Friday, August 23, 2013

Smoking With the Stars: Part 1


Hey kids! Smoking is bad. It is a filthy, smelly, expensive, dangerous habit. If you smoke, your teeth will turn brown, your breath will smell, your lungs will turn black and shrivel up, and the terrorists will have won. If you smoke, quit. If you don't smoke, don't start. Now, get off of my lawn, go to your room and watch this educational PSA from the 1960s.

*End Disclaimer*

Are the kids gone?


Here we go...

Your Uncle PC is a smoker. No apologies.

I always say, "Everyone is allowed one vice. Most of us have two or three."

I don't smoke cigarettes. I have, on occasion. But, my nicotine delivery system of choice is the age old vehicle made from the stately briar, the coveted meerschaum or the lowly corncob...

                                                                              The pipe.

Which inspires The Blog to write a future post dedicated, specifically to the subject of pipe smoking.

(Note to self.)

For the moment, here is my favorite quotation about pipe smoking...

“The pipe draws wisdom from the lips of the philosopher, and shuts up the mouth of the foolish; it generates a style of conversation, contemplative, thoughtful, benevolent, and unaffected.” -- William Makepeace Thackeray
But now, on to my intended topic...

Even though The Blog lives in the Greater Los Angeles area and works in Hollywood...

And most of that working time is on the lot of a major movie and television studio...

And, in the line of business, he has encountered many Hollywood stars...

He rarely has random encounters with Hollywood celebrities. So rare, in fact, that when it happens, this boy from Cleveland still thinks those encounters are pretty cool. 

*Dumping the "third person" narrative now, because I am irritating myself. And, since it's my blog, I can do that.*

The odds are higher of my running into celebs on the TV/movie lot where I work, than they are out in public. And, there, I can count on my fingers the number.

Henry Winkler, Daniel Craig, Chevy Chase, and most of the cast of "Rizzoli & Isles" come to mind, but that's about it.

I once ran into Dustin Hoffman in a grocery store in Malibu at a ridiculously early hour on a Sunday morning. Probably a story for another time.

I once saw the Singer siblings, (Eric and Lori) at a movie theater. (If you don't know who the Singer siblings are, you don't remember the '80s.)

And, I once saw Jerry "Beaver Cleaver" Mathers pulling into the CBS/Television City lot, in his car.

But, that's about it.

I feel like I'm rambling here. What am I talking about?

Oh, right.

So, it's the spring of the year 2002.

I am in New York City for the "up-fronts" for some cable network or another, (SpikeTV, maybe?) that is carrying the reruns of my soon to be cancelled action comedy series.

I am there to take care of my cast members for the festivities.

After six hours on a plane, an hour + in a taxi to the wrong Trump hotel, another 45 minutes in another cab to the right Trump hotel...

                                                                     The Trump International Tower, NYC

Finally checked in and settled...

I want... no... need... to smoke.

I ride the elevator down to the lobby and step outside.

The Trump is surrounded by a platform that, if this were a small town house, would be called a porch. I don't know what it would be called when attached to a monstrosity like Trump Tower.

Whatever it's called, it's outside. Which means, I can finally light up.

As I take my first drag, I am aware of someone joining me, less than a foot away.

I hear the "snick" of a lighter, followed by a gravelly voice.

"For what we are paying to stay in this dump," the voice says, "You would think we could smoke in our own fucking rooms."

I didn't even have to turn and look.

That voice was unmistakable.

Death deprived me of ever sharing a cigar with George Burns. And Hugh Hefner had quit his trademarked pipe by the time I got to know him.

But on that evening, I got to scratch one smoking experience off of my bucket list.

On that night, my smoking companion for the next twenty minutes was none other than...

                                                                       Dennis Leary.

Pretty cool.


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