THE SONIC BOOMER
I was in Los Angeles last weekend to celebrate the magna cum laude graduation of my nephew Connor, as well as the receipt of his nursing degree and his instantaneous hiring by a critical care unit for $70,000 per year or $55 per hour, part-time. As a gift, I gave him a $100 bill, which would’ve taken me 38 hours to earn when I was his age, and will take him less than two. I also gave him the honor of my presence, which also didn’t amount to much.
To understand, you have to understand L.A. The city has carved out a niche for itself as the entertainment capital of the world. So where you and I have normal, everyday neighbors (and maybe an Olympic-quality equestrian several months of the year, if we’re lucky), Connor grew up with stars. So having his aunt hanging around was no biggie.
I, however, am easily impressed. My sister Pam and I drove two blocks for groceries and she pointed out the million-dollar home where Tom Hanks lived “before he made it big.” Scott Bakula (NCIS: New Orleans, Star Trek: Enterprise, Quantum Leap) is Connor’s dad’s jogging partner. The guy who wrote the theme songs for The Love Boat and Happy Days was at the party, as well as an actress from Mr. Belvedere, more famous now for her game show prowess.
There were also some high-profile attorneys and a bevy of flight attendants (my sister’s co-workers and not really part of the entertainment world unless, of course, you’re flying).
Everyone there was picture-perfect, not an eyelash out of place. It could have been a photo shoot for some glossy magazine, not a simple open house. I tried to calculate the cost of just the clothes and shoes roaming around the backyard, and I couldn’t count that high. Yet, I am happy to report, I was not overly intimidated by any of these people.
That is, until the Depends guy showed up.
“Depends, the adult diaper?” you ask.
The Depends guy appeared out of nowhere and did not make a splash, unless you count the one I made when I dropped my drink. He was, in a word, stunning. In what may have been an attempt to make himself more approachable, he was dressed in a perfectly scruffy combination of torn jeans, plaid shirt, knit cap and sneakers. I’m sure he thought he was “understated.” No way. “Understated” is not possible for him.
“Who is that?” I asked Pam.
“Oh, he creates paintings and sculptures of Disney characters that they sell at the theme parks. I think he’s in a band. And he models a little. Depends uses only his torso for their print ads.”
“They don’t use his face?”
“Well, actually, they just called and asked if it would be OK to include his face because they want to put him on the packaging.”
“That’s good to know, because I think I just wet my pants.”
“I’m surprised they’re using somebody so young, though. What is he, 26?”
And that is the difference between the people of Los Angeles and the rest of us. They make 52 look like 26, and $100 look like $2.50.
I’m not sure I could live there but, as a visitor, I find it highly entertaining.