During my junior year of high school, I didn’t dream of being the star of the oft-defeated football team or hope that I could be the most notoriously handsome kid in my grade. I just wished that I could be Xander Harris.
In the fall, after my friends the fraternal Starr twins helped me work up the courage to ask a pixy-like sophomore cheerleader to the homecoming dance, I was too nervous to follow up with her, even though she said yes! Every time I got near her, my heart started krumping out of my chest and I turned away without saying a word. I suppose I was afraid that if I said one word, mighty Zeus would strike me down with a lightning bolt of shame. If I were Xander Harris it would have been awkward, but even awkwardness beats silence.
“Go team go!” I might say upon seeing her.
“I mean, you look exceptionally full of cheer today, Carla!”
“Are you calling me fat?”
Well, maybe it wouldn’t have been that much better than silence, but still! Xander dated four girls in high school to my one (if you count a summer fling with Willow and the Inca mummy girl). Xander dated one of the most attractive girls in school and he even made an ex-demon yearn to be human. Xander Harris was an inspiration to me to break my silence and try on my comedy shoes.
To become more Xander-like, I joined comedy clubs and classes. I started making awkward chit chat with girls that I barely knew. I even became an expert at weaponry and military tactics just by trying on a Halloween costume! OK, that last one didn’t happen, but I did strike up a conversation with a girl about protein bars that led to a dinner date.
“You know what I miss about the northeast? Ironman protein bars,” she said.
“I brought some to school with me this year. If I feed them to you, would you go on a pity date with me?”
This is exactly what happened.
Eventually, Xander Harris and “Buffy” went off the air and I saw other quick-witted characters like Hoban “Wash” Washburne and Topher Brink take center-stage as the brain children of Joss Whedon. Seeing these amazing characters and storylines made me want to be a writer. I can honestly say that my desire to write never would have occurred if it wasn’t for Joss, “Buffy” and the life-altering media mentor of Xander Harris.
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