Living Out Loud: : Thinking of Patti Deutsch

An early morning downtown

Why actress Patti Deutsch came into my mind tonight — and when I say tonight, I really mean at 2 in the morning — I have no idea. Here I am sitting at my desk thinking of her.

I'm at my desk because I can't sleep. I like living downtown just fine, but I have a question for some of you: What's with all the yelling and screaming down here late at night? Can't you people talk in a normal voice?

I've never heard Deutsch scream or yell. Her voice is always soft and sweet. I've always liked her, but she hasn't crossed my mind in years.

I remember she used to be on the old television game show Match Game back in the mid- to late-1970s, so I turn on my computer and go to You Tube to see if I can find any clips of her.

Outside, I hear a young girl tell a young man to go "Fuck off" as I type "Match Game" in the search block on Google.

I really mean to type in "Patti Deutsch," but I'm kind of sleepy. Sure enough, Match Game clips are all over the place.

I find a Match Game clip that's labeled "School Riot." There's the lovely Patti Deutsch.

How long has it been since I've laid eyes on her? I'm thinking at least 30 years. I turn the volume up on my computer. Those kids outside are really screaming now, and I can barely hear Deutsch speak.

As I go make myself some coffee, I try to remember the last time I raised my voice. I can't remember the last time I yelled, let alone screamed at somebody — and why can't these kids go behind closed doors?

I take my coffee cup to my desk and look at a few more Match Game clips, but finding Deutsch in them is few and far between. I go back to the Google main menu and do a new search with her name.

By God, Deutsch is a member of MySpace! I think about sending her a message.

My cat Phoebe is staring at me, no doubt confused about the time. Whenever I get out of bed, that means it's feeding time for her and I haven't done it yet. I know she'll keep staring until I open up that can of cat food.

I go into the kitchen, feed Phoebe and pour myself another cup of coffee. The yelling and screaming outside is getting intense now, and I find myself getting angry. I try to open the kitchen window to do a little yelling myself, but I can't get the damn thing open. The window is painted shut.

Pissed off, I return to my desk with my coffee and start looking over Deutsch's information on MySpace. She's 61 years old now and lives in Pittsburgh.

She might be 61, but she's ageless to me. I decide to leave a comment.

Leaving a comment on these things is never easy for me. First you have to sign up, sign in, find a password that isn't already taken and on and on. After about 15 minutes, I start to feel frustrated. That yelling and screaming outside isn't helping.

I finally get through all the hoops and land on the comment section. I write Deutsch a little bit of a fan letter, telling her I always enjoyed her work and wished she was on television more often.

I think it's a sweet little letter as I read it over finishing up my coffee. I'm proud of myself.

I return to the kitchen to pour myself another cup of coffee. I notice that the yelling and screaming has finally stopped. Downtown Cincinnati is now quiet from those kids.

Thankful, I return to my computer and while drinking my coffee decide to check out Deutsch's Web page further. I go to her last post written: Sept. 6, 2006. She hasn't looked at the damn thing in more than a year.

Whatever. I finish my coffee and decide to go back to bed.

Phoebe is in the bedroom cleaning herself after her early breakfast. Outside, it's still quiet. I'm lying in bed still thinking of Deutsch.

I lay here and lay here. After several minutes, I finally realize that the coffee I drank is now going to keep me up.

I get out of bed knowing it's going to be a long ass day.

CONTACT LARRY GROSS: lgross(at) Living Out Loud runs every week at and the second and fourth issues of each month in the paper.

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