Friday, January 30, 2009

Don't Fake the Funk . . .

No, this isn't a post about our mayor. You can read other blogs around town if you want to read of his highs or his lows.

I wanted to let you all in on my blessed connection with a certain 7' basketball player out there. That's right, Shaquille O'Neal and I are cosmically connected, I swear.

From my first time meeting him when I was at my 8th grade dance recital . . . no, unfortunately he was not my Pas de Deux partner, but he was touring the Bob Carr Auditorium - right next to the O-reana (yeah, you know back in the old days where arenas had names and not branded labels) - and was backstage right before one of my numbers - 'woah' is all you can really say - well all a group of little white girls in tutus can say when meeting this large man with hands the size of a strip mall . . .

to the ever expansion of my creative brain when making up poems about Shaq in ninth grade English class:
'Don't fake the funk on a nasty dunk'
That's what Shaq says when he dunks on a punk
(See - I told you guys I was good)
or chants to yell at the Finals games:
Shaquille, Shaquille - you make me squeal!
Hakeem, Hakeem - you make me scream!
Yep - all of my creative energy that went into such pairing of words and manipulation of phrasing - could have been harnessed and exploited in the making (and ultimate saving) of Shaq-Fu

to my evening at Steak and Shake where I first had an intimate conversation with him - as I watched him manually eject himself out of his little red sports car - one perfectly elongated, muscular limb at a time - come in and order Takhomasak (or however they spell that mess). The words weren't much - but the meaning behind them was sacred. I think it went like this -
"Um, hi, are you Shaquille O'Neal"
"Uh - yeah."
"Ohmygosh,itsreallygoodtomeetyou - ImeanIveseenyoubeforebutIdon'tthinkyouwouldremem
bereventhoughIdo - wouldyoumindsigningthisplacematformybrother - hesareallybigfan - likesupergeekyfanandhesonlyninesohehasanexcusetobesooverlyenamoredwithsuchagoodbasketballplayer - buthewouldtotallyfreakOUTifyousignedthisforhim - causehetotallylovesyou - waitletmegetapen - ivegotoneinmylunchbox - itsbluelikethemagic - notBlueMagicbutliketheteamsnameyouknow - thoughBlackMagicmightbecool - actuallywhydontyougobythatnickname?andthenIcouldtell
everyonethatImadeitup - wouldntyouwanttodothatforme?Ohokay,yeah,justsignitandI'llleaveyoualone. Ihopeyougotfriesbecausetheyrethebesthere
Ivegotextracheesesauceifyouneedsome - ohIguessyouwouldordersomeifyouwantedsome."
"Yeah - I'll sign it."
"Oh,thanks,foreverthanks - thatssocool,Shaq,he'sgoingtopeehispants - butIwonttellanyonebecauseImacoolbigsister.Thatsareallyniceautograph-doyouthinkyoucould...oh,okay.Well,Ihopeyouhaveagoodnight.Bye,Shaq!Ohmygod,guysdidyouseethat?"
(Yeah, have I ever mentioned how utterly cool and non-annoying I was as a teenager, especially hopped up on french fries and milk shakes and soda pop?)
But yeah, later on that night I found out that the Magic had lost a really big game and I'm sure the poor dude was trying to get away from freaks like me and just get a nice juicy burger and a milk shake - why else would he have been in Apopka? - and chill out. But then again, he didn't realize he would be meeting his soul mate, either . . .

A couple years later, right as I left Central Florida to pursue my own dreams of something bigger - you know, like a cramped dorm room and alcohol poisoning - Shaq announced he was on to better things himself - like the LA Lakers, and a multi-million dollar contract. Everyone felt deceived, even I felt a tinge of regret that I didn't pursue our burgeoning love before it was too late - until I saw him in his Laker's jersey - #34. That was MY number - you know, the one you put at the end of a page to someone's beeper so that they knew it was you - it had to have been a sign, or a coded love letter waiting to be opened. Oh, Shaq . . .

. . . you shouldn't have. But, I love you, too.

Anyway - he went to LA fell in love with Kobe, fell out of love with Kobe, won a few National titles, moved to Miami (bienvenido a Miami), became a cop, you know - moved on - after leaving me. I followed a similar path and it led up to my life as of yesterday.

I forgot how much he meant to me until last night after I fell asleep. I was dreaming about bacon (the breakfast kind - not that silly Canadian stuff) and pineapple pizza, and someone whispered in my dreaming ear,

"You know, that's Shaquille O'Neal's favorite pizza, too."

Ah, nothing like sweet nothings to remind us of our lost loves.

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I'm taking in all the happenings in Kansas City and saving you all the trouble . . . I'll let you know whether to soak it up or squeeze it out!!