Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Easy question

Mensa's monthly magazine often asks a question for the general membership, and then prints the best answers. This month, the designated question was along the lines of "When were you ever speechless?"

I got a good answer for that one.

I was working at WEBR Radio, no doubt on the early shift sometime in the mid-1980's. That means a starting time of about 5 a.m. Yawn.

The morning drive was starting to wind down about 8:30 a.m. when I went into the main news room. There were donuts on the writer-reporter's desk there for general consumption. At that point in my life, I never turned down a free cruller. I grabbed and started eating.

Suddenly, a rather short man appeared at the door to the news room. "WHAT ARE YOU EATING???!!!" he shouted. "THAT IS ONE OF THE MOST OBSCENE THINGS I'VE EVER SEEN!!! PUT IT DOWN NOW!!!"

He had curly hair, and I knew he looked familiar. But I had no idea what his name was. In other words, a total blank. Rather than try to fight back with someone who was well equipped to out-shout me, I said nothing and could only manage a giggle. After 20 more seconds of abuse, I at least stuck out my hand and shook it.

Then, walking out of the newsroom, the light bulb went on. It was Richard Simmons. Of course. I'm not sure why he was in our building, but he hadn't exactly been part of the culture for a few years at that point.

Simmons thus entered my list of "most famous people to shake my hand," ranking well behind Jimmy Carter. The full list, though, is another column.

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