There was a hilarious show called Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist that was on Comedy Central a few years back. It had a very clever concept: Jonathon Katz played a Bob Newhart-esque psychiatrist and comedians were his “patients”. His dry humor with quiet delivery was very conducive to the comedians’ uproarious delivery.
One of the comedians featured was Louis C K. His routine on the couch consisted of explaining how he is starting to see the same stranger twice. His conclusion was that God was running out of extras in the movie of his life. To drive home his point, he put on the voice of God (very deep and authoritative) instructing a person to run into Louis when on the bus.
However, the man objected, stating he was the jogger that ran by him just today.
God’s retort? “Just go! Put on a hat, I don’t care!” (clip of the episode below, Bees and SIDS, Minutes 8:47 through 9:15)
This concept of “movie extras” in my life stuck with me. After watching this particular episode, I decided to be aware of the people around me more closely, especially on my way to work. I found this travel time quiet and reflective, primed for observation. Also, I was on the road for at least 40 minutes. Surely that would give me enough time to look about! Besides, driving into work can be pretty mundane—always with the same crowded freeway and roads. I figured this exercise would liven things up a bit.
It actually worked. For months, I saw the same truck on the road. Granted, this full sized truck was hard to miss. It was painted in a metallic, shiny purple color with sunflower yellow script written on the tail gate. Every day, this truck was either in front, beside or behind me.
Contrary to the episode, I didn’t feel God was running out of extras in my life. Rather the extras in the movie of my life were having recurring appearances, cameo roles if you will.
Then again, maybe God had a conversation with the driver:
“You, in the purple truck, drive in front of Diane!”
“But I was just driving side by side with her yesterday! Surely she will recognize me!”
“No matter, wear a hat!”
I grew to expect seeing this truck on my way to work. We had a connection, though we never met face to face. We were both going to work at the same time and route. In a large city as Las Vegas, where people can be quite anonymous, this simple observation of a familiar vehicle was very comforting.