As I am sure many of you are aware, there was something of an incident in New York of late. The scope and nature of this incident has struck me in a way few things have, as I am sure it has struck many people. I speak of course of the Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 Reunion/Tribute Concert. This travesty against humanity has made it difficult for me to write anything. It all comes out as hollow pretension, or shallow cynicism. The events on that tragic September day have left both reactions found wanting. The world cries "What next?" and I yell along. So as this month's offering, I present you with an older piece, detailing my now historic meeting with pop superstar Ricky Martin. As a bonus, I will detail some of the tips and techniques I use to write my pointless ramblings, which I am sure will come as a treat to everyone except anyone who reads it. I'll add my Director's Commentary in italics, for ease of distinction. Consider it a Special Edition, without the nasty Jabba effects...
X Encounters Superstar Celebrity
What follows is a TRUE STORY. Believe it or not. I merely write it up as a piece of infotainment, not as some lame testament to the powerful circles of fame in which I occasionally find myself traveling. My story begins as follows...
Don't believe the hype. This is IN FACT an absolutely true story, with small embellishments to make it more interesting.
Tuesday, March 21, a week before I write this, I was at Carleton University (in Ottawa) working on an essay.
See? Nothing too hard to believe so far.
As is my custom, I walked home past the gym.
Not to brag, but that is how I walked home.
There was quite a crowd gathered, so I decided to cut through the gym building to avoid it. That was when I learned the source of the hubbub: Latino singing sensation Ricky Martin (formerly of Menudo) was on campus playing basketball with his band. They were relaxing before their big sold-out show at the Corel Centre the next night.
This can all be verified by the media, see the edition of the Ottawa Citizen from Wednesday March 22, 2000 and see if I am wrong. Of course, the part about me being AT the gym, well, that isn't in the paper. You'll have to take my word on that one.
A burly guard was about to escort me out of the gym when the doors to the courts burst open and out comes one of Ricky's band mates.
This is where I start to elaborate. You see, when I am writing a journalistic piece, I do not let the facts get in the way of a good story. That robs me and the reading public, don't you think. I operate on what I have come to call the EEL method: Elaborate, Exaggerate, Lie.
He had twisted his ankle and could no longer play. Following hot on his heels was Ricky himself. He seemed upset that the game might have to end, as there were uneven teams. Then he saw me, and Ricky Martin called me out.
"You. You're tall. Do you play basketball?", he asked, his voice thick with that Latino smarm that wows the ladies and nauseates the fellows.
"Me?" I replied. I thought there must have been someone else near by he was addressing.
"Yes, you. Do you play or not." His impatience was hard to miss.
Ricky was in fact not impatient at all. He was more condescending, as though his fabulous wealth made him somehow better than me...
Of course he was right.
"Yeah, I play. I'm not so great at it though." Who was I to deny Ricky Martin?
"That is fine, you will not be on my team.", he said with a maniacal laugh.
There are two lies here. One: I am FANTASTIC at basketball, and I said as much. Two: Ricky wasn't laughing. He didn't find it funny at all that I would proclaim my skill at the hoops. He sort of sighed sadly, recognizing my claim as self-evident.
I ran back to my locker, grabbed my gym clothes, and headed to join Mr. Martin in a game of hoops.
Ricky played dirty. My team, (Myself, John, and one of his dancers named Lola) was down 25-13. Seeing as Ricky was so short I didn't at first understand how this could be. That was until I caught Ricky's shoulder in my gut as he tackled me.
Actually he kneed me in the groin, but come on, that's embarrassing, being bagged by Ricky Martin! You can see why I altered that!
"Hey, Martin! I don't know how they play in Miami, but up here basketball isn't a contact sport!" I brushed myself off and stood.
"Basketball is whatever I say! I am Ricky Martin!"
Ricky went on to list a number of other things that were what he said, but it was a long and delusional rant. I edited it out. Thank your lucky stars you did not have to hear how using buttermilk was better than KY jelly...
Then he chucked the ball at my head in a pass to his team-mate Sanchez. I ducked, so don't worry about my pretty-boy good looks being spoiled, fans.
As point of fact, I do not have pretty boy good looks, but I figured since I am writing anonymous internet jive, I may as well pretend I am handsomer than Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's love child.
The game went on in this vein for another half an hour. He shook his Bon Bon here, he shook his Bon Bon there, and I kept wondering when it would end, as every basket my team got was rejected by Ricky as being 'foul'.
I became convinced at this point that Martin thought he was playing baseball, and that he was the Umpire.
Towards the end of the game, I had a breakaway and Martin was off court chugging some fruity sports drink. I leapt into the air for a slam dunk. It was a Michael Jordan moment. I swear I could hear the wind whistle...
Ha ha ha. I couldn't slam dunk with a donut and a cup of coffee. It was clean throw from the centre line. An easy 3 points.
Ricky suddenly sprints at me, grabs my leg and pulls me to the ground. I feel my shoulder buckle and dislocate as he grabs the ball from me and travels right down to his basket, where he tosses it in. I got up, holding my limp and pained arm, rage clear on my face. International superstar or not, I was going to teach the Latin Wonder a thing or two about pain.
This is alllll an exaggeration. Ricky and I got on fine, really.
"What's your damage, Martin!?!" Lola and Sanchez hold me back.
"Don't worry about Ricky." Sanchez said.
"Yeah, you know how Divas are," offers Lola. "If he doesn't win, he lives La Vida Loca for days on the tour bus. It's crazy."
I decide to let it slide as someone pops my shoulder back in. Ricky stands in the middle of the court, air humping the basket ball.
That wasn't all he tried to air hump. I barely got out alive. He was like a dog in heat at doctor's office waiting room.
So the game ended, 47-16. Ricky came up to shake my hand and offer me a tour crew shirt. I made with the nicey-wicey, but as soon as I got outside I chucked it to some needy girls in the crowd.
"Ricky!" they yelled, blinded by Latin Lust.
"No, but that shirt is covered in his sweat!" I yelled back. They swooned, clutching it to their faces.
But you know what? That was my sweat.
It was in fact Ricky's sweat after all, but it seemed like a good ending.
Well, that was that. And keep in mind, in the coming days ahead, as the world change forever in the wake of the Manhattan horrors, the world will not survive with a hug and a kiss for evil. The world isn't there yet. Rational thought will carry us through, so that when the strike that must be made is made, it is made with surgical precision.
Jermaine and Tito will never cause such pain again...