Shakespeare had it right: “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.” Our lives are a lot like Broadway productions and movies with their crises, climaxes and denouements and with a refreshing dash of comedy relief thrown in from time to time.
Although we’re given some control of the production, in a very critical area we’re hardly ever consulted. We have so little to say about the casting for the Story of our Life. I have no complaints about the leading players, but the selections of some of the supporting cast members and the walk-on parts have caused periods of distress and frustration.
Celestial Central Casting made a big mistake near the beginning in selecting my kindergarden teacher. I was hoping for someone like Snow White or Mary Poppins. Instead, they sent Cinderella’s nasty stepmother. My poor Mom had to drag me to school every day, kicking and screaming.
My first boyhood job was as a drug store clerk. If the pharmacist had been a friendly, talented medic like Dr. Kildaire, I might have gone on to become a dedicated physician, but he was more like Frank Burns, the bumbling, scheming surgeon in M*A*S*H and I’ve had “pharmaceutical phobia” ever since.
Think about the characters that fate has tossed across your path recently. Can you see how important the supporting cast is to the tone of your life? There was my waitress last Friday evening. I was trying to unwind after a rough week and hoping for friendly, good-natured service. A little inefficiency would have been okay as long as it came with a smile. A Rachael Ray type as my waitress would have been perfect, but even Phyliss Diller would have worked. I needed a few laughs. However, the maitre d’ sent out Judge Judy and I sat stiffly at attention during the entire meal trying not to upset her.
The first person you meet on the way to work each morning, maybe a bus driver or the security guard at the building, can impart a certain amount of tranquility or irritability to your demeanor that lasts until your coffee break. Is your first morning person more like funny Jerry Seinfeld or grouchy Frank Costanza?
When I last took my car to the inspection station I hoped for an easy-going type of officer like Oscar Madison of The Odd Couple. Instead, I got Felix Unger and I was rejected because of dirty bumpers. Officer Tim Conway reached in to scrape off my old sticker, slipped, and slashed my padded dashboard.
I try to be realistic. There are not enough Merle Streeps and Gregory Pecks to go around so they’re not going to put star quality types in minor roles, but they should try for closer matches. Why did my first date look more like W.C. Fields than Sally Field? How come the nurse at the last blood drive laughed like Bela Lugosi ? Why is it whenever I need expert advice on a comlicated problem I end up dealing with Inspector Clouseau?
I have many more examples, but I have to stop now. The Three Stooges just arrived to fix my water heater.