nose-on-the-microphone parody's of stand-up were so innovative at the time, I've never forgotten them. On page 16 of his book, Steve Martin is writing about his childhood: "A few months later, we moved from Hollywood to Inglewood, California, and lived in a small bungalow on Venice Way, directly across from Highland Elementary School." So if you've been paying attention, you now know that Steve Martin was my best friend in elementary school.
No, actually, Steve Martin is about ten years older than I am and his family lived there only a couple years, before I was born, then moved to the Oak Street School area. But maybe, just maybe, my friend's family moved into that house directly across from Highland School right after Steve Martin's moved out. And then, I spent time in that house. Is that an amazing brush with fame or what?

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