When I was little it took me hours to get to sleep. I mean hours. I would lie in bed, in the dark, singing or trying to remember poems or passages from books. Quoting movies and television shows. Shadow puppets and plays. I would start conversations with myself then rewind them and follow them back to the beginning. Until I started to have Johnny Carson interview me, in my head, every night.
I knew The Tonight Show was where the cool people hung out. Where it all happened. I knew if Johnny laughed at you, smiled at what you said, it was magic. I wanted to be magic. So special that Johnny would ask me what I did that day. "What did you have for lunch? How was recess? Did you do your homework?" It was almost a form of meditation every night that lasted until about sixth grade.
When Johnny retired I felt this odd sense of loss. I know as viewers we all can form attachments (albeit unconventional) so when the Tonight Show went to Leno I refused to watch it. I knew Letterman should have gotten it and I was full on team Dave. As far as I was concerned, Dave was the new leader of the cool kid gang. He had the better musical guests, he actually gave a shit what his guests had to say. He was humble and his humor was so dry there was nearly a ten second delay on audience uptake. I miss him already.
The cool kids have gone over to Fallon. As have I. It's a party every night and I laugh. I laugh a lot. But I don't think Jimmy really cares what I had for lunch, how my recess went or if I finished my homework.