Field Of Dreams is one of my favorite movies. And one of the greatest lines in the movie is delivered by Dr. Archibald Graham – “You know, we just don’t recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they’re happening.” I’ve found that Moonlight Graham was right; I often miss the significance of the big moments of my life as I’m in them.
But that’s not always true. Sometimes I know those big times when they happen. This is about one of those times. But to describe the greatness of that moment, to share with you what I was able to photograph, I have to go on a tangent.
Let’s talk about Herve Villechaize.
Yes, That Herve Villechaize
Herve Villechaize was an actor who happened to be a dwarf. You might remember him from his role as the henchman named Nick Nack in the James Bond film, The Man With The Golden Gun. If you’ve never seen the film you might be wondering how effective a dwarf henchman could be. Well, my politically incorrect friend, I can tell you that Nick Nack was one heck of a fine henchman. He wrought all sorts of hench before he met his doom, as all good Bond movie henchmen do.
Herve wasn’t just an actor. He was an activist against child abuse, a painter and was once a rat catcher’s assistant. Yes, he was a quadruple threat.
But most people don’t remember Herve Villechaize for his art. His work as a rat catcher’s assistant is lost to passing time. It is Herve’s acting, especially his work on the television show Fantasy Island, that sticks with people.
Yes, That Fantasy Island
Fantasy Island was an hour long television show about a mysterious man named Mr. Rourke and his equally mysterious assistant named Tattoo. Tattoo was played by Villechaize.
Fantasy Island was a place where people came to experience what would happen if their fondest fantasies came true. Rourke and Tattoo ran the island and granted the fantasies, but they were really jerks about it. They almost always granted their guests’ fantasies but threw in an unexpected wrinkle that caused the person whose wishes were granted to realize that those fantasies were not as great as expected.
As if charging people for the privilege of crushing their souls wasn’t proof enough that Mr. Rourke was kind of an ass, there was one other thing he did that left no doubt.
Fantasy Island didn’t have an airport or air traffic controllers. Instead he made someone run up the lighthouse and yell out to everyone on the island when the next seaplane load of suckers was arriving. And of all his minions that he could have assigned that task to, every week he gave it to the only dwarf he employed – Tattoo.
Every Fantasy Island show began with poor Tattoo running up three hundred stairs to the top of the lighthouse. He’d scan the sky and when he’d spot an approaching seaplane he’d yell out “de plane! de plane!”
Yes, This Has A Point
So, fast forward to a few weeks ago. Mr. Rourke and Tattoo are both dead; Fantasy Island has been off the air for decades. I’m standing in a parking lot, having a beer with friends before a concert. I was talking, I was people watching, I was having a nice evening. And then it happened.
It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I recognized it as soon as it started. To be fair, I recognized it but couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I asked someone to confirm it and she, in turn, had what we were seeing confirmed by a third person. We all agreed that we were in the presence of something special. We all stared, beholding what was before us.
It was a man with a tattoo on his arm. Yeah, I know, a dime a dozen, right? Wrong. He had a tattoo of Herve Villechaize, in his role of Rourke’s mysterious dwarf assistant, Tattoo.
Yes, a tattoo of Tattoo!
Realizing that I would be telling this story to people who would not believe it without proof, I found a way to get a photo. Behold –
Moonlight Graham was right. We really don’t realize the significance of moments while we are in them. But I think there is something important to add to his thought. Whenever we do realize we are having one of those moments, it is best to run ahead of it and take a picture by pretending to answer a text message.
When you’re experiencing a significant moment, dignity is over rated
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