I realize it’s particularly brave to start a collection of stories talking about socks. Writing about something so audacious, so edgy, this early on could easily alienate my audience. Millions of people could read that first story and realize that this collection of memories is far too rich for their blood, and go find something a little more laid back and easy. But I’m such a wild rebel that I’m going to follow that up with another story about socks, or in this case a sock.
First, the background. In the previous story I mentioned a Rocky Horror Picture Show Shadowcast. Henceforth we will just call it Rocky. If for any reason I need to bring up the Sylvester Stallone boxing movie, I promise to point out that we’re talking about a different Rocky.
For those of you who don’t know what a Shadowcast is, it’s when a group of people come together and act out a movie, in a movie theater, while the movie is playing on a large screen behind them. To some of you this probably sounds like an incredibly absurd idea. Congratulations, you’re sane. For those of us in Rocky though, sanity was a nuisance we rarely encountered.
I spent approximately three years involved with Rocky, first as a regular audience member every Saturday night, and then on cast (I played Eddie and Riff-Raff for those who might care).
Now, when you put on the same show every Saturday night for mostly the same audience for multiple years, you have to find ways to spice it up on occasion. One such way was to do theme shows. One such theme show was the Disney show, where everyone dressed up as Disney characters and acted out the films (completely raping your childhood in the process). The Halloween show was always fun, because all bets were off. I’ve seen Frank-N-Furter played as a Pregnant Nun (who gave birth in the dinner scene) while Brad and Janet were Jack Skellington and Sally.
The theme show that will be the focal point of our story is the lingerie show. Now, Rocky is at all times very sexually charged. It’s not just the movie on the screen, it’s all of us gathered together dancing around in corsets and high heels (even the guys on occasion). So the lingerie show is really just an excuse to maximize the titillation. With this in mind, I decided to be funny (or at least my best imitation of funny). While everyone else was going to Victoria’s Secret (or more often her slutty STD-riddled, jailbait sister Fredrick’s of Hollywood), I had devised an entirely different plan. I showed up that night dressed in a thick bathrobe, and some humorous boxer shorts. I explained to everyone that it was male lingerie. It’s the kind of thing your dad would wear when he wanted to feel sexy.
But that was only the start of my dastardly plan.
Near the end of the show my character was supposed to change into a skimpy spacesuit with fishnets. I will to this day proclaim that my calves look AMAZING in fishnets, and that’s not something a lot of straight guys get to claim. However fishnets weren’t on the menu this evening. I had decided for my finale to come out wearing nothing but a sock.
Mind you, it wasn’t on my foot, it was a strategically placed sock. I’ll try to avoid being too graphic, but there is some information you need to have at this point. When attempting to wear a sock strategically, there is only one way to do it. You place the most obvious part of your anatomy in the sock of course, but then you must also tuck in the two other pieces of anatomy. This prevents you from exposing your anatomy to the world, and helps keep the sock on. Also, it keeps your anatomy warm on those cold lonely nights.
This may be a good time to point out that the theater we were performing in was a very upscale facility. Glass chandelier, hard wood floors, film festivals coming through on a regular basis, and I’m running (very carefully) around the building wearing a sock.
Now, this seemed like a hilarious idea when I came up with it, but I know me pretty well (I’ve been around me most of my life after all), and I knew I was going to chicken out at the last second. So I took all of my clothes, and handed them to a rather large security guard who worked for the show. I told him to take all my clothes and throw them in the theater. Under NO circumstances was he to return them to me, no matter what I said.
With about a minute before I need to go out in front of over 200 people wearing nothing but a sock, I start freaking out. I began threatening a man at least thrice my size with physical violence if he didn’t go and fetch my clothes forthwith. He threatened to throw my sock into the theater as well. And then it was time for my entrance, and the professional actor that I am could not miss my cue. So out I went.
The audience thought it was kind of funny at first, but it wasn’t until I slowly walked in front of all of them that the full effect sunk in. As row by row of people got to see my butt wagging in the breeze, and realized I really was wearing nothing but a single sock, secured in place only by my anatomy, the laughter built rather rapidly.
A few more notes on this performance. Rocky is a musical, and usually we sing along with our characters in the film (you don’t have to, but it’s considered better if you do). At this point in the film my character is singing some VERY high-pitched notes. For those of you who don’t know, when a man is singing VERY high-pitched notes, things tend to shift. The things I’m referencing are the very last things in the world that I wanted shifting at this moment, the things that were in fact, holding the sock on. I quickly realized that I needed to abandon singing along tonight, or abandon what little dignity I had left. Later there is a moment where my character takes a very large and exaggerated step to the right. As that moment arrived I had a moment of fear that was clearly shared by the audience. Such a largely exaggerated movement could liberate me of the one thing I valued above all else at this moment, my sock. In unison, as if someone had held up a cue card, the entire audience yelled “NO DON’T”. Once again professionalism kicked in, and I made the step. It was very nearly the last step I ever made.
Oddly none of my cast mates could look me in the face, and there were a lot of people having issues keeping from busting out laughing. Haven’t they ever heard of being professional? I mean really. You’d think that someone wearing nothing but a sock was somehow shocking or abnormal. After the show, comfortably ensconced in my bathrobe once more, a young lady from the audience approached me and asked if she could have the sock.
I was perplexed. I tried to explain that the sock had another sock that it went with, and that they were meant to be together. If I gave her this sock, then I would have a completely worthless sock sitting at home. She insisted upon her desire for the sock, and offered me $5 with which to go buy a new pair. I conceded, and even signed the sock upon her request. The next week I was rewarded with a picture of the sock hanging proudly on her wall.
Tragically we may never know the true fate of the sock that lost its partner that night. It lived for a time in my trunk, but I haven’t seen it in some time. I’m forced to assume that it escaped late one night, and even today it’s traveling across the country seeking its long lost partner.
My infamy was short-lived however, as a couple months later the actor playing the eponymous character of Rocky Horror performed his entire part naked.
All in all, another normal evening at Rocky.
It is worth noting, that many many years later I received a very curious email. Inside this email were several photographs of me dancing around in a sock that fateful night. High-quality photographs. Very high-quality digital photographs. At first I was disgusted, “oh man, what the hell was I thinking!?” Then I noticed how much thinner I was back then (still not thin enough to make me look the least bit appealing in these photos, but thinner than I am now). And then I promptly saved them all to my hard drive to threaten my friends with from time to time.
I am a little concerned with the fact that somewhere out there is a man with a hard drive full of these photos. I’m pretty sure this means I can’t run for President….then again, considering some of the Presidents we’ve had, maybe I should make them my campaign poster.
Vote Jeff, when you’re tired of candidates with shame and dignity!