Some people can brag that they have met someone famous. Most of the people I know can claim this. Flannery and Spooky have met Rock stars on the street. Franklinton and Guido have met all the pro golfers. Cap'n Ergo has met several famous authors.
Flannery and I met David Sederis once on our anniversary and he gave us a copy of tongue diseases with an autograph, but I don't think that counts, as I couldn't think of a single thing to say to the man and stood mute while he and Flannery chatted like old friends.
My only brush with fame came on a Thursday. I was working for the biggest photocopier company in the world and I was answering their phone. It was a call center located in Westerville, Ohio just a few miles north-east of Columbus. My job was to dispatch the repairmen from across the nation to their various calls, and then record their paperwork for each job into the computer. It was simply work, it paid well, and I had been there long enough that they had made me the head of the training department and the night crew.
I loved this job. I got to talk to people from all over the country, heard a lot of good jokes, met interesting people, and had a lot of fun. One of the best parts of the whole job was being on the help line. I was always the last person to get a call and I had to answer questions and put out the occasional small fire, but mostly I sat for hours drinking free coffee and reading with a silent headset on.
I did take my share of calls and there were guys I talked to every day, some times three times a day. After a while, you get to know them somewhat. This particular Thursday, the phone rang and the ID gave me the name of a guy out of Chicago. I remembered it because it sounded like the kind of name a comic book character might have.
The guy starts right in with an apology, "This is my last day and I have a bunch of calls to clear. I understand if you want to clear a few and then hang up. I can call back."
"No," I said, "I've got nothing but time. I'll write them up as long as you are willing to read them off."
"Really? I've got forty, maybe fifty calls here..."
"No problem. It's your last day and you want to get it out of the way. I understand. I've got a fresh cup of coffee and nothing better to do. It's four more hours until quitting time. Why not? What's the first serial number?"
"Golf Tango Echo 40569 Foxtrot..." and we spent the next two hours with him rattling off numbers and me plugging them in. Some I just filled in with 99's, as that was the universal code for "other". After all of the paperwork was cleared, he thanked me for my patience and I asked him what he was going to do now.
"Do you follow skateboarding?" he asked.
"No," I admitted. I rode one quite a bit as a kid but I never got very good at it.
"I just signed on for the X-Games and I just got a contract for a line of clothing and shoes."
"Well congratulations. That's got to be a lot better than pulling paper jams."
"Oh man, I'm stoked!"
I wished him good luck and he thanked me again for all of my help. I made it a point to look at the little screen on the phone that displayed his name before he rang off just so I would remember it.
It was a bold, yet simple name, Tony Hawk, and I had wished him well.