R.I.P. Dick Van Patten


Life is weird. Depressing, stupid, and tedious. And weird.

Let’s review.

It’s the mid-1980s, and I’m in college, and I’m working part-time for a travel agency whose owner happened to be good friends with Dick Van Patten. And so I write a sitcom for him (Van Patten, not the owner of the travel agency), about an out-of-print bookstore owner who keeps his doors open by writing trashy romance novels under a female nom de plume. (Think E.L. James running a junior version of Powell’s.)

Now it turned out that the guy who would one day be best man at my wedding (and I at his) had also tried writing for Dick Van Patten—an episode of Eight Is Enough. The writing was good enough such that he was told it would be bought if the series was picked up for a sixth (roughly) season. Unfortunately, the show was canceled.

At the same time I was pitching Van Patten on my show, I was living right around the corner from the woman who would one day be my wife—but who I wouldn’t meet for many years. (We would find ourselves in a similar living situation 10 years later—again, years before we would actually meet.)

What does all that mean?

Only that life is weird.

So I give you this.