John’s cell had a bed, a toilet, a sink and a shower. There were basic grooming and toiletry items and two extra sets of clothes. He put the dirty laundry into a rotating cubby hole, which dispensed fresh clothes, and three simple, nonperishable meals.
There was nothing with which to write. There was no television or radio. And there were only two books: a guide to yoga, and the 1988 autobiography “Theo and Me: Growing Up Okay” by Malcolm Jamal Warner, who played the son, Theo Huxtable, on the 1980s situation comedy “The Cosby Show.”
John spent all his waking hours practicing yoga and reading “Theo and Me.” Before long, he had memorized it and created a mental concordance to it.
Then John then began to create an entire mythology around the Huxtable son. Theo became an epic figure, raised in a hermetically sealed situation comedy world.
Theo’s world began to unravel, however, when he discovered that his father was not beloved obstetrician Heathcliff Huxtable but Bill Cosby, who drugged women and forced himself on them. Theo then realized that his home was not a home at all, but a soundstage in Astoria, New York.
When John recited this part of his myth just the right way after years of study, a large door appeared in his cell and swung open. John, now an enlightened holy man, walked through the world winning followers. These followers in turn sought out believers of other faiths, all of them started by mystics who, like John, had spent years in a room with nothing but an autobiography by a second tier supporting actor from a 1980s situation comedy.
Together, these followers of such actors as Markie Post (Christine Sullivan from “Night Court”), John Ratzenberger (Cliff Clavin from “Cheers”) and Tina Yothers (Jennifer Keaton from “Family Ties,”) united to form a religion based on 1980s situation comedies. In the faith, there was a Supreme Leading Actor and Actress, and every person had to find their place in “The Great Comedy of Life.” Disciples would binge watch these shows, and argue over their significance as if they were Talmud.
Soon, however, everyone realized that the faith needed to evolve. And just as prophets of 1970s sitcoms such as “Happy Days,” “Laverne and Shirley,” and “Three’s Company” had done with the 1980s prophets, the current religious leaders sought new followers. Once selected, these new followers found themselves in locked rooms, with biographies of actors from shows such as “Seinfeld” and “Friends” as their only companions.