In our home, If you make the mistake of talking about a celebrity as if you know them personally, we will probably make fun of you until you cry. I am being completely serious. There are very few things that I find more embarrassing or offensive to the human race than when we glom on to people that we don’t know, or have any hope of ever knowing, and then talk about them as if we spent our childhood summers together, trying to coax ol’ Boo Radley out of his basement. So, if you say things like, “Have you seen Brittany lately? She looks just amazing!” or “Well, I would really like to see Brad and Angelina tie the knot.”, I might be inclined to spit on you. It makes me that crazy.
But, because in addition to being hugely judgmental and mean, I am also a raging hypocrite, there is one exception. Kind of. I mean, I feel like this celebrity love is more plausible, more organic (in a home grown sort of way, because ours is local to NorCal), and therefore more legit than yours. So it’s okay. For us. But not for you, so knock it off.
See, my husband (lets call him El Chupacabra) and I spent the last 10 years in the charmingly beautiful historic gold rush town of Folsom, California. (If you’ve been there you’ll know why that is absolutely hilarious, but I don’t feel like explaining for the rest of you. Sorry.) We lived, worked, played, raised kids, went grocery shopping, attended church and cubscouts and soccer games and did all the stuff that normal boring suburban families do. And all the while my husband was developing a crush on another man. Two men, actually. No, I’m not even kidding.
It started off innocently enough when one night El Chupacabra set his clock-radio to Talk 650 KSTE . At 6 o’clock the next morning, when his alarm went off, he was instantly smitten by the smooth, clean, DJ voices of radio personalities Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty. Their witty banter and straight talk on news, culture, and politics was enough to hook him into listening everyday. But, then it started to develop into something…more…
He was a cop then, so he had to shower and shave everyday, and wear clean clothes, and all that fancy stuff you do when you have a “real” job. He went out and bought a shower-radio – seriously – the kind with suction cups on the back so you can stick it to the wall (you don’t even want to know what kinds of things grow behind a shower radio) – so he could listen while he got ready. And I could hear him in there, chuckling, offering little grunts of affirmation, or sighs of indignation, and, I swear, once I heard him say something, like a whole sentence. He was talking, to Armstrong and Getty through his shower radio. But I wasn’t worried. This is what guys do, right? I mean, I can remember my Dad, literally, jumping up and down and screaming at the Raiders through the TV when I was a kid.
It got weird for me when we went on a road-trip and El Chupacabra had filled his Mp3 player with podcasts of shows that he had missed for one reason or another, and he made us listen to them until he was all “caught up”. And then one day, it happened. We were talking about who knows what, and he said something like, “I was thinking about blah blah blah. Joe said it was great!”
So I’m like, “Joe who?”
“Babe, Joe who? Who is Joe?”
He was looking at his feet. “He’s..uh…he’s…you know….Joe Getty.”
“Joe Getty…from Armstrong and Getty…..you know…my show…in the mornings…?”
“Ooooooohhh, of course. Joe.”
And I just walked away because we both knew he was ashamed, and I’m not the best when it comes to not making fun of people, so it was just better that way. But then I really got to thinking about it, to be totally honest, I liked them too. I wasn’t crushing on them the way my husband was, but I definitely felt some kind of strange attachment. So, we started to make little jokes here and there, about our “friends” Jack and Joe. We adopted them into our family, so to speak, and in our own little retarded world, we engaged in a very one-sided relationship with these two men who we had never met, and would most likely, never meet…*sigh* So we created our own little acronym to help us navigate life’s little obstacles; WWJJD – What would Jack and Joe do?
—-> Can I substitute canned peas for frozen in this recipe? I don’t know. WWJJD? Should I go to the gym or run on the trail? I’m not sure. WWJJD? Do you think it’s immoral to tell your sister that she looks great in those jeans even when they make her butt look scary big so that you can be the pretty one for once? Hmmm…WWJJD? Etcetera…
Fast forward a couple of years, and now, because we live in Central America, we can’t get a live feed for our favorite morning talk radio show. This makes my giant hulk of a husband shrivel up and die a little inside. He tries other morning shows, but nothing measures up to his lil’ buddies, Jack and Joe. He grabs a podcast every now and again, but he’s so busy and life is so hectic that he is afforded little time to listen.
