School was in session, so the park was pretty empty. We didn’t have to wait in line to get on Pirates of the Caribbean or Space Mountain. He bought me a giant lollipop that was easily twice the size of my head, and all the funnel cake and soda I could shove in my face. It was pretty awesome. Until…
We came upon a family somewhere in Adventure Land. A mother, a father, a couple of kids and an old woman, probably about 113-years-old, who was hunched over so severely from being ancient that her face was parallel to the ground. Clearly she was suffering from Osteoporosis at the very least. There’s a strong possibility she was also a hunchback, though past a certain age, who can tell? She did have some kind of protuberance on her right shoulder, so let’s just go ahead and call her hunchback.
Imagine, if you will, that you’re 11-years-old at Disneyland with a famous method actor who is just about to go into rehearsals for a show in which he plays a hunchback and you come across a real life, honest-to-goodness hunchback. Never mind that the hunchback you find is a thousand year old, female Quasimoto, while said famous actor is going to be playing a middle aged man who, aside from the physical deformity of a hunch on his shoulder, is otherwise in perfect health.
It’s not just that we followed this old lady through Disneyland merely observing her movements. No, no.
I’m not sure if I can adequately convey the sheer mortification I felt as I followed Mandy Pantinkin for miles around Disneyland while he PHYSICALLY MIMICED this poor, crippled old lady. Hunching over and kind of dragging his left foot behind him, so that just in case they didn’t see him lurking a few paces behind them, inexplicably aping their little, old grandma, they would surely hear the dragging of his shoe across the glimmering asphalt.
Somehow it took someone in this family over an hour to notice us. The father turned, saw Mandy, hunched over, craning his neck up so he wouldn’t walk into buildings, and gasped. I took my giant lollipop, which, despite having licked at it for hours was still roughly the size of Rhode Island, and did my best to disappear behind it.
“Oh, my gosh, y’all!” The man hollered.
“Here we go,” I thought.
“Ain’t you Inigo Montoya??”
I could hear Mandy’s spine cracking as he finally unfolded himself into a normal upright position.
“Yes,” he said.
“Well, shit! HEY GRAMMA! YOU REMEMBER THAT MOVIE I SHOWED YOU LAST NIGHT?”
“What?” said Gramma.
“This here’s the star! Shit!”
“I gotta use the toilet,” said Gramma.
Someone shoved a disposable camera in my hand. I took a picture of Mandy Patinkin and the family and the top of Gramma’s head.
As the day finally came to an end and we headed toward the gate Mandy said,
“It’s been really nice getting to know you.”
Recently someone sent me a link to an interview Mandy gave in which he referred to me as “that little girl.”
It truly was a magical day of bonding.