I babysat David Duchovny.
The time was the late nineteen-sixties. The place was David’s apartment in NYC. It was summer, a hot time in the city. The back of my neck got dirty and gritty.
David was an intense, serious and precocious child, but had his light moments. He could be a challenge, my little charge. Not content to simply watch cartoons, he enjoyed discussing philosophy. Dissatisfied to eat cereal, he craved gourmet deli. Unenthusiastic about Monopoly, he chose to take apart clocks and build models with the parts.
David was easily bored. He mocked Sesame Street. He whined and quoted Nietzsche and Kant.
"God is deeeaaad!
"I believe in Freeeee Wiiiiilllll!
"Existentialism makes me nervous!”
"Hey. I think someone needs a nap."
"Oh . . . okaaaay." Dissatisfied with my stories, he’d read himself to sleep with abnormal psychology tomes.
He had his moments, and liked to pull pranks. He’d order pizza for the local police precinct. He’d call bars and ask "Do you have Prince Albert in the can?" I eventually had to unplug and hide all of the phones. He just built new ones, using things that he had around the house. "But mom said I could!" He’d slyly claim.
"What do you want to be when you grow up?" I perkily asked him one day.
"Oh . . . I don't know! Now please don't ask me these worrisome questions. I have enough pressure!"
He gave me meaningful looks, while formulating various questions. "What do girls wear under their clothes?"
"Silly. Girls wear underwear. It's just a little different than boys' underwear, that's all. Of course, you must consider that not all people wear underwear. People are different. Their behavior is different." I believed in being frank, as did his mother.
"Oh." He seemed to ponder this. “Don’t call me silly.”
Our sessions would come to an end when his mother got home from work. He and I would say our goodbyes.
"Bye for now, David. Give me a hug?" Failing that I would try to kiss his cheek.
"Eeeeeeewwww . . . don't do that please!"
"Oh. I'm sorry. Truly, I don't mean to invade your personal space."
"Oh . . . okaaaay. But could you tickle me like last time?"
I always had a feeling about David. I knew that he would go places. But little did I know that I would end up watching him on TV Sunday nights.
I knew him when.