I got a chance to watch an episode of Taxi tonight. It has been a long time since I got a chance to see one all the way through. it was episode 25 by many lists and here is the synopsis…
25 – Louie and the Nice Girl
Zena, who refills the vending machines at the garage, reveals a desire to go out with Louie because she is intrigued by men with power. Alex helps to fix Louie up with Zena and soon they are seeing each other regularly. Louie claims that he and Zena have a great sex life but Zena confides to Alex that Louie hasn’t even made a pass at her. Guest star: Rhea Perlman, in her first appearance on this series.” – episodes page of synopsis
* it’s worth noting that other lists show it as episode 23. It first aired on 09/11/1979, 22 years before the terrorist attack that became known as “9-11”.
As much as I loved the show it didn’t really touch me too deeply often. All the more surprising then when one of the most influential moment s of my then young life came from that show, and one of the ones that can still manage to affect me deeply. I am not sure that it is responsible for much of what I am today – but I like to think so.
“33 – Elaine’s Secret Admirer
Elaine begins receiving anonymous love poems which she finds very romantic. Jim confesses to Alex that he is the one responsible for writing the poetry. Guest star: Michael Delano, from the series “Rhoda.” – – episodes page of synopsis
Funny, it looks so simple up there… and in searching the web (quickly I might add, so I might have missed it) I don’t see a more in depth description than that. Odd. Sad. Nice. It makes it special somehow, like it was just for me. note: it turns out at least K-man has seen it, but don’t go yet, you’ll spoil the surprise 😉
It goes like this… after Jim reveals that he is the one writing these notes for Elaine she is crushed. She confesses to Jim that for a little while he had made her believe that anything was possible, princes and romance. For a time she says, she believed in Castles. She tells him that now she knows there is no such thing… that happy endings and romance is dead.
There are no Castles, she says.
When she returns home she finds a Castle in her apartment. Made of welded metal with a somewhat tired and sheepish Jim inside, still working on the finishing touches. Jim wanted her to have her Castle. Soon after we see Jim drive away in what’s left of his van – his only source of material.
Maybe you saw it. I know a week doesn’t go by that I don’t remember it inside and ask myself this: Am I the sort of man who could bring someone a Castle? Do I? Have I? Am I that good a man?
There is more to it of course. There always is. When Jim confesses authorship of the notes it is clear that Elaine is disappointed. She will never see Jim as the type of man she could love the way she loved the fantasy image of the man in those letters. Jim assures her that he was simply trying to cheer her up. But was he? Maybe Jim really did love her… and knew enough to just let it go when it became clear she would not return those feelings. Not only to spare himself, but to spare her having to reject him and to spare their friendship.
That episode, sometimes listed as episode #35, was aired on 12/04/1979. I was thirteen years old and here I was, wondering if I would become as good a man as a drug addled fictional taxi driver. I’ll tell you this, if I am not yet I will be.
Because it is worth being. It is worth it all to give the dream of Castles back to someone who should have them.
Not everyone can dream of Castles. Not everyone who can wants to and not everyone who can and wants to should… because they don’t hold the dream precious. I don’t know if I really understand them myself… I am a pragmatist and a conqueror. I am not one who grasps the gentler, more ethereal things in life. My apparent lack of artistic taste can attest to this.
What I am is a warrior and conqueror at my core. I am driven. I am greedy. I see the bad in the world and I revel in the opportunity to fight my way to the top over my foe and know in my heart that all I can see is mine and at my feet. While the kinder ideals may be beyond me the harsh and simple ones that have always been clear to me are well within my grasp.
These I understand. Love I feel as well deeply, but I don’t claim it’s understanding. Grand dreams I also hold, though they are far from gentle ones.
And yet every true warrior I know understands that in the end he exists for the purpose of providing a place for the flourishing of things he himself cannot understand, or cannot afford to delve too deeply in. Soldiers fight to protect freedom for example but those who dedicate their lives to that protection often live lives with very little of it.
I guess what I am trying to say is this. I can’t do justice to the dream of a Castle the way Elaine saw it. But I know enough to know that those who can are precious, and that it is well worth my time and effort to protect them and nurture that belief. We don’t live in a world of Elaines’ castles, but I can use my power to create a place where someone else might dream those dreams.
Maybe I do that. I hope I do…because I know a couple of girls who are special like that, and they are counting on me being at least half the man I think I am.
Such thoughts are a deep part of the American culture. We have had our warriors in the past, and we have them today. I knew several when I was in the military. For every 20 who served to make some money and get some training there were those who were there to take their turn walking the walls… because it wasn’t within them to not take that turn.
*sigh* I doubt I got my point across. But that’s the best I can do tonight. And if you are reading this from someplace while it is your turn on patrol, thank you.
note: yes, all this from an episode of Taxi. Maybe I am a philosopher at heart 🙂