Bored at work, I started cataloging all of my brushes with famous people. I asked around, and nobody had any interesting experiences, except for the boss. He went to a concert with Boz Scaggs' younger brother. How cool is that? Not really, I know.
My earliest memory of a brush with fame was shaking hands with Sugar Ray Leonard at a boxing match at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. I still think it's kinda neat, even though at the time, I really didn't understand who he was.
Along the boxing vein, a later brush with "fame" was when "Hurricane" Peter McNeely asked me for directions on Newbury Street once. He had recently got his ass whooped by Mike Tyson, and I was more than a little amused to have a run-in with him.
Also, at the same job, Curtis Armstrong came in to the store and bought a vest. Don't know who Curtis is? He's more commonly known for the tagline "We've got bush!" in Revenge of the Nerds. That's right. Booger. Or Charles DeMar from Better Off Dead: "This entire mountain is made of snow!"
A couple doors down from that job was another job at a cafe where I had the following brushes with fame:
Greg Hawkes was a regular, and a pretty nice guy. Don't know who he was? Me neither, at the time. He was the keyboard player for The Cars.
I served coffee to Joe Perry at one point. He seemed a little freaked out to be among the commoners. It was too quick an exchange to get any sense of Joe's coolness. Also, once at the airport I saw the bass player for Aerosmith.
Recently I came within feet of the tiniest Dixie Chick. They had pretty tight security. I found out that one of the Dixie Chicks owns a monkey that she takes on tour with her. It's true.
Also, through the same friend, I got into the green room of E-40 and his posse. Don't know who 40 is? Stay there. He's a hardly marginally talented rapper. And he's a DICK. And so are his hangers-on.
The brush that I'm kind of ashamed with took place in Denver, when I ran into Charles Lewton-Brain.
He's a jeweler and sculptor who writes little books on techniques, tricks, and shortcuts. A big writer/teacher, he writes great articles about steamlining one's workspace, and lo-fi techniques. I've been an avid reader of his books and articles, and really respected his knowledge. I ran into him at a conference and was rendered nearly speechless. It was pathetic.
My coolest brushes took place over a weekend recently. I found myself having breakfast in the same room as Mean Gene Okerlund. Fucking badass.
I'm way over it now, but I was a fan of WWF as a wee kid, and Mean Gene was the voice of it. Also, on that same day, I got within two feet of Hulk Hogan. The Hulkster. If seeing Gene was a big deal, Hogan was like walking by Elvis. I also saw a bunch of superstars of the modern fake-pro-wrestling, but don't give a crap about it, so I didn't recognize any of them, aside to say that it was filled with Huge Dudes, and Smokin hot chicks.
Also, living in Boston affords some odd perks: I sat on the orange line opposite former presidential candidate Mike Dukakkis once.
(*no caption necessary)
Walking with Pollard in Kenmore Square, he claimed that we had just walked past Frank Black, but I wasn't paying attention, so I can't confirm that one.
(originally published 11/10/2006)