Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Celebrity Encounters of the Political Kind

In no particular order, these are some encounters from my past with those of the political arena that I remember for one reason or another.

I met the former governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, on the Rutgers campus at a rally for his 1988 failed presidential bid. I don't remember his speech. Don't remember his promises, Don't remember his platform. I remember his eyebrows, black and bushy. I also remember Robert Redford introducing him! Although I didn't get to shake Robert Redford's hand, I do remember his sandy blond hair and piercing blue eyes. Very handsome Hollywood leading man looks. Michael Dukakis ... eyebrows. I was more excited to see his wife, Kitty Dukakis. 

The year after Anita Hill testified in Washington D.C. against then US Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, I waited on her while she was dining in the Azalea Dining Room at the Omni Hotel Philadelphia. She was very nice. Very soft spoken and polite. She was giving a speech in Philly. I feel I was in the presence of someone of a strong character who stood up for something that she believed in. Clarence Thomas would become a US Supreme Court Justice and still sits on the bench today.  Anita Hill's testimony is said to "have launched modern-day public awareness and open discussion of the issue of workplace sexual harassment in the United States with the ultimate result that the behavior is less tolerated today." (source)

Back in October of 1992, I found myself with friends down in South Philly waiting for then presidential nominee Bill Clinton to arrive. We got a bite to eat at Geno's Steaks and waited. After what seemed like hours, he finally arrived and people went nuts! Former President Bill Clinton's charisma is legendary and the crowd was just captivated by him. I remember shaking his hand and saying hello to him. He replied "Hello there son!" I just stared at him smiling and kept hold of his hand. Secret Service eventually had to separate us. The agent commanded me, "You can let go of his hand now!" and gave me a dirty look. Oops.

Lastly, I have met and spoke with Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell on more than one occasion while waiting tables at various restaurants or hotels in Philly when he was mayor and then governor.  He was always genuinely friendly and happy to see me. Whenever I had ran into him or waited on him he would always act like he remembered me. I really appreciated that but knew he probably didn't, although I have served him enough hors d'oeuvres for him to. A good politician can pull off that without you even realizing it.

All of that was a good ten or more years ago. These days, the only political figure worth mentioning that I met is my self-proclaimed block captain Charlotte. She's my next door neighbor who I have often seen wandering the yards along my street, just keeping an eye on everything.  She's more interesting that 99% of the political figures out there.

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