I Meant Tom Hanks


I met Mel Gibson once. I mean Tom Hanks. If it was Tom, I met him at a party a few blocks from where I was visiting, making it virtually a neighborhood thing, which of course made it an open invitation. It was given by the parents of one of the friends of one of his children. Tom’s child. That is, I think it was Tom’s child. That would make sense, considering it was Tom there. Or maybe Matt Damon. But then why were Tom’s children in attendance? It’s a puzzle. At least one of them’s Greek to me.


However whomever he was, he was impressed — so impressed he had to walk away to control his emotions — when I casually mentioned that I’d once rubbed shoulders on a subway car with Garrison Keillor. As I chatted with Garrison — or was it Harrison Ford? — it occurred to me that he was remarkably quiet for a guy who makes his living talking. Perhaps I rubbed him the wrong way, and should have rubbed in a counter-clockwise direction.


My subway stop was around the corner from where I shook Katie Couric’s hand. Or was it Katy Perry’s? One of the Katies. Whichever one it was, she found it so amusing when I winked and said “Kiss me, Kate” that she wrenched her hand away from mine and ran to share the joke with others.


Speaking of running reminds me of the third time I ran up to Justin Timberlake and his crew. The first couple times we’d hung out there on the street when I caught up with him, it was the usual bantering. “What’re ya doin’, man?!” and “Get outta my face!” Typical guy stuff. This time though was different. He said I’d be talking to his lawyers. Sure enough, an envelope soon arrived, stamped “Order of Protection.” I still haven’t opened it, delaying the pleasure of what must be an invitation to a special club, like the Order of Elks. The return address of Federal District Court must indicate that one of the judges is a member too.


It’s not surprising I hit it off so well with celebrities. After all, I’ve been to Harvard. Even one day’s visit like mine gives one the polish, the savoir faire, the — I don’t know how to put it — the je ne sais quoi.


That’s where I learned you can always tell a Havard man. That’s Havard Rugland, the Norwegian who, when everyone else is saying “I can’t kick,” can’t say that. He created a YouTube sensation by kicking a football — an American football, not a Norwegian football, though perhaps it was a Norwegian-American football, probably the only one they’ve got in the country — from long distances, which got him a tryout with the Detroit Lions. But they cut him from the team. Pulled the Rugland out from under him. I’m only speculating here, but maybe the coach decided you can’t tell him much.