Sunday, December 12, 2010

The gall of that woman.

We both spent good money to sit in row “P” and had a common cause to see a good show. Seating at the Paramount Theater is less than ideal. I have had more leg room on a cross country coach flight on Alaskan Airlines. My only hope with comfort was to cross my legs.

In the heat of good conversation, I am animated. You would think that I was Italian by the way I use my hands when I talk. The show had not yet begun and there was much to discuss with this supposed “date”.

Penn & Teller hit the scene in the late 80’s. Their “schtick” was to be the bad boys of magic. They made it quite clear that magic was all bullshit and they occasionally exposed the secrets of the art. They would pretend that other magicians hated them for this, but in reality, they had hung out with the likes of David Copperfield in their personal lives. They were smart, funny, edgy, and I gravitated towards this.

Then I read an article about them. How they had come to know James Randi and spoke of their deep skepticism. “Wait”, I remember thinking. “these boys know about James Randi?” I was convinced at the time that nobody else knew about this funny little magician with his personal check of $10,000 for anyone willing to demonstrate psychic abilities under scientific controls. These guys loved Randi, and considered him a dear friend. In fact, it was Randi who introduced them together. There would be no Penn & Teller if not for James Randi. I was their new fanboy.

I went to one show of theirs in Penn’s home state of Massachusetts. Despite their success, they are very gracious and make a point to talk with the crowd in the lobby after the show. They were busy signing autographs and posing with photos so I decided to do something different. I approached the tower of human known as Penn Jillette and handed him my camera.

“Here, take my picture”.

Without flinching, he positioned the camera and snapped a photo of his random fan.

I did the same will Teller (he has no first name). Hesitant at first, but he complied with my request. “We have the strangest fans” he would say while doing so.

Every June I go to Vegas for James Randi’s The Amazing Meeting and geek out with fellow skeptics. It is the one time each year where I can hang out with 1,000 others that are advocates of science, science education, and critical thinking. Every Year Penn & Teller attend the same conference. As a result, I have come to know them as people, more than performers. They are both approachable and social.

“Can you please not cross your legs because your foot is touching me”.

Fuck. Really?

I had no Idea that this was happening, that my foot was touching her leg. I was prepared to see my boys give a great show, and perhaps try out some new things for their Vegas production. This was to be one of my best nights out this winter. I was comfortably resting in my seat, being social, and waiting for the curtain to rise.

“Can you please not cross your legs…”

I know I overacted by leaving, but I could not stand to be in same building as somebody so crass. I respect the personal space of others. I never recline my chair on airplanes, but I suck it up when the person in front of me reclines theirs. Never in 1,000 years would I lean to the person in front of me and ask, “could you please not recline your chair back?”

To be told not to cross my legs, took me back to the middle school in California where that snooty rich spoiled punkass informed me, “we don’t skip in Piedmont.”

Damn it, I am an adult and I will skip, or cross my legs if I want to. Also, I will allow you the right to skip or cross your legs if you want to.

Fuck you lady, I told her “thanks for ruining my evening, and enjoy the show”.

I left.

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