Monday night some friends and I went to the Yankees game. The tickets were courtesy of CBS (home of “CSI,” and the most insane marketing campaign since this) through my “industry” friend, John. Needless to say, the seats were awesome – about 10 rows up right on top of the Yankees dugout – so close that the field actually looks smaller, and you can even imagine yourself hitting one 318 feet to left field. (If you are a woman, change that analogy to “you can even imagine yourself having a chance with Derek Jeter.”)
As we settled in our seats and got over the fact that we paid $8.00 for a beer (for the mathematically inclined, that’s approximately a 1,039% mark-up over the national average price of a single beer in a six-pack) we noticed that there was a commotion going on to our left. We look over to see what’s going on and it seems there is a crowd gathering around a very old man sitting five seats away. Finally the crowd disperses and it’s none other than Taylor Hicks! And he’s there with Seth Green! (Ed. Note: It was not Seth Green, it was in fact Elliott Yamin, the third place finisher in “American Idol.” He was, however, the first place finisher in the “Eating Dippin’ Dots Out Of A Mini Helmet Bowl” race.)
For anyone out there who is wondering what Taylor Hicks looks like close up, here is the best description I can give: old. I’m not kidding when I say that this man is lying about his age. (No, I don’t feel bad making fun of him because 1. I watched him pay for his food and he peeled off a $100 bill and 2. in his profile on the American idol website is this:
Q: What's been your toughest obstacle in life?
A: Life itself.
And the bottom line is he’s obviously at least 38. So obviously in fact that when everyone in our section first started turning around to see who the celebrity was, this exchange happened between a father and son sitting behind us:
Son Craving Love And Attention: “Who’s that old guy over there?”
Drunk Father Who Is At Least 40: “Watch who you call old. He’s probably younger than me, and I’m not old.”
Son: “I love you, dad.”
Father: “Stop being gay, we’re at a baseball game.”
The moment of the night, though, came in the top of the third inning. We had ordered food earlier in the game, and each of our orders came with a free bag of Utz potato chips. My friend Scott, who doesn’t eat carbs, set his off to the side in case someone wanted them later. Suddenly, though, Scott picks up his potato chips, which had been tucked in neatly by his side, and reached across my friend Jeff to hand them to me, sitting at the end of the row, closest to Hicks. He says, nonchalantly, as though it were to be expected, “Pass these down to Taylor. Tell him they’re from us.”
I look him in the eye to judge if he is joking, and it turns out he is completely serious. I look to my left and there is a family of four between me and Hicks. I take a swig from my beer, gather myself and say to the gruff old man sitting next to me, “Would you mind passing these down to Taylor Hicks?” (Keep in mind that saying this at a baseball game, while having no absolute equivalent, is roughly the same as turning to a stranger and saying, “Would you mind getting this dab of ketchup on the side of my mouth, I just keep missing it!”)
The guy looks at me for a solid five seconds with a blank stare before taking the chips from my hand, stretching across his family to hand them to his youngest son sitting on the end of the aisle and shouting, as though directing him to put away his toys, “Hand this to Taylor Hicks. Say it’s from these guys here.” He then goes back to watching the game and he and I purposefully don’t look each other in the eye for the rest of the night.
But his son dutifully gives the chips to Hicks, and while doing so points in our direction, and Hicks looks up to see me and my three friends giving him our best “Here’s looking at you” pointy-finger-gun hand gestures. He nods his head in approval, tears open the bag and eats them right then and there. Mission “Get Taylor Hicks to eat our Utz” accomplished.
SO WHAT DID WE LEARN:
1. Contrary to popular belief, Yankees fans will tolerate a modicum of homosexual behavior, though only a modicum.
2. American Idol really does make you famous.
3. But coming in third place gets you no where on The Daily Dump.
4. Fathers and sons often times have difficult relationships, marked primarily by the conflicting natures of affection and machismo.
5. If, for any reason, you wanted to harm Taylor Hicks, a good way to do it would be to poison a snack food and offer it to him in a public venue.
6. Taylor Hicks really does ‘get what he wants and goes where pleases.’ The man’s songs are truth, even if his birth certificate is a lie.