After meeting Henry Winkler, how long does the average person last before he mentions The Fonz? They probably had the best intentions before introducing themselves, even if they were completely daft to matters of tact and propriety, but I bet that it’s only a matter of what, three minutes max, before the average person mentions The Fonz after meeting Henry Winkler? Shit, I’d be lucky to go two whole minutes without saying anything Fonz-related. And I’m talking about if you met him by chance at your cousin’s wedding at the buffet, not at a TV and Film expo or something where he’s signing autographs.
I’m not one to be starstruck. I stopped collecting autographs when I was a little kid. Big whoop for me, I’ve met a few celebrities and have had a few chances to shake my jawbone at them for a little bit and have been unmotivated to collect an autograph unless it were someone like Samantha Mathis who I’ve lusted over shamelessly since she portrated the Eat-Me-Beat-Me-Lady in Pump Up The Volume. When I meet celebs, I keep it light and if we venture to discussing their craft, I like to focus on some of their less-obvious works. I bent Mark Hamill’s ear for 3 minutes and didn’t once mention Star Wars. But I still think I’d be hard-pressed to get too far into a conversation with Henry Winkler – two minutes max – without dropping The Fonz Bomb. Sorry man. I’ll do my best if I ever meet you, but I’m gonna kind of leave it up to you to steer the conversation somewhere else. Otherwise:
“Hi Mr. Winkler, I’m Russ of America.”
“Russ of America? That’s an unusual name.”
“Yeah, I’m very patriotic — about myself mostly, not so much my country. I had a girlfriend once who went to the same temple as you.”
“Yeah. And I know someone who used to tutor one of your kids.”
“No kidding. That’s a fun story.
“Yeah. Hey, Arrested Development was pretty cool.”
“Yeah. And I liked you in The Waterboy.”
“Haha, yeah, working with Sandler was a blast.”
“Yeah. And I liked MacGyver, which you produced.”
“Yup, I certainly produced that. Co-produced it, actually.”
“Yeah. It was one of my favorite shows as a kid. I also remember seeing Night Shift.”
“Right, with Michael Keaton and Shelley Long.”
“Yeah. Oddly I had a crush on Shelley Long for a few minutes. You know, I could never tell if that movie was supposed to be funny. I saw it as a kid and it wasn’t funny. I also saw Lords of Flatbush.”
“That’s going back a bunch of years. I was a kid when I made that.”
“Yeah. Stallone was in that too. And Perry King from Riptide. I don’t remember it being that great, but I’d have to check it out again to be sure.”
“Lords of Flatbush was supposed to be really rough around the edges.”
“Yeah. So I just wanted you to know that The Fonz was my first man-crush.”
“Yeah. My first man-crush. My uncle Pat gave me a Fonz postcard when I was in 1st grade and I remember that I looked at it several times a day. I wasn’t gay for you, but I’m pretty sure that I had a man-crush on you. I never quite understood what was up with that hairsprayed ducktail. I thought greasers, or whatever you were supposed to be, had greased-back hair. How come the Fonz had a hairsprayed ducktail? Anyway, I always thought it was weird, but yeah, you were totally my first man-crush.”
“You know, I have to be honest, this conversation has taken a seriously weird and awkward turn. No offense, but I really have to step away for a little while right now.”
“Yeah cool. Can you come to my house and show me how to make a hairsprayed ducktail?”
[c] 2009 Russ of America
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