The Daily Dump

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Wednesday, June 14

The Tony Awards Called, And I Answered: Part 2

This post is sponsored by Budweiser. Budweiser: the official beer of regret.

I was hungover from the night before, more useless than usual at work, but still in desperate need of a suit before Saturday’s event – a cocktail party at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. (For some reason, in my head I’m reading this like a film noir.) After my misadventures at Century 21, I was left in a bind and time was running out. All I know is: if I didn’t get a suit in time, the Waldorf Astoria would be nothing but another in the long list of memories I never had. (Picture me driving a cab in black and white while reading this.)

Anyway, I ended up at a suit shop on the Upper East Side with an Italian salesman whose biggest threat was that he might be so nice and helpful that I would hit him on the head with a wood soled shoe, bound him with his measuring tape and keep him in my apartment to tell me “how a’good” I look every morning before I leave for work. Or maybe that was my biggest threat, I’m not sure how that wording works. In any event, it was a far cry from the nightmare inducing episode I had previously endured, and to top it off I came away with a great suit, one that would prompt not one but TWO men at the cocktail party to say to me, “I love your suit, do I know you from Los Angeles?” Either I have a gay doppelganger in Los Angeles, or I give off an air of dandiness and that’s just a very common pick-up line.*

Now, I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a cocktail party before. I’ve been to parties where there was a cocktail hour, but that was always immediately preceded by a wedding and followed by a dinner, cake and a crippling guilt about that slow dance with the cousin you never knew you had. But an entire party where you arrive at 5:00 and leave at 7:00? It is a foreign concept to me, to begin drinking so early and to stop . . . so early. It seems like a waste, like laying the foundation for a 5,000 square foot house and then saying halfway through, “You know, I think 2,500 will be enough.” Yet if I have learned anything in my years since college it is that the more I drink, the drunker I get. And the drunker I get, the higher the likelihood that I will urinate somewhere other than a bathroom. And, much like most upscale institutions, the Waldorf frowns on you peeing in their trash cans.

I arrived at the party promptly at five and immediately put a cocktail in my hand, the international symbol for “I belong,” both “at this party” and “in general.” I wasn’t expecting to see anyone famous, and by famous I mean someone I recognize from TV or the movies. I’m sure as I stood there surveying the room I was gazing out upon Broadway stars both old and young, but if I haven’t seen your face on a screen of some sort it really means nothing to me. Which is exactly why when S. Epatha Merkerson walked in, it was my own version of spotting Judy Kaye (whoever she is, I just Googled “big Broadway star”).

She walked past my friends and I didn’t spot her immediately. It was my friend Brendan who said, “Isn’t that that woman from “Law & Order”?” to which I responded in my best “I’ve never been to an event with celebrities” tone of voice, “Holy crap, which one?!” Brendan pointed her out and sure enough Lt. “Find out where that gun came from” Van Buren was standing 20 feet away from me.

As you may or may not know, I love “Law & Order.” A couple of years ago before his untimely death, I saw Jerry Orbach in the men’s department at Lord & Taylor. I slyly watched him from across the room shop with his wife until he stopped at a rack of sports coats and tried one on. After they left, I went over to the rack and tried the same jacket on even though it was something like a 44 long to my 38 regular, just to say that I was lame/unbalanced enough to have tried on the same sports coat as Jerry Orbach. But here I was, eyeing Lt. “Pay a visit to the wife” Van Buren from across the room, much like I did with Sarah Winger at my high school freshman cotillion. It was then that, like an angel from Hollywood, I was introduced to Wendy, who it just so happens used to work on “Law & Order” and who, as casually as offering me a donut, offered to introduce me to S.Ep (my pet name for her).

She led me over and we stood off to the side feigning conversation for a few minutes while S.Ep finished her conversation with someone else before Wendy jumped in, introduced herself and said how she used to work on the show. She then turns to me as I stare directly at S.Ep’s face, trying hopelessly not to stare directly at S.Ep’s face, and we have this exchange:

Wendy: “This is my friend, Dan.”

S.Ep: “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Dan.”

Me (internally): “It’s a pleasure to meet you too.”

Me (externally): “I’m a really big fan of “Law & Order!” (As though I wanted to meet her for her turn as Doctor #1 in Jersey Girl.)

