Tonight will mark the end of an era: David Letterman’s last show airs this evening.
I was a kid when Letterman took to the late-night airwaves. For the life of me, I don’t know how I knew about him. My parents weren’t fans. My friends weren’t staying up late enough to watch his show. Back in those days, Dave didn’t come on until 12:30 in the am. I’m talking school nights, people. I remember sneaking out of bed to watch, but I couldn’t tell you anything more. I just don’t recall. I certainly don’t remember standing around, talking about the previous night’s show with folks at school. But I was definitely affected. Terms like “stupid pet tricks” and “my brush with greatness” became part of my lexicon. Letterman was such a dork. Brilliant, to be sure, but a dork just the same. My adolescent sense of humor found a kindred spirit in Dave. Again – I don’t know how I knew to watch. But I did.
At best, I’ve been a fair-weather fan over the years. I’ve watched here and there, but not consistently. And that’s my loss. But whenever someone suggested to me that this host or that was the best, I never held back in professing my loyalty to Letterman. Even when I wasn’t watching regularly, I was a devoted fan. Always.
Mister and I have been watching every episode for the last few weeks, as we’ve known the end was nigh. And now it’s here. Because Letterman has been a constant in my little world, I am heart-broken over the end of his show. I understand, of course. The guy’s due. I get it. I suppose it’s just that, well, I’m losing a hero.
We all want to feel like someone gets us. We seek those sorts of simpatico relationships throughout our lives. And that desire extends beyond our real relationships to our reel relationships. I’ve never met David Letterman. In all likelihood, I’m not gonna. But I like to imagine that if I did know the guy, at least once – while hanging out and tooling around – we would have called a “how’s my driving” number on the back of a big-rig, just to mess with the operator. And we would have laughed. Boy-howdy, would we have laughed…