The Wonder Years - Transcript

Episode 3: "My Father's Office"

Written by Matthew Carlson
Transcribed by Nick Piwowar and Kyle Gittins
Edited and corrected by Peter Reynders



[Shot of KEVIN and WAYNE sitting at the kitchen table, as NORMA is fidgeting in the kitchen. Sound of JACK's car pulling into the driveway.]

TV SHOW [V/O]: While the mother remains with the young, the male ventures into a hostile environment to find sustenance.

[Shot of a nature show about gorillas on TV.]

TV SHOW: He returns after an unsuccessful foray - aggressive and unpredictable.

[Close up of a gorilla.]

[Shot of NORMA, WAYNE and KEVIN.]

[Sound of screeching tires outside.]

TV SHOW [V/O]: Notice the reaction of the startled mother...

[NORMA moves to the window and looks out.]

TV SHOW [V/O] her offspring...

[Shot of KEVIN, shot of WAYNE.]

TV SHOW [V/O]:...begin to sense the presence of the male.

[Shot of NORMA approaching the table.]

NORMA: Your father's had a bad day at work so no noise. [Gestures.]

[Shot of the kitchen, with the boys in the background, as JACK comes through the kitchen door.]

NORMA: Hi hon, how's work?

JACK: Work's work.

[JACK continues to walk through the kitchen.]

[Shot of the TV set as a gorilla runs around.]

TV SHOW [V/O]: The irritable male gives out unmistakable signals that tell the young to keep their distance.

[Sound of a loud bang.]

[NORMA looks over her shoulder after JACK off-screen.]

[Shot of KEVIN glancing at WAYNE.]

KEVIN: Let's go play catch.

WAYNE: Good idea.

[Shot of the kitchen as KEVIN and WAYNE hurry off. NORMA is at the sink.]

[Shot of TV set. The gorilla is beating his chest and grunting.]

Fade to


[Shot of JACK in a chair, with his head resting on his fist, watching TV. KEVIN and WAYNE approach at the doorway behind him and pause.]

NARRATOR: When my father had a bad day at work, he'd just sit in the dark by himself and watch TV. We learned early on that this was a danger signal and we adapted our behavior accordingly.

[KEVIN and WAYNE crawl across the floor in front of the TV.]

Fade to


[Shot from outside a window as KEVIN and WAYNE pull the curtain back, and look outside.]

[Shot of JACK standing in the back yard looking through his telescope.]

NARRATOR: And when he had a really bad day - I'm talking about a very, not good day - he had this telescope, and he'd go in the back yard and look through it for hours.

[KEVIN and WAYNE walk away from the window in the background. JACK continues to look through the telescope.]

Cut to


[Shot of KEVIN sitting at the table.]

KEVIN: Etienne: Maman, nous allons...

[Shot of NORMA looking at KEVIN off-screen.]

KEVIN [V/O]: ... diner.......soir.

[Shot of KEVIN.]

KEVIN: Nicole: Oui, Maman, dinons en vit.

[Wide shot of both at the table.]

NORMA: That's very good, Kevin.

[JACK's car screeches into the driveway.]

[Shot of NORMA looking up suddenly.]

[Sound of a slamming car door.]

[Shot of KEVIN looking up. KEVIN and NORMA exchange worried glances, and NORMA sighs.]

[JACK jerks the door open and walks directly to KEVIN, slamming the door behind him and dropping his briefcase onto the table.]

JACK: Dammit, Kevin! How many times I tell ya not to leave your bicycle in the driveway!

KEVIN: But I...
JACK: You think they grow on trees?! If you don't want to take care of it...[jabs his finger at KEVIN] don't have to have it!

KEVIN: But I was just going to ride it over to Paul's later.

JACK: Now you're not going to ride it over to Paul's. You're going to put it away, and then you're going to go to your room. Now!

NARRATOR: And then sometimes, you knew you shouldn't do it, but you just couldn't help yourself.

KEVIN: OK, OK, get a grip on yourself.

NARRATOR: You gave him lip.

JACK: What did you say?

KEVIN: Nothing.

