I’M KNEELING ON the floor of a cheap roadside motel somewhere in western Tennessee. Next to me, leading me in prayer, is a large middle-aged man with cerebral palsy named Ronnie Simonsen.
He says, “Bless my mother, my brothers and sisters, and my pastor back home in New Hampshire. God, bless Bob Hope and Cher ... and all three of Charlie’s Angels. Especially Jaclyn Smith.”
And then Ronnie says, “And Lord, please help us get to California quickly, where I know I’m going to meet my spiritual brother, Mr. Chad Everett, the star of CBS’s drama Medical Center.”
And here, I interrupt Ron. I say, “Ron, you know, we might not meet Chad Everett. We’re not sure that’s going to happen.”
He says, “Yeah, yeah, I know, but keep praying. Keep praying.”
I first met Ronnie about eight years before that. I was working at a summer camp for people with disabilities. I was a counselor there, and I had brought along a video camera because I was also interested in making films.
Ronnie came right up to me and wanted to talk about movies and TV. He had cerebral palsy in his legs, but he also had a combination of autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It manifested itself in this fascination with television and movie star