Recently I stumbled upon one in which the guest was my old high school crush who has since become a semi-famous actor and improv comedy guy. And I found it so interesting to hear him talk about pop culture, and even more so his private life, that I've kind of been podcast stalking him. Turns out he's a popular guest and is often called in to do political commentary around elections, talk about music, movies, the industry, just about anything.
To recount the story, I had a huge crush on him in high school. We were friends, and when I made a play for him he told me he had a girlfriend, but if it wasn't for her it would be me, which is I guess the kind of thing you say when you're seventeen and some girl you like as a friend passes you a card with a heart on it. He and said girlfriend broke up some time later, but, surprise! Still not interested in me. We remained friends after he left for college; then one day he sent me a letter telling me he had been dating my best friend behind my back for the past year. I got this letter the morning I was leaving on a school ski trip with this girl as my roommate. Good times, huh?
Fast forward to 2010 and I'm on Facebook planning my 20th high school reunion. This guy was in the class above me, but I guess with all the discussion flying around he found me and sent me a private message simply saying, "Hi. Sorry I was such a dick in high school." I wrote back apologizing for being such a psycho stalker (true) and assuring him I bear him no ill will and that those were really difficult years for me. He wrote back that he was an undiagnosed depressive at the time and if I can forgive him he can surely forgive me. It ended really nicely and was enormously healing for me; now we're just FB "friends" and occasionally "like" each others' jokier posts, stuff about our kids, etc. For the record he married another semi-famous comedienne, they have two children, and live ten minutes away from me. So I feel good that we resolved all that old crap and have gotten on with our lives.
I do like to listen to him talk, especially about his family. It makes me realize even at sixteen I had really good taste. He's a great guy - smart, funny, good dad, good husband. He's just another in a long list of ones who got away.
Still, I can see how life with this man is not all puppies and rainbows. He makes reference to his drinking/drugging days (shocking to me since we were both committed straight-edgers in school; I still am, he obviously parted ways with that movement at some point); and every once in a while when he talks I catch that edge and am reminded how cutting and cruel he could be (extremely smart people often are, unfortunately), how small he made me feel sometimes, and I was just a friend. Imagine being his wife, sharing two children with him, being there for the unpredictability of a comedian's career? I bet he can be a real handful. Obviously being that woman was not my destiny. And I'm ok with that.
Many of my former heartthrobs (real or imagined) have become semi-famous actors, writers, filmmakers and musicians. The other day I tuned in to NPR to hear the guy I moved to LA for (who immediately stopped returning my calls) being interviewed about his latest best-selling novel.
I can't seem to escape the ghosts of my past.
Oh well. At least I have these guys as my future.