I went to the laser light show hosted by the Laguna Art Museum. I was standing on the surf line at Main Beach. I was awash in a green laser when a funny looking little kid pointed at me and yelled, “Look, Kermit the frog. Wow, he looks younger on TV. What happened to him?” It was a mood killer. Even the Gregorian chant music couldn’t lift my spirits now. I returned to my lily pad to listen to some uplifting elevator music.
I sat in a dark living room wondering if I should purchase an elevator to go with the music when reality set in. I live in a ranch house. There’s just one floor and no place for an elevator to go to. The thought depressed me even more. Then, I remembered my real estate friends informed me that my house wasn’t called a ranch anymore, but was referred to as a mid-century modern. Surely, the new name promised room for swings in the backyard. That works. I’m a moody kind of guy and swings would be better than the old up and downs of a stuffy elevator. No reason to hit the panic button. You’re as young as you feel. Pump those legs. Go higher and higher.
I felt relief for about two seconds. Swings were meant for kids. I wasn’t sure I remembered how to pump and go higher. I thought again of the little kid who called me Kermit and was green with envy. I wasn’t young anymore. My evening was still wrecked. I didn’t get to see nature and art converge, as promised by the Laguna Art Museum. I had been humiliated. My mind raced. I wondered if this kid needed me in his school’s next “Show and Tell” event. Would I be expected to participate? Do I RSVP or just show up? No, I shouldn’t do either. The answer was to hightail it out of town on a Santa Ana wind and wait out the hot embarrassment of it all.
I awoke in a cold sweat. I must have dozed off. The bits and pieces of the unsettling event came back to me. There was a little kid, a green frog, piercing laser lights and inexplicable chanting. Whoa, I hurt all over. What happened to me? I was good at piecing back lost evenings. I just needed to relax. Since college, I’ve always enjoyed a memory like an elephant no matter how much l erased it the night before. The trick to remembering was to let the memory come back to you naturally. You can’t force it. I turned on the TV for some mind numbing background noise to let my mind wander. “Eyewitness News reports multiple sightings of a UFO over southern California. The US Navy assures viewers that the sighting was an unarmed test missile launched from a ballistic submarine.” What? Wait. Hold the phone. That’s not right.
An extra terrestrial had abducted me. And it was not just any extra terrestrial. It was E.T. He needed directions from me. He had left 33 years ago in quite a hurry and on a bike without built in GPS navigation. The evening was coming back now. E.T. had beamed me up to get directions to attend the memorial service of Melissa Mathison, the gifted author of the movie E.T. “Call home, Melissa. Rest in peace. You were the best.”
Mathison’s wonderful writing brought out the kid in all of us, but it still doesn’t explain why E.T. thinks I look like Kermit. Do I, readers?
Don’t answer him. Actually, Mark enjoyed the laser light show more than most. He likes going higher and higher even in old age.