Friday, February 18, 2011


Haiku Friday: Steve Bartman and other brushes with fame

For nearly 100 years, the Chicago Cubs frustrated and angered their fans. Then, one brilliant fall day in 2003, the fans returned the favor. That's the legend of Steve Bartman... but we'll get to him in a minute.

Back in my college radio days, one of my jobs was to record short "station ID" messages that would play at the top of the hour. The task was just to give the call letters and frequency, but I liked to add a little oomph to it. My favorite series was the distant brush with fame" series, which included the two ID's:

1) "My name is Janet Kirkley, and my dad once almost got run over by Vincent Price in a parking lot. When I'm in Williamsburg, I make sure to listen to listen to WCWM-FM, 90.7 FM!"

2) "Hi, I'm Rick Box. I worked in a restaurant that Steve Martin ate at once, but I wasn't there then. One thing I am always there for, though, is WCWM-FM, 90.7 in Williamsburg!"

My personal brushes with fame have been pretty slight-- Jack White of the White Stripes upholstered my couch, for example, and I bought Ted Nugent's end table at his garage sale in Waco.

Still, I am wowed by friends that have more concrete brushes with fame, so I was floored this week to learn that my friend and colleague at St. Thomas, Ben Carpenter, was Steve Bartman's roommate at Notre Dame. Seriously! He even sent me this photo to prove it (which includes Ben, Bartman, and former William and Mary coach Lou Holtz):

What?!?! Some of you don't know who Steve Bartman is? Sheesh... well, long story short, in 2003 (according to Cubs lore) Bartman single-handedly stopped the Cubs from reaching the World Series for the first time since 1908 by grabbing a foul ball right out of the hands of an eager Cub who was about to wrap things up. To make it better, he was inexplicably wearing walkman headphones over his Cubs hat at the time. Here's a video:

So, let's haiku about brushes with fame. It doesn't have to be a close brush, of course. Here is mine:

That guy on the bus
With me, kinda familiar:
It's Nipsy Russell!

[Note: This isn't even my own experience-- it happened to Rich Sullivan in college]

Now, it is your turn. Five syllables for the first line, seven for the second, then five for the last... or you can make it about Bartman, in which case it can be any old mess you want.

Brush with fame? Hmm, I
Went to elementary school
with George Foreman VI.
he sat down, I turned my head...
it was Hulk Hogan

Ava Gabor, Hulk
Hogan, Dale Earnhardt Sr.,
plus Presidents
(and Redskins and baseball players)
Dick Cheney, hunting
A scary time for me, yes
That sneer and a gun.
The 80's: Brat Pack!
Rob, Judd, Emilio, Andrew
A bar in L.A.
Now I know someone
Who knows someone who was the
Roommate of Bartman.
My sister watched Jim
McMahon's kids. He brought her home,
But I fell asleep.
Followed Willie Aames
At soccer picture day. He
Still wasn't in charge.
Andy Garcia
Sat by me at a rest'rant.
I was invisible.
If my client's crime
Made front page--oh the horror.
Does that count here, too?

If that can count anywhere, it would be here on the Razor.
In line at Taco
Bell. And there is the one and
only Biz Markie.

I told him I was
a big fan, had the albums.
He seemed suspicious.
One time with Tone Loc
Think he was following me
To look at my butt!
Never met her but
My third cousin, twice removed?
The maid on "Benson."
"Which book did you get?"
asked the man in the hallway.
"Grisham! He's the best!"

I beamed and showed him;
he grinned and offered to sign
my book: "John Grisham."

(I met John Grisham while waiting for the elevator at a literacy event in Dallas several years ago. I was embarrassed that I didn't recognize him, but he seemed flattered to be incognito.)
Angela, you win. Totally.
Sitting in first class
Playing hangman with D.L.
Jump! Might as well jump!
Set break, hey, Les Claypool!
"Hey Les, hell yes! Sweet chops, man!"
"Hey, right on, fella!"

The bar floor had cleared,
Then David Byrne re-app-eared.
"Sugar On My Tongue."
Freaking out. Finals.
"Mine will be a sermonette."
(In my mind) What?!?! It's Mark Osler!
Hey, it's Maestro...
Barenboim stands in men's room.
Wash before handshake.
Family crisis,
chemo, MD Anderson,
Benson!! My day made.

(Mr. Robert Guillaume was performing on stage in Houston and shared our hotel when I was 9 years old. He was a sweet gentleman to this redneck kid during a rough time in my life.)
“Beloved or Belov-
èd,” Faye Dunaway asked me
at the rehearsal.

My pulpit view on
Good Friday: Robert Mueller
with his own G-Men.

Tim Kaine: “I will al-
ways consider it the high-
light of the weekend.”

Gave the Bread of Heav’n
to Sandra Day O’Connor
early Easter morn.
Austin, getting lunch
There's Stiffler from Role Models
shorter in real life

Hard Rock, Las Vegas
Adrian Grenier in line
shorter in real life
Iggy Pop crying
At a funeral, he pushed
My uncle's wheelchair
A Chapin Guitar
was played on the grammys last
week behind Mick Jagger.

I met Barbara
Bush once. Taylor Hicks and Keb
Mo. Spencer Abraham.
In line at Best Buy
Women hit on guy ahead
Didn't know Pat Green

Broadway awesome seats
Phantom of the Opera
Rip Torn in nosebleed

Extras casting call
Middle-aged concerned parent
Friday Night Lights rules!
One of these things is not like the others:

Me: Priest. Him: Father
of the groom, Space Shuttle Pi-
lot and Commander.

50th & France:
I once saw with crown and sash
“Miss Minnesota”

The next day, beside
the St. Croix River, I saw
“Miss Hudson Princess”
Someone cut me off
On the Illinois Tollway
The Bishop Sisters!
My neighbor bought the
ball that Steve Bartman caught and
then he blew it up.
Oh, that poor person
Who opened their jar and found
Bartman pasta sauce!
Johnny Winter, Stevie Vaughn, Dr. John, Jimmy Vaughn, BB King, Clifford Antone, Doug Sahm, Augie Myers, Steve Miller, Roky Ericson, and many more - Austin in the late 60's, early 70's - hanging out at the Armadillo, Vulcan Gas, Antone's on 6th street, Earnie's Chicken shack (after bars close for booze, music, craps in the alley) One Knite, Victory Grill, Soap Creek, .....

Willie Nelson and family at the Austin Opera House the night they debuted 'Red Headed Stranger" for friends and family - truly a magical evening.

Fun times, good music, good drugs, good people - Have to grow up sometime, I guess. Fun while it lasted, glad i survived.

Cut off by large Black SUV leaving Detroit Redwings game, it was STEVE YZERMAN! (I was with some Cops and they called dispatch to run plate of bonehead that almost hit was our favorite player of all time! lol)
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