22 January 2008

Celebrity Survey

Have you met a celebrity? I guess I’ve met a couple in my lifetime. I stayed at Danny Ainge’s house one weekend. I got Joe Gibbs to sign a football for me. I asked Noel Gallagher a question on the live radio show, Modern Rock Live. I shook Badly Drawn Boy’s hand at a concert and got his autograph. Once Robert Redford was on the chairlift behind me at Sundance and then he skied behind me all the way down the mountain. And I’ve talked to Better Than Ezra a few times after concerts.

But none of these occasions will ever live up to the time when I "met" Hall-of-Famer Tommy Lasorda, former manager of The LA Dodgers and Team USA (and former spokesman for Ultra SlimFast). In 2000 I was President of the Italian Club for a semester at BYU. One of my many important duties and responsibilities was to travel to Washington DC for a weekend to attend the National Italian American Foundation’s Annual Gala. It was pretty awkward as soon as I realized that all the other Italian clubs around the country consisted of people whose ancestors actually came from Italy (although I was probably the only one who could actually speak Italian). I had to sit through forums discussing things like how to combat Italian-American stereotypes bolstered by shows like The Sopranos or how to get young Italians more involved in their culture. I just pretended like I was supposed to be there.

Then, all the action went down at the big Gala dinner that night. Some famous Italian-Americans came to say hi, including Justice Anthony Scalia of the Supreme Court, CEO Richard Grasso of the New York Stock Exchange, baseball Hall-of-Famer Yogi Berra, and Tommy Lasorda. About 100 people were sitting at tables enjoying dinner when the guests came in and each said a few words to the crowd. I happened to be sitting right front of the speakers. Tommy gave a little talk on having self-confidence and getting somewhere in life. He also spit on me the whole time he was talking. With the emphasis he made on each word, specks of his saliva drifted through the air, landing on me below. Obviously he had practice at this during all his years yelling at umpires.

What are you supposed to do in a situation like this? "Excuse me, Sir, as you motivate this crowd of young Italian Americans, flecks of your spit are falling on me."

Yeah, laugh it up Fatty McGee. I'll get you next time.


Yaj said...

Remember to trill your R's as you sing this: "If Ayiiiii werrrre Kiiiinnnnnng of the forrrrreh-eh-eh-eh-ehst! Not Duke, not Earl, not Prrrince! But if Ayiiiii werrrre Kiiiinnnnnng of the forrrrreh-eh-eh-eh-ehst, I'd spit back... P.s. Ay, Laddie, we Scots can spit better, further and more disgustingly than Italians... if, that is, you're keeping score.

shortino said...

I totally remember when you came back from this and told us about it. Awesome! I also remember how Dr. Klein was trying to make you do some long write up about it too. Did you ever write it?