S.Ep: “Thank you, I’m glad you enjoy the show.”

Two minutes of conversation ensue between Wendy and S.Ep as I stand there listening and smiling as though I find the question “So what are you working on now?” extremely amusing. Finally . . .

S.Ep: “Well it was great to see you again, Wendy. And a real pleasure to meet you too, Dan.”

Me: (remembering what I should have said before) “It was a pleasure to meet you too.”

I walked back to my friends emboldened by the experience. So emboldened, in fact, that no more than five minutes later I peer over at my friend John who is mid-conversation with Neil Patrick Harris, and after a moment’s hesitation I walk right over and make pretend that I have something important to tell John before instead reaching over and shaking Doogie’s hand. It is a move that is effective in its embarrassment, and all of us stand there for five minutes having a conversation that I only wish I had tape recorded, because I could probably bribe Doogie with a few choice incriminating comments. Not that I really would though, because he is actually a very cool guy and the incriminating comments were just the same jokes that my friends and I make all the time. Unless anyone is making offers, in which case I have the shorthand notes on a cocktail napkin at home, right next to the address for the executive producer of “How I Met Your Mother” and the statute on what constitutes “extortion” in the state of New York.

* PROOF THAT THE FORMER OPTION IS POSSIBLE: Guy de Maupassant, the French novelist and short story writer, claimed to have been haunted by his doppelganger near the end of his life. On one occasion, he said, this double entered his room, took a seat opposite him and began to dictate what de Maupassant was writing. He wrote about this experience in his short story "Lui." If you can’t trust Guy de Maupassant, who can you trust?


obviously, you haven't learned THAT much from college, you son of a bitch

1. Guys are not to be trusted. Ever.
2. Eventually, the more you drink, the drunker you do NOT get. eventually you will reach a point at which it is impossible to get any drunker, and in fact, will begin to sober slightly. and that point, my friend, is called 5:30 in these parts.

By Blogger ducklet, at 3:10 PM  

OK, you can be the one to tell that to my illegitimate son who has been getting by all these years on the notion that the only reason I don't love him is because I was so drunk when he was concieved. YOU tell him I was actually SLIGHTLY SOBER.

By Blogger the belligerent intellectual, at 3:16 PM  

Dude, you went to a party with Doogie Howser!? You're my hero.

By Blogger babyoog, at 3:19 PM  

You've outdone yourself yet again. My favorite part: "And the drunker I get, the higher the likelihood that I will urinate somewhere other than a bathroom."

Sadly, this "am I really peeing in a potted plant?"-phenomenon is not experienced by men only. Enough said. I think my Dad reads your blog.

By Blogger Leezer, at 3:36 PM  

"It is a foreign concept to me, to begin drinking so early and to stop . . . so early."

As someone with plenty of enthusiasm but little endurance, the early-drinking cocktail party concept sounds kinda nice to me. After three drinks I am ready for bedtime!

By Blogger threetoedsloth, at 3:41 PM  

I too have a doppleganger who lives somewhere in the midwest. Strangers will approach me in public places to tell me about the fight they had with their boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/dog and then realize seconds later that I'm not who they thought I was. Very embarrassing for all involved. But now to the buring question: Did you really have a "freshman cotillion"??

By Blogger Cherry Ride, at 3:45 PM  

I don't know what a doppleganger is, but I'm afraid to google it and find out. I'm haunted by the memory of the last time I googled an innocent sounding word: FELCHING.

By Blogger HomeImprovementNinja, at 4:20 PM  

I kind of wish Dan would remember his mother reads his blog and the words drunk, peeing and hangover ALWAYS seem to make it into a paragraph.

Is there nothing else in life?

By Blogger belligerent mother, at 4:49 PM  

Sometimes you make me so happy I don't drink anymore.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:58 PM  

There you go, Mom, I'm helping people! My drinking saves other people from drinking. Kind of like that Jesus guy you're always telling me about.

By Blogger the belligerent intellectual, at 5:02 PM  

And, no, there is nothing else in life.

Sorry belligerent mother. (But, hell, your son can summarize a bit of the life of Guy de Maupassant just off the cuff...just like that. Not everyone can do that, even if they HAVE stayed away from the evils of alcohol and subsequent hangovers (and possible public peeing incidents) their entire life! Be proud, mom. Be very proud...)

By Blogger Faith, at 5:09 PM  

you used the word "cotillion". My 70 year-old uncle uses the word "cotillion"

By Anonymous a co-worker, at 5:20 PM  

I went to a catholic school; THEY called it a cotillion. They also called it "a sin" to touch a girl below the waist, so what do they know?

By Blogger the belligerent intellectual, at 5:28 PM  

belligert one: I too went to catholic school. Our Lady of Perpetual Guilt, to be exact. But I don't know if I consider myself a "real" catholic since I was never molested by a priest. You can blame my bad haircuts for that one.

By Blogger HomeImprovementNinja, at 5:33 PM  

I had a cotillion *shudder*
I too think that Lt. VanBuren is a-freaking-mazing and I would've died or something as opposed to calmly shaking her hand.

By Blogger Heather B., at 5:43 PM  

Oh, I am very proud but just a little scared.

By Blogger belligerent mother, at 5:54 PM  

In my head, the Italian salesman talks like The Count from Sesame Street. But oddly, in black & white...

"You have buttons! One, two, three...ha ha haaaa!"

By Anonymous sandra, at 5:56 PM  

You lucky duck! You got to meet my favorite Law & Order person EVAH!

By Blogger FlippingChipmunk, at 7:39 PM  

thanks for clearing up the 'cotillion' bit. i was stuck there too (i think i read that word 5 times. bows. i was picturing lots of bows)
up here in Canada we just roast caribou for foreplay.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:00 PM  

The suit: can we see it?

Television is about the only medium I am not famaliar with. I don't have time to watch it. The last time I watched TV, That 70s Show was being shot (in more ways than one!) and Boy Meets World was still on the Disney Channel.

By Blogger Janet, at 1:29 AM  

you are so funny. I was linked to your blog by a friend's blog...I loved this most recent post.

By Blogger Rose Bud, at 9:26 AM  

Aww... I had such a crush on Doogie Hauser!! I think he might have been my first...

Also, I too have not only one doppelganger, but many. It's actually really annoying. Maybe I should go crazy and set out to destroy them. Either that, or hope that one becomes ridiculously successful and I can steal her identity...

By Blogger Rebecca, at 9:54 AM  

I think I'll add Neil Patrick Harris to my list of people I'd like to meet. I'm jealous. And I think we need pictoral evidence of just how good the suit looks.

By Blogger Hope, at 11:28 AM  

It makes my day that you tried on a sport coat merely beause Jerry Orbach tried on the same one.

What did you do after you had it on? Make a few wisecracks about murder?

By Blogger Erin Mc, at 4:53 PM  

Hey B. I.

Even though I don't wear men's sportcoats, if I had seen Jerry Orbach try something on in a clothing store, I probably would have bought it -- after I told him how much I LOVED him on L&O and weaseled an autograph out of him. He was truly great and L&O hasn't been the same since.

I would have LOVED to meet S. Ep! (aside: on, a comment in her bio regarding her first name reads "On a June 11, 2005, episode of the NPR show 'Wait wait... Don't tell me!' she claimed that her first name was not Sharon, but rather was 'Sweet.' This may well have been a jest, but she repeatedly stuck with it.")

I, too, am a L&O addict. I didn't like Trial By Jury, and the original has not been the same since Jerry left (Dennis Farina exudes "used car salesman" to me, I just don't like him; I'm glad this is his last season). SVU is by far my fave and Criminal Intent second (both Vince and Chris).

Have you watched Conviction? I wish they had explained how Alex Cabot came back to (a) being herself again, (b) New York and (c) practicing law -- remember she was "killed off" and put in Witness Protection, and put back in W. P. after testifying at a later trial?

Sorry to ramble on...

Bird Girl

p. s. Catholicism didn't want me. My catechism teacher called my mother and asked her not to bring me anymore because I asked too many questions. My husband's family is Polish Catholic. Guess Catholicism got me after all. HAH!

By Blogger Bird Girl, at 2:42 AM  

The irony, of course, is that Orbach was a "big Broadway star" himself, before appearing on little screens all over the world.

Hi, my name's David, and I've been reading you for a week. I like it.

By Blogger David Zaza, at 10:28 AM  

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