One of the interesting things about aging is dental implants. At least according to my mom. Total success story there. She’s lovin’ ‘em. But another interesting thing is watching celebrities grow up. If for no other reason than trainwrecks are usually fascinating in a way. Like Dustin Diamond. Who knew he rolled so dirty?
There are more sad examples than happy ones, obviously. Which is why it’s so nice when you find a celeb who’s gone the more traditional route — one you can relate to. One you have a bit of history with. I suspect that most of us have one such actor or actress. For me it’s Scott Baio. And it started when I was eight.
See, I had this incredibly kick ass leather jacket that was exactly like the Arthur Fonzarelli’s. (Only the Fonz’s probably didn’t have a liner equipped rows and rows of his likeness goin’ double thumbs up with the word Ayyy! embroidered in a text bubble, but whatever.) So, whenever I wore it to school, my swag was officially elementary (my dear Watson). And little Suzanne Turner loved that shit.
But my Fonzie fixation proved to be short lived. Because he proved to be little more than a gateway drug to his cousin, Chachi Arcola. I liked him a bit better because he was closer to my age and easier for me to relate to.
And Scott Baio‘s Chachi was a pretty cool customer, himself — solid with the ladies (Joanie loved him and she wasn’t the only one) and also unafraid to rock a highly questionable thigh bandana.
And I thought he was the shit. This despite the fact that I would also go on to believe that he was single handedly responsible for the appeal of Ralph Maccio, but that was only a theory and I really have no way of substantiating it.
Anyway, I eventually jumped off the Happy Days bandwagon a couple of seasons before it sailed over the shark, and in so doing, I left Scott Baio behind, too. But I’d pick him up again on accident in college when one of my buddies contended that his then-new show, Charles in Charge, featured the worst theme song in the history of ever. And when he finally convinced us to check it out, we realized this was no hyperbole. In fact, it was so bad, that we made it a point to tune in from time to time just so we could bask in its awfulness. (Where was YouTube when you needed it.)
This, of course, meant we watched the show and I gotta tell you, it was the quintessence of mediocrity. Tommy from Eight in Enough was on it. So, too, was a young Nicole Eggart, who would go on to stalk the sands of Baywatch.
So what do you get when you take a horrible theme song, Scott Baio, Dick Van Patten’s TV son, an emerging hottie and a bunch of unmotivated college kids and add them all together? A bit of a cult classic, apparently. Because, inexplicably, the show became a fixture in my life during my junior and senior years.
Fast forward a couple decades to a random day in January of 2008 when I get an even more random follow on Twitter.
At first, I thought he must have mistook me for Cory Feldman (whose best friend Corey Haim, it should be noted, was once engaged to Nicole Eggert. Sorry. Love going full circle, though.). So I immediately followed him back, then sent him a DM explaining that I’d never appeared in Goonies but that I was a fan and hoped he’d still follow me nonetheless.
Turns out it wasn’t a mistake, which makes sense, because Baio never struck me as the Feldman man. But he decided to follow me because his wife, Renee Sloan, had stumbled upon one of my YouTube videos. She, like me, is from Tennessee and apparently my accent reminded her of home.
I learned from following him that Scott and I had both grown up since last we interacted (albeit unilaterally). We also had a couple things in common. Not only was his daughter born around the same time as my triplets, but she was also born premature — five weeks to my trio’s four.
Only things didn’t go as smoothly for them as it did for us because within days of her birth, his daughter tested positive for a metabolic disorder known as “G-A 1.” Ten harrowing weeks later, they’d go on to learn that is was a false positive, but the experience compelled Scott and Renee to start the Bailey Baio Angel Foundation to provide financial support to all the families who didn’t get news of a false positive.
I know. He sounds like a totally stand-up guy.
Anyway, about a month ago, my 11-year-old daughter had this random show she wanted me to watch. Which is not uncommon. I watch shows with her all the time. This one was about a stay-at-home dad who she thought was “cool.” She thought I’d think he was cool, too.
So I sat down beside her to watch and lo and behold, there was my boy, Scott Baio starring in a Nikelodeon show called See Dad Run. Alli was right. I do think he’s cool. In fact, I told her, I always have. And as I watched, this former teen star portray a middle-aged stay-at-home dad, I couldn’t help but wonder where all the time went. How it was that Chachi was the father of three.
Or, for that matter, how it was that the kid with the Fonzie jacket somehow had five.
Do you have a random celebrity that you have a little history with?