I met Mr. Feeny on Friday. He goes by William Daniels now, but he’ll forever and always, exclusively, be Mr. Feeny to me. If you’re not a Boy Meets World fan, you stink and you can stop reading. Assuming you’re a fan of Mr. Feeny’s, allow me to take you through the encounter.
I follow Feeny on Twitter. He doesn’t mix it up much on there but it wouldn’t be right not to follow him. Anyway, the majority of his tweets are about upcoming book signings around the country. Over the last year or so, he’s been in and around New York a few times. How cool would it be to meet Mr. Feeny after growing up watching him on TV every day? Nonetheless, I was never all that serious about taking advantage of a local meet and greet. But he’s 91 years old (and looks it, by the way). At some point soon there won’t be any more book signings. I cannot live with that regret.
Boy Meets World is still on TV every single weeknight at 10 and 10:30. It makes it worth having cable still. I make time to watch as much as I can. You could say I’ve been watching BMW regularly for almost 20 years. I know the show forward and backwards, pillar to post. Over the years many have referred to me as Cory Matthews (for my looks, but I’ll take it as a compliment anyway). There’s not an episode I couldn’t recite nearly line by line. The knowledge I have is borderline pathetic. It’s impressive as hell to anyone who cares, but it’s pathetic at the end of the day.
A few weeks ago a NYC book signing was made official, and for whatever reason I decided I was not going to let this one come and go like its predecessors. Strand Book Store on 4/27, a Friday. Never heard of the place but evidently it’s pretty famous. Forgive me for not being privy to the best book stores in Manhattan. I’ll get down with a Barnes & Noble from time to time though (I like to read sometimes, sue me). I was already brainstorming excuses to dip out of work early until the event time was updated to 6:30 PM. Perfect. See you there.
If you’ve never attended a book signing before, you generally buy the book in advance to secure your spot. It’s kind of a weird, little event with lots of hoity-toity employees acting like the cock of the walk. Seriously, you’ve never seen someone take more pride in keeping an orderly line than these people. Just chill out. I showed up at 6:00 to a 15-20 person line outside. There was a misty rain in the air that was inconvenient but not all that bothersome. I took my spot in the back of the line behind a woman who was well under 5 feet tall. She was probably legally a midget, but I was not about to start up a conversation with her or anyone for that matter. She also looked like she had an attitude (I’ll come back to this). Just give me Feeny.
A young guy and his lady hesitate to join the line behind me. It could have been his girlfriend, friend, or sister. Odds are one of those 3 summarizes their relationship, but, again, I was not about to ask. it was on my mind though. He comes to the side of the line and asks if we’re there to see Mr. Feeny. The woman in front of me could not have been quicker to answer. “Yes. And by the way his name is William Daniels and probably doesn’t like to be referred to by his character’s name”. Again, just chill out.
At this point I have to go to the bathroom but realize my options are limited. The last thing I want to do is ask someone to save my spot in line. That’s never fun. I then get into my own head and begin overthinking it. Do I actually have to go to the bathroom or am I simply anxious to meet Mr. Feeny? Then I realize that by having this mini-internal debate, I’m distracting myself and also killing time. I also start to think about if I’ll be able to get a picture with Feeny. Also, what am I going to say? Man, I’m a bundle of nerves.
The line starts to move. They’re shuffling us inside about 5 at a time. Some girl ran to the front of the line to try and get a glimpse of Feeny through the slightly ajar door. It appeared as if she succeeded because she screamed and almost fainted. Seriously, just chill out. Based on how fast the line was moving, I knew my time with George Feeny would be limited. “Better make these minutes count,” I thought to myself. I’m one person back from the front of the line and the door opens. It’s go time.
Feeny was sitting behind a table. I realized there was gonna be no opportunity for me to get a hug, which was a letdown, but it was all good because I was not to be denied a handshake. One employee asked if I wanted my book personalized to which I obviously agreed. Another employee offered to take my phone and take pictures. Again, I obviously agreed. Here we go. For a second I was starstruck. I was fumbling over my words and had trouble keeping my emotions in check. Finally I was able to collect myself.
I told him how nice it was to finally meet him. I thanked him for everything, and I thanked him for being there. I told him that since my name is Eric that I’ve always felt a connection to him (Eric and Feeny, Feeny and Eric). He chuckled and said, “Yup, Feeny and Eric”. I shook his hand and thanked him again. And that was about it. I asked the lady to take a picture of the 2 of us but she said no. She said she took a few shots and didn’t have time. I was pissed. A picture with Feeny would have been unbelievable, but the ones she took were sufficient. Plus, the moment was invaluable. What once was a lifelong dream is now a vivid memory that I won’t ever forget. I also won’t forget NOT asking him to sign as Mr. Feeny. That is a regret I’ll keep with me for a long time.
Boy Meets World is my favorite show of all time. I’ve got my list of favorite episodes. I’ve even ranked the various “villains” who’ve popped up on the show. All of the time I’ve spent watching the show, writing about the show, quoting the show, doing the Feeny Call, fielding comparisons to Cory, etc. have been steps leading up to this. I got to meet Mr. Feeny. How fucking cool is that?! His wisdom and tutelage have been massively influential to me. Getting to thank him in person brought it all together. I may not ever sit down and read his book, but this day will be a chapter in my own book.