JACK: I asked you a question, dammit, what did you say?

KEVIN: Nothing.

JACK: We have certain rules around here, young man, and you're going to follow them. The first one is that you take care of your own stuff!

[KEVIN hurries out of the scene.]

[Shot of JACK grabbing his briefcase and hurrying out of the scene, leaving NORMA sitting at the kitchen table. NORMA looks after them off-screen.] ["Blackbird"-like music starts.]

[Close shot of KEVIN lying on his bed, tossing a baseball into his glove, and he is crying.]

NARRATOR: I guess we really didn't understand why he was so hard on us sometimes.

Fade to

[Home videos of the family at the beach. JACK chases little KEVIN around, catches him as he runs toward NORMA, tickles him, then picks him up.]

NARRATOR: Because sometimes, and I remember these times so distinctly, my dad could be great. He could be so much fun. You never wanted that feeling to end...

Fade to


[Shot of JACK in the back yard. He sips from his coffee cup, then empties the rest on the grass and looks through a telescope.]

NARRATOR: And then, for some reason...

[JACK sighs and looks up.]

NARRATOR: always would.

[He looks in the telescope.]

Fade to


[Shot of a school bus approaching up a residential street.]

KEVIN [V/O]: Now look, first you have to have something you really want to be, and then you have to have a fallback position.

[Close shot of KEVIN in the bus.]

KEVIN: So like, I wanna be a professional baseball player, but my fallbacks...are astronaut or a forest ranger.

STEVE: OK. OK, I want to be a professional baseball player too.

PAUL: Well what's your fallbacks?

STEVE: A professional football player.

WAYNE: Why don't you fall back a little further.

STEVE: I don't know. I'd probably go into business with my father.

KEVIN: What's your dad do?

[Close shot of STEVE turning in KEVIN's direction and frowning in thought.]

STEVE: I don't know - he works.

[Close shot of WAYNE.]

WAYNE: You don't know what your father does? That's the most stupidest thing I've ever heard in my life.

STEVE: Yeah, well what does your father do?

WAYNE: He works at NORCOM.

[Shot of KEVIN.]

KEVIN: Yeah, he works at NORCOM.

STEVE: Nor-com? What the hell is that?

[Close shot of PAUL hanging his tongue out, making a "duh" face.]

WAYNE [V/O]: It's a company, moron.

[Shot of WAYNE and STEVE.]

STEVE: What does he do there? Is he the janitor?

WAYNE: No, he's the manager, jerk.

STEVE: What does he manage, toilet bowls?

KEVIN: No, business, stupid! [Gestures.] He manages business.

STEVE: "He manages business? What the hell's that supposed to mean?

[Shot of KEVIN.]

NARRATOR: And that's when it hit me. I had absolutely no idea what that meant.

[Close shot of PAUL, then WAYNE, then PAUL again.]

NARRATOR: Fortunately, Wayne was able to salvage some of our family dignity.

[Shot of WAYNE.]

WAYNE: So, you're too stupid to understand anyway, so, so...

[WAYNE makes farting noises.]

STEVE: Oh yeah?

[STEVE starts making retaliatory farting noises. PAUL joins in.]

[Close shot of KEVIN frowning and looking out the window.]

[Cut to shot from the sidewalk of the bus approaching, with the boys making fart sounds.]

Cut to


[Shot of the TV on the kitchen shelf. The news is on.]

ANNOUNCER: In Saigon today, President Thieu will offer a new peace proposal which will...

[Close shot of KAREN turning away from the news. She looks down.]

KAREN: It's too long.

[Wide shot of the kitchen. KAREN is standing on a chair. NORMA is kneeling, hemming Karen's skirt.]

NORMA: If I made it any shorter it would be a headband.

[KEVIN enters through the kitchen door.]

[Closer shot of KEVIN between NORMA and KAREN's legs.]

KEVIN: Hey, mom?

[KEVIN looks at Karen's hem as he sets his books down.]

NORMA: Hmmmm?

KEVIN: What does dad do for a living?

NORMA: What do you mean what does he do for a living? He works for NORCOM.

