I kid you not. I even have a witness. The story went something like this:
It was Saturday night, just before 1AM. M and I’d met some people down off Yucca and Cahuenga, and were taking the scenic — and safer — walk home by way of the more traversed Hollywood Boulevard. We hit Highland, and started walking back up toward the house along the west side of the street. Just the two of us. She was on my left.
A young guy came trotting up to me on my right, and began walking along with us. Purposeful, between me and the curb.
“How’s it going!” he said. Eyes wide. Smiling.
It’s Hollywood. Nothing that unusual. Have certainly seen weirder. Sometimes, once a stranger’s crossed that threshold and entered your space, it’s a good idea to go ahead and engage. To keep things under control.
“Going good, man. How’s it going with you?”
The kid looked ecstatic that I’d given him the time of day. He got more comfortable, as if he was now an member of our private little pedestrian club.
“Going good,” he said. “I just wanted to say that I really like your stuff.”
“Thanks. I think.”
“Yeah, all of it,” he said. “My favorite one so far was the one you did just before Pirates four.”
M squeezed my hand. It dawned on us what was happening.
“I can’t remember the name of it, but I loved it.” The kid scratched his head. “What was the name of that one again?”
“Umm…” I said. “I can’t remember anymore. But did you see Edward Scissorhands?”
The kid almost jumped out of his skin.
“Yeah! I love that one too. All your movies are awesome. I think you’re a great actor. I’m an actor too.”
“That’s great. What’s your name?”
At this point we were reaching the crosswalk at Franklin. I began to ponder how — and when — we were gonna shake this guy off.
“Where are you from, Tyler?”
“Orlando. Nice. Warm. Humid –”
“Hey, I was wondering if I can get your email address?”
The crosswalk turned green. We continued across the intersection. To our chagrin — or perhaps amusement — Tyler continued along with us.
“I’ve got people who handle that, Tyler. But I’ll definitely keep an eye out for you. Good luck with the acting, and stay positive.”
“Yeah, that’s what I have to do,” he said. “I came out to LA this year, and I’m just trying to get something started, you know?”
“Been there, Tyler –”
“And oh yeah I started watching your TV show that you were on. Remember that?”
“Ah, yes. Those were the days. They don’t make ’em like that anymore. But you wanna watch a GREAT television show?”
“Watch The Incredible Hulk with Lou Ferrigno and Bill Bixby. It’s from the seventies. It inspired me to be an actor.”
“Right on right on…”
“How old are you, Tyler?”
“What’s your birthday?”
“Then you gotta catch up on some of the classics, Tyler. From before you were born. Go watch the Twilight Zone. Watch every episode three times at least.”
“Right on right on right on…”
We were about five minutes into this, and M and I were mutually sensing that we were gonna need to make some sort of move to lose this guy. The good news is that there were two hotels coming up in our path. If Tyler didn’t leave soon, we were gonna have to duck in to the Holiday Inn and pretend we’d reached our destination.
“Study the Twilight Zone if you want to be an actor, Tyler.”
“Okay, right on.”
“And Bonanza. If you’re into action. And watch TONS of Little House on the Prairie.”
“Little house on the…” Tyler didn’t quite follow. “Right on right on…”
“On the Prairie,” I said. “It’s where the heart is. It’s what I reach for as an actor when I need to cry on demand.”
“Right on. Hey, how old are you?”
“How old am I?” (to M) “How old am I?”
“He’s forty-nine,” M said.
“Right on,” said Tyler. “You look good for forty-nine.”
“Aw,” I said. “That’s sweet of you. Thanks, Tyler.”
“Right on. Hey do you remember that one movie you did where you were that one guy doing that thing where… oh man I can’t remember the name of it…”
“It’s all a blur to me, Tyler.”
“Oh right on.”
“To tell you the truth, the funny thing is that I always had the reputation of being that ONE actor who ONLY did projects he WANTED to do. I was known as the selective actor, who only did movies worth doing. An artist, as it were.”
“Right on. That’s why I respect you.”
“But here’s the thing, Tyler. IT’S TOTALLY NOT LIKE THAT AT ALL.”
“Right on,” Tyler said. Not quite following.
“You see, the phone just rings, and they tell me where to go.”
“Most of the time when I show up to do a movie, I don’t even know what movie it is.”
“Right on, right on.”
“But it’s a living, you know?”
“You just work through it, yeah,” Tyler said, humoring me. “I’m trying to learn to do that too. Like you…”
We were now just yards away from what was going to have to serve as our temporary refuge. The Holiday Inn.
“Well,” said M, “This is it. Nice meeting you, Tyler!”
“This is where you’re staying?”
“All the time,” I said. “I have a room here for when I’m in town. See you around, Tyler.”
“Right on right on.”
“Good luck to you, son. And always remember…”
We stop. I supplement my final words with finger gestures.
“There are three types of people in this world, Tyler. Those who MAKE things happen…”
“…those who WATCH things happen…”
“Right on right on…”
“…and those who just sit there and say, ‘Dude, what happened?'”
“Right on right on right on.”
I shake Tyler’s hand before hanging a hard left into the Holiday Inn lobby. He doesn’t let go. Starts to follow.
“So can I get your email address?”
“I don’t have one,” I said. “But I’ll look you up on Facebook.”
“You promise? You’ll remember me? Tyler Godfrey. You’ll remember?”
“I promise,” I said, finally shaking him loose. “I’ll remember.”