So, in 1995, just out of college, when I was still an actor, I was cast in a production of a play called Spiele ’36 about the two Jewish runners kicked off the 1936 United States Olympic team by American Bund members at the behest of Adolph Hitler (he, Hitler, didn’t want Aryan athletes to be seen bested by those damn Hebrews).
The Jewish runners were replaced at the last minute by African American runners, specifically Jessie Owens, which is how he, Owens, won his fourth gold medal.
But that’s all background to this tale.
The play was a co-production between George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago, and in the George Mason production one of the Caucasian members of the team was played by an actor who got the unfortunate but utterly appropriate nickname “Poor Dumb Joey”.
Joey was a tad pathetic, not overly bright, but was hopelessly looking, so I’m sure he’s done fine in life.
But Joey, too, is basically irrelevant to this saga.
The guy who gets the title of this diary was the actor who took Joey’s role in the Chicago production. His name was Tom and he got automatically saddled with “Poor Dumb Tommy”… well… because that’s sort of thing just happens in the theater. Wrong place, wrong time.