[KEVIN gestures.]

KEVIN: Yeah, I know. But what does NORCOM do?

[Shot of KEVIN looking up at KAREN as she turns around.]

KAREN [V/O]: They're part of the military-industrial complex.

NORMA: It is not. They make those little - thingies. You know, electro...something. I forget what they're called.

KAREN: Those little "thingies" are helping to burn villages and kill children in Southeast Asia.

NORMA: They are this big [gestures] for God's sake, they are not killing anybody's children.

KAREN [V/O]: But you admit they're used for military purposes.

NORMA: They're used in toasters and coffee makers.

KAREN: Oh. So the military does need toast.

NORMA: Karen?! For God's sake.

KEVIN: Dad doesn't actually make those little thingies, does he?

NORMA: Well no, of course he doesn't actually make them.

KEVIN: Then what does he do?

[Close shot of NORMA turning toward KEVIN.]

NORMA: Well he's a manager. He manages "distribution and product support services".

[Shot of KEVIN picking up his books and starting to walk off, as NORMA continues to hem Karen's dress.]

NARRATOR: My mother obviously hoped the tone of her declaration would forestall the one glaring question that its substance raised.

[KEVIN pauses.]

KEVIN: What does that mean?

NARRATOR: No such luck.

NORMA: Kevin? Why the sudden interest in your father's job?

KEVIN: I don't know...just wondered.

[Sound of JACK's car screeching into the driveway.]

NORMA: Well, that sounds like him now. Why don't you just go ask him yourself?

[NORMA and KEVIN glance toward driveway.]

[JACK enters the kitchen.]

NORMA: Hi hon! How was your day?

JACK: Day's a day.

[JACK walks through the scene. NORMA and KEVIN frown.]

NARRATOR: Yeah. Ask him yourself.

[Cut to shot of JACK sitting in his easy chair, watching TV in the living room as KEVIN enters.]

NARRATOR: Easy for her to say. The man had grunted exactly twice in three-and-a-half hours. I didn't see anybody else lining up to probe his inner life.


[JACK is looking at the TV.]

KEVIN: Dad, what do you do all day?

JACK: Aw, man! I can't believe they lost to the Senators.

[He sips his drink.]

KEVIN: Dad, I said - what do you do all day?

[Close shot of JACK as he looks over his shoulder at KEVIN.]

JACK: What do I do all day? I shovel other people's crap so you kids can eat.

[Shot of KEVIN.]

NARRATOR: OK. That was pretty specific. No need to press the issue.

KEVIN: No, I mean, what do you do?

JACK: Wh- ? I work at NORCOM - you know that.

KEVIN: Yeah, I know, but what do you do there?

JACK: Come on, Kevin. I work all day and all I ask now is to sit here and watch this...

["Buckle Up for Safety" commercial plays on TV.]

JACK: Great. Is two minutes peace and quiet too much to ask for around here? Now what do you want?

[Wide shot of KEVIN and JACK.]

KEVIN: Forget it.

[KEVIN walks across the scene. JACK looks after him, and finishes his drink.]

[Cut to shot of NORMA washing dishes in the kitchen as JACK enters behind her.]

NARRATOR: Now I was in bed, sulking, so I can only imagine what happened next...

[JACK fixes another drink in background, NORMA dries dishes in foreground.]

NARRATOR: But you have to bear in mind, when it came to surveillance, the KGB had nothing on my mother.

NORMA: I couldn't help but overhearing a little bit.

[JACK tenses up a little.]

JACK: Overhear what?

NORMA: He just wants to know what you do, Jack.

JACK: He knows what I do. I work at NORCOM.

NORMA: Yeah, but he wants to know what that's like.

[Shot of JACK leaning back on the counter, holding his drink. NORMA is next to him, and puts her arm on JACK's shoulder.]

NORMA: You gotta relax a little, Jack.

[JACK pulls away and frowns.]

