Back in 1992
in college there were these guys. I didn't come up with this. Somebody else did. But we were all drunk so it didn't matter who thought it up. I'd know the guy's name but I killed those brain cells.
Someone piped up after a few bottles of Mad Dog 20/20 that Larry Hagman is the Center of the Universe.
"Prove it!" I said after successfully avoiding not throwing up.
"Okay." The guy looked at me with eyes that managed to focus on my face not at all, "give me a name. A person. A place. A thing. A NOUN. Anything in the world. Anything in the universe. I can relate it back to Larry Hagman." Then he burped for emphasis. "Cuz Larry's a GOD. Dammit."
I thought for what I thought was a second but was much longer than that because some of my drink was gone. "Okay. The moon's in the universe. How can you relate Larry to the moon?"
"Give me somethin' HARD," He laughed.
"YOU CAN'T DO IT!"
He rolled his eyes at me. "That's easy. The moon is in space. Major Nelson went into space."
"Who's Major Nelson?" I asked.
"Major Nelson was the character on I Dream of Jeannie who wuz played by Larry Hagman."
Needless to say I was stunned.
"Lemme try," some other guy blurted out as he managed to stay upright. "Mickey Mouse! HAH! You can't connect Mickey Mouse to Larry Hagman!"
"Tha's EASY! Mickey Mouse is a character from the movie Fantasia which was produced by Disney who also produced Peter Pan the cartoon, but before it was a cartoon Peter Pan was a stage play and one of the most famous women ever to play Peter Pan on stage was Mary Martin. So THERE."
"What ya mean so THERE. You didn't do it."
"Who's Mary Martin?" I asked.
And from the back of the room came an awe-struck voice, "Oh my God. Mary Martin was Larry Hagman's mother!"
"Exactly!" The Larry Hagman worshipper stood there smiling at us as if he had unlocked all the mysteries of the universe and placed them all there before us for us all to fall flat on our faces into.
"He's right!" The awe-struck voice started to sound scared, "Larry Hagman IS the Center of the Universe! Oh Jesus I need a drink."
"I think I'm gonna throw up," said another voice.
"I don't believe it!" Another guy demanded, "You can't relate everything to Larry Hagman. It's not possible."
"What ya wanna bet?"
He slammed some money on a nearby table, which almost upset some alcohol. "Ten bucks."
"name a noun."
"Fire trucks have sirens. Ambulances also have sirens. It was an ambulance that picked up J.R. Ewing's body after he got shot."
"And J.R. was Larry Hagman."
"Thanks for the ten bucks." A hush fell over the room.
And on it went well into the night. Geography was the easiest. Larry Hagman had been everywhere, or played characters who had been everywhere. The guy was an encyclopedia of Larry Hagman. We threw everything at him. Hollandaise sauce, Jimmy Stewart, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, the Shroud of Turin, the Flying Wallendas, Bigfoot, Christmas. There was no stopping this guy. Everything and anything could somehow relate back to Larry Hagman.
We stood there dumbfounded. Larry Hagman was indeed the Center of the Universe.
The night was late, and this Larry Hagman devotee' was exhausted. His brain was fried. And we had all run out of things. We couldn't think of anything else. Half of us were passed out on the floor or on couches and the rest of us just stood there slackjawed with wide eyes on our faces. It was an epiphany. We had solved the secrets of all time. Everything went back to Larry Hagman.
Then this one guy stood up, staggered across the room, grabbed the devotee by the shoulders, locked eyes with him and said one word: "Zen."
"Zen. Relate the word Zen to Larry Hagman."
"You can't DO it CAN you?"
"Look man my brains are oozin' outta my head!"
"You can't! I gotcha!"
"No you don't! Just cuz I can't think of it don't mean it's not there. If I don't know how to relate it, that just means I need to learn more about Larry Hagman, so that I can understand him more. Then I'll know everything!" We all awed at that. The secrets of the universe lay in the life and times of a simple man from Fort Worth, Texas. His name is Larry Hagman. I think it was about that time that I lost consciousness.