Three weeks ago, I went to a taping of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
I sat in the third row.
Before the show, the producer told everyone in the first three rows that when Jay walked out we needed to rush the stage and high-five Jay. And we had to be enthusiastic about it.
I could not do it. I could not act excited just because someone wanted me to act excited. I would make a bad trained seal.
So when Jay came out, everyone from the first three rows rushed forward and high-fived him.
Except for me.
I was the only person in the first three rows who was still in his seat. Which was fine. Except for the fact that in choosing this to be my Rosa Parks moment, I hadn’t calculated how odd it would look for one guy to be sitting all by himself while everyone else was screaming enthusiastically in front of the stage.
I tried to clap, but it looked fraudulent. If I liked the guy so much, why wasn’t I rushing the stage? So I stopped clapping.
Then I looked really odd.
So I stood up and put my hands in my coat pockets. But then I looked like an assassin.
So I took my hands out of my pockets and just stood there. I looked up intently, like I was a maintenance man checking for leaks.
I stared at all the heavy lighting equipment that hung over my head. I thought about how much it would hurt if one of those lights fell on my head. I thought about whether someone could make one of the lights fall on a person’s head if that person was not rushing the stage enthusiastically.
Then I looked straight ahead. I saw Jay high-fiving all of the enthusiastic people that used to be sitting around me.
And then Jay saw me.
At least I think he saw me. The lone guy who refused to rush the stage. The one person who was not as enthusiastic about him as everyone else.
One week later, Jay Leno quit the Tonight Show.