Six months ago I was trying to figure out what I wanted to be for Halloween this year. Over the years I have not had very many stand-out costumes, so this year I really wanted to wear something that nobody else would think of, and I also wanted to be someone that everyone at the party would recognize. I had several ideas, some I may even use some day, but late one night while falling asleep it hit me, Mr. McFeely.
I mean think about it - not only could I pull that off, but it would be comfortable, people would recognize me and as a bonus the name "McFeely" opened me up for a few perverted jokes right?
The costume was a hit. Almost everyone seemed to love the it. A few were too young perhaps to really identify with the character the way I could, but it didn't matter. McFeely was a winner!
Flash forward to this past Saturday... I was out Christmas shopping with the wife. As we walked past the bookstore I saw a sign up for some local sports writer selling yet-another-Pittsburgh-sports-book. (One of my favorite things to see are these guys out for a book signing only to find out that next to nobody cares to meet them or have them sign a book.) So, when I noticed there were a few people crowded around the table I was a little confused... that was until my wife said, "Look, it's Mr. McFeely."
I felt like a dork but I had to stand in line. I dressed up as this guy for Halloween and god dammit I was gonna shake his hand and tell him that he was a hit at my party. When my turn came he looked up at me and. I don't know if it was him, or if it were all the memories pouring back in my head, but I swear to god I felt like a little kid again.
He seemed geniunely happy to meet me. He loved hearing about how I chose to be him this year and insisted we take a picture of the two of us together. He looked at the picture on my iPhone, said we needed a better one and Jamie took a second picture. He asked me to email him pictures of me in my Mr. McFeely costume. He was just one of the warmest, coolest guys you could ever imagine. He didn't even really ask me to buy his children's book, but I did and he signed it for me. I walked into the bookstore, allowing the people behind me to have their time alone with a legend.
But it didn't end there. I was listening to people all over the bookstore talking about this moment in their lives, their voices just filled with excitment. Couples were exchanging childhood memories, and parents were talling their children how this old guy was cooler than Bratz and Ben 10.
I couldn't help but think that Santa Claus was downstairs for the little kids and Mr. McFeely was up here for the adults who did not always remember that they were still children to somebody.
Yes, Nathaniel, there really is a Mr. McFeely.