One of my favorite coffee table books is an anniversary retrospective of Saturday Night Live over the decades. In the volume is a picture of all the big-shots around the writer’s table. During each week, they all gather for a table read – – Lorne Michaels, the week’s host, the head writers, and the regular cast members. This isn’t the picture shown in the book, but it shows a similar table read during a different week than the one portrayed:
The specific photo in the book was during the week in which Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger were the co-hosts. It must have been around 1993 or so.
What struck me while looking at the picture was how many lives had been surprisingly altered (or ended) since the photo was taken. The passage of time brings many changes, of course, but imagine yourself transported back a quarter-century to that very room and, after announcing you are from the future, you proceed to walk around the table and utter the following (and, yes, every one of these people was actually at the table in the photo I referenced):
- “Al Franken, you will become a United States Senator. And, before finishing your term, you will resign in disgrace because of a sex scandal.”
- “Alec Baldwin, you are going to have a messy, ugly divorce with your wife. Oh, and speaking of which, Kim Basinger, you’re going to go bankrupt………because you bought a town.’
- “Chris Farley, you don’t have long to live. All the drinking and drugs are going to put you in the grave at the age of 33, just like your idol, John Belushi.”
- “You’ll live longer, Jan Hooks, but you’ll die of throat cancer at 57.”
- “Lastly, Mr. Hartman, you know that crazy woman you’re married to? She’s going to put a bullet through your head while you’re asleep in your own bed.”
You think they’d believe you? I don’t think so. But you’d be telling the truth. Every bit of it.
So that’s the real question the revelers on New Year’s Eve should be asking………..not whether they can manage to quit smoking, find a mate, or lose weight. The real question is: what horrors that we’d never expect await us? The happy group around that table didn’t expect any of these misfortunes.
Neither can we.