aka My Brush with Greatness, Letterman style
Anyone ever watch the David Letterman show and remember his “Brush with Greatness” sketches?
Late Show with David Letterman, January 1987, “Brush with Greatness” sketch:
They were hilarious and I often tease my roommate when he tells his own stories. “I met so and so once, or I have what’s his name’s autograph.” “I had famous guy on a flight once.” He’s a retired airline pilot. His brush with greatness persons include the likes of former President Jimmy Carter, and Muhammed Ali, actor Billy Bob Thornton, Ernest Borgnine, Danny Thomas, Ann Margaret, Red Skelton, and even famous football greats like Walter Payton, Woody Hayes and Mike Ditka.
“Ooh, that story may get you on Letterman’s show,” I would say. I was impressed but kind of, not impressed. You know what I mean? Plus, it’s always fun to tease your roommate, especially when you’re married to him.
Of course, now I add, when I hear the story for the umpteenth time, “Too bad his show has been off the air for years.”
Then I had my own brush with famed greatness. I immediately understood the excitement and titillation. Here is my story.
It was after a visit several years ago to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands with my daughter (yes, yes, we were chasing wild ponies and Misty descendants.) We spent our final night on Virginia Beach, and then we were flying back to Chicago on a small airplane since we had a connection to make in Philadelphia. Sitting in the airport, waiting for the flight, I noticed a group of tattooed and long bearded men sitting around waiting for the same flight.
I didn’t really pay them too much attention, although I could see their clothing, and physical appearance was garnering looks from other passengers. They didn’t attract a crowd or anything though.
After we boarded, I noticed my aisle mate was from that group. He had short hair and a neatly trimmed beard. He had a few tattoos, and wore a t-shirt, sandals, and cargo shorts. He was very handsome. He made some remarks to the flight attendant and about her, nothing inappropriate except that he found her attractive. I gave him a few “mom” looks, and then we started chatting.
I asked him where he was going, and he asked me. He said he was headed to Philadelphia to do a few shows. I asked what kind and he said music. He was in a band.
Oh, that interested me. What kind of band I asked. Heavy metal, he said. “Oh.” Although his bandmates looked the part, I didn’t think he did.
What do you play?
I’m the lead singer he said. Told me his name.
And what is the name of your band I asked. When he told me, I didn’t quite get it, so I asked him to repeat it. Then he said, “All the other good names were taken so we called ourselves this.”
I chuckled with him, and to show him how cool I was, I said I would look him up on social media, sorry I was not familiar with his music, maybe my daughters were? He was such a nice polite young man and very cute.
We continued to exchange small talk and when we deplaned, I wished him luck at his concert, reminding him I would search for him on social media. He smiled at me, still polite. We said goodbye and as I waited for my next flight, I looked him up.
Then I realized how famous he and his band were and how out of touch I was, (MY GOD their Facebook page has 5.2 million likes!) Now, I understood what that look meant when I said “Oh, I’ll look you up.” How he didn’t give me a huge exaggerated eyeroll, I’ll never understand.
Nope, he didn’t say “Listen, old lady. FFS. I’m famous. Yeah, look us up. Google it.” Nope, he was still a nice and polite good-looking young man with a lot of cool tattoos.
Imagine my surprise when I realized I had spent the flight talking to Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch. That plane trip was David Letterman’s brush with greatness qualified for sure.
Wait, how old are YOU? WHAT kind of music do you follow? You’ve never heard of Five Finger Death Punch and Ivan Moody!? Wait… I’ll google it for you. You’re welcome.
And here he is, some years after I saw him, now sober and with some new head tattoos; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwzG9LCRInE
Stay well Ivan Moody! Thank you for being patient and kind. This is one of my favorite stories to impress the young ‘uns, or at the very least, the heavy metal fans.
I love you and miss you. You know who you are.