In September, 2008, me, Barbara Gaines, Dave and his wife Regina and his son Harry flew to Muncie, Indiana for a Saturday to attend the dedication of the brand new multi-million David Letterman Communication and Media Center on the campus of his alma mater, Ball State University.
We toured the state of the art building, and every two minutes, they would show Dave something and he would say, “Gaines, do we have this?” and she would say, “No.” It was a relentless mark through technology. At one point, we walked into a sound studio and there was a young woman in a wheelchair, completely paralyzed, and she thanked Dave for paying for her tuition all four years. We were all crying, except Dave, who said to the girl, “You wanna get a pizza.” It was, as he always does, just the right thing to say in the moment.
But that’s not the story I keep thinking of.
At the end of the tour (which concluded with a a 20-minute Q&A with some students), we all had to get changed for the official dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony outside. Gaines and I got dressed, then Dave called us into an office where he had been dressing. The magnitude of the day had gotten to him and he was uncharacteristically emotional. “How can I go out there, in front or everyone, my family and read a Top Ten now?” he sniffed. “It seems so silly after all they have done for me.” i said words to the effect of “You’ll do it because that’s what they want, that’s what they expect, and that’s all they want. That’s all they expect. There will be plenty of time for you to feel all of this. But now it’s the gig.” I’m sure he didn’t hear me. Gaines and I left. Five minutes later, he walked out. His eyes were still red from crying. I thought, “This didn’t work. He’s not going to get through this.” And just before he went outside, he walked up to the President of the University, the Chancellor, the Board of Trustees and said, choking back tears: “My mother has been drinking since 9:00 this morning….” And Barbara Gaines and I shrieked. And they all laughed. And he went out there and the band played and the place went nuts and he delivered the Dave Letterman the world wanted.
And that, that’s the story I think about today, as Dorothy Letterman Mengering arrives in Heaven.
I need the Regina George side of Draco sitting with Harry at a café somewhere gossiping and covering his mouth dramatically pointing out all the people with dyed blonde hair, complaining about how his “naturally platinum blonde hair” is much more beautiful. Or what about Regina George Draco asking Harry why he’s so obsessed with him *cough* Halfblood Prince *cough*.
I also need Harry mumbling about how Draco is too gay to function.
part i: slytherin i. problem - ariana grande ft. iggy azalea | ii. partition - beyonce | iii. irresistible - fall out boy | iv. blank space - taylor swift | v. oh no! - marina and the diamonds | vi. yellow flicker beat - lorde | vii. black widow - iggy azalea ft. rita ora | viii. born to die - lana del rey
part ii: gryffindor i. brave - sara bareilles | ii. so what - p!nk | iii. strangeness and charm - florence + the machine | iv. bad blood - taylor swift | v. jealous - nick jonas | vi. i love it - icona pop ft. charlie xcx | vii. heartbreaker - pat benetar | vii. before he cheats - carrie underwood
part iii: hufflepuff i. shake it off - taylor swift | ii. fuck you - lily allen | iii. love song - sara bareilles | iv. come on eileen - dexy’s midnight runners | v. girls chase boys - ingrid michaelson | vi. dog days are over - florence + the machine | viii. part of me - katy perry | viii. merry happy - kate nash
part iv: ravenclaw i. hardest of hearts - florence + the machine | ii. i am not a robot - marina and the diamonds | iii. killer queen - queen | iv. nothing better - the postal service | v. be ok - ingrid michaelson | vi. mr. brightside - the killers | vii. smile - lily allen | viii. fidelity - regina spektor
1. Regina sleep-talks in Spanish. Emma knows this because she gets insomnia, but it’s awkward even though she doesn’t understand the language. It feels almost like intruding. Regina finally brings up the subject of languages when Henry is in high school, however, and they all learn Spanish together. It turns out that Regina doesn’t sleep-talk about anything more important than horses. That knowledge helps Emma’s insomnia a bit, and now she falls back asleep with a smile.
2. Emma practically breathes food. She never got much as a kid, but as soon as she had access, her metabolism skyrocketed. Between her and Henry, the refrigerator is almost always empty. So Regina films herself cooking various recipes, for Emma to watch and learn instead of getting takeout all the time. Emma watches them through a dozen times, but never really learns cooking, because she keeps getting distracted after a minute or two. “You’re too hot,” she complains, when Regina asks about her progress.