JACK: Dammit Norma, don't tell me to relax! I mean what does he want to know? About the seven S-14 forms I gotta fill out every time I turn around? About the whining customers, about the incompetent jackasses in shipping and receiving?
NORMA: Yeah. Yes, I think that's exactly what he wants to know. He wants to know more about you, Jack! I don't know why that's so hard for you to understand.

[She shakes her head and walks past the camera. JACK looks after her.]

Cut to


[Shot is almost black as JACK opens the door and enters KEVIN's room. He slows up and shuts the door a little behind him.]

JACK: Uh...hiya, Kevin.

[The camera backs up as JACK slowly approaches.]

NARRATOR: Oh no, pal. You think it's going to be that easy. You hurt my feelings, and now you have to pay the piper.

[JACK stops, puts his hands in his back pockets, and sighs deeply.]

JACK: So you want to know what I do at work, huh?

[Shot of KEVIN on his bed, and JACK to one side.]

NARRATOR: That's it, don't look him in the eye.

[Closer shot of KEVIN looking down.]

NARRATOR: Don't look him in the eye. Don't look him in the...

[KEVIN looks at JACK.]

NARRATOR: Oh geez, what are you doin'? You're killin' me here.

[JACK paces slowly.]

JACK: It's big deal, ya know.

[Shot of KEVIN, as JACK sits on the opposite bed with his hands together.]

JACK: Mostly pushin' papers from over here to over there.

[He shakes his head.]

JACK: It's...not some...big glamorous thing.

NARRATOR: OK, fine. Look at him...look at him all you want - just no words, OK?

KEVIN: What do the papers say?

NARRATOR: Uhnhhnhhhh!

KEVIN: What's your office like?

JACK: It's an office. Four walls, a ceiling, a door...

KEVIN: Does it have filing cabinets?

JACK: Sure, it has filing cabinets. Look, Kevin, uh...why don't you come into the office with me tomorrow and see for yourself? I'll write you a note, OK? OK?!

JACK: OK. Goodnight.

[He pats KEVIN and exits the shot. Close shot of KEVIN looking after him.]

JACK [V/O]: Set your alarm for 6:30. I don't want to be waiting for ya.

[Shot of JACK closing the door behind him, and the shot goes almost black.]

Fade to


[Wide shot of the kitchen. KAREN is in the foreground, sitting at the kitchen table and reading a newspaper. NORMA is cooking breakfast. KEVIN enters, dressed in a suit and tie.]

[Close shot of KEVIN loosening his tie and frowning. He walks forward to get some toast.]

[NORMA notices him and turns toward him.]

NORMA: Kevin, you look so nice.

[Close shot of KEVIN as NORMA adjusts his tie.]

NORMA: Karen, doesn't your brother just look so nice.

[Close shot of KEVIN smiling at KAREN, as NORMA smoothes his hair.]

[Shot of KAREN looking over the newspaper.]

KAREN: He looks like a little running dog, capitalist pig.

[Shot of NORMA frowning.]

[Shot of KEVIN making a face.]

[Wide shot as WAYNE enters.]

WAYNE: Hey, Uncle Sid finally kicked the bucket?

[WAYNE takes a seat at the table.]

NORMA: Wayne.

WAYNE: What's with Sir Lancelot here?

NORMA: Your brother has an interest in what your father does, so he's going to the office with him.

[Close shot of WAYNE.]

WAYNE: You mean - instead of school?

[Shot of KEVIN buttering his toast.]


WAYNE: Well, I've always interested in dad's work - I wanna go, too! Gimme that toast, butthead.
[WAYNE snatches KEVIN's toast.]

[JACK enters and grabs his briefcase.]

JACK: We better go. Traffic's gonna be hell.

Cut to


[KEVIN and his JACK are in the NORCOM parking lot walking to the building.]

NARRATOR: And so I went to work with my father. I didn't know exactly what I expected to learn about him here. I guess I was looking for clues. Something to explain why he was the way he was.

[Cut to shot of the office as JACK opens the door. KEVIN and JACK enter toward the camera.]

[The camera pulls back as JACK's co-worker approach from behind the camera.]

JACK: Everybody, this is my son, Kevin. This is Phyllis and Stan and Betty and Mary.

