brush
with greatness

   I went down with Joan Rivers
 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m riding the elevator down in the Indianapolis Hilton. Summer 1981.  I’m looking *pretty* good in my tan polyester pants and crepe shoes. What else would I be wearing at the National Conference of the Future Business Leaders of America?  (Yes, mock me if you must, I'll wait...)

Watch out.  I was president of the Scappoose (Oregon) High School chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America. A man with a mission. I’m there as part of the fabulous Oregon delegation because I had taken first place in the grueling state Data Processing competition. I had the highest score on a test in which questions about (you may want to sit down before continuing) *punch cards* dominated. 

Now I can tell you that it was indeed 1981, but for all you youngsters out there, punch cards were by no means something that you *ever* ran into outside of the federal government and old IBM shops. I mean, hey, we had our Apple II’s with *48k RAM* and actual *floppy disk* drives. Who do you think you’re messing with, man? And they wanted me to answer questions about punch cards? 

My guesses won the day and, what the hell, a trip to beautiful downtown Indianapolis. 

 

So I’m riding the elevator down when we stop on the 3rd floor. The doors open. In walks Joan Rivers, looking quite nice I might add, and a rather handsome tan fellow in a blue blazer (no, not George Hamilton, probably her bodyguard). She gets into the elevator and gives me that nervous smile of hers and realizes I recognize her and says, “Hey, you’re one of those business type kids that are crawling all over the hotel!”. I nervously smile and nod. 

I'm thinking that just about anything I could say is going to come out as a trite cliche.  Joan, loved you on the Tonight Show last month.  Joan, you look lovely tonight.  Maybe, Hey, Joan, break a leg.

My deal with celebrities is this: I figure they already put up with a tremendous amount of bullshit from overeager, demanding fans. I just want to show a little restraint, a little class.  That guy with here was pretty big.  Plus I had no idea what to say to her.  O.k., I was chicken.  Are you happy now?

So we stared at the numbers and we got off.  I mean, we walked off the elevator. 

It doesn’t make for such a great story, but it prevents this story from sliding over to Stupid Things I Have Done

 

Epilogue: I finish 4th in the Nationals (still more punch card questions - jeez), get a little plaque and a goofy picture of it.  I took a cab out to an Indie metroplex and caught a newly released film starring Harrison Ford / Rutger Hauer flick (Bladerunner). 

 

brush & brawl:  Ithak Perlman takes off his  G-string

 

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