Over the course of my life I have had a few interactions with certain celebrities and for the most part they have been fairly good experiences. I always walk away feeling a little surprised that these said celebrities were normal people like me. I can’t understand why I would think that every celebrity burns stacks of money in their furnace or hire poor immigrants to be human footstools but unless they prove me wrong, that’s the assumption I make. Anyway, today’s story is about an odd encounter I had with Emeril Lagasse.
A few years ago I worked at the Alliance Center (pictured above) as a corporate project manager and I must say, I hated it. I am not what you call “corporate material” by any stretch of the imagination. Everyday consisted of going to the same meetings with the same people raising the same concerns and answering the same questions with the same answers. You know you have a bad job when you take breaks through out the day just to ride the elevator. The one good part about the job was I had some perks at the restaurant on the lobby floor because their account was under my project portfolio. The restaurant was ‘Emerils’ inspired by none other than the famous Emeril Lagasse himself.
Since I had a few perks at the restaurant, one including a big discount on a bar tab, I became pretty good friends with most of the staff there. I am a firm believer that people in the food service industry are the greatest American we have. No where else can you find harder workers who have to take shit on a daily basis from the cock suckers of the world. If you are ever at a restaurant and you are snotty to a server for no reason I swear I will stab you in the leg with a soup spoon. Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, well over the course of discussion one night the bartender told me they were working double time in preparation for the emperor himself to arrive, Emeril Lagasse. They hated him. Apparently he was a real ass to all the chefs and servers but he is the man so they sucked it up. And since hurricane Katrina shut down his main place in New Orleans he would be staying in the ATL for quite some time.
Weeks past and my job really took a turn towards the busy side so my beer days took a hit and the chance to meet Emeril left my brain. That is until I past him in the parking garage. He really is a lot shorter than I thought. I mean he’s not short like qualifying for a handicap sticker but short enough to play keep away with his hat indefinitely. Regardless of his height, he was the most famous chef in the world and the dude did drive a really nice Mercedes. I couldn’t help but notice that this was one of those cars that had to be the same price as a nice house. I also noticed there was a tie was sticking out of the passenger side door. That’s when my stupidity took over, as usual.
“How cool would it be to have a tie that belonged to Emeril Lagasse?” Actually in hindsight, that’s pretty dumb. Who would believe or care whether I had a tie that belonged to Emeril? It’s not like I could invite dinner guests over and bring them into my closet to look at Emeril’s tie in a glass case. I’m not even a big fan. But that wasn’t going through my head at the time. The only thing that was, was this, “tie..tie…tie..tie..”
So I watched Emeril and the lady in the business suit walk across the drive towards the building and then I started to work on the tie. I pulled with all my might but it wasn’t happening. I guess that is why you pay $100,000 for a car because that door was vacuum sealed and wasn’t giving an inch on that tie. I should have remembered that when I slammed my own tie in the door a few weeks ago. My memory isn’t what it used to be.
Well, the tug of war was turning out to be a stalemate so I did the dumbest thing one could do in that position. I tried the door handle of the Benz. Wouldn’t you know it? The fucking alarm went off. I went out of body the second that “BLEE BLEE BLEE” alarm sound rang out in the echoing garage because I have a vivid memory of me standing there, hand on tie and other hand on door handle. Emeril and the lady he was with stopped in their tracks and looked back to see me there, evidence in hand, wide-eyed, looking directly back at them. They slowly started to walk back towards the said vehicle with me, trapped like a raccoon in a garbage can, obviously guilty of something.
I tried shouting over the alarm at them, “BLEE BLEE BLEE …YOU SHUT…BLEE BLEE..YOUR TIE IN…BLEE BLEE… THE..BLEE BLEE …CAR”
Emeril, with a look of both confusion and annoyance, tilted his head to hear what I was saying as he fiddled in his pockets to find the keys and stop the alarm. Finally he hit the alarm button on the key chain and asked, “what’s going on now?”.
God I wanted to run but I assumed that would have just led to a possible termination, police chase and a spot on “World’s dumbest Criminals IV”. So I collected myself and in a shaky voice and a red face I said, “You shut your tie in the door and I tried to get it out for you but I set off the alarm. Sorry about that.”
