Man, I’m old.
I’m 40, I still have my pregnancy weight and my hair, or what’s left of it, makes me look even older. Fortunately, I’m immature so it makes me feel young, right?
Today, however, I felt old. Painfully old.
You see, after a long complicated call with the government, there was a consensus between me and “the man” so when I hung up the phone, one of my staff members looked at, somewhat nervous until until I gave him two thumbs up and said, “Ayyyyyyyy”.
He cocked his eyebrow and looked at me very puzzled.
Still holding up my thumbs I realized this poor young man, not born in Canada, may not know who the Fonz was. Neither would he know that his “real” name was Arthur Fonzerilli who was by far the coolest character on TV when I was growing up. Yes, Happy Days, started in 1973 when I was 2, but I remember watching the shows and finding the Fonz cool well before Scott Baio joined the cast.
Fonzie snapped his fingers and girls arrived, he banged his fist on the jukebox and it played and his offce was the boys bathroom of the local diner – Al’s Diner, no less. Fonzie couldn’t saw “sorry” and he always bailed out his buddy, Richie. He wore that black leather jacket and was very cool.
He was just plain cool.
But as I tried to explain, I looked out to my team and looking back at me was a bunch of blank faces. So I asked them all. Did any of them know who the Fonz was? Nope.
None of them knew that the Fonz’s leather jacket was in the Smithsonian Institute on display. The knew very little about this show. Not just my team now, but most of the staff on the floor. WTF?!?
So I gave them homework… Look up the significance of “Ayyyyyy” and tell me the name of the diner and the name of the lodge that Mr. Cunningham belonged to. As a bonus, what was the real first name on the show of “Potsie” Webber, who was Richie (Ron Howard’s) friend along with Ralph the Malph.
Ahh, what a show. I bet no one will get those right… Kids these days, I tell ya!
So I was not able to tell my Henry Winkler story about meeting him at the UJA event in Toronto many years ago. It turned out that he was a guest speaker and before his speech, my wife had gone to the bathroom, and Henry was preparing to go out and they bumped into each other and started talking. She had told me that when she returned and after the event she asked me if I wanted to meeting Henry.
Hell yeah, I thought. Meet the Fonz! Sign me up.
After the event had ended, we walked out of the venue and there in the middle of the foyer was the Fonz himself surrounded by what appeared to be 250 people trying to get his attention. I was disappointed that I wouldn’t get to meet him and seeing this, my wife turned into a super hero. The events that unfolded after, I will never forget.
She started to make her way through the crowd, holding my hand and pulling me along with her until she was a good ten feet from Henry.
“Henry!” She yelled.
Turning, he yelled back to her “Urban daddy’s wife” and with that the people parted and she approached him with me. Time seemed to stand still as we had a brief chat, a handshake and if memory serves me correctly, he gave her a hug.
People were looking at us, or really at her – who was she that he knew her name…
But I couldn’t tell this story… I wanted to… But no one knew who the Fonz was. It would be lost on them.
Maybe after tomorrow if they’ve all done their homework and watched an episode or two online.
Although I mocked them all afternoon, I, unlike the Fonz, can say I’m sorry.