A story about fanmail and karma

When I used to watch TV for a living, back in 2006, I was one of the only people in charge of captioning “Days of Our Lives” for a year or so. For the most part, the company liked to change up your shows so you wouldn’t get stuck working on a series you hated or wouldn’t hog all the good shows. But a few shows like “Days” had a quick turnaround and required an extensive knowledge of characters and storylines, and newbs didn’t have time to research how to spell things like Stefano, Marlena, Sami (a girl), and whoever Stan is (Sami’s male alter ego, duh. Couldn’t have gone with “Sammy.” Too obvious).

I used to good-naturedly roll my eyes and pat heads of friends who told me they were totally into Soap Operas, and they knew it was junk food, but damned if they weren’t catchy. But when it was suddenly my job to know the ins and outs of “Days,” I became obsessed. If I was off for Christmas break and the company had to assign the show to an overtimer, I’d Tivo it to watch in my free time anyway, because Tivo was still a relevant verb in 2006.

I also had a favorite character: the cutest boy. The character’s name was Philip Kiriakis, and he was a pretty good actor as far as Soap Operas go. There came a time when something happened to him — I forget what — a fire or he went away to war, and several episodes ended on a shot of Philip in a full-body cast speaking no lines. I had a hunch what was about to happen, and sure enough, a few episodes later, the bandages came off, and the “doctors were able to save his face with a few cosmetic changes,” which is Soap Opera speak for “bitch was recast.”

I learned later that the actor I’d liked was actually the second actor to portray the character, and it seemed like they were bringing back the original actor, apparently a fan favorite. But I was sad to hear this news! I imagine it’s not unlike loving Pierce Brosnan as James Bond because you grew up thinking he WAS Bond, all the while refusing to accept that Sean Connery is clearly the best Bond, and deciding later that Daniel Craig is hands-down the hottest Bond. What were we talking about again?

Anyway, the point of this rambling and boring story is that I was crushed when I heard the actor was recast, but in my research, I found an online blog he had. He was generally a funny and intelligent-sounding guy, self-deprecating because actors know how Soap Opera stars are regarded, but humble enough to know not to bite the hand that fed him. He also did a “weekly mailbag” where he humorously responded to fanmail.

How could I not email him? I told him I closed captioned his show and had stumbled upon his site, and I was sorry they’d recast him. I sprinkled in a few of the “jokes” and “Lauren charm” that generally drove men away until 2009 when I met my husband who is apparently immune to my awkwardness.

He did not reply. What he did do, however, is use the next Weekly Mailbag to mock the use of the phrase “stumble upon” and generally insult the type of person who is uncreative enough to use that phrase for finding one’s website, and probably something along the lines of me likely being a fat, sad housewife. My memory gets fuzzy when searing with rage so he may have said something different. Sadly, the Internet Wayback machine only logged his index and none of the main pages, or I’d quote it here directly.

I just remembered this today when I was writing an email to someone and stopped myself from using the phrase “stumbled upon” out of shame and past-embarrassment. Then I got mad at him again and looked him up. His website no longer exists. It seems from IMDB he is also no longer getting work.

Too bad, right?
*slowly takes Voodoo doll from “Outstanding Curses” drawer and places it into “Successful Curses” drawer*

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