Monday, July 27, 2009
I've been walking with a spring in my step all day.
Last night, under balmy midsummer skies, something magical happened: I got hit on!
Yes, you read correctly. In a venue where there were as many as 17,735 other people to get fresh with, someone chose ME —trach-sportin', G-tube-swingin', toothless AARP-card carryin' me— as his object of desire.
Here's how it happened: I was at the Hollywood Bowl, killing time between acts with a group of friends, waiting for headliner Grace Jones to hit the stage, when one of my friends made a remark about about monkeys.
Always eager to come off as hip and wise, I scribbled furiously in my note pad before the conversation went in a different direction. "Hey, remember J. Fred Muggs?" I wrote.
My three friends, all of whom are younger than me, stared at my pad and shook their heads. "Who?" one of them asked. "Never heard of him," another said. "Must have been way before our time, Paul," the third suggested.
"Well, he's a chimp," I wrote, holding the note pad over my face to cloak my embarrassment.
My friends just shrugged. How could these men not be familiar with J. Fred Muggs, the chimp mascot of the Today Show?
I slithered to my seat to wait for the show to resume.
I squeezed past a half dozen pairs of knees and picnic coolers and found my assigned place: Seat 109 in Row 1 of Section N2.
Just as I parked my fanny on the bench, a man several spaces to my left slid to my side so fast I'm certain that he got third-degree splinters. "HIIIIII!" he said in a voice that would have made Alan Sues sound like Jessica Tandy in the final reel of "Driving Miss Daisy." "My name is JOHNNY!!"
Johnny squeezed my thigh hard enough to bruise the denim and my skin. I pointed to my mouth and shook my head no, hoping Johnny would get the idea that I was not able to speak.
He stared at me silently, fingers still digging into my thigh. Then his eyes widened, and he started to sign the letters of the alphabet. I was happy to give his hands something else to do.
I opened my note pad. "Sorry, Johnny," I wrote. "I don't sign."
Johnny snatched my pen and note pad and from my hands and turned to a fresh page. "MY NAME IS JOHNNY," he scribbled, filling up an entire page.
I was tempted to explain to Johnny that I already knew his name and that I was able to hear him fine. But then I thought, the longer he kept his hand wrapped around my pen, the longer he would keep it off my thigh.
"I'M JUST HANGING," Johnny wrote in my pad. Flipping to a fresh page, he continued: "WHERE DO YOU LIVE?" And on yet another clean sheet: "I AM FROM THE VALLEY!"
Johnny flipped to another page —a brush fire in Santa Ana winds could not have consumed paper in my pad faster than he was. But rather than reveal his Zodiac sign, Johnny confided: "I AM VERY DRUNK."
Johnny's gaze locked onto me and he began to lean forward. He was either going to collapse, throw up or kiss me —or all three, in reverse order.
Just then a woman grabbed Johnny's shoulder to pull him back. "Who's your friend, Johnny?" she queried.
The lights went down, Grace Jones took the stage and Johnny jumped up, waving his arms and swinging his hips. I'm certain he had forgotten all about me at this point. At any rate, he and the woman disappeared after three or four songs.
It was nice to be desired, however briefly, even by a drunk.
When I got home I hopped online and looked up J. Fred Muggs. Turns out that Muggs was before even my time. He left the Today Show the year before I was born.
I wasted no time emailing my friends the news.