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Embarrassing celebrity encounters

Reader Jake Zex’s embarrassing celebrity encounter is a bit longer than the usual “Ricki Lake barfed pickles at my church” type stories we feature, but it’s a good one regardless. Enjoy!

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My friend Jordem and I were at Goo Zoo in Chicago’s Wheat Sacking District, shooting the shit and discussing how expensive Goo Zoo’s signature shot, “the shit” is. My buddy kept nodding toward the Growing Pains pinball machine and muttering something about a guy who was “so plain”. I’m not one to to avert my gaze only to check out plains — I’m all about crazies, hair faces, nub noses and tit monsters so I ignored him.

At that point I was cross-eyed and drooling off several shots of shit, so my poisoned mind decided to reveal a big secret to Jordem, a secret I won’t fully reveal here but lets just say it involves a pumpkin-spiced bra. The bar was really loud at this point as DJ Cream Pie had started his set,  but Jordem appeared to understand the gist of the secret so I wrapped it up with an obligatory, “keep it on the DL”. He looked at me funny, glanced back toward the pinball machine then back to me and said “for real?”. I patted him on the back and told him not to quit his day job because I thought he was joking and the only people who joke are professional comedians who don’t need to work during the day because they work mostly at night in clubs. I then headed to the bathroom, danced all night with a Marine and his sister to Cream Pie’s Uptown Mega Mix and didn’t see Jord again until after the bar closed.

We ran into each other outside as Goo Zoo’s patrons were slowly filing onto the waiting barges. Jordem was drunker than King Henry after Merlin invented rum so I was scared that he had taken my advice seriously, quit his day job and celebrated by wasting all his remaining cash on spirits and olives. After asking how he afforded to get so drunk he gave me a strange look and told me that they were “on the DL”. I assumed he meant he was using my secret as currency and while I trade secrets for drinks and hats regularly, I do not trade those of my best friends, so I got mad and accused him of selling me out. At that moment, D.L. Hughley walked past wearing his signature “Brown Betty” leather jacket and Jordem asked me how I knew him and why I didn’t greet him with my usual cheek pinch and mint offering. I told him how despite my respect for the man’s career, I am not acquainted with D.L. Hughley in any way, shape or co-ed recreational sports team.  Jordem responded with, “then why did you have me charge my drinks to him?”.

Game changer.

My mind did one of those rewind things where I started to piece everything together and as a bonus I finally remembered the code to open my fridge, which I have no problem admitting was simply “ROT”. Apparently, Jordem had referred to D.L. earlier in the evening as “the Soul Plane guy” standing next to the pinball machine, which I didn’t figure out probably because of my policy on not checking out plains. Then, by revealing my secret I had inadvertently told Jord to keep drinks on the popular star in a classic case of misunderstanding.

I ran to D.L. and explained the whole scenario which he found hilarious while also revealing that Jordem had only bought one drink and some pretzel lasagna sliders which he was more than happy to take care of. I asked Jordem how he managed to get so plastered if D.L. only bought him one and he revealed that he was faking it because he hadn’t lied in awhile.

The dog day of summer

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It was early September, not hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk but hot enough to heat up leftover eggs on the sidewalk. I was knelt down, filling a juice jug with water from the sprinkler, a ritual I had been performing all summer in order to make my summer certified lemonade that was selling like photos of nude women to the recently pubic. To complete the full experience I presented the drink to customers not in glasses but rather hollowed out eggshells I painted red stitches on to look like baseballs in keeping with the summer theme. If it seems like I got eggs on the brain it’s because I was born around breakfast. Anyway, if you want to read about my lemonade, pick up a copy of Business Week, this story is about dogs.

As I was kneeling there I caught the scent of dog and my eyes immediately darted down toward my belt.  When I had buckled it twenty minutes earlier, I thought I might regret wearing the one made of  beef jerky but my leather belt was currently being used by my wife to measure how many of my waists could fit into the basement in case the cloning project got funding.

Before I knew it I was surrounded by at least 25 dogs of various breeds, some with collars, some without, some barking, some sniffing, all staring at me, mouths agape and hungry for preserved meat. I decided to test their focus by casually walking up the block toward the failed Asian fusion restaurant that had only succeeded in fusing the parts of the brain that detect bad value and mediocre noodles. Sure enough, the dogs were on my tail, snout first, their own tails happily flapping away as if fanning butterflies away from a pile of raisins. They weren’t necessarily aggressive but I didn’t like how all of them were so interested in me, a creature who didn’t speak the same language or even like the same type of girls as them.

I decided not to run because I didn’t want to provoke the dogs and have them start running themselves. To me, a dog running is like a bee stinging only a dog doesn’t die after it runs unless it’s old and has a bad heart, or if it runs into a bee and it’s allergic to bees. I made a mental note to call my next band Dog Heart and continued at a brisk pace toward the graveyard where I figured the smell of bones would distract them enough to lose them. If not, at least I’d be able to finally check out that cemetery I’d never been to.

I was sweating cats and dogs and could sense the dogs reacting to my new smell like a cat reacting to a sweaty dog, so I did a quick barrel roll and left a sweat stain on the sidewalk that actually kind of looked like a dog–I’m not sure though, it was a quick glance and I might have just caught the shadow of one of the dogs. I walked 16 steps (I know the exact number because I had already decided I wanted to tell the story and needed some cold, hard facts) and gathered enough courage to look back where I saw the mutts licking at pavement, just as I had intended. I ducked into a pet store and waited until the coast was clear. Before leaving I left my belt in an iguana tank and that iguana eventually went on to star in over thirty children’s stories written by this slow kid who lived above the pet store.