My Top 10 unforgettable experiences, Part I

And I want to hear yours, too...

If you’re one of those rational people who loathe parents who drive around with a bumper sticker that says “My Child is an Honor Student at La-Di-Da Academy, Home of the Bickering WASPs” you might want to stop reading now because I’m going to brag about one of my kids.

When my son Paul went out to L.A. to be a music producer I figured he’d be back in six months and maybe that job at the neighborhood Subway would still be open and he could get started on his sandwich-making career.

Yesterday, I found out Paul just received his third Gold Record.

This one for a song by Young Thug called “Take Care” and here’s that video:

When Paul first started working with Mr. Thug I had no idea who he was so I asked Eric Hosmer – a hip-hop music fan – if he’d ever heard of him and Hos said yeah, Young Thug was a big star and Paul working with him was appropriate because Hos considered me an Old Thug which might be the nicest thing a ballplayer has ever said about me.

Anyway…

I admire anyone who breaks away from what they’re expected to do and who they’re expected to be and carves out a life of their own and that certainly includes my son, even though I was the one who put my expectations in his way.

Paul’s accomplishment (which I had absolutely nothing to do with) made me think about life in general and how he did something unexpected and how lucky I’ve been to experience some stuff I never would have thought possible.

When I was attending Rocklin Elementary School if an angel had come down from Heaven and said here are some of things that are going to happen to you, I would have thought that angel was full of crap which I assume is possible although you’d think angels wouldn’t have to deal with those issues and when they went Number 2 Hostess Twinkies would come out…I mean it’s just logical.

Now where were we?

That’s right, I was having a beer and a shot to celebrate Paul’s achievement and thinking life sure is surprising. I even made a list of weird things that had happened to me which is the kind of thing you do three rounds into the evening.

So here, in no particular order, are 10 unforgettable moments in my life.

New Year’s Eve in Hawaii

My friend Jason Kendall and his then-fiancé Trish decided to get married on the beach in Hawaii on New Year’s Day and I went along. It’s lucky I did because it turns out Jason doesn’t know how to tie a tie, so right before the ceremony I tied his for him.

On New Year’s Eve we were sitting outside by a fire pit, the ocean was a couple hundred yards away and there was a full moon which might explain the two very inebriated women who thought they’d seen me in a movie.

I tried to explain they were mistaken and Jason being a dick – but a very funny one – said they were right and I was just hiding out from my fans. According to Jason I had in fact been in Saving Private Ryan but died off early in the movie so they might remember me from my role in Alien. (Apparently I only work in top-notch films.)

So somewhere there are two women who believe they spent New Year’s Eve with a movie star and have the selfies to prove it.  

Helicopter skiing in Banff

Phil, my best friend from high school, and I were skiing in Banff, Canada and the hotel had a booth that sold helicopter ski trips. We asked how good you had to ski to avoid dying, the salesman said not that good and being a couple knuckleheads, we believed him.

When we arrived at the helicopter it was us, a couple skiers from the Norwegian National Ski Team, the guide and his wife.

When they give you a radio transmitter to wear around your neck so they can find your body after an avalanche, you realize you might be in over your head. Despite the fact that we couldn’t keep up and Phil managed a billion-mile-an-hour traverse through an off-limit area of crevasses, we’re both still alive and continue to be knuckleheads to this day.

If you’re selling snorkeling trips to pet Great White Sharks in their natural habitat, we’re in.

Lobster burritos in Puerto Nuevo

Bill DeOre – my friend from Texas – and I were staying at Rosarito Beach in Mexico and I suggested we eat lunch at Puerto Nuevo, a restaurant by the sea, famous for their lobsters.

They split the lobster tails in half, grill them over an open fire and serve them with fresh flour tortillas (made while you watch) with rice and beans.

In my half-ass Spanish I ordered for both of us: “Dos langostina grande, por favor” which either means “two of your biggest lobster, please” or is an insult to someone’s mother. When the waitress looked at Bill he nodded his head in agreement, as in; yeah, that’s what we want.

But the waitress walked away thinking I had ordered two giant lobsters for myself and Bill had done the same so when our meal came out it was four humongous lobsters and enough rice and beans to feed the Mexican army should they decide to invade San Diego.

There was so much food on our table other diners were going to their cars to get their cameras and take pictures of the two American fat asses having lunch.

Come to think of it, it might have been the best lunch of my life and I’m getting hungry all over again just thinking about it.

Face plant at Comiskey Park

Right about now I’m sounding kinda like a smug douchebag to me, so I can only imagine what you’re thinking. So to even things out here’s a story that’s embarrassing which I just realized means I didn’t think anything I’ve written so far falls into that category even though it should.

I was at Old Comiskey Park to watch the Royals play and decided to play Mr. Big Shot and use my press credential to get on the field. An usher cleared the crowd gathered at the railing for autographs and opened the gate for me.

Everybody turned to see what incredibly special person was being ushered onto the field like Jesus arriving in Jerusalem and at that moment I somehow tripped and did a faceplant on the stadium steps.

Humiliating, but let’s face it; unforgettable.

Jim Belushi cab ride

This one combines Chicago and Bill. (Have I mentioned he’s from Texas?).

We were in the Windy City on a Sunday morning to pick up an award Bill had won and after we jumped in a cab at the airport our driver went off to find a third fare, which I found irritating until the third guy got in the cab and it turned out to be Jim Belushi.

I had watched him on Saturday Night Live the evening before and he had appeared in a sketch ridiculing L.A. coroner Tom Noguchi. Lots of people though Noguchi misused his position to build his own fame and Belushi shared that opinion.

So being a smartass I said, “Hey, I recognize you…you’re Tom Noguchi!”

That made Belushi laugh and he said, “I got that fucker good, didn’t I?” and invited us to his blues club where we spent the evening hanging out with some of the Second City performers and I’d tell you who they were, but Bill and I were too stupid to remember names or take pictures.

Fun night, though.

Now it’s your turn

OK, right about here I realized this piece was going to be way too long and decided to break it into two parts.

Also, I want to ask you to participate.

I’ve got a theory that most people have some incredible stories to tell if you’re willing to listen and they’re willing to open up. So let’s hear it; use the comment section or the thread I’m about to post to tell whatever stories you want to share.

And no “my most unforgettable moment was watching the birth of my child” stories, either. If you’re a parent we all got one of those, so what I want to hear are the things you never in a million years would have expected to happen to you.

Celebrity encounters and gas station hold ups make the list and so do kids who go out and make Gold records.

Now get busy.