Harry Victor, CA
Raised in New York, Harry is now a Los Angeles based TV writer, producer, playwright, and script doctor. He’s written for numerous TV shows, including such critically acclaimed series as Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, LAX, and Eureka. He is a screenwriting mentor for the Directors Workshop for Women at the American Film Institute and teaches screenwriting at the New York Film Academy. He also works with numerous writer clients through his company, Script Archeology. He earned his BA in Theater Arts from Buffalo State College.
As a Story Terrace writer, Harry interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know him better by reading his autobiographical anecdote below.
Would You Like to Hear the Specials?
What makes an encounter memorable? What makes a memory special? I was young and inexperienced. It was one of my first times on the floor of the restaurant alone without being shadowed by a seasoned waiter. Wilson’s Bar & Restaurant was located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and the clientele was old money rich.
Sitting at a table for two was an elegant, elderly, silver-haired couple. “Good evening, welcome to Wilson’s, my name is Harry. Can I get you started with a bottle of wine or perhaps something from the bar?” The man spoke in a kind but firm tone, “No, thank you, Harry. We’d just like to hear tonight’s specials, please.”
“Our appetizers tonight are steamed asparagus with vinaigrette dressing; crab cakes; and a tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad. Entrees include fresh Coho salmon on a bed of arugula…” And suddenly I was talking to myself, distracted by a piece of white lint on this man’s shoulder.
Do I tell him, or do I just grab it? Why doesn’t his wife see it? Just tell them the specials, Harry. No, but the lint. Is it lint or is it a thread? If I grab it, will his sleeve fall off? I can’t take it anymore. “Sir, you have a little piece of lint on your shoulder.” He glanced left to where I was pointing. “Here,” I said, “let me just get that for you…”
I bent down and pulled the thread: it wasn’t lint. The thread grew to the distance of eighteen inches! I flicked my wrist and yanked again, knowing the end of the thread was just an inch away. It wasn’t. “What have you done?” said the woman in a flat, unemotional tone. “I’m so sorry. So very, very sorry,” I said, utterly defeated. I rolled up the thread and placed the pile of white thread on top of his shoulder. “There. That belongs to you. I’ll pay for that.”
They burst out laughing. “My dear boy,” he said, as he opened his jacket, “you mustn’t take life so seriously.” He reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a spool of white thread: he had needled the thread through his jacket shoulder. It was a joke he’d played before, and they were both delighted. What makes a memory special? For me, it’s certainly not the “specials”: it’s when something unexpected happens that ends in laughter.
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