Thursday, September 30, 2010

Carrie Fisher is the Center of the Universe

Last week I dropped by the Davis County Library to check out some new reading material, and picked up a copy of Carrie Fisher's recent memoir, "Wishful Drinking." It was a pretty eye-opening account of a woman born to a pair of 1950's Hollywood celebrities who went on to deal with substance abuse, manic depression, and the eternal burden of an iron bikini.

I finished the book by the end of the day. The next day, her celebrity father died.

I don't think there was a connection.

What was even stranger, though, was realizing just how central a role Carrie Fisher has played in my pop culture universe:

1. Carrie Fisher played Princess Leia in "Star Wars."

The first "Star Wars" film came out six months after I was born, and I spent the first ten years of my life wanting to be Han Solo when I grew up.  While I never quite developed the same crush on Princess Leia as some of my fellow peer-nerds, that infamous gold bikini from "Return of the Jedi" might explain why I never went through that early childhood phase where boys think girls have cooties.  Not that it helped any.

2. Carrie Fisher played John Belushi's estranged ex-fiancee in "The Blues Brothers."

If "Star Wars" is the keystone of my appreciation of science fiction, "The Blues Brothers" is the keystone of my appreciation for comedy. When I was a kid, "The Blues Brothers" was that cool movie on cable where they have a car chase in a mall. In high school, it became the foundation for my deep appreciation for soul and blues music. By the time I left on an LDS mission to Chicago, the film had a flat-out divine import. A mission from God, indeed.

3. Carrie Fisher was married to Paul Simon.

Before "The Blues Brothers" solidified my R&B roots, my parents raised me on a steady diet of Motown and Simon & Garfunkel. To this day, "Mrs. Robinson" instantly links me to memories of our family Honda weaving through Douglas Fir trees in Yellowstone National Park, even though the song itself was written in Greenwich Village, New York. I still maintain that Paul Simon is the greatest songwriter of the late 20th Century (even though he truly needed Garfunkel to bring his best stuff to fruition). Carrie Fisher would probably agree with me.

Moreover, Ms. Fisher is an accomplished writer (four other novels to date) and stage performer (the memoir was adapted from a live comic performance she used to do...or may still do.  I don't know, the book came out two years ago.)  With all those different interests, Carrie Fisher, like Steve Martin and Woody Allen, is nothing more than a considerably more successful version of me.

(uncomfortable silence...)

Yep, that pretty much says it.