Yesterday, I told you about meeting Jesse Jackson, and I promised I’d tell you the embarrassing question that I thankfully did not have time to ask him. If I had asked this question, it would have displaced what, until now, has been one of my most embarrassing moments.
Einstein was a few months old when I took him to New York City in 2002 to visit his Aunt Janet. We had a great time seeing the sights, and we made the most of every public restroom we saw. However, as we walked down one busy street, I began to sense a diaper change in our near future, and wouldn’t you know it, not a public bathroom in sight.
“Let’s walk into this hotel,” Janet said. “I know they have a big bathroom one floor up from the lobby.” We went in, pushed the button to call the elevator, and stood together, waiting. I glanced to my right, where a group of gentlemen had just walked up and pushed the button, too.
Wow! I turned to my sister on my left, with my jaw dropped open and my eyes wide. “LOOK!!” I mouthed at her. She cut her eyes subtly to the gentlemen, and like a good New Yorker, attempted to wave me off from talking to the famous people. “NO,” she mouthed back at me.
Too late. I turned to the man on my right, smiled at him charmingly, and said, “Are you who I think you are?”
He smiled back, and said, “Joe is my name.”
“JOE MONTANA!!! This is so exciting!”
His smile froze. “Joe Namath is my name.”
Now you’d think that with my sister cringing and doing her very best to seem simultaneously proud of her nephew but entirely unrelated to her own sister, and with Mr. Namath’s friends chuckling behind him, that I’d leave bad enough alone, wouldn’t you?
Oh, but you’d be wrong.
“Whatever. Sorry. Can I get a picture of you with my baby?”
Yes. I asked Joe Namath, who probably hasn’t gone unrecognized in New York City since 1965, to hold my baby with a dirty diaper right after I called him someone else’s name.
To his credit, he did take a picture with us. The elevators arrived, and his friends called him away: “Right this way, Mr. Montana.” I didn’t think my sister was going to speak to me for the rest of the day.
(I’ll post the picture as soon as we receive our photo albums in our shipment. Incredibly, that picture must have been taken before we switched to a digital camera.)
On Monday, when Rev. Jackson was about to arrive, I reminisced with Honey about one of my favorite Jackson memories: when he read Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham on TV. The cadence was perfect; his timing, hilarious.
After he spoke to us, Rev. Jackson said he would answer a few questions. At first, everyone hung back. As the silence started to get awkward, I thought about asking, “How did they get you to agree to read Green Eggs and Ham on ‘Sesame Street’?”
Thankfully, someone spoke up with a much more substantive question, and I didn’t ask. Because Jesse Jackson did appear on “Sesame Street,” but with a much stronger message than, “I do not like them, Sam I Am.” He read Green Eggs and Ham on “Saturday Night Live.”
You know me, on the verge of mixing up a children’s educational program and a late-night comedy show for adults in front of Jesse Jackson and a whole room of my husband’s colleagues.
Whatever. Right this way, Mr. Montana.