“Hollywood is the kind of town that if you’re gonna come back, don’ t leave.”

— Lorenzo Music

I’ve had this urge for some time now. I wake in the middle of the night thinking about this feeling. It comes to me when I’m writing a column, or cooking, going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, or emptying the dehumidifier. It’s like a voice speaking to me, something deep inside, gnawing, refusing to be ignored.

She, who just wants me to get my laundry out of the dryer so she can put hers in, says it’s just gas. But she says every new ailment I complain of is gas. That’s her answer. A pain around the heart? Gas. A strange new wart? It’s gas. I think she’s finally lost her famous patience.

It started last week. I’d been sitting here watching two really old men, Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, both of whom look old enough to be my father, reaching out once again for the proverbial golden ring. They want to get into the big fight again. What about my golden ring? What about my old fight? Is this the year of the OLD GUY? Then I want in.

So I’ve been talking to my Hollywood agent daughter about a return to “the business.” Why not?

She’s willing to represent me. She’d be the best agent I ever had. Who else, if not your own kid, would work as hard for you?

Of course, she reminds me that after 30 years away, I don’t know anyone, that all my friends and connections are dead – not retired, not slowing down, mind you, but dead, sheet over the face, in the box, down in the hole, 2 inches on the obit page dead. It will be a tough slog, she says, but she’s obligated to take me on. Her clients, of course, are all alive, mostly in their teens. But she’s game. She’s a good kid and she owes me.

It’s scary. Yes, I would become a fresh face, a new “kid” on the scene, forced to audition for directors and producers who think the 1960s and ’70s were the silent film era.

I’m elderly, mind you, not feeble and decrepit. OK, I am along in years, but I still have great hair. Great hair is a door opener in Hollywood. This hair of mine once made me ten thousand bucks for a Wildroot hair commercial.

So I would arrive in Tinseltown armed with new pictures, a renewed Screen Actor’s Guild card, 50 bucks borrowed from She, who refused more on the grounds that I would just blow it, and a cot in my daughter and son-in-law’s back room with kitchen privileges.

As luck would have it, this son-in-law happens to be an important part of a major hit television hospital show, now in its 11th year. What luck. Nepotism? Who cares? I’m desperate. This is his chance to man up and be family.

Here’s the scenario as I envision it: One day on my visit, I wander around his set, making myself very visible, looking “interesting.” I will be hoping some of the important people will spot me wandering around and say to one another, “Who’s the old guy? He’s got an interesting look, slightly worn at the edges, but there’s something familiar about him.”

Maybe they’re thinking about parts, small ones, mind you, I would be right for:

Old guy found wandering on street.

Old guy sitting on bench in hospital corridor.

Old guy sitting up taking nourishment in private room, as staff wanders by. (Daughter says I cannot wave to focus attention, as if I didn’t know that.)

Old guy brought in by police as witness to identify woman in coma in ward 7.

Old retired doctor with Alzheimer’s who keeps wandering into operating room and wanting to assist.

Uh-oh. I can see the scenario now. The staff has two uniformed guards usher me out. Son-in-law, not wanting to be embarrassed or lose his job, avoids eye contact.

OK, I understand; but just you wait until Christmas, buddy.

Yeah, maybe she’s right. Maybe it is gas.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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