Dan Lauria was, perhaps, one of the TV dads on my television set that was what, as a child, I expected the real dads to be like.
Sure, he wasn’t as soft and cuddly as John Goodman.
Or as buffoon-ish as Homer Simpson.
Or quite the babe that Uncle Jessie was.
But he was the stereotypical bust your ass for your family TV dad.
Let me pause here momentarily and explain something.
I was extremely excited about this class excursion (yes, this was a field trip) because:
1. I was a theater kid.
So much of a theater kid that I took theater gym all FOUR years of high school (which basically meant that they didn’t expect much of us and we were taught by a lesbian… which is oddly like…)
2. The TV was my baby sitter for as long as I could remember.
But why, do you ask, was I about to meet Dan Lauria?
In high school I was taught by this incredible teacher who had worked in the business with Dan Lauria who was in an off off Broadway show called Ears On A Beatle.
It’s about John Lennon being under survallence by the FBI and ends with his death. Though John Lennon is never actually in it, we do get to see the lives of the two FBI agents that follow him, one of which was my theater teacher’s old friend, Dan Lauria.
It was 2004 and the subtle undertones of hating the government went totally under my head as I watched Jack Arnold acting 20 feet in front of me.
After the show, after the audience cleared out, we got to have a Q&A with Dan Lauria.
Some classmates asked about acting, some asked about getting agents, NO ONE asked about Wonder Years and I couldn’t bring myself to speak.
Then, and I don’t remember what question brought this answer out of him…
But Dan Lauria said:
“If it were up to me, I’d strap a helmet and a gun to all of you and send you out to Iraq.”
Thoughts ran through my head.
Did he know that we were the theater kids?
That half of us were gay?
We were in theater gym for christ’s sake. We fenced, but we didn’t even have enough equipment to fence each other so we had to learn to fence the wall.
We would be no help even with a gun strapped to us.
I remember the show being good.
I remember the trip being fun.
But mostly I remember Dan Lauria being Terrifying.
Dan Lauria was in Big Momma’s House 2 (yup, that happened) with Kat Dennings…
Who was in The 40 Year Old Virgin with Steve Carell…
Who was in Crazy Stupid Love with Kevin Bacon.
I’m 3 degrees away from Kevin Bacon sending me off to war.