Thank God for these people!
  1. My Mom's friend Jay - the first out, gay man I ever met. He knew I was dying to see "Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan" and surprised me with a ticket on my tenth birthday. As we sat discussing the movie afterward, he laughed out loud at some point I made.
    I don't even remember what the point was - I just remember that an adult was so impressed by something I said.
  2. My Dad's friend Bruce, who wrote movie reviews for Lexington, KY's newspaper. He invited me along to a premiere screening of "Superman III," then took me to the newspaper's office so he could crank out the review in time.
    We sat in the dark, empty office until 11 pm, discussing what was good and bad about the movie. He'd occasionally stop to type until the review was completed. It was thrilling!
  3. I saw the movie "Breakfast Club" and loved it, so I wrote a letter to the film's writer/ director, John Hughes. I got a letter back from him, thanking me. I was put on a mailing list that sent records, posters, pins, T-shirts and stuff all through high school.
    The fact that such a successful guy thought it was of value to encourage a random teen in Kentucky was a big lesson for me.
  4. Mr. Youngblood, my high school English teacher. We had a book report due on Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot." I wrote that Beckett had wound up writing bad sitcoms in Hollywood, and included samples of Beckett-style scripts for "The Flintstones," "Gilligan's Island" and "The Andy Griffith Show."
    I was afraid I'd get in trouble. He gave me an A+.