I’m working on a Canadian television series called Music Machine as the humorous music critic. My routines include music-related jokes like this one:
“Chicago used to be called The Chicago Transit Authority, but they changed their name, because people were buying tickets to their concerts and trying to use them on the bus.”
Through Music Machine, I met Anne Murray, at the time the most famous singer in Canada. She’d even made a splash in the States, most notably with the song, “Snowbird.” From a Canadian standpoint, Anne Murray was an enormous star.
I ran into Anne Murray in the Music Machine make-up room. She was getting make-up for the show, and I was doing sit-ups on the floor. This seems to be my way of doing things. When famous people are around, I find odd ways of attracting attention.
Sitting in her make-up chair, Anne Murray informs me that she’d once been a Phys. Ed. teacher. Suddenly, she’s out of her chair and down on the floor, instructing me on the proper form for doing sit-ups.
After the Music Machine taping is over, Anne and the show’s producer head across the street for a celebratory beer. I giddily tag along. I’m not sure I was formally invited, but it was something I was unwilling to miss:
Grabbin’ a beer with “The Canadian Songbird.”
The bar, located in a hotel, had rules, one of which was you needed a jacket to get in. I didn’t have a jacket, so the bar loaned me one they had handy for just such occasions.
The jacket was plaid. Red, green and black checks. Spruced up with gold-colored buttons. It was also four sizes too big.
I put it on.
I wanted to drink with Anne Murray.
You need to know this about me. I can only drink one beer. One beer – I’m relaxed, I’m congenial, I say things, I don’t know where they came from. I’m amazing with one beer. I go anywhere near a second beer, and all bets are off. Sometimes, I get grumpy. Sometimes I get morose. Sometimes I get sleepy. I always get something. And that something is never me at anywhere close to my best.
Other people were having more than one beer.
So, (somebody stop me)
So did I.
I won’t go into the specifics of my behavior in front of the biggest star in Canada not wearing skates. I don’t remember my behavior, although I vaguely recall being loud and unfunny. What I do remember, and remember crystal clearly, is this.
I’m sitting on the subway on my way home with this goofy smile on my face. I can see people staring at me, and I’m pretty sure what they’re staring at – a happy man who’d gone out for a beer with a beautiful and talented major star.
I’m riding the subway for twenty minutes before I discover what they’re really staring at.
I was still wearing the plaid jacket.