Admittedly it had been years since I'd watched the Late Show, which is more a symptom of my present nightly routine and TV ADD than feigning interest in my one-time comic hero and childhood crush. However news of his retirement from his decades long run, which came to fruition last night, had me feeling very nostalgic (not hard of course -- show me a rusted lunchbox from 1985 and there will be a warm and fuzzy memory) and running back to see his good-bye.
There was a time however that David Letterman was a boob tube fixture. I wanted to be a guest (although never figured out what the heck I'd talk about), I wanted to throw things from a roof, I wanted to shoot the breeze with his mom, I wanted to eat dog food with Chris Elliot, I wanted to adopt one of the stupid pet tricks animals, I wanted to toss blue index cards through a fake window, and of course wanted Letterman to be my boyfriend (whatever that meant as a kid with a 30+ year age difference).
But seriously, he was fun and funny yet distanced himself from it enough that it seemed like an uncomfortable natural gift rather than written routine, like so many of his peers. And he was familiar enough amongst the late night landscape to make sense, but at the same time so damned WEIRD that each viewing was a welcome surprise. Letterman was a smart-ass man child that somehow also exuded the spirit of a grumpy old man that at the end of day despite it all was a sentimental self-depreciating fool. On paper not exactly compelling, but it was pure gold on T.V., and made him supremely likable. As the great Sigourney Weaver once said to Bill Murray in Ghostbusters -- "you are so odd" -- which to me has always been so endearing, and also so fitting for one David Letterman that it almost feels like it was meant for him.
Child me wrote in the angst journal years ago -- "Well, I could be watching David Letterman right now, but I’m not. And I could be throwing a fit, but I’m not. Not really". I am now throwing a fit for what will never be again. Thanks for the memories and the laughs, and David, if you're listening, I'm still open to marriage if you ever find yourself needing a spare wife.