I could date a celebrity. I’m already prepared for the lack of a private life; I love public relationships. If anything happens in the slightest on the “girl front” I tell everyone. You probably think this is just a product of my egotism. So what if I like to tell my friends when I’m in love, and so what if that person happens to be a Cylon on Battlestar Galactica? Sure, they give me flack about it. “It’s a TV show, dude,” they chide, “Cylons don’t exist… go for Starbuck instead.” It comes back to bite me when things don’t go well because I have to tell the story a hundo times, but I think public relationships are healthy. It’s good to get opinions from outside sources; it keeps you grounded, which is the second reason why I could date a celebrity; celebrities need to stay grounded. How refreshing is it to see a movie star who is “down to earth?” Very, is the correct answer there. You see the reverse all the time. Celebrities become full of themselves; they marry other celebs and live depressing lives in the smoldering heat of the lime light. Mixing stardom with relationships is a dangerous brew.
So, really, it’s not just that I could date a celebrity, it’s that celebrities need me. Think about it; you’re a movie star hottie, and you’re featured in every issue of US Weekly and People. The public sees you dating celeb hunks and they put up with you, but really, they’re just waiting for you to fail. That one slip of the tongue on Regis & Kelly. “I always knew she was a jerk,” they’ll say. Now, think about you walking down the street holding hands with some average dude with a “down to earth” job, maybe a middle school teacher or a community organizer or a newsroom intern. Not only will it make US Weekly, but people will love you forever; so, when you decide to be brutally honest on Letterman about how you don’t write your own songs (you’re a singer now) and you don’t ever plan to, people will give you some slack. We’ll be the feel good story of all of Hollywood. They’ll probably write a movie about us, and we could play us! Wait, that means I’ll become famous too…
Here’s the biggest hurdle; I’m not very good around celebrities. I have a hard time being myself. That one shot I’ll get at some point in my life to talk to an attractive celebrity will be so packed with pressure; I might freeze. But luckily I got a practice swing last week.
I had the opportunity to go see a Kansas City Royals game with our sports broadcaster. We got to go down onto the field while they were having batting practice. It was an especially humid day; so I was sweating as hard as the players. I saw John Buck take some swings in the cage. I brushed shoulders with Gil Meche as he walked by me in the dugout. The Royals were playing the Detroit Tigers, whom one of Old Dominion’s former players now plays for, Justin Verlander. Justin’s no nobody; he was the second overall pick a few years ago and he’s turning into a star pitcher for the Tigers. Justin and I actually had a speech class together my freshman year (his senior year), and we would chat every once in a while. He always had the biggest smile on his face, and he would try and convince me to come out and watch the ODU baseball team play. Every time I heard his name since then I would spout out what I just told you; Verlander, ODU, class together, nicest guy, etc.
The Royals were wrapping up and Bill, the sports broadcaster, said, “Hey, you wanna go see your buddy, Verlander?” Oh no, I thought. He’s not going to remember me.
“Sure,” I said.
We walked over to the Tigers dugout and sat down on the bench as the players filed out onto the field. I frantically scanned every player to see which was him. I assured Bill that he probably wouldn’t remember me, that he’s big-time now. Each walked into the dugout, then went straight up the stairs onto the field. One of them took a hard left into the dugout and walked towards us. Oh God, I thought, it’s Verlander. Everything came down to this. Verlander was the pride and joy of ODU sports. If he doesn’t remember me, I thought, how can I keep building him up to be this old buddy of mine? I remained seated as he walked closer.
“Hey, Justin!” I said, smiling. He looked over at me with a quizical look, “you probably don’t remember me, but we had speech class together.”
“At ODU?” he said. I froze.
“Yup…” was all I could get out. No ‘remember that assignment we had to do?’ or ‘remember our really feminine teacher?’
I moved on, “Yeah, I’m working in Jefferson City in a radio news room and we’re down here covering the Royals.”
“Where is that?” he asked. I explained that it was in between KC and St. Louis. I could tell he thought I was lying at this point.
“So, how’d speech class work out for you?” he said, a half-ass attempt at a joke.
“I’m broadcasting now,” I said. What an idiot. I could feel the conversation ending. It’s over, I thought. Justin Verlander, star pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, thinks I’m a liar, a jerk, and an asshole. He shook my hand, and grinned, not nearly the size of the toothy smile I remember from speech class.
“Good to see ya,” he walked off.
I spent the next couple hours thinking about what I should have said, how the conversation should have ended. That’s it, I realized, no second chances.
And that’s what separates the men from the boys. You’ve got to perform when it’s all on the line. No second chances. So, when I’m reading at a coffee shop and Carrie Underwood walks in and orders a cafe latte, I’ll know what to do. I pull out my gun and hold the place up. I yell at everyone to get down. I go to the register and demand that they open the safe and bag the money, as well as scan one of those gift cards and put $1000 on it (any more than that would look suspicious when I use it at other Starbucks). As they’re bagging the money I look around and act like I notice Carrie Underwood for the first time. I say something like, “Are you Carrie Underwood?” After she affirms that she is Carrie Underwood I say something about a “change of plans.” I take the money and I demand Carrie comes with me. I lead her out to my car by gunpoint and tell her to get in the driver’s seat and drive. She starts driving as I continue to point the gun at her in the passenger seat, acting really nervous, by the way. Hopefully, it’s humid so I am sweating profusely. She notices I’m nervous and starts to ask me questions like, “How are you going to get away with this?” After we drive late into the night I tell her to pull into a motel. There are some awkward moments because the only room available is a single bed. She sees that I’m really a gentleman when I tell her that she can have the bed, and I sleep on the floor. She realizes I’m just mixed up, and starts to care for me. Sure, I go to jail when I give her back a couple days later, but we’ll have made a deep connection by then, and she’ll probably write a song about me. Later we’ll date, but break up after I become famous.
I need to get that concealed weapon license…
Also, here’s a song I wrote: