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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Herbie. Rides. Again. (!!!!!!!!)

The sequel's rarely better than the original. That said, everybody likes a triumphal return.

"Herbie Rides Again" isn't a very good movie, in spite of some admirable performances by Ken Berry and dame of stage and film, Helen Hayes. The sparkle and charm of the original movie, though, is gone. The A-list celebs are nowhere to be seen: Dean Jones, Michelle Lee, Buddy Hackett, and David Tomlinson all said, "Thanks, but no thanks," to once again co-starring beside a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle. As sequels go, it's about average, but, much unlike the original, it's nothing special. But there's something about the title that indicates that the film, or at least its namesake, aspires to greatness. There is something valorous that we all like about an underdog getting up to fight again, to shake off dirt and failure that threatens to be permanent, but is really momentary to emerge hopefully victorious.

In 2009, Mrs. Apron and I miscarried, and we were heartbroken. We had told people we were pregnant, and we had told them far too early, and then we had to untell. Fortunately, with most people we knew, we only had to untell them with our eyes. One look at us and they knew. My director of "Pirates of Penzance" knew. We were staging "I am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General" and, when the piano tinkled, I doddered and fuddled appropriately, but, during the downtime, while choreography was hammered out, or choral notes were finessed with the assistant music director, the director, a close friend of mine, watched me. During a break, she took me out in the hall and held me for what seemed like a very long time.

"I love you," Julie said as she ran her hands along my back and I stifled sobs in the hallway. Years ago, she'd lost her son-- all but 19-- in a car accident while he was on his way back to college after winter break. She knew all about loss. It doesn't go away.

"Sometimes," she said to me, "I get in the shower, run the water at full blast, and I just scream and scream and scream."

I never screamed about our miscarriage, not in the shower or anywhere else. That's not to say that I didn't grieve-- it's just not how I grieve, I suppose. I wanted to scream, and rage, and throw things, but I didn't. What I think I might have done, looking back on it, was displace a fair amount of my grief and I probably morphed a significant portion of it into worry and despondency for my wife. In that respect, one might say I didn't exactly "own" the loss, and one could definitely make that argument. And I wouldn't argue.

I think one of my greatest fears is dying before I get a chance to do the things in life at which I will excel. Fortunately, I've acted in a fair number of plays, musicals, and operettas, and I've been appreciated by audience members. I've written a lot that has been seen, and I've written a lot that has never been seen. I've been an efficient friend and confidant to probably enough people, and I've been a loving son and brother. Not gonna lie: as a husband, I think I'm pretty much the shit. The only thing, really, that I haven't had the chance to do that I think I'd be good at is being a father, and so, when the miscarriage happened to us, I think I focused on the fact that I might not get the chance to, well, do that.

Well, this is my sequel.

We're twelve weeks pregnant. And, yeah-- there's two of them in there.

And that's scary, and that's amazing, and that's actually maybe a little dramatic for my taste, which is an admittedly funny thing for a former theatre major to say, but it's overwhelming, almost like I'm pushing the shock-factor a little too hard.

But it's true. There's two.




Come to me, my little love bugs. Let's dim the lights and start the sequel.


  1. What awesome news, congratulations!

  2. What a wonderful way to share this news. I'm so, so happy for you and Mrs. Apron. I can't wait to meet them (and I will).

    Also, you are far more than just an efficient friend and confidant.

  3. Shut the F up! I step away from the computer for two weeks and look at what I miss! That is so, so wonderful! Congratulations. I am very happy for you and Mrs. Apron. When will the little apronettes be arriving?

  4. The Apronettes (aka "Twinners" and "Parasites") are scheduled for arrival December 24th.

  5. That's fantastic! Congrats to you and the missus


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