Emeril looked at the tie sticking out of his door like the tongue of a dead dog and said, “Oh…”. Then came the long awkward silence. I picked up my briefcase and went to gracefully exit. But before i could take a step he looked at me, smiled and said, “thanks”.
I didn’t know how to take that. Was he being funny? Was his agent calling the cops as we exchanged awkward glances? Will I be a story on his show as he kills dead time between sauteing the sauce and adding the “BAM” to whatever he is cooking? Am I about to receive a punch in the nose from his disproportionately sized grabbers? Nope. He extended his hand and introduced himself as Emeril Lagasse and asked my name.
After our introduction he invited me to dinner that night on the house. Wow, and here I was trying to steal his tie. What a shitbag I am. I gracefully declined, saying I was honored but I had to drive to Augusta to see the girl I was dating at the time and that was at least 4 hours with Friday night traffic. He said the invitation was open anytime and we went our separate ways.
I got in my car, hands a shakin’. That could have been bad on so many levels but it taught me a valuable lesson; If you are going to steal a celebrity’s tie from their car, wait until they have left the area.
Be sure to check out Pammy’s story over at MacabreFitness!
Priceless. Absolutely priceless. I’m trying to stifle laughter because I’m in a public place. That trumps any a) celebrity interaction; b) embarrassing moment; or c) any stupid thing I might have ever done. Most excellent.
P.S. I went on a date to a shi-shi restaurant a few months back. The guy blathered on and on about how much money he made, his Jag, how he owned his company and was in demand, how amazing he was… my eyes glazed over and I found myself wishing to be home. The waiter came over to take our drink order and he was rude to the waiter. When we got our drinks, he was rude. When they delievered the bread, appetizers, entrees, cleared our plates… he was rude to the waiter. I pulled the waiter aside and apologized for my date being a huge tool. I was emabarrassed but I’m pretty sure the waiter felt sorry for me since the date wasn’t over yet.
I am simply amazed that stuff like this happens to you on a regular basis.
I mean… sometimes shit happens to me- like dropping my Chai tea in the Starbucks Parking Lot and soaking myself in the stuff.
But never on this scale.
Like how I speak before I think, you need to think before you act. It coudl save you sooooo much grief.
BTW, how tall are you, anyway?
I used to think you were about 5’10… but I’m beginning to really wonder.
Pammy- I loathe people like that. I really do. There is nothing that screams “I am a prick” loader than that. Did he get a second one? How did i end that night?
Kelli- I have a feeling the source of my misfortune comes from a bible I recently found that I had in high school. It was for theology and I cheated on the final by copying all the answers to the test on the blank page at the beginning Genesis. That has to be it.
Looking over this site it really does amaze me I am still ticking. Everyday above ground is a surprise.
I’m 6 even. Just had a physical last month!
Hello no, he didn’t second a second chance. I’m not THAT desperate for a date. It ended awkwardly with me crossing my arms tightly across the chest and I did the speed walking thing to my car (we met up at a safe mutual place) in an attempt to get away from him. He went in for a hug, which I gave him, but our bodies didn’t touch. I made sure my head was practically in my armpit, so he never even had a chance to get close to my face.
Did I mention that he got mad at me because I ordered salmon? He didn’t understand why I ordered fish when I’d told him previously I was allergic shellfish… he made a HUGE stink about this, too. If he’d known I could eat salmon, he said he would’ve chose a different restaurant. Now I realize that my dating skills are somewhat rusty at this point, but I’m pretty sure insulting your date, snubbing the waiter, raising your voice at said date AND waiter, and then actually thinking you’re going to get some action at the end is NOT acceptable. BAD date. Very bad.
That sounds like the worst date I have ever heard of. Which one of your pals set you up with that gem? I think they should do your laundry for at least a month.
I went out on a date and about half way through she asked me if I had been saved yet. It gave me the willies so bad I had to end it quickly. She told one of my friends I ended it early because I became aware that I wouldn’t get laid after she professed her devotion to Jesus. It wasn’t that at all. People who throw religion on my lap give me a rash.
