So Boodles and I were watching one of her Disney Channel shows on Netflix. It’s a silly but fun show called Pair of Kings, it’s about two teenage brothers from Chicago who suddenly find out they are the rightful heirs to the throne of this crazy South Pacific island. And hilarity ensues.
Well I’m watching it with her and suddenly one of the kids is different. “Oh yeah,” she said. “The other guy had to go back to Chicago to become more mature.” Then she cued up the Season Three premiere which, sure enough, showed the back head of a kid who looked a little like the actor overhearing a conversation, then the other brother sees a note from his brother saying he is going back to Chicago etc. etc.
Boodles seemed to accept the premise so I didn’t question it. I said that the actor probably wanted to make movies or something. But we’ve seen this before.
Those of you who are my age – and don’t have Alzheimer’s yet – will remember that right in the middle of the run of Bewitched, Samantha got a brand new husband. But he was still named Darrin. And apparently the same character. Dick York who played Darrin the first five seasons had to be replaced due to health problems, and the sixth season began with Dick Sargent playing Darrin. Now…a lesser blogger would put a joke in here about how many wives after a few years of marriage wouldn’t wish for a new dick, but you’ve come to expect a higher level of humour from this blog so we won’t go there.
The messed up part was that, as far as I can remember, they never mentioned it. Not even a quick wink to the audience. Those were, of course, different times. The producers and the network just thought “What? You’re gonna watch The Jim Nabors Hour?”
That used to happen back then. Hell, the Cunningham family on Happy Days lost an entire family member. In the first two seasons Richie and Joanie had an older brother named Chuck who disappeared without a trace. Not so much as a character saying “Oh I got a letter from Chuck…who’s in Korea.” Nope. They even had Dad Cunningham saying he had two kids. Damn.
By the time M*A*S*H came along, when actors wanted to leave the show they cared enough to write entirely new characters to replace them. Even in the 90s when Rosanne rotated two actresses to play Becky, they made a recurring inside joke about it.
The next day I was gripped by curiosity about what happened to that kid on Pair of Kings. I took to the source of all knowledge and found out that…sure enough, he followed in the footsteps of Miley Cyrus and whatshername…Britney Spears’ sister. He got in trouble and the Mouse House said “Buh bye.” I don’t plan on sharing this information with Boodles in the near future.
But this happens. We like to think we are all absolutely necessary and irreplaceable, and to some people we are. I’m sure that, God forbid, if something happened to me, Boodles would miss me horribly. I would be devastated if I lost her. But when you pull back, the picture changes. I could never replace my parents. Or my sisters. What about Aunts? Uncles? Cousins? Friends? Lovers? There are a few women out there who – while I hope they have the occasional pleasant memory of me – have gone on with their lives just fine without me. As much as I would like to think that they lay awake at night cursing the day that they let me slip out of their lives…they just don’t.
People come and go from our lives all the time. As I’ve said before, the magic of social media has brought people back into my life after 20-30 years. But the relationships are different because we are different. People have come back and then unfriended me because we disagree on politics or the gays or some stupid shit like that.
Yes. None of us can be replaced. We are all unique and, to the point that our unique set of quirks is appreciated by another human being, our absence will be felt.
Why am I thinking so much about this? Because of a silly TV show my daughter watches? Not really. On Monday morning, participants at two Adult Day Health Care Centers in Southern California will arrive to find a new social worker who has taken the place of the one they had on Friday. The owners of my center are doing a “baseball trade” between me and another center.
I’m scared about it, but I’m going along with it because I’m trying to embrace change and growth. At its worst its a lateral move, but at it’s best there are some valid reasons for it and it could lead to some good things. Maybe even a promotion.
Today I said goodbye to my mostly Filipino participants. They have welcomed me into their hearts even though I don’t speak their primary language (my replacement does). Will they forget me? They will have fond memories of me, but they will take to the new social worker and adapt to her unique characteristics.
Will my co-workers miss me? I hope so. They will tell stories about the kalbo guy who sang Frank Sinatra (badly) and danced (even more badly). He will be somewhere in the hierarchy of the people they have worked with whom they liked and/or thought to be professional. I hope that I will place near the top of that list, but who knows?
Would my fervent readers miss me if I ever made good on my occasional threat to take my blog and go home? Your lives would all go along with maybe a small hole in the shape of a guy named Joe who liked to write about random movies, mental illness, and monkeys.
This afternoon I said goodbye to my Nanays and Tatays. I put their hand to my forehead in the mano blessing that I’ve seen Pinoy youngsters do to respect their elders. Some of them laughed or seemed surprised. I hope they understand that it’s a sign of respect. I hope when they all think of me in the future it will be more Dick York than Chuck Cunningham.
And Monday morning will be a new adventure. They all are.