Ok, so aaaaalll of that, so I could tell you this:
My husband is a giant hulk of a man (have I mentioned that?), but not in a fat way. He’s a “mans man”, or so I’m told. He played bigtime college football, he knows how to fix stuff, and he knows how to build stuff from other stuff. And he knows how to kill stuff and trap stuff and throw stuff and all that other stuff that guys know how to do. And he looks good doing it. I can count on one hand, the number of times during our marriage that I have seen him act like a full on wuss, or a teenage girl, or a big giant…whatever you wanna call it…
When we were in the States, in August, we went to old Sac with El Chupacabras’s padres one day, and we were just walking around, and looking through all the cool little shops. So after I spent like $40 bucks at Evangeline’s on refrigerator magnets that have pictures of Jesus saying truly hilarious things, we went to this little hat shop. We were all trying on crazy hats and talking in funny accents when El Chupacabra ran – I mean RAN – back to me and did that yell-whisper thingy where you’re whispering but you’re really excited so all your words are covered in a giant “H”. Ya know? So he loudly whispers “YOUARENEVERGONNABELIEVEWHOJUSTWALKEDIN!!!”
I tried to look slyly over his shoulder, fully expecting to see Osama Bin Laden modeling a purple fedora in the mirror, but A) I cannot peek over my husbands shoulder since he is a foot taller than me and a foot wider than me, and B) there were a bunch of stupid hats in the way. So he said I just HAD to see for myself and then he shoved me through the piles of fez (fezes?), berets, and derbys until I stood face to face with….
…some bald guy I had never seen before in my life.
When I turned around to roll my eyes at El Chupacabra, he was wearing a hard hat retrofitted with two beer cans and a straw. He was grinning, holding both hands in a thumbs-up sign right under his chin, and his eyes were twinkling with excitement. He took off the beer can hat and whisked me outside by the arm. “What should I do? Should I say something? Should I say ‘hi’ or something?” I think he could tell by the look on my face that I had no idea who the guy was. So he goes, “It’s HIM. It’s Jack! Jamie….that is JACK ARMSTRONG trying on a cowboy hat!!!” Oh, Jaaaack. “What should I do?” he asked again.
So I made him bend down and look me in the eye and I said very calmly, “Do you need me to slap you, or pinch you, or something? Cause you’re being an idiot.” This seemed to snap him out of it. The color returned to his face, and he seemed to be processing three important facts:
We do not care about famous people. This dude is a radio talk-show host, not even an actual famous person. And most important, we don’t wanna be “that guy”.
I said, “Babe…WWJJDITWYITS?…yeah…What would Jack and Joe do if they were you in this situation?”
He just nodded his head. “Your right.” And he took my hand and we walked away. We just walked away.
Sometimes, people have these weird longings for connections that don’t, and shouldn’t, actually exist, and other times those longings are totally legitimate. Since we’ve been back in C.R., I’ve noticed that El Chupacabra has been listening to the Armstrong and Getty podcast a lot more. But, I don’t think it has anything to do with our close encounter of the nearly famous kind. I think it’s more to do with feeling connected to his home culture and his home town. It’s a simple fulfillment of a longing for what is familiar. And, for El Chupacabra, it is well earned, since he is fully engaged in Costa Rican life for the majority of his day. The distinct voices of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty echoing from the bathroom in the morning, the brilliant sound bites, and the talk of all things North American are a little respite for him. And for that, I have never felt closer to those guys.
If I ever have the chance to tell Armstrong and Getty thanks for what they do, face to face, maybe I will. Or maybe not. I don’t know….WWJJD?