Brave enough
November 22, 2011 10:06 AM   Subscribe

Tom Bodett: Inside Passage (mp3). Tom Bodett talks about his father for The Moth.

Related: Article about the live show where this was recorded, and an entry from Bodett's blog about it.
posted by kmz (9 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I listened to this last night on my way to campus. It was such a surprising and moving story for me. Thanks for posting it here. There are so many layers to his experience with this.
posted by jeanmari at 10:13 AM on November 22, 2011


Let me guess... did his dad leave the light on for him?
posted by Madamina at 10:15 AM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I'm honestly not even sure why but when I listened to it this morning I just burst into uncontrollable sobbing, especially at the end.

Also, that article is the first time I've ever seen Bodett's picture and he doesn't look anything like I imagined. I've been listening to him for years on Wait Wait and in Motel 6 ads and for some reason I always thought he was a clean-shaven chubby guy like Tom Bosley.
posted by kmz at 10:17 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Let me guess... did his dad leave the light on for him?

Nope, but he did write him a note on graph paper and then eventually became something of a living version of a classic Sierra NPC; he could only respond to questions about one topic. Much sadder in real life than it is in a video game.

It was a really good listen.
posted by ignignokt at 10:27 AM on November 22, 2011

This is why Metafilter is good: I never knew a damn thing about Tom Bodett except that he was the voice of a motel chain. Very cool.
posted by everichon at 10:59 AM on November 22, 2011

Literally just finished listening to this. I listen to a lot of podcasts at work, so I get that weird split-attention effect where part of my brain is focused on whatever form I'm filling out and part of it is focused on the story I'm listening to. This leads to situations where I'm feeling sad or tearing up, and the part of me that's working gets momentarily confused until it checks in with the part of me that's processing the story. This was definitely one of those.

The Moth stories that begin light and then take a sharp turn into the heavy are the ones that grab me the most. I especially like the last paragraph in his blog post about it: Scars, it's said, are the tattoos of experience. But they are often a hieroglyph, and it takes some study to figure out what they say to us. I've found that to be pretty true, and that creative (re-)interpretation of our scars is what shapes how we conceive our identities from moment to moment.

And I'm yet another one of those who associated Tom Bodett with commercials and Wait Wait, so it was especially weird to hear him talking about something like this. But I'm glad he was willing to share.
posted by Kosh at 11:04 AM on November 22, 2011

Thanks for posting this. Very moving stuff. "My whole wonderful life," indeed.
posted by zerobyproxy at 11:08 AM on November 22, 2011

kmz -- I was sure I had seen him in those Motel 6 ads, and for some reason I was also picturing an 80s television actor named Tom. However, in my mind it was Tom Poston from Newhart.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 11:20 AM on November 22, 2011

Fitting as we (at least those "we"s in the US)enter into Thanksgiving Day territory... sometimes we've got to think out of the box about just what it is we should be thankful for.

I lost my own father when I was 6 months old. I have never even come close to having a relationship with another man that could define what a father/son relationship is like good/bad/or indifferent. Over the past 63 years I've been mystified as to what that might be like, but knowing I would never experience it, and terrified, for many years, about being a father myself, what the hell was I supposed to do. But I muddled into that experience anyway.

I lost one of my sons when he was 20, never knowing if the relationship I crafted as his father was what it should be. Did I lead him in the right direction, provide the right support? Was I stern when I should have been, loving when it was right? The proof would have been seeing what he was like as a man himself, and I only caught the smallest glimpse of what he was to become. I think he would have turned out to be a good person, I think he would have loved dogs, been kind to children, treated a wife with respect and love. At least I want to believe that.

My second son has made me proud, he's become a man I can be proud of in every respect, even after going through the loss of his older brother, his friend at an age when he needed him the most.

Tom's musing on that relationship with his own father touched a lot of strings for me, and reminded me that it's OK to re-explore the past and rediscover or, perhaps, redefine the good. Thanks for the post.
posted by tomswift at 12:08 PM on November 22, 2011 [5 favorites]

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