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  • Paul Davidson

I Am Afraid of Ed Begley, Jr.

He comes to me sometimes at night in my dreams.

Him and his doctor-activities as witnessed on the 80’s television show, St. Elsewhere, him and his floppy blonde hair as experienced in the movie A Mighty Wind. His obsession with the electric car, hydrogen powered vehicles and an environment that he’d be proud to leave as a legacy to the entire world.

Ed Begley, Jr. scares the bejesus out of me.

I’ve been telling people for years that the guy gives me the willies and people haven’t quite been able to put their finger on what it is about the Begley-ster that does so. But recently, I was going to see a movie here in Los Angeles and was with a friend who spotted him first and was very cautious in their revealing to me that my biggest real-life nightmare was standing behind me.

Him: I want to tell you something, but I don’t want you to freak out. Me: Why, what is it? What’s going to freak me out? What’s going on? Him: Promise me you won’t turn around until I tell you to turn around. Me: Why? What’s behind me? You can’t tell me not to turn around like that when there could be something life threatening right behind me!

So, I turned around.

And there, standing at the edge of an escalator with his gawky, lanky hair-floppy looking child was none other than the infamous Ed Begley, Jr.

At first, a chill ran through my body. Because, there he was in the flesh. It’s not often that the subject of your nightmares shows up perched on the edge of an escalator with his demonspawn ready to ride down the escalator in a theater complex and escape into the world to continue his tirade against the oil companies and those ruining the environment. It’s not often that one’s figurative “bigfoot” is about to get away.

I had to do something about it.

My friend tried to hold me back but I wriggled away from his grasp and moved quickly to the escalator where Ed Begley, Jr. (the nightmare) was already starting to ride it down with his child, Ed Begley, Jr. Jr.. I jumped onto the edge of the escalator (even after my previously-traumatic escalator incident) and started to ride it down after him. I was only 4 steps away and watched as his trademark floppy blonde hair blew in the indoor-wind. I cleared my throat — I was going to finally face my fear.

I watched as Begley, Jr. and Begley Jr. Jr. got off the escalator and paused — looking up towards where I was descending. It was just like that dream I had where Begley, Jr. was going to blow up the world with a hydrogen bomb except for the fact that we weren’t in his secret St. Elsewhere Lair on an island in the South Pacific and he wasn’t wearing that robotic suit he used to crush men who stood in his way. Here, he was wearing his Birkenstocks and standing in the middle of a mall. Scary, nonetheless.

And then I reached the bottom.

Without pausing, without fear — I approached Begley Jr. and spoke up.

Me: You’re Ed Begley, Jr. aren’t you? Begly, Jr: Yes, I am. Hi. Me: The Ed Begley Jr. from St. Elsewhere and A Mighty Wind? Begly, Jr: One in the same. Who are you? Me: You, sir — are my biggest nightmare. I fear you. Begly, Jr: I’m sorry to hear that. Really, I am. Me: Well, it’s true. Begly, Jr: Well, it was good to meet you.

And with that, Begley, Jr. was gone.

The truth is, I think deep down I wasn’t really ready to stop Begley, Jr. from what I fear his ultimate goal of world domination is to be, YET. Hell, I don’t know for sure know anymore why I fear him. In my dreams, he was hell bent on horrible things. In the movieplex, he was just a normal guy with a normal son with a normal part in his hair who just wants to be left alone — treated like a normal guy. A normal guy! He just wants to be treated like a normal guy.

Which, for me, was the sign I was looking for. When have you ever heard of a movie/TV star who just wants to be left alone? Treated like a normal guy? Never. And that was the moment I realized what this first meeting with my nemesis was for. It was to get me ready for the next time our paths would cross, when I would be looked to as the one person who could stop Begley, Jr. from whatever secret scary plan he had in the works.

Next time, I would be ready.

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