BETTY: Hi, there!

STAN [WISANSKI]: You look just like your old man.

[Wide angle shot from KEVIN's perspective of a woman right in front of him.]

PHYLLIS: Oh my goodness, he's adorable.

[PHYLLIS moves to one side as MARY approaches closely. Other co-workers are in the background looking at KEVIN also.]

MARY: What an angel. Look at those cheeks.

[The camera moves in rhythm as she tweaks his cheek.]

[Shot of KEVIN smiling as MARY wiggles his face.]

NARRATOR: I got the feeling they didn't see a lot of twelve-year-olds around here.

[WISANSKI pumps his arm in a handshake.]

PHYLLIS: And what are you gonna be when you grow up?

MARY: Are you going to come to work with us at NORCOM?

NARRATOR: Of course I knew exactly what I was going to be when I grew up - either centerfielder for the San Francisco Giants, or a crew member of the first manned spacecraft to Mars.

PHYLLIS: Are you going to go into distribution like your father, hmmm?

KEVIN: I don't know, maybe.

JACK: Uh, come on Kevin, I'll show you my office. [To co-workers]: Excuse me.

[The office workers move back slightly, as JACK and KEVIN approach the camera. KEVIN turns toward co-workers and waves, then turns forward and frowns. The co-workers look admiringly after KEVIN.]

Cut to


[Shot of JACK opening the office door. They enter toward the camera. KEVIN pauses and looks around.]

NARRATOR: Dad's office wasn't impressive the way say, the Apollo 8 was impressive, but it did have a lot of pretty cool stuff in it. A big executive desk, a phone with lots of flashing lights and buttons, and a swivel chair.

[Shot from the corner behind the desk. KEVIN stands near the chair as JACK rolls up his shirt cuffs.]

KEVIN: Can I sit in your chair?

JACK: Sure.

[KEVIN sits, and "swivels".]

JACK [to intercom]: Phyllis, pull the quarterly distribution reports. Oh, and the, uh...West Coast shipping statements from September.


JACK: Thanks.

KEVIN: Here.

[Close shot of KEVIN looking at JACK off-screen. He starts to rise.]

KEVIN: No, you can sit down...

JACK: No, no, it's OK, OK...sit down, sit down. OK!

[He claps his hands together.]

JACK: First thing you gotta learn about around here is the S-14 forms. You gotta fill one of these babies out every time -

[Intercom buzzes]

JACK: Yeah, Phyllis.

PHYLLIS: Jeff Meyers on one.

JACK: OK. [He picks up the phone] Hello Jeff! How are ya? Good, good. Really? No, look Jeff, I told him the same thing, but he said that NU-Tech wanted those 1018's. Well, Jeff, Jeff! - that's not really my problem. They should know their own system, right? Yeah, OK. Uh, OK, I'll see ya. Uh huh.

[He hangs up the phone.]

JACK: Be with ya in just a minute here, Kevin.

[Close shot of KEVIN looking at JACK off-screen.]

PHYLLIS: Peter Dante on two.

JACK: Yeah Phyllis. Thanks.

[He picks up the phone]

JACK: Hello, Pete. Yeah, Jack Arnold. How are ya? Good, good. Listen, Pete, I was just talking with Jeff Meyers over...I don't know. I don't know! I'm checking on it right now. Oh, well hell, Pete! They could just get someone else then!

[Close shot of KEVIN.]
NARRATOR: I had no idea what my father was talking about, but suddenly I fell in love with the rhythm and flow of it all.

[Shot of JACK on the phone.]

NARRATOR: The way he punched those phone buttons, flipped through papers, gave orders.

JACK: Can you give me a minute, please!

NARRATOR: He had power, authority, just like at home, only here it was even more mysterious and impressive.

[WISANSKI enters and waits for JACK.]

JACK: Hello, Pete. Listen, I'm working on it right now. I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks.

[JACK hangs up the phone.]

JACK [to WISANSKI]: Call Albuquerque, tell 'em Rusty ordered a...AG Lansford, and you get me the purchase orders from last week. I forgot my briefcase in the car. [He gestures.]

