Claire Khaw wrote under the following video: “Tell us about the happiest time of your life, Luke.”
I like that question.
This was the happiest time of my life. It was in October of 1977, I believe, I was a few weeks into sixth grade at Pacific Union College Elementary School, and the most beautiful girl in the class, Cindy Jackson, dropped a note on my desk asking me, “Do you want to go with me?” I loved this girl. I thought about her constantly. I couldn’t believe that she was interested in me. I couldn’t believe that someone I loved might love me back. That was the happiest moment of my life. I was 11.
* Spring of 1980. I met Mike Adamle (Bryant Gumble’s NFL partner) at Sea World where he was providing commentary for NBC Sports. He gave me about half an hour of his time talking about the world of broadcasting and he said I would be a big success in life. According to Wikipedia: “On February 7, 2017, Adamle said he was diagnosed with dementia, and that his doctor saw signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. He believes this and the past 19 years of epileptic seizures resulted from his concussions in football. He officially retired from WMAQ-TV on March 24, 2017, at a send-off party with colleagues.”
* January 1, 1983. I was a junior in high school. After watching the exciting Sugar Bowl at the home of the Kime family (it was a church party for teens), I climbed into the attic with this girl I knew from high school and her friend and within an hour, I was making out with her friend. This girl taught me how to kiss and that gave me confidence. Six months later, I started kissing Rainy, a girl I loved at Pacific Union College. After we caught our breath after our first make-out, she said, “We could have been doing this a year ago.” But I didn’t know how then. And I didn’t have the confidence to try.
* Late 1984. With the phantom of delight just ahead of me, I could hardly breathe. I listened to her laugh with her friend. I could smell her perfume. That she was so sweet, so innocent and so right there, was so too much. I fled across the street and tried to walk away from her.
“Oh Luke.” I heard her cry my name. She smiled at me and beckoned. I crossed the street and walked to her; unable to breathe, unable to speak. More.
* December 22, 1985, I covered for KAHI/KHYL radio the San Francisco 49ers defeating the Dallas Cowboys 31-16 on the last regular season game of the year at Candlestick Park. I was in the press box for most of the game but got to go down to the field for the last two minutes and then into the locker rooms. On my way to the Cowboys room, I passed Tom Landry in the hallway talking about how he hadn’t spoken to Skip Bayless since about 1982. I put my mic into the conversation. I had been a big Cowboys fan since 1978 and now I was right next to my hero and I realized I could line up with anyone in life. Tom Landry today, why not the president tomorrow?
* January 26, 1986, I drove back to Pacific Union College and saw the end of the Super Bowl with the Muth family. I met a young woman there named Lori W., who knocked me out. Such a classy broad! She was wearing a white track suit when I met her and ever since then, I’ve thought of her as an angel, as a divine messenger (she served as an inspiration to me through years of befuddling illness for I knew that if I was worthy of one date with her, I was worthy of much better things in life than I had settled for in the past). Apparently all the guys at Monterey Bay Academy wanted to marry her. I was in the early stages of mononucleosis at the time, and spent most of the week on the couch listening to the Chariots of Fire soundtrack, but I took her out one evening that week to see The Jewel of the Nile and I’ve never forgotten the pleasure of her company. I never saw her again but those few hours together left me with a never-to-be-forgotten sense of God (and that He wants good things for me). Sometimes people like Lori come along just once in our lives but they leave us with intimations of a better way of doing things that is far beyond everything we have known till then. One date with Lori and I realized how impoverished my life was and how much more there could be for me.
The next few months were mono-hell but I had seen something reflecting back to me in her eyes that kept me going through all of my despair and failure.
* Circa August of 1986, I covered U.S. Senator Alan Cranston campaigning somewhere near Nevada City (in his race against Republican Ed Zschau). I rode on a press bus with a Los Angeles Times reporter and some other journos and I made them all laugh and I realized I was as smart and talented as them. One of the journos told me he wanted to write a book about our trip, an updated version of The Boys on the Bus.
* February 16, 1989, I lost my virginity in my second floor dorm room at Reiber Hall, UCLA. I guess I was loud because when I came out the door to wash up, a group of guys high-fived me.
* Circa April, 1989. My Economics professor, Russell Roberts, asked me to come see him at office hours. He wanted to know what I planned to do with my life. He said I’d make a great economist. Even though I was largely bed-ridden during my nine months at UCLA, I had no doubt that I belonged there, and that when healthy, I could make my way at any elite university and any elite setting. I was going to school with the top one percent and I fit in just fine. A few years later, Dr. Roberts discussed writing a book with me about Orthodox Judaism.
* January 28, 1994. On that Friday night at the conservative shul in Tampa Bay, Florida, I met Dennis Prager in person for the first time. The next day, he told me that he could die in peace knowing that I would continue his work for good values. He said he might have a job for me if I came to LA.
* March 31, 1994, a Thursday, I drove from Newcastle to UCLA, after making a partial recovery from six years of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I was ready to restart my life at the place where I had to drop out in June of 1989.
* May of 1994. I got talent agent — Debbie Durkin, who thought she could get me modeling work (particularly in Japan). She sent me out on about 30 casting calls for TV and movie roles (including as the Aussie weatherman in Jodie Foster’s sci-fi flick Contact). I got only one call back and landed no jobs. I didn’t have any rational expectation for making it as an actor but I thought the experience of trying would serve me well when I eventually transitioned to writing. One casting agent from this time ran into me in 2001 when I was a blogger frequently on TV and he said that the diligent way I went about pursuing my acting career back then made him think I was going to make it.
* June or July 1994. I was an extra on the set of Strange Days and someone like an assistant director found me terribly amusing and fought and lost to get me some lines in the movie.
* November 23, 2003. I was featured on 60 Minutes. I didn’t particularly like the bits they quoted from me, but the program had been a big deal to me for over two decades.
* October of 2008. My Alexander Technique teacher suggests I might consider becoming an Alexander Technique teacher.
* December of 2011. I graduate from the Alexander Training Institute.
* May of 2011. I attend my first 12-step meeting and feel like I belong.
* May of 2015. I attend my first Debtors Anonymous meeting and I see a simple path I can take to attain prosperity.
* As I look over my list of happy memories, it seems that most of them have to do with my gaining competence and confidence aka proving my manhood.