It was in the early years of the 21st century. January 27, if I’m not mistaken. I was living in the TV Celebrity Trailer Park, right off the freeway just south of Oxnard, California, house sitting Robert Blake’s mobile home while the master of the house tended to his legal affairs in Los Angeles.
On the left side of Blake’s trailer lived Bea Arthur, star of the hit 1980s sitcom The Golden Girls, as well as that 1970s show that was spun off of Norman Lear’s All In The Family. To the right of Blake’s trailer was Jimmy Doohan, the greatest starship engineer ever to come out of the Star Trek universe. As everybody knows, the TV Celebrity Trailer Park allots space in accordance to how many hit shows one has had. Therefore, Bea had a doublewide, Jimmy a single as did Robert. But Robert’s trailer had extensive awnings.
However, what people don’t know about the TV Celebrity Trailer Park is that the biggest stars in music regularly stop by and give free shows for the residents. Bob Dylan, GWAR, Dolly Parton, you name ’em, they’ve all performed at the park’s clubhouse, jammin’ for free as TV’s past greats and near-greats boogied down amidst the aluminum jungle they called home.
Then came that day I awoke to Bea Arthur’s frantic pounding on my front door. Metallica was scheduled to play the clubhouse that night, but the park’s nuclear reactor was on the blink. Metallica unplugged? No way! I knew then that something had to be done.
But what? While I pondered the question of how to supply power to Lars Ulrich and company, I heard someone bump into the 1957 Chevy Blake kept up on blocks behind the trailer. It was Jimmy Doohan, making his way to my back door to borrow his customary morning cup of Scotch. Hmmm, I thought to myself. They say all those ’60s TV actors were typecasted. Could Jimmy really know something about engineering?
Fortunately, Jimmy had learned enough from his Trek days to save the day. “I’ve got me some of those dilithium crystals,” said Jimmy as he knocked back his morning eye-opener. “Fix you right up, but good, laddie and lassie.”
True to his word, Jimmy commenced to rigging up a dilithium converter, which he then tried to hook up to the main conduit on the park’s reactor core. But alas, he didn’t notice that he was standing in a Puddle Of Mudd. You guessed it. All that warp power surged through Jimmy like waste material through a Canadian migratory bird. The show was saved. However, Jimmy ended up welded to the reactor for eternity.
Yeah, a lot of great bands and artists played the trailer park that year, including Avril Lavigne, Beastie Boys and KMFDM. And thanks to Jimmy’s quick thinking, they all had enough power to rock the clubhouse down. I remember hanging out backstage, catching great acts like Yanni and Nashville Pussy as Jimmy blazed like those famous Oxnard sunsets, growing dim for the ballads, and lighting up like the Fourth Of July when it came time for the encores. And while we observed Jimmy’s teeth and hair fall out as he powered the guitars and amps for Kittie, Pedro The Lion and Gin Blossoms, Bea told me about ’70s liberalism, how she came to play one of television’s first outspoken female characters and what it was like working for Norman Lear. Meanwhile Jimmy’s fervent incandescence and luminosity lit the sky for miles around.
Yep, I remember those days like it was yesterday. Those days when Jimmy Doohan’s perpetually grounded body personally supplied the power for shows by bands like Gov’t Mule and Wilco. Yeah, those were great times.
Those days when it was just me and Maude watching Scotty glow.