After waking up to an inch of snow this morning, all my children insisted on getting rides to school. Frankly my primary purpose these days is to chauffeur ungrateful people around town in a minivan. I might as well drive for Uber.
Last night I’d left my driver’s license in the car after showing it to the border agent on my way home from rehearsal with Vancouver Men’s Chorus. Eleanor grabbed it.
Eleanor: I didn’t know you were an organ donor.
Papa: Of course. I sign up whenever I renew my driver’s license.
Rosalind: What’s an organ donor?
Papa: It means that when I’m a terrible car accident on my way to someone’s volleyball game, the EMT will check my wallet to see if I’m an organ donor. Even if I’m brain dead, they’ll make sure to keep my blood pumping long enough to get me to the hospital.
Eleanor: So they can “harvest his organs.”
Eleanor’s favorite TV show is Grey’s Anatomy. She wants to be a surgeon when she grows up. This week the girls registered for their high school freshman classes this fall. Eleanor signed up for “Medical Terminology.” I kid you not.
Papa: In the TV movie version, the car wreck will happen just in time for Dr. Ken to get my kidney.
My friend Dr. Ken just got another kidney transplant. He’s already blown through two so far. No doubt he’ll be back on dialysis again before too long. It’s Dr. Ken’s riotous living. Or a childhood kidney disease.
Eleanor: What about in the real-life version of the story?
Papa: In real life it would never work. Dr. Ken has some kind of fussy blood type, so we're incompatible.
Eleanor: Am I old enough to be an organ donor?
Papa: Only if I’m the one doing the donating.
Eleanor: What do you mean?
Papa: You’d have to be in the hospital in the coma or something, and they’d ask Daddy and me whether we want them to harvest you. Of course we’d say yes.
Papa: But in the TV movie version, the Lutherans would have some weird prohibition against organ transplants. And Daddy wouldn’t believe me when I said you wanted to be a donor.
Eleanor: Millie Bobby Brown would play me in the TV movie.
Eleanor: [loud eye roll] From Stranger Things.
Papa: Now that Luke Perry is dead, I guess Cole Sprouse will have to play me.
Cole Sprouse is Eleanor’s celebrity crush. Yes, the same Cole Sprouse who was a Disney child star in Zack & Cody’s Suite Life. Eleanor would point out it’s also the same Cole Sprouse who played Ross’s son as a toddler in Friends. That’s her third favorite TV show.
Nowadays, Cole Sprouse plays an emo Jughead on The CW’s Riverdale. That's Eleanor’s second favorite TV show. Luke Perry played a steamy Archie’s earnest single dad on Riverdale.
Eleanor: [another loud eye roll] How would I become a donor?
Papa: At the hospital they’d evaluate all your organs, and see if you’re a match with anyone on the recipient waiting list. In the TV movie, your ghost would come back to watch the surgery and bless all the recipients in a montage.
But first there’d be a big courtroom scene. Rosalind would testify that she heard you say that you wanted to donate your spleen to your friend Malou. Or Seneca, or Britten, or Naomi, I can’t keep track.
Eleanor also loves TV shows with big courtroom scenes. Everyone says she should be a lawyer if she doesn’t go to medical school.
Papa: In the movie Daddy would finally believe Rosalind, and everyone would cry. But in real life it could never happen. Rosalind is in the back seat listening to music with her earbuds and can’t hear us.
Rosalind: I’m listening. I’ll remember to tell Daddy.
The actor and heartthrob Luke Perry died this week at age 52 after a stroke. I never watched Beverly Hills 20210, and wasn’t one of his fans. Before Riverdale, I think the last of Perry’s roles I remember was when he guest starred on the old Will & Grace as an ornithologist in clunky glasses. Jack described him as “the hot gay nerd - the rarest of all the gay subspecies."
However, I was always aware of Perry as one of the cohort of male actors who are all about my same age – Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt…. As you get older, it’s handy to have a wide selection of movie star dopplegangers to measure your decay against.
Now I will always remember Luke Perry with fondness because of a recent family moment, involving perhaps the nicest compliment I've ever received. My daughter Rosalind was watching Riverdale, and told me I’m just like Archie's father.
Papa: You mean I remind you of the actor with the beard?
Rosalind: No, the character.
Papa: Because I'm a single dad?