Collaboratively, Alan, Carol, Valerie, Marlo and Dick were standing in for my mother, like a multi-tentacled substitute parent.

If it’s a parent, maybe skew a few years older, as I did, to give the person that much more imaginary authority.

Even if it’s a solitary parent that you’re trying to replace, you should always go with multiple candidates.

Bonus: If your picks have worked together professionally, you can enjoy that cozy “Two parents” illusion.

Even better: Alda recruited Burnett to play his wife and the mother of his kids in his 1981 movie “The Four Seasons,” so I had to expend zero effort imagining them as my own married parents.

The actors you’re recruiting need not be parents or known for playing one.

These people are actors, after all; let them do their job and act like your parents.

Conversely, if you have five prop parents, t’s lots of backup.

Of course, the downside to becoming attached to celebrities is that when they die, it will really sting, although hopefully not as much as losing your actual parent did.