My mother-in-law never really caught up with technology but she knew some important people in Toronto and had their personal phone numbers in her little book. So when her internet wasn’t working or she couldn’t figure out her zapper for the TV, she wouldn’t call the support tech line, she’d call Ted Rogers at home. Ted, she’d say, something is wrong with my computer. Can you fix it?
When I was waiting tables, I interacted with a lot of famous people. Olympic Gold medal winners, astronauts, Nobel Prize winners, Oscar winners, a heavyweight champ, Stanley Cup winners, Grammy winners, Tony winners, kings and Prime Ministers and Captain Kirk. But no one in restaurants reacts to famous people, staff and clientele alike, like they do to movie stars.
The night Kevin Costner was in, it was quiet but this one pair of forty-something women were aflutter when they saw him. On his way out, they asked for a picture with him. It’s easy to imagine it. Kevin Costner and his devilish grin with his arms around each of these two nearing-middle aged women, so excited. So fun. When he left, as they were texting all their friends about their encounter with a legend, I asked to see the picture, which they were only too proud to show me. Then I played the rube that didn’t know anything about electronic stuff and said, Shit, I think I just erased the picture! They wanted to cry and rip my head off all in a split second. I waited just a beat and said I was kidding. I guess I have a cruel side to my sense of humour. I am an older brother, after all.
There was an Expo announcer on the French network named Roger Brulotte. He called games like a South American soccer announcer. Very demonstrative and very passionate and often very loud. The Expos had been gone for years so I was the only one who recognized him. And as I approached him, I said, M. Brulotte, I remember your home run call from June of 1993. Delino DeShields had just hit a game winning home run. He was being out-voted by Craig Biggio at second base for the All-Star game coming up in a few weeks and you thought it was an injustice. So as Delino hit the game winning homer, you shouted, “Delino, Delino, Delino, Delino, c’est quoi ca un Biggio? Delino, Delino, Delino…” I asked him to do that call again, in a quiet restaurant on a Monday lunch. And he did. And no one got it but me. Awesome.
My band once opened for the Bay City Rollers.
There was only one remaining member in the band but he was the star. After we finished our set, a woman approached the stage and said, Les, Les, Why didn’t you play Saturday Night? I explained we were the warm up act and that she would soon be hearing Saturday Night. She would have none of it. Eventually, if I were ever going to get backstage for my beer and my smoke, I had to sign her Bay City Rollers CD. And so I did. And I’m pretty sure I spelled McEwan wrong.