Friday, January 18, 2008

Fleeting contact with greatness

Sorry if this ends up in an unusually small font again. I forgot to try to fix it on my home computer last night (it was my birthday, after all), and the system at work just doesn't let me do certain things. I also apologize for the length, but it's been another slow day at work.

Yesterday, Jacob was tagged for a meme that I decided to steal for my own post. There are rules and stuff, but basically it just says to name seven famous people you've met. One of the rules is that you have to have touched the person, but I barely touch the people I know really well, so I decided to stretch it somewhat. The first few are a result of my time spent manning an entrance station in Grand Teton National Park, where I met many interesting characters. On with the name-dropping!

Dick Cheney- Dicks lives just outside Grand Teton National Park. Dick doesn't pay entrance fees to National Parks because Dick doesn't stop at entrance stations. Something about being a likely spot for an ambush. How true. Actually, Dick just sped by me in a convoy of black Suburbans. I know other folks who greeted Dick's "visits" by turning their backs, but I decided to just stoneface him under my ranger hat and shades. Dick.

Jeff Gordon- That's right, race fans! The Rainbow Warrior himself! He and his lovely wife were visiting the park. He said "What do I owe ya?" I gave him the schpiell. I took his 20 dollars and never let on that I knew who he was. Guy like him probably needs a break, I figured.

Jesse James (and probably Sandra Bullock)- He's that West Coast Choppers asshole on Monster Garage. Came through the gate in some souped-up Baja-looking truck. Took his money. Lied and told him I liked his show, even though I didn't have a TV at the time. Found out later that he had just married Sandy and they were honeymooning. There was a woman in the passenger seat, but I didn't bother to look, thinking the real star must be the arrogant prick doing the driving.

Phil Bredesen- Last spring I had a temp job at the Knoxville News-Sentinel working at the front desk. Bredesen, the governor of Tennessee, was there for a meeting with the publisher. He shook my hand and asked my name. Of course I told him my name was Viggo the Destroyer and that he would bow before my wrath. No, I didn't, but I should have. He seemed like a nice enough politician.

Rolando Garibotti- This one is not quite so famous but meant a lot to me. Rolo, as he is known, is a world-renowned Argentinean climber. He is also an Exum guide in the Tetons during the summer. Thus it is not all that unusual that my friend Brian and I should have met him precisely at the summit of the Grand Teton in 2005. We were doing a speed climb before Brian had to go to work. Our porch to porch ascent, as we called it, only took us a relatively blazing fast 9 hours, but at the summit we met Rolo, who was getting in three peaks (the three pictured in my banner, above), solo, before breakfast, including the difficult North Ridge of the Grand. Despite his apparent bad-ass superiority, the guy was genuinely excited to hear about our undertaking and was extremely encouraging. We saw him again on the descent (after which he took off at a run down the mountain; breakfast was calling) and he was even more impressed to see that we had no ropes. A really nice guy and somewhat of a personal hero for me.

Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV, aka Black Francis of the Pixies, aka Frank Black- This one would satisfy the requirement to physically touch a person for the meeting to count. There used to be a club in Atlanta where the performers would have to march directly through the crowd from the back to reach the stage. My friend Melissa and I were standing front and center and I patted Frank's broad indie rock-god back as he elbowed by and climbed up onto the stage. Great concert, to boot, and Melissa got a guitar pick directly from Frank himself.

Doug Stanhope- He's the comedian from whom I borrowed the name for this blog. More famously, he hosted the unfortunate "Man Show" with Joe Rogan on Comedy Central. Give him a break, he needed the money. Right after college, I saw him perform in Roswell, GA and talked with him a bit after the show. During his routine, one of my companions, who had started drinking a bit too early in the day, fell asleep at our table and thus became an unwitting part of the show as Stanhope verbally eviscerated him to the crowd's delight. A really cool night.


Aaron said...

Years ago, when I was managing a video store, the wrestler Triple H came in one busy Saturday night. I had heard he lived locally, but frankly, I had no idea who he was. My friend (who was working with me at the time) and I were totally short and snarky with him (seriously, you bring up the movie behind the cover box), and it wasn't until some weenie stopped him and asked for an autograph that I put 2 and 2 together.

We remained nonplussed, but everyone who heard the story the next day was horrified at our insouciance towards the former(?)heavyweight "champ".

Also: You touched Black Francis. That is so rock star.

Courtney said...

You've met a lot more famous people than I have. My biggest claims to fame are interviewing Mike Love of the Beach Boys and Dionne Warwick (not at the same time, although that would have been interesting.)

Chris said...

After reading his Wikipedia entry, I think I can read between the lines of your real interest in this Doug Stanhope character.

Case in point, from Wikipedia: "In 2005, frontally nude photos of Stanhope at a bachelor party were posted on the gay website Campfire Video. They were originally posted on Stanhope's own website."

Allie said...

It's really nice to hear how the VP supports National Parks like that. Yup.

em said...

hooray for frank black! i have met elizabeth gilbert, kurt vonnegut, john hodgman, bel hooks, richard ford, salman rushdie and cousin larry from perfect strangers. oh, and rupert from the hello deli (dave letterman fame).

Mickey said...

aaron- Rock star, indeed. It's been 9 years and I still haven't washed my left hand.

chris- Yeah, you got me. Don't you have work to do?

allie- Dick is not the most popular person among parkies and Jackson Hole locals.

em- Holy shit! You met Cousin Larry! Oh, and I guess Vonnegut and Rushdie are pretty cool, too.

Julie said...

I, too, ran into Dick at a state park. Asshole kept me waiting for eight hours to get a stupid photo of him waving to the crowd. And he was surrounded by so many other white (and white headed) old men that I was afraid I would get the wrong one.

Jacob said...

The ONLY real celebrity encounter I had was when Kevin Smith laughed at me for laughing out loud of the premise of the movie he produced where the birthday clown gets raped. I'm sorry, that's a funny premise. I hung out backstage at a Built to Spill concert and played Soul Caliber with Doug Martsch, but I never had any real close encounters with an celebrities. My sister had drinks with Mr. Belding, though.

Rachel said...

I once interviewed Chuck Barris, host of "The Gong Show" and a rather quirky character. I asked him what he liked to do when he came to Bowling Green, and he told me he loves the Cracker Barrel here. I wonder if he's any better at that peg game than I am.

Sandi said...

Found you through newscoma's blog...
I think that Jesse James is a big ole' dork on his show. But I do like Sandy Bullock.

Noelle said...

I wouldn't have recognized Jeff Gordon because I have never heard of him before this. I can't imagine how hard it must have been for you to resist the temptation to punch Cheney in the balls.

I would love to try this meme, but the fact that I have 5 years of film and television experience is a really unfair handicap.

Anonymous said...

only famous person i have met is the writter of this blog. i dont really want to talk about the "touch" issue. it was my first time camping and he said it was normal to share a tent and a sleeping bag. i didnt know.


Severo said...

WRITTER, steven? Jesus. Could someone stop him from blogging, please.

Oh and i apologize in advance Mickey. Bacon Soup is probably gonna have a field day with this one :)

Mickey said...

sandi- Thanks for joining in the fun, but who is newcoma?

noelle- Big shot, huh? You'll just have to whittle it down to seven.

hightower- It's called therapy and it can help you exorcise those demons.

severo- Have at it, buddy.

rachel- What do you think is so special about the BG Cracker Barrel?