[JACK looks at KEVIN and gestures to "stay put".]

JACK: Kevin.

[JACK hurries out of the scene.]

[WISANSKI dumps the papers on the desk, then backs up and knocks the telephone. He fumbles with the phone and hurries out.]

[Close shot of KEVIN leaning forward and looking toward the door, then smiling.]

NARRATOR: I imagined myself in that role...

[KEVIN puts his feet up on the desk. The nameplate on the desk changes from "JACK Arnold" to "KEVIN Arnold".]

NARRATOR: Administering things...

[He puts his hands behind his head.]

NARRATOR: Giving orders, chewing people out.

[Close shot of KEVIN frowning in irritation, and looks toward the door.]

KEVIN: What the hell do you want?!

[KAREN enters as "a secretary".]

KAREN [timidly]: Well, Mr. Arnold, sir, i-if...if you're not too busy, sir, I have some papers for your approval, sir.

[She puts some papers on the desk. KEVIN snatches them up.]

KEVIN: Sure, I do everything else around here, don't I?

[KEVIN stamps the papers forcefully.]

KAREN: Thank you, sir.

[KAREN backs up and exits, as WAYNE enters on his knees.]

[Close shot of KEVIN from over WAYNE's shoulder. He smiles.]

KEVIN: Good morning...buttface!
[Shot of WAYNE. He is wearing glasses.]

WAYNE: Good morning, sir. I spent all night working on these for your approval, sir.

[KEVIN flips through some pages, then rips and throws papers back in WAYNE's face.]

KEVIN: They stink. Do 'em over again.

WAYNE: Thank you, sir.

[WAYNE backs up on his knees out of the shot.]

[Shot of KEVIN putting his feet up again.]

NARRATOR: Yeah, this was OK. Like father, like son, I guess.

[Close shot of KEVIN straightening up as he hears JACK returning.]

JACK[V/O]: Wisanski! Bring the purchase order.

[Shot of JACK and WISANSKI standing at the desk.]

JACK: Phyllis - get Pete back for me.


JACK: What's this?

WISANSKI: We need these approved by Friday...and we're having a problem with STI Phoenix. The October shipment's late.

JACK: What do you mean "late", how late, and when did you find this out?

[He drops the stack of papers on the desk.]

WISANSKI: Well, they called yesterday, but I thought they would get there by today.

JACK: You though maybe it would get there by today. What the hell? [To intercom:] Phyllis, get me Southwest Express, please.

WISANSKI: Well, actually we're using a new carrier. Maybe they, uh, you know -

JACK: You what?! You went with a new carrier? Jesus, Wisanski! You didn't clear that with me. If this screws up the damn account, we're all gonna be...

WISANSKI: Look, I'm sorry. Maybe I should go down there.

JACK: Look,'s OK, I'll handle it. Next time check first with me.

[Shot of JACK leaning forward on the desk as WISANSKI exits.]

[Close shot of KEVIN.]

[Shot of JACK looking at KEVIN off-screen and sighing.]

JACK: Tell you what, Kevin, it is time you learned about the most important part of the working day.

[Close shot of KEVIN.]

JACK[V/O]: The coffee break.

[KEVIN smiles.]

[JACK motions to KEVIN.]

JACK: Come on.

[Shot from rear corner of the desk as KEVIN starts to rise. PHYLLIS enters.]

PHYLLIS: Jack, Mr. Keller's on line one.

[JACK sighs and looks at KEVIN, then walks toward the door.]

JACK: Tell 'em I'm not here.

PHYLLIS: Oh, but he sounds like it's important.

[JACK turns toward KEVIN and motions.]

JACK: Come on.

[JACK walks past PHYLLIS in the doorway. KEVIN follows.]

Cut to


[Close shot of coffee filling a paper cup in a vending machine. JACK's hand enters frame to take the cup.]

[Cut to wide shot. JACK and KEVIN are at the vending machine area of the break-room. JACK hands a cup to KEVIN. KEVIN walks toward camera and takes a seat. JACK follows.]

JACK: Sure that's what you want?

[JACK sits down.]

KEVIN: Yeah. [Nods.] I like it black.

[Close shot of JACK raising an eyebrow and nodding slowly.]

JACK: Uh huh. Learn something new every day.

[KEVIN takes a sip of coffee, frowns a little at it, then smiles a little at JACK.]


[Shot of JACK looking up from his coffee.]

JACK: Hmmm?

KEVIN: When did you decide you wanted to become a manager of distribution and product support services?

[Shot of JACK smiling broadly.]

JACK: Hah! Sorry.

[Shot of KEVIN looking at JACK.]

JACK [V/O]: Just a funny sort of a thought.

[Shot of JACK smiling.]
JACK: Really wanting to be manager of distribution and product support services.

[JACK glances away.]

JACK: I mean it's a good job, but, uh...[he shakes his head and raises his eyebrows]'s not what I thought I'd be doing with my life.

[JACK looks into his cup as he takes a drink.]

[Shot of KEVIN.]

KEVIN: What did you want to do?

[Shot of JACK. He smiles broadly.]

JACK: What - are you kiddin' - a professional baseball player.

KEVIN: No, really.

[JACK raises his eyebrows and smiles.]

JACK: Really?

[He is serious again.]

JACK: Well, I...did have a fallback position...

[JACK looks at his coffee as he swirls the cup.]

KEVIN: This job?

[Shot of JACK. He shakes his head while swallowing his coffee.]

JACK: No. Not this job.

[He pauses and looks in his coffee.]

JACK: I never told anybody this before...[he looks at KEVIN]...not even your mother. When I was your age, I wanted to be a captain of a ship.

[Shot of KEVIN showing interest.]

KEVIN: A captain of a ship?

[Shot of JACK. He looks off as he speaks.]

JACK: Yeah. Ya know, one of those big oceanliners...or a freighter...or an oil tanker...Be out there on the ocean in the middle of the night, navigating by the stars.

[He pauses in thought.]

JACK: Course, they use instruments for all that now, but...

[He smirks and shakes his head, then looks at KEVIN.]

JACK: I didn't know that.

[Shot of KEVIN.]

JACK [V/O]: Yeah, thought it would be the greatest thing in the world.

KEVIN: How come you didn't do it?
JACK: How come?

[JACK tries not to smile.]

JACK: Well, ya know...

[He waves his cup slightly.]

JACK: One thing leads to another...went off to college...

[He points his finger at KEVIN and nods.]

JACK: Met your mom.

[He smiles briefly, looks seriously at his coffee, then looks off.]

JACK: Next summer I got a job on a loading dock here at NORCOM.

[He looks up at KEVIN and makes a little face.]

JACK: Rest is history.

[JACK looks at his cup and takes a drink.]

KEVIN: You'd have made a great ship's captain, Dad.

[JACK make a big "frown".]

JACK: Nahhhh - probably not.

[He looks at his coffee and swirls it, then smiles broadly at KEVIN.]

JACK: Probably get sea sick. Huh.

[He smiles again at his coffee, then looks up seriously at KEVIN.]

JACK: Ya know, Kevin...

[Shot of KEVIN listening.]

JACK [V/O]: You can't do every silly thing you want to in life. You have to make your choices...

[Shot of JACK nodding faintly.]

JACK: You have to try and be happy with them. I've think we've done pretty well, don't you?

[He gestures with his cup.]

KEVIN: Yeah, I think we've done great.

[Wide shot of KEVIN and JACK. JACK finishes his coffee and sets the cup down.]

[Cut to shot of office hallway. KEVIN ad JACK are walking toward the camera in the far background. JACK has his hand on KEVIN's shoulder.]

NARRATOR: But as we walked back to my father's office, I suddenly realized something that made a lot of things make sense. My dad was too good for this place. Sure it was good - we were all lucky he had it and all that...

[KEVIN and JACK walk past camera. Shot cuts to from behind them as the camera follows them to the door of the office.]

NARRATOR: But my Dad had something finer in him than S-14's and distribution reports.
[JACK adjusts KEVIN's tie.]

