Caution: Do not try this at home.
I think that after all this time I can finally bare my soul, and reveal my most shameful Christmas secret:
I’m secretly William Shatner.
Well, I sort of imagine that I am. Not all the time, though, and not for a long time. And it’s not a condition that I need – as yet – need any sort of medication for. Though it is true that excessive amounts of caffeine can bring about a rapid drastic change in my demeanor.
You see, I love to imitate the “Star Trek” actor in his most hammy moments; think of being tied to a chair and being forced to watch a TV Land marathon of “T.J. Hooker.” There’s just something so emotionally rewarding about slipping into Shatner-speak, as it were, and exaggerating words and phrases beyond all rational meaning.
Which brings us to “A Christmas Carol,” which is probably my favorite Christmas movie of all time. Though, of course, it has to be Alastair Sim, and not any of the others, including the sad Patrick Stewart effort for TNT some years ago.
Moving right along . . .
A few years ago, when I still had a job where I punched a time card, I worked in a chemical lab. This was a great job. We drank coffee, read newspapers, discussed politics and movies, told bad jokes, and even tested chemicals. And we had some great bosses.
I felt like it was a sort of karmic reward for all those years spent working at Mexican Original.
It was close to Christmas, and several of the production lines were shut down, but our boss had managed to keep as many of us working a forty hour week as possible, as long as she could. As you might imagine, there was less to do than usual.
It was then – the mixture of having watched Alastair Sim the night before and drinking too much coffee that morning – that I hit upon the perfect way to spend the rest of the work day. For the amusement of my lab mates – but mostly for myself – I performed a one-man Christmas Carol, using a William Shatner impression for each and every character.
A friend had left to go to the break room, and when he returned, I fixed him with a steely gaze, “As for you, sir, I have just one question, “ and I slipped into my best “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan/The Wrath of Khan/Scrooge” mode, and asked:
“Tiny Tim? Out of Danger?”
I thought he was going to fall on the floor, laughing.
Well, I have to tell you this: It was hard work. I’m not sure how William Shatner keeps it up all day long, myself.
There are no video tape copies of this wretched performance, but every year, around this time, I think of doing an encore. I think I’ll just put some coffee on . . .
TCM is running “The Man Who Came to Dinner” on Monday afternoon. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, give it a try. I keep trying to tell Tracy that Sheridan Whiteside is the man I intend to evolve into, once I finally grow up.