Great story and great blog. I love this story about Emeril and his hot pink tie (nice photo shopping by the way). I love the part about him being so short you could play keep away indef with his hat. Hi-larious. I’ll be coming back for more posts.
Damn, I knew I should’ve tried to steal Gary Busey’s fanny pack after he asked for it. Could you imagine how much I could get for Gary Busey’s Fanny Pack!!!!!
As far as who set me up, let’s just say this: The unholy trinity of Photoshop, spell check and the Internet mean that even the most illiterate, personality-deficient, hideous troll can land a first date, much to a lady’s disappointment.
NEVER EVER AGAIN
Really….this really happened to you??? WHO ARE YOU?!?!!? Like I thought taping the frayed ends of your tie to the back was funny enough, but the imagery of all this unfolding it way too funny…I’m so surprised he didn’t follow up the handshake with a quick nod to nearby security, but I perhaps you have an innocent way about you….in any case…so did you never redeem that free dinner? If not can you just transfer it over to me, ’cause I like free stuff 🙂
PS: you are, so, so right about the waiter-politeness thing…like even if you know that your waiters aren’t good people, never never NEVER mess with them, and if anyone doubts that, just watch the movie “Waiting…”…..so traumatizing….
speaking of fitness (from your other blog), I am on a post-workout sleepy come-down, and that is my final excuse for the horrible grammar in my last comment…
You may be a shitbag Bill, but you’re a shitbag who can always give me a smile.
Wow Will just wow. But knowing you through your comments, blog, and very very rare contact on the phone I can totally see this happening. You know what is kind of weird but cool, two people in this last 6 months have said I look like John Travolta, like I could be related to him. I guess that is where my Dad went…
Pammy – That guy sounded like the guy from the movie American Psycho. That movie is hilarious in it’s own way. And I think that the way people treat waiters and Waitresses shows a lot about their character.
For three months in 2006 I worked at a call center and that was THE WORST job I have ever had. It was either repetitious and boring or people were yelling at the top of their lungs at me and tried to make me feel subhuman and an idiot. I have two links on my youtube channel talking about it. After that job I have gone out of my way to be nice to people that work in call centers, restaurants, cashiers at the grocery store, and other people that work providing a service. I also feel that people that work shitty jobs are the backbone of our society and economy. Jobs you wouldn’t even think of touching on your lowest day. I applaud them for being able to work fulltime at jobs like that.
If you wouldn’t have posted the tie/mercedes pic, I would never believe that actually happened 🙂
short enough to play keep away with his hat indefinitely
Thanks for this phrase which made me laugh out loud.
Wow, that was just hilarious. How the universe manages to hand these situations to you on a silver platter, I’ll never know. I think God looks down on certain people, turns to whoever he’s hanging out with that day, and says, “You see this one? I’m gonna have some fun with this one. Get some popcorn.”
Most of the famous people I’ve met have been musicians, artists, or writers, but I have been luckily enough in my production assistant days to work with a few famous actors on movie sets. I’ve mostly found nearly all of them to be really nice. A few writers were total dicks, but all the actors I’ve met have been pretty cool. For the record though, Tommy Lee Jones is the biggest asshole in Hollywood. Great actor. Asshole in person. Seriously.
As for the service industry, I totally agree. In may past I’ve had a few call center jobs and a lot of waiting jobs and it is incredibly hard work that you get paid to make look easy. I subscribe to that theory that gets floated around that everyone should be forced to wait tables for like 6 months in their life. You’ll come away with a totally different appreciation for it. You have to be a slave, a cashier, a psychiatrist, a janitor, and a baby-sitter all at once…all for $2.13 an hour and hopefully some tips that night. People who’ve never done it have no idea how hard it can get. There’s this sort of unspoken agreement among servers that they tip really well to each other. I haven’t waited tables in a few years and I’m still an amazing tipper unless the service is just completely shitty for no reason. I’ve been there, so I know what these people have to deal with. So, hats off to you, Billy. You’re good people.
So are you DJ. I can’t quite explain how these things seem to happen to me. Like I said, I think it’s a cures from cheating with a bible.
Apparently I spoke too soon. Never say never. 🙂