Nanoo No-No

Went to the Magic Castle last night. If you haven’t been and you live in L.A., I highly recommend it. It’s sort of a combination of Disney’s Haunted house, Chuck E Cheese, and a bordello. With card tricks, of course.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. Really, I just wanted to vent. Getting older isn’t easy. It stings when your daughter asks your age, you tell her, and she says “Wow! That’s a really big number!” But what sucks more? Is being out at the Magic Castle, having a fine time, feeling age-appropriately hot in your lipstick, stiletto boots, and dress-code mandated skirt, chatting and laughing with the group of smart, dapper folks you came with, when suddenly–

A group of what are probably tourists approach. They are smiling broadly, looking both eager and shy. They are nudging each other. Finally one of them, a woman in what is probably her old prom dress, summons the courage to approach.

“Excuse me,” she says, wide-eyed with excitement, “but my friends are making me ask–”

“Yes?” you say, bemusedly.

“Are you–I mean, aren’t you–the actress from ‘Mork and Mindy?'”

Your smile becomes a rictus. “Excuse me?”

The group, oblivious, bobs their heads knowingly. The spokeswoman mews. “You are! I knew it!”

“Did you say Mork and Mindy? Like, Nanoo Nanoo?”


Your left hand goes out, palm up, almost imploring. “But that would make me, like, seventy.”

A beat. Abracadabra. Five tourists’ smiles vanish before your eyes.

One of them, a man in a suit, steps forward. He clears his throat and grins nervously. “I told her you were probably her granddaughter. I told her. ” Shaking his head, he turns to the woman and shakes his finger. “I told you.”

You buy it not at all. “Do I look that old?” You ask the group. “Mork and Mindy old? Do I? Do I?”

At that moment, thank God, the doors to your theater open. A handsome woman emerges, all black dress and slick hair. “Step this way, please!” she says firmly. “The show will begin in five minutes.”

As you take your seat your interlocutors flee to a different part of the theater. You won’t see them again, but you will hear the suited man call out many times during the show. He is an avid fan of the performer.

“Wonderful!” he will shout, as tricks unfold and natural laws are bent. “Bravo! Warlock!”

And the magic is pretty impressive. Still and all, you are left cold. You would, in all frankness, have traded the whole show to make your last conversation disappear. Into a deep, dark hat, preferably. Rabbit optional.

But that kind of magic doesn’t happen at the Castle. Or so it seems. Because the next day? Back in your regular life? You’re still feeling more than a bit witchy.


9 thoughts on “Nanoo No-No

  1. Jeff McElroy

    As usual, wonderfully written. Very amusing, if slightly cringe-inducing for those of us of similar age.

    I remember how much it used to suck to get carded when I went out or purchased alcohol. Then I got used to it. Then one day, it just stopped. I began offering my I.D. “You’ll probably need this.” “No. that’s okay”.

    By the way, you don’t look anywhere near 61 (as is Mrs. Dawber) or even 51, or really 41. You just met up with some oddball tourists.
    Luckily, having the creative mind you do, you were able to turn it into humor – slightly painful humor – but humor, nonetheless.

  2. jenchapinmusic

    yes, oddball tourists. Maybe the family who was in the pool at the Ovens last summer when an 8 year old girl asked me if I was Van’s grandmother?
    I was wearing a bikini.

  3. Jeff McElroy

    Ouch, Jen!

    Where do all you Chapin and Craven women get your self-confidence and open, down-to-earth qualities? Genetics? I’m continually impressed. A little feminist but still feminine. Strong without being manly. Attractive, lovely, beautiful, yet classy. What a fantastic group of ladies, girls, chicks, broads, dames, women you all are. Take your pick of terms. I think you all may be a little bit of all those things (in the best way, of course). From a male point of view: How freakin’ refreshing!

      1. Jeff McElroy

        Pfft. Don’t go getting me wrong. I still have frequent moments of rampant sexism. But the older I get, the more “moments of clarity” I seem to have. 😉

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