Bill Gates Lands Role on Dr. Who?
D'oh!!!! This story turned out to be an April Fool's day hoax. Damn! But I'm leaving my original post intact, in as much as one man's joke inspired me to be serious! :-)
Following guest appearances in the Simpsons and Frasier, Mr. Gates lives my own personal dream, appearing in an episode of the British Sci-Fi series Dr. Who? with David Tennant as the latest regeneration of the Dr.
You can read that story here http://news.com.com/2061-10805_3-6057208.html?part=rss&tag=6057208&subj=news be warned: the news report may contain spoilers, if they are right.
This is a big deal for me. Even just Dr. Who? coming to Sci-Fi Fridays in the 9pm EST slot, just before BSG (which is just about the best thing on TV now) was a big deal. It takes me back to a shopping trip I took with my maternal grandmother in the autumn of 1982.
My grandmother, who wielded such influence over my early childhood, was going to knit me a scarf. This was a very special scarf. She was going to knit me the Tom Baker Dr. Who? scarf.
As part of my regular summer routine, I had been in Philadelphia with my father's family for much of the summer that year and during that time the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a piece on the "cult phenomena Dr. Who? " Included in that article were the official Dr. Who? fan club instructions for knitting your own time traveling accoutrement.
Gram took me to Ames in Carbondale to buy the yarn. The colours: mustard, camel. rust, purple and olive to name a few. So many rows of one, followed by so many rows of another, on and on until sixteen feet later you tied the multicoloured tassels at the ends.
It was a prodigious undertaking, but she finished it in time for the sci-fi convention at the Walnut Street Playhouse in October. And I proudly strolled in, draped in the many yards of wool she had spent so many hours contriving into a semblance of something worn by this TV icon of mine.
It was a frivolous undertaking. It cost a lot of time, not to mention the yarn, but she was glad to do it for it me, because she loved me and loved to see me happy. As an adolescent geek I thought the highlight of my life would be the moment I met Tom Baker in my Dr. Who? scarf.
When the moment arrived, it was the kind of convention setup where the celebrity meets the fans, shakes their hand, poses for a picture, signs an autograph and goes to the next fan, over and over in endless repetition. When my turn arrived I strode right up to Tom Baker threw one end of the scarf over his shoulders , grasped his hand in a firm handshake and smiled big for the photographer with the instamatic.
In the picture you can see the enthusiasm of the boy for a hero and in the rolling eyes of the actor, the curious combination of pity and revulsion for the fans he himself has inspired.
24 years later I still have the picture of me with Mr. Baker and I still have the scarf. The Kodak means very little to me, but the scarf means so much. It's the physical manifestation of my youthfulness, a reminder that I was once a boy who dreamed of time travel, of helping strangers and in the universality of experience.
Most importantly, it reminds me of my grandmother. My ludicrous scarf reminds me of the hard work required to craft it. Today, as I make sacrifices for my son, my scarf reminds me of my duty to indulge frivolousness and dreams. And to equip my son with reminders of his childhood dreams, so that they may serve him in adulthood.