Cage is a major Connector. He has worked a wide variety of jobs, and lived in, and traveled to many places. He makes friends (and acquaintances) quickly and easily, and keeps contact with them. He's been doing it since before online social networking was a thing, and the existence of MySpace, and now Facebook has only made it easier for him to create fabulous new connections. Cage can sometimes make me look like a hermit by comparison,* but I'm still pretty good.
When I was in The Diary of Anne Frank in 2001 at Riverside Theater in Boston, Cage played Mr. Frank to my Anne. We became very close that year, and he became like a father to me after my own father passed away in 2003. Meanwhile, I had met Conor S. when I was a freshman in college. He was in the sketch troupe, and I was in the improv troupe. By 2005 we would be roommates in a 3-apartment farm house with seven other friends. Now Conor and Cage are friends through me, and this is the second performance gig Cage has arranged for Conor.
Just as I was patting myself on the back for making this obviously perfect introduction, Conor took the microphone in hand between songs and offered an explanation for how he'd come here.
And I started to laugh.
He recalled how a really special spirit had aligned him and Cage. He had lived with me, and I lived with... a beagle. Lucy was actually one of Cage's two beagles. After Christmas that year Cage gave me the beautiful gift of sending her to live with me, to chase away the Pioneer Valley Winter Blues.
Lucy quickly became the Queen of the house and of our circle of friends. She had many fans who would stop by the house just to say hi, or to ask if they could take her out for a walk. Conor started a facebook group called I Love Lucy, and many of our friends joined in order to upload photos of videos of her. Cage joined the group as well, and identified himself as Lucy's dad. Conor sent a message to him right away, thanking him for allowing Lucy into our lives.
That message was the beginning of many messages back and forth between Conor and Cage. They met in person one time after that, and have been friends ever since.
"Lucy is no longer with us," Conor informed the crowd somberly. "But her amazing spirit lives on. This is for Lucy," and he bowed his head and began a heartbreaking rendition of Tom Wait's "Picture in a Frame."
Later on Cage mentioned to me not for the first time, how talented Conor is. He plans to get Conor a spot playing in Boston more often. Later I saw him introducing Conor to the owner of the bar, and I felt a surge of happiness, and some pride at having a hand in this chain of events.
Then I realized that in this case the Connector was actually a small and gregarious beagle named Lucy.
* Although his secret seems to be that on Sundays he sometimes refuses to pick up the phone or allow any visitors, preferring to sit alone in his house watching football with his dogs.
** You may have read or heard me refer to Cage as Pim, which is what Anne Frank called her father. This way Dad and Pim each get a name.