Cornfield Meet

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A Portrait of the Writer as a Trenchcoated Goofball

When I was in high school, my Dad gave me his long, heavy United States Air Force overcoat. For two or three years, it was my favorite coat, and I lived for the fall and winter months when I could put it on and flip the navy blue collar up against the wind and rain. My friend Aaron had his own black trench, and the two of us were big into James Bond and spies and notions of espionage. (We turned the Chevy Sprint I drove into our own Goldfinger-inspired car, tying the cord of a massive old-fashioned phone handset to the emergency brake – because, you young’ns, car phones were once super-rare – stocked the sidepanels of the doors with toy pistols, fastened those faux buttons marked "ejector seat" and "machine guns" inside the glove compartment and set one of those "missile launcher" noisemaking black boxes on the dashboard.)

Dad’s coat, though, went beyond the whole spy image: I just loved wearing it. Loved feeling its weight on my shoulders, the sleeves a little long and reaching down past the ends of my wrists. Loved buttoning it up on the cold days, loved windy days when I could wear it open, my hands punched down in the pockets as anchors while the bottom whipped around past my knees.

For my 17th birthday, Aaron got me a shrink-wrapped black-and-white print of the New York skyline – we had an ongoing debate about whether NYC or L.A. would be the better place to live – and on the back, along with a long, heartfelt note, was this cartoon  (an Aaron Archer original!) of me wearing Dad’s coat:


I’m saying, "Writers, actors and artists make a difference in this thing called LIFE."

I don’t know if I ever said that directly, but Aaron clearly gets me, because he was right then, and he’s still right now, almost 21 years later.

September 3, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments


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