Earlier this year, I got to say "Hi" to Terry Jones and get his autograph. For those of you who don't know who he is, he's one of the six members of Monty Python. Tonight, while I didn't get to say "Hi" or get his autograph, I did get to see John Cleese in person as he answered questions and talked about Monty Python and the Holy Grail, as well as Life of Brian (Meaning of Life never gets any love, except from me). The tickets cost me a pretty penny, but I figured that I had a very limited window to see someone I consider a true comic genius in person. And he really was a treat. From stories about fellow cast members, the difficulty of crafting a story for films, religion, politics, and what might cross the line of good taste, he was everything I hoped for. I'm never going to get a chance to meet Graham Chapman (who passed away in 1989), but I can still hope to see Eric Idle, Michael Palin, or Terry Gilliam before it's too late.
And that's the thing. I like doing this. I honestly don't know how many other people like doing stuff like this. I mean, the show sold out (or was close enough), so I know there's at least that many people. But I have a little catalog in the back of my brain of the people I've met or seen perform, and it gives ME a warm little glow. A couple of years ago, I was figuring out what some of my favorite concerts were, and I ended up just listing as many as I could remember. Each one has it's own special place in my heart, and I haven't seen THAT many concerts. For someone who let all that go by in high school and college, I feel like I did a good job playing catch up over the years. I've seen a variety of musicians, and I feel satisfied that I haven't wasted the opportunities that have come along. Tori Amos stealing my pen, an Easter Bunny rocking out to Garbage, Tom Waits singing "What's He Building in There?" are moments that will forever be etched in my brain. Seeing Davy Jones in the "Real Live Brady Bunch," pushing my way into an auditorium to listen to Paul Williams talk, saying "How're you doing?" to Thomas Hayden Church on the way to a screening of the film The Specials are all just treasures that I've been lucky enough to force myself upon.
I like my life. I like the fact that there have been many, many things and people that have shaped it into the way it is. And when I get the chance to see someone (or even tell that person) that has helped mold me into the person I am today, it simply adds more to the whole package. There are more than a few things that I regret not doing in my life. But sometimes, rather than looking back on those, I find it comforting to look back on the things I don't regret. Seeing John Cleese in person cost me a good chunk of money and I could have sat there and listened to him talk for much longer than he did, but I don't regret it, because I got to see, in person, a performer who added just a little bit to my own personality. And that's satisfying.