[Editor's Note: Once a month we have a producer or artistic director take you behind the curtain, into the rehearsal process, backstage, or on the road to illuminate more the of Broadway's Next Hit Musical process. This month it's co-producer and emcee Greg Triggs]
The consequence of memory is a funny thing. What sparks it? You’re walking down the street and a breeze, a random turn of phrase, the color of someone’s hair, something snatches you from the present and suddenly you’re traveling through time. That happened today.
It was 1987. I was as broke as I’ve ever been. I never want to be that destitute again. As I was a church mouse, of course my car, a 1979 grandpa gold 4-door Oldsmobile Firenza sedan broke down. I had to get it fixed to get to work to earn the meager wages that were coming in. I wasn’t going to be able to eat lunch that day to pay for the repairs.
My car and I hobbled into the gas station. The mechanic started toward me, dollar signs in his eyes. Then there was a slight change in his eyes, he imploded for a second and smiled. His voice, with a thick Minnesota accent for we were in the Twin Cities said, “Suddenly I’m aware of every atom in my body.”
I had no response. He doubled down, louder and more committed. “I’m aware of EVERY atom in my body!” He looked at me expectantly. I still had no response. “Don’t you remember saying that?”
At this time in life I was poor because I was trying to establish myself as an improviser, a comedian. I was performing for $5 a show in the basement of a Mexican restaurant with talented people who are still my friends. It was an instinct, an act of faith that I was pointed in the right direction toward the future that I desperately wanted. I lived for signs that I was right.
Back to the mechanic. “Don’t you remember saying that?”
I shook my head no.
“My wife and I? We were at your show last weekend. You said that during the show. It cracked us up. We been saying it to each other ever since. You’re really funny.” Then he shook my hand and told me it was an honor to meet someone from the show.
Then he fixed my car for free.
There are things we are called upon to do, to be, to become. The odds are often not in our favor. We’re on the brink of giving up because we don’t have the means continue. Yet somehow fate intervenes. The universe provides. You’re renewed.
We don’t know what the moments we’re part of become. I changed the mechanic’s life in a small way. He and his wife laughed. They kept the laughter going. A broken headlight brought us back together.
I have no idea what became of that sweet mechanic. I wish I could thank him. Perhaps pay him in 2018 dollars for that repair 31 years ago. Maybe get he and his wife, they’re both still alive and together in my imagination, into Walt Disney World and tell him he changed my life by taking 2 seconds to notice me.
What lines from shows have stuck with you?
What is a line or a moment from our show that you still think about? Leave it in the comments below.