NARRATOR: I'll never forget how I felt at that moment. I felt that my father was a great man.

[JACK flips KEVIN's tie and KEVIN smiles. JACK opens the door and enters, followed by KEVIN and the camera.]

[JACK's boss approaches, looking upset. WISANSKI stands behind his desk in the background.]

MR. KELLER: What the hell is this, Arnold?! [He points at papers]: This is incompetence, just plain incompetence!

JACK: Look, Al. Wisanski -

[MR. KELLER swings his arm backward and nods in WISANSKI's direction.]

MR. KELLER: Nevermind Wisanski!

[WISANSKI starts to sit down.]

MR. KELLER [V/O]: He works for you!

[Shot of KEVIN frowning and looking at the men.]

MR. KELLER [V/O]: Now this is the third major screw up in your department in the last two months.

[Wider shot of the office looking at JACK and MR. KELLER in the foreground, and WISANSKI in far background at his desk.]

MR. KELLER: Now if you can't hire competent people, and supervise them, we can find somebody that can!

JACK: It's being taken care of.

[Close shot of WISANSKI glancing up, then back at some papers.]

MR. KELLER [V/O]: Well it sure as hell better be!

[Shot of PHYLLIS looking up and frowning.]

MR. KELLER [V/O]: Oh, and one more thing.

[Close shot of KEVIN looking up at JACK and MR. KELLER.]

MR. KELLER [V/O]: The next time I try to get you on the better be there, to take the call.

[Close shot of JACK frowning, looking down, and rubbing his chin.]

MR. KELLER [V/O]: Now do you read me, Arnold?

[Close shot of Al.]

MR. KELLER: Do you read me?!!

[Close shot of KEVIN glancing from MR. KELLER up to JACK, off-screen.]

[Shot of JACK.]

JACK [V/O]: Yeah Al, I read you.

MR. KELLER[V/O]: Good!

[Close shot of KEVIN watching MR. KELLER walk away, then KEVIN turns back to JACK off-screen.]

Cut to


[Shot of WAYNE and KAREN sitting at the kitchen table. NORMA stands next to it. WAYNE and KAREN straighten up when they hear JACK outside.]

[JACK enters, slams the door, and walks quickly through the scene, loosening his tie.]

[NORMA and the kids look after him.]

[KEVIN opens the door. NORMA and kids looks at him as he walks through the scene, loosening his tie.]

[WAYNE and KAREN look at each other.]

Fade to


[Close shot of KEVIN from outside, looking out the window.]

[Wide shot of JACK standing in the backyard over a telescope. The house is behind him.] ["Blackbird"-like music starts.]

NARRATOR: That night my father stood there, looking up at the sky the way he always did.

[The door opens and KEVIN stands just outside the door.]

NARRATOR: But suddenly I realized I wasn't afraid of him in quite the same way anymore.

[Close shot of KEVIN.]

NARRATOR: The funny thing is, I felt like I lost something.

[Close shot of JACK from behind. He glances back, and sees KEVIN. JACK is mildly surprised, and looks away and sighs.]

[Close shot of KEVIN.]

JACK [V/O]: Come here, Kevin.

[KEVIN approaches.]

[Wide shot as KEVIN goes down the steps. JACK is looking at through the telescope.]

[JACK stands up, and motions toward KEVIN. KEVIN moves closer.]

[Close shot of KEVIN looking through the telescope. JACK puts his hand on KEVIN's shoulder.]

[Fade to wide shot.]

[Camera slowly moves sideways as it pulls up and back.]

JACK: That's Polaris, the North Star.

[The camera continues to move.]

JACK: That's how the sailors used to find their way home.

Fade to


Supporting Cast
Sandy Helberg            Stan (Wisanski)
Ken Swofford             Al (Keller)
Gregory "Mars" Martin    Steve
Deborah Rose             Phyllis
Cherie Franklin          Marian
Nancy Fish               Betty
Zachary Benjamin         Young Kevin

If you have suggestions, additions, comments, please send a message to Peter.

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