Sunday, March 21, 2010

That Time I Met James Brown

Pushing through TSA security at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport a few moments ago, I'm reminded of the last time I did this. It was about 5 years ago. I had gone on a business trip to Atlanta with two colleagues and, as we were making our way through security, we overheard a twenty-something young man being asked for his identification. He gave his name as "Eric Clapton". Obviously, he wasn't the celebrity, he just had a similar name. I turned to my friends and joked about how different Eric Clapton looks in person, how he must have gotten some major plastic surgery in order to look so young, etc.

Once we were through security, I could see a small crowd ahead bottle-necking the flow through the concourse. I snaked around to see if I could see the cause of the commotion. Was it some old guy having a psychotic reaction to a pat down search? No. It was better.

"Oh my GOD!", I exclaimed. "It's James Brown!"

"Yeah, yeah", one of my co-workers said, obviously familiar with my pranks. "Some guy has the same name as the famous James Brown. I get it".

"No! Sweet Lady of Funk, it's the Godfather of Soul himself", I gushed loudly. "Here, take my camera! Get a picture of me with him!". With that, I ran up to talk to him.

Somehow, I waded through the small crowd and got right in front of the guy. I looked at him. He looked at me. I was speechless. My brain kept telling my mouth to say things, but it simply wasn't working. After getting a puzzled look from the hardest working man in show business, I finally blurted out "Wanna see my James Brown impression?".

James Brown simply said "I'd love to, but I'm late. I just don't have time. God bless you".

Defeated, I returned to my colleagues. I asked if they had gotten a picture of me with James Brown, but it wasn't possible due to the crowd.

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