Jon is in The Zone.
He gets this way. When there is
a task at hand, a difficult task, a challenging task, Jon has an amazing ability to focus.
Here is a story:
Many years ago a bunch of us, maybe five or six of us, went bowling. Nothing
extraordinary happened. We bowled a couple of games, we had a few beers, we had fun. Jon
was probably the best bowler of the bunch, but that wasnt saying all that much. We
were infrequent bowlers, is the point.
So we finish and go up to the counter to pay and somehow Jon gets into a little talk
with the guy behind the counter. It isnt really an argument, but at the same time
there is a hint of competitive edge to it. Macho crap, you might call it. Boasts are made,
a challenge is laid down.
I dont know how it happened, exactly, I dont remember what-all was said,
but suddenly all of us are heading back over to the alley and Jon and this strapping young
guy who works in a bowling alley have a wager. The stakes? Double or nothing for the bill,
which was something like fifteen bucks.
That isnt a lot, and at the same time for a bunch of newly minted college
graduates, newly-minted unemployed college graduates, it was enough. I remember
wondering if between us we had enough cash to cover if Jon lost. I know that at that time
neither Jon nor I had credit cards.
As it was the wager was simple: One frame, high score wins.
Jon let the guy choose: Did he want to go first or second? In which position
would he feel more pressure? He let Jon roll first. Jon fetched the ball hed been
playing with, then stepped into the lane. He stood still and looked down the alley at the
pins, and he entered The Zone.
Now, I should point out that the guy knew just how good (or should I say mediocre) a
bowler Jon was. Hed seen the scoresheet, which you have to turn in when you finish
bowling. And while I wont pretend to remember what Jon had bowled that evening, Jon
was in general a fair bowler. So a 175 wouldnt be out of the question, but 200 would
be. And the guy knew this.
And, apart from the fact that the guy worked in a bowling alley, the guy looked like a
bowler. Or rather, since bowlers are usually thought to be somewhat round and puffy, the
guy looked like an athlete who also bowled. He was muscular, gangly, his right arm seemed
a little longer than the left. His right hand seemed to twist toward his body, as if it
had deformed because of the torque with which he rolled the ball.
I know that I figured Jon was going to lose. Im sure we all did.
Except Jon. After a time he stepped forward, taking the usual four steps to the foul
line, and he rolled the ball. It made its straight way (like most people who dont
bowl much, Jon doesnt put any spin on the ball) down the lane, hitting the head pin
just off-center and causing all the pins to topple in a joyful clanging, booming mess.
The guys muscular shoulders fell. What pride he had was punctured. He hardly even
smiled. For him the odds had just gone very long. He knew that the best he could do was
tie, and that he was very likely going to lose the bet. And he knew all too well how many
hours at the bowling alley he had to work to earn $15. Too many.
He was holding the ball hed taken from his own bowling ball bag behind the
counter, but as he stepped into the lane we all knew he was going to fail. We could read
it in his face and in his posture. Jons strike had knocked the wind out of him. He
was smaller now.
Embracing defeat he hurried his motion. His ball, which was delivered with an
astounding amount of spin, came in too high, and when the proverbial dust cleared there
were still two pins standing. He didnt bother to make the spare.
We put our money away and headed for the street. And then we all bought Jon beers.
Friday night, late, some of the people working on Cherry gathered at the
Producers Club bar for a Kickoff Party. At one point or another quite a few people
dropped by though most stayed for just a bit and then, exhausted, headed home. Some are
working over the weekend, all are all too aware that shooting begins on Monday morning.
But apart from the complications that the costume changes entail, which means Jon is
spending the weekend writing, everything is in as good a shape as is possible. Thats
because the preproduction schedule has been lengthy, and the amount of work everyone has
been able to do before shooting starts has been great.
Which means the Kickoff Party was a chance to kick back a little and relax, before the
work really begins. Which is how Eddy ended up laying on the floor, camera in hand,
shouting, "Smile everybody."
And maybe explains how Jon got into The Zone.
Not Camera Shy: Katja, Peggy, Heath, Eddy
The Assistants Club: Amy, Philip, Katja
We closed the bar?