3. Regina likes to be kinky in bed, and Emma does too, but Regina’s hard limits aren’t where Emma would expect them to be. Regina has a box full of all kinds of bizarre toys and devices, but—“No bondage,” she says, “and none of that humiliating dirty talk.” Emma doesn’t really think about why that might be, since everyone has their kinks and anti-kinks for different reasons, until she does no more than pin Regina’s hands down for a second in the heat of the moment. Those brown eyes go wide in panic, and Emma pulls back and then remembers Cora. It never happens again.
4. Regina read all the Harry Potter series to Henry when he was younger, whereas Emma never got to read past the first book. It comes up, once, and Emma says, “Aww, I liked Harry. Whatever happened to him?” Regina and Henry share a look, and after that it’s decided that Harry Potter will be read before bed for all of them. Once they’ve finished the series and Emma has, unashamedly, cried her eyes out, they end up arguing over houses. As one does. Regina fiercely defends her right to be in Slytherin, but Henry and Emma keep saying, “No, you’re a Gryffindor”. Regina finally says, “You only say that because you’re Gryffindors, and so you think that’s the only way a person can be good.” That stops that discussion—until later, when Henry reminds everyone that they’d be sorted at 11, not now, and Regina looks rather horrified before mumbling under her breath, “Hufflepuff”.
5. For a while there are no pets in the mansion. But all Emma has to do is make one comment about wanting a dog, and the next day Regina comes home dragging a trailer full of no less than 11 greyhounds. “I said one, though,” Emma says, bewildered. “I couldn’t decide,” Regina replies, though she doesn’t look too conflicted about it. “They all wanted me.”
6. Once you’ve been dating Emma for about six months, it turns out, she starts switching out her jeans and leather jackets. Not completely, of course, but first it’s a button-up shirt with flowers on it, and then it’s a cardigan, and eventually it’s even a sun dress. Regina starts suspecting demonic possession. After it’s happened about ten times, Regina finally asks why. Emma says, “Well, I figure you know me well enough now not to underestimate my ability to kick ass. Even in a sun dress.” Regina raises an eyebrow and says, “Sun dresses are not conducive to…kicking ass. Your jeans are better.” Emma shrugs and says, “Yeah, but I look really good in sun dresses, and you should know this.”
7. Regina has a really good voice, and Emma sounds like a dying cat, but they both sing passionately at every one of Henry’s birthday parties, and at Christmas, and New Years’ Eve too. And neither Henry nor Regina ever make a comment. That’s how Emma knows it’s true love.
8. It takes five years before Regina realizes that Emma’s not trying to misspell all those words in the sheriff’s paperwork she turns in. She has dyslexia, they discover. And that’s when Regina becomes an overnight expert on dyslexia, thanks to Google, and starts ordering every resource she can find. “It’s just—” Emma starts to say, but Regina stops her. Everyone in Regina’s family will be taken care of. And they will have the best. Even if, as Emma says, it’s “not a big deal”.
9. Regina’s music collection has exactly 0 of the things that Emma would expect in it. She doesn’t listen to music often, but when she does, it’s mostly rap, hip hop, and R&B. She knows all the lyrics to all the 80s and 90s songs, but nothing any more recent than that. It’s quite endearing, but after a while, Emma has to start buying any other kind of music herself. “Broadway?” Regina asks, with an eyebrow raised. “Well I didn’t think you’d let me listen to Disney in the house,” Emma tells her. “I compromised.”
10. One time, out of boredom, Emma ends up researching different types of apples on the internet. That night at dinner, she makes the comment, “You know, Regina, I don’t think that’s a Honeycrisp apple tree you have.” Regina’s face goes a bit cold, her eyes darkening. “Well, yes, it turns out that even I am not allowed to have all my happy ending in this world. Gold made sure of that somewhere in the curse he wrote.” Emma is almost about to protest, because seriously? But yes, Gold would continue his feud via a Red Delicious apple tree, she realizes moments later. So Emma hunts down and buys Regina 5 legitimate Honeycrisp apple trees for her birthday.
I wonder what Hogwarts students would say about Harry in Regina George-style. Colin Creevey: "Harry Potter is flawless." Ernie Macmillan: "He has a Firebolt and an Invisibility Cloak." Hannah Abbott: "I heard his bank vault has 10,000 galleons." Lavender Brown: "His favourite food is treacle tart." Susan Bones: "One time he was on trial in front of the Minister of Magic." Terry Boot: "And he won the case." Draco Malfoy: "One time he punched me in the face... it was awesome."
thx for the inspiration, and here’s a random beauxbaton student: