The entire story behind the creation of my blog is detailed in my book Just A Geek (which makes a lovely gift for any occasion) including this bit, which is as tragic and hilarious as it is true . . .
The Hooters Incident
(originally published in 2001)
On a hot June afternoon in 2000, I joined my best friend Darin for lunch at one of our teenage haunts, Old Town Pasadena. An afternoon in Old Town is a trip to a time when we were free of responsibility, and the world was filled with possibility and opportunity.
The changes in Old Town reflect the changes within ourselves. Thanks to the efforts of the Pasadena preservationists, the historical building facades haven’t changed, but they are the only thing which remain the same. The empty doorway where a punk rocker once sneered at passing businessmen is now a Pottery Barn, occupied by a San Marino yuppie who screams into her cell phone. The eclectic record store where we’d buy imported Smiths singles is now a Sam Goody, its windows plastered with posters announcing the latest release from Justin Timberlake. Tourists stand uncomfortably at crosswalks, trying to ignore the homeless who have come to enjoy the trickle down economics of a prospering shopping thoroughfare.
All of this progress is not without its benefits, though. Old Town is safe, if sanitized, and several good restaurants have moved into the area.
On this particular afternoon, Darin and I walked down Colorado Boulevard, following the same route as Pasadena’s claim to annual fame, the Tournament of Roses Parade. We passed The Cheesecake Factory, several trendy Japanese noodle houses, and walked straight into Hooters.
Hey, Darin was engaged, and I’m married. Sometimes a guy’s gotta know if he still has it.
We walked in ahead of the lunchtime rush, so we could sit wherever we liked. Through a speaker above us, Bob Seger rhetorically asked, ain’t it funny how the night moves? We looked around the mostly-empty restaurant, and chose the section with the hottest waitress in the joint.
As we took our seats, our waitress came over to our table: a cute-but-not-beautiful girl in her early 20s. Bleached-blonde, fake tan, long legs. Hooters. Her name tag said “Destiny.”
She flirted with us as she took our order, all smiles and giggles. We ordered wings. Super Fire Hot, baby.
She stood up, and left to put in our order. Darin and I stared at each other, grinned, and exchanged a mental high-five. We still had it, and it felt good.
She’d only walked a few steps, when she stopped suddenly, turned around, and came back to our table.
She looked at me, lustily. “Can I ask you something?”
“Oh, hell, yeah, Willie,”I thought to myself, “The ladies still want your sweet action!”
My face flushed and my pulse quickened.
“Sure,” I said.
She screwed up her courage and leaned close to me, her full, pouting lips just inches from mine. Her perfume embraced me. Her ample cleavage seductively longed to bust out from beneath her thin cotton T-shirt. She drew a nervous breath, bit down on the corner of her mouth, and asked, breathlessly,“Didn’t you used to be an actor?”
“WHAT?! USED TO BE?! I STILL AM!” I hollered, as mental images of a hot Hooters threesome were replaced with the cold reality of myself on Celebrity Boxing.
She immediately knew that she had made a mistake. She thought quickly, licked her lips, self-consciously fussed with her over-processed hair and tried again:“Oh, I mean, weren’t you an actor when you were a kid?”
All I could do was numbly answer,“Yeah, when I was a kid,” as I hung my head and ordered the first of many pints of Guinness.
Funny story, right? Yeah, funny like when you watch another guy get kicked in the nuts. In the days that followed, I tried to write it off. Tried to bolster my wounded self-esteem by telling myself that she was just a Hooters waitress, so she didn’t matter. But the truth was, that simple, scantily clad waitress had driven home with painful acuity my deepest fear: I was a has-been. I “used to be” an actor, when I was a kid . . .
Don’t worry, dear reader. Eventually, everything worked out and I’m a better person for it with a new career and everything. You can read all about it in my blog, or in my newest book, The Happiest Days of Our Lives.