(I’ve told this story before, elsewhere, but I had a long weekend, so those of you who know me are getting a rerun.)
I spent a day driving around with a dude who was convinced that he could prove he was the reincarnation of a samurai. Said dude, by the way, was black.
The way he tells it, he was watching the extra features on The Last Samurai (which is so historically accurate that it’s practically a documentary), and saw a photo old samurai from around a hundred and fifty years ago. To Crazy Dude’s credit, this samurai was, in fact, black, which is not something I was aware existed.
Anyway, Crazy Dude sits up in his chair and goes, “That’s me!” Now, Crazy Dude tells me that he’s always been interested in far-eastern culture–martial arts, oriental food, etc. (Which is a completely rare and unique personality trait in Los Angeles, let me tell you.)
So Crazy Dude adds these two facts together (the picture and the completely-rare-and-unique-interest-in-far-east-culture), and comes to the conclusion that he was, in another life, a Crazy Samurai Dude.
“Do you want to see the proof?” he asks me, with a look in his eyes that tells me I’m going to be seeing the proof whether I want to or not.
“Let’s see it,” I say, feigning interest, because it’s either this or listening to Crazy Dude’s mix CD, which is akin to listening to the wind whistling across the gaping abyss of madness, set to a techno beat.
So he opens up his lap top and shows me a picture of a black samurai. Sure enough, it… kinda looked like him. In that the man in the photograph had two eyes, a nose, and a mouth.
Crazy Dude nods and smiles, waiting for me to catch my breath. “He does kinda look like you.”
“Exactly!” he exclaims. “Everybody I’ve shown this to, like 98% of them say, ‘Wow, dude, that is so you!'”
“Yeah, that’s because you’re crazy, and it’s easier to agree with the crazy dude and avoid him for the rest of the shoot than try to convince him he’s crazy,” I think but don’t say.
What I say is, “You know, there are six billion people on the planet. Lots of people look like other people. If you compare pictures of my dad with pictures of me at the same age, they’re practically indistinguishable.”
“Yeah, but that’s you’re dad. I don’t know who this guy is.”
“Right. He may very well be related to you, and you just don’t know it.”
“That’s pretty unlikely.”
“Less likely than you are the reincarnation of a 150 year-old black samurai?” I think so loudly that he probably heard me.
Crazy Dude goes on to tell me that he’s making a documentary about his search to discover who this old black samurai is. His plan? Since this documentary originally aired on the History Channel, he tried calling them to ask who the guy in the picture is. Strangely, they never returned his call.
I’ll give you a moment to recover from your shock.
I tried explaining to him the difference between a production company and a television network. Most likely, some company made this documentary on their own, and then took it to the History Channel, who in turn said, “This is pretty good. Here’s x-thousand dollars, and we’ll run it between Airplanes of World War II and Battleships of World War II.” The salient point being, nobody at the History Channel has any idea where that picture came from, or who the hell it’s a picture of.
“But I don’t know who the production company is,” he responds.
“Watch the credits,” I suggest, putting my four year degree in cinema to good use.
“I’ve got a better plan,” he assures me. “I’m going to walk right in to the History Channel’s offices and not leave until they tell me who the man in the photo is.”
I paused for a moment, weighing my possible responses.
“You do realize that they’ll think you’re crazy, right?” This time I actually said it out loud.
I couldn’t help myself! I mean, seriously, I just couldn’t hold it in any longer. He’s crazy, and someone had to point this fact out to him, however obliquely.
But he had a reasoned, thoughtful, and confident response to that. “They won’t think I’m crazy when I show them the picture.”
Yeah. Then they’ll know for sure.