The year was 1990 and I lived in Woodland Hills, California. That’s not too far from Los Angeles—unless you’re commuting from downtown during rush hour and then it’s a grueling two hours away. I worked as an editorial assistant (glorified secretary) for a small newspaper. The job paid me in peanuts, but was just enough to keep me alive while I worked on my writing career. I had written three plays and five screenplays and none of them had seen the light of day.
I was an unproduced playwright and just another one of the thousands of people in Los Angeles who had written a screenplay. But, I was thirty years-old and still had hope.
Living across the street from me and my girlfriend were two other women. I used to peer out my window at them like I was Gladys Kravitz. They were both blond and beautiful. They drove a Jaguar and a Porsche. They dressed to the nines. One was butch and the other was high femme. They were so beautiful they scared me.
One day the femme girl walked across the street and knocked on my door. When I answered the door she said, “Hi! I’m Lynn. Are you a lesbian? Because my girlfriend and I both think you are. By the way, I was Playboy’s January centerfold. My girlfriend is Mel. She’s a lawyer. Want to come over and have dinner? I’m making pasta.”
Well, that sealed the deal. My girlfriend and I became good friends with the Playboy Bunny and the lawyer across the street. We shared dinner and movies with them three to four times a week.
About six months into our friendship, I was downsized from my job. I didn’t have any savings. I was broke and scared. I drove home with my measely little severance check and as I got out of my car, I saw that Lynn’s Jag was in her driveway. So I walked across the street and knocked on the door. As soon as I saw Lynn’s smiling face, I burst into tears. As she mixed me a stiff drink, I told her how I had just lost my job.
Lynn jumped up and down and clapped her hands, squealing, “Yay! You don’t have a job anymore! That’s the best news ever!”
“How can that be good news?” I sputtered. “I don’t have any money. I’m going to have to load up my car and drive back home to Oklahoma. My dreams of being a writer have been dashed!” (okay, so maybe I didn’t say ‘dashed,’ but you get the drift.)
Lynn sat down beside me. She gently took my hand, clasped it against her enormous bosom and said earnestly, “You’ve been so busy working for the man, you haven’t given yourself a chance. Here’s what you’re going to do… You’ll apply for unemployment tomorrow morning. Then you will write and write and write and send out your screenplays to all the agents in town. I guarantee you that an agent will sign you and you’ll be earning money as a writer within three months. Now drink up. Let’s celebrate that you got fired!”
I don’t know if it was her wonderful words, or the drink, or her boobs, but I was feeling better. I went home and did exactly as the Bunny ordered.
As it turned out, she was wrong. I didn’t get an agent or become a successful screenwriter in three months. It only took one month.
Lynn may have made a living from her gorgeous body and I know a lot of people think Playboy Centerfolds aren’t very smart, but there was one thing that Playboy Bunny knew that I didn’t. And that is…you have to be fully committed and believe in yourself to make your dreams come true.
My friend the Playboy centerfold
* names have been changed