If This Doesn’t Wither Your Spoon, I Don’t Know *What* Will: Me, Barbra Streisand, Expensive Resorts and DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM? by Jonathan Kieran
Oh, little Miss Girly-Girl went and she DID it.
Look. We all have messy moments in our lives. It’s not a linear Pathway to Perfection, this whole “being human” thing. We get drunk. We make mistakes.
Heck, we make plenty of mistakes without the excuse of being drunk. Think about your last five or six Big Mistakes. Were you sober?
I didn’t think so.
Anyhow, Reese Witherspoon, an actress for whom I had maybe ten minutes of affinity a decade ago, unzipped the Immortally Moonwashed Dazzle-Face of Politically Superior Hollywood and revealed the underlying Narcissistic Maggot-Skull of Filthy Dirty Entitlement … in all of its splendor!
I feel for the woman. I do. It must be difficult to be a multi-millionairess competing for Fame and Trashed-Out Headlines with accomplished, award-winning thespian-types like Kim Kardashian. Witherspoon, however, appears to be cracking under the pressure.
There is only one occasion wherein a human being ought to whip out the “Don’t You Know Who I AM?” strategy, and that occasion is when you are about to be executed by a point-blank shot to the back of the head … and you freakin’ don’t have anything else to try.
That’s maybe when you trot-out a line like that.
You could also say something like: “If you spare me I’ll give birth to a unicorn right now. I’ll give birth to a unicorn with your name embossed in emerald-essence on its haunches! I swear I will.”
Yeah. When the Magical Unicorn Birth-Promise fails to impress your killer, that’s when you toss out the “Don’t you who I AM?” trick.
It’s not going to work, but, you know, you’re about to be murdered, so you’ll give it a go.
Witherspoon was not on her knees about to be executed by some serial killer, but she was drunk off her a$$ and being driven by a Significant Other who was allegedly drunk off his ass, and in the midst of it all, Ms. Illegally Blonde (oh, couldn’t resist) didn’t stop to ponder whether or not her drunk-a$$ self ought to have gotten into a vehicle with her drunk-a$$ hubby and whether their drunk-a$$es might’ve possibly swerved and killed somebody else’s mother, or father, or brother, or sister, or child. No.
“Don’t you know who I AM?”
But wait a sec, friends … Reese was “filming in the area.” Hold on. That changes everything!
When you are a STAR and you are FILMING IN THE AREA, all police officers within a 75-mile radius are alerted to your Exquisite Presence and they have been given specific instructions NOT to interfere with your drunk-a$$ driving. Wow. I mean, that’s just standard procedure when you’re FILMING IN THE AREA. These Witherspooning cops need to be demoted and forced to walk a beat in the crackiest part of Crack Town because they haven’t been checking their memos!
“Don’t you know who I am?”
“I’m filming in the area.”
Now, I know what many of you are possibly thinking.
“Oh, Jonathan Kieran! You can’t be merciless to people who say such things when they’re under the influence! This sort of thing is an aberration! People from Hollywood don’t really act like that! They’re very humble and they are always looking for ways to give their riches away to the little people!”
No, honey, they aren’t.
In fact, I’m going to tell you a story that dovetails with this whole DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM? meme. And it is the truthiest truth I could ever truth-out, without giving birth to an actual unicorn.
Many years ago I worked as the “Assistant Director” at a rather posh Northern California resort that shall remain nameless. I loved the job. I loved my boss (the “Director”) and I loved the “team” and all of that crap. Yeah, I did. I was in the service industry and it was as upscale as it gets. Our establishment was frequented by “celebrities,” and when I use the term “celebrities” I am referring to people who actually earned and maybe deserved a toasty old crust of their fame. This very minute, I could tell you a couple of things about Barbra Streisand that would … well, only reaffirm what you already suspect about Barbra Streisand.
But that’s another blog.
What many people outside California do not realize is that the most powerful players in the whole LA game are not the “face” people, not these “stars.” No. The biggest hitters are producers or a myriad of other executive investors/bankrollers who operate behind the proverbial scenes. Well, they operate behind the “scenes” in point of fact. But those people take vacations, too.
One evening, a slightly neurotic, slightly grumpy uncomfortable-looking man in his mid-thirties approached me and my boss because he could not get his headset to jive with the TV feed as he was working-out on the treadmill. We’ll call him “JOHNNY”. Well, anybody who came to our establishment was automatically paying over a thousand bucks a night just to sleep there, not counting the extras, and we were in the business of SERVING PEOPLE, so we did front-flips, black-flips, side-flips, and did everything except pull a flock of ducks straight out of our a$$es to try and get this gentleman’s headset to work. It didn’t work. Maintenance was called. Engineers were consulted. We didn’t know what was amiss, but we tried. The gentleman was not exactly rude … he was just persistent. Fixated, if you will. He was annoyed that this little portion of his workout experience was not going exactly the way he wished, and he couldn’t recalibrate. No Plan B. “My headset won’t work. I guess I’ll just walk on the treadmill and force myself to listen to the big-screen DIRECTLY.”
By the way, there was no one else in our “Fitness Center” at the time … he had the treadmill, big screen TV, water cooler, and big blue rubber workout ball entirely to himself.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out: The guy had every right to obsess about his headset — at over $1000 a night, you want stuff to work at your fancy-a$$ resort. I respect that. The point is, we did everything except call an ambulance and summon the Jaws of Life to get this gentleman’s itty-bitty headset to work, and it just didn’t. It didn’t. He came in to our office again, not rudely, and harped on it for the sixth time. It was the very end of the day, my boss, at the time, was being wooed away from his fab job by an even more exclusive company (if that’s even possible), and we were mapping-out the following day’s schedule. My boss just flatly told “Johnny”:
“Look, sir. We’ve tried everything. We apologize for the inconvenience, but it’s 7PM and we’re out of options when it comes to your headset. Nothing we can do. Sorry.”
Johnny sort of wiggled a finger in his ear and looked at the floor and said, “Well, thanks. Okay.” And he left. Then my boss left, saying, “Hey man, wrap things up tonight for me, okay?”
Five minutes after my boss left, in walks this blonde. Leggy, attractive, sharp … but not at all “star” attractive, by any stretch. She was on the warpath. And I am going to share with you the WORD-FOR-WORD that “went down”. I ain’t makin’ it up. I ain’t embellishing or exaggerating. WORD-FOR-WORD, because I’ll never forget it.
ME (sitting at my desk): “Good evening!”
SHE: “I want to know who was rude to Johnny. Was it you?”
ME: “Miss … um … excuse me?”
SHE: “Johnny told me that somebody in this office was rude to him and I want to know who it is. Now. I want to know who told him that they wouldn’t fix his headset.”
ME: “Er … well, Miss … Johnny spoke with ______, our director, and I can assure you we tried everything we could, but it’s late in the evening and we won’t have the resources until tomorrow. I’m sorry if Johhny felt [my boss] was treating him rudely. We would never intend such a thing.”
SHE: “Listen to me, buddy. Do you know who we are? We are Hollywood people. We are BIG Hollywood people. One bad word from us can make or break this entire place. Do you know that?”
ME: “Uh … puh-puh-puh-puh- buh …”
SHE: “Do you know how it works in LA? I’m sure you don’t. We tell people where to go and where not to go. Do you understand this?”
ME: “Miss, if there has been a misunderstanding I apologize profusely.”
SHE: “You damned well better.”
ME: “Absolutely. Please understand that [my boss] is a professional who always has the interests of our guests in mind. Let me solve this for you as best I can right now, this very moment. I am going to earmark complimentary [such and such] for the rest of this week. If you would be so kind as to wait with [Johnny] in your room, I will have some solution within ten minutes. Personally.”
SHE: “You’d better. We’ll be waiting.”
SLAM! went the door as she stormed out.
I called reservations and got their names, which we had not known previously. “Johnny’s” name didn’t ring the slightest bell with me.
Then I googled him.
Huge. H.U.G.E. ~HUGE~
But I wouldn’t have been able to pick him out of a line-up, as they say.
I’ll say another thing — his little dollbaby coming down with the whole “Do you know who we are? We are Hollywood people. BIG Hollywood people.”
(and she said it just like that, in my face, shaking a finger. “Hollywood people” followed by the clarifying “BIG Hollywood people.”)
I hope this never happens to any of you, firstly, because I can tell you in all honesty that, no matter how self-assured you may be, as a person, when someone comes at you with mouth-stink like that, you feel like a complete ZERO.
It was so humiliating. I … I … still look back on that experience and am amazed — mainly because I felt like a subhuman for a minute or two, and that’s exactly how she wanted me to feel.
I think it was fortunate for me, at the time, to see how legitimately powerful these people were, on paper (or on Google) and then launch damage control.
Yeah, Johnny was big enough to have gotten my boss, a seasoned professional and a fine man, fired with a word.
I didn’t like it one bit, but I had to make some stuff happen. We had an on-site florist and she was about to leave for the day, and I begged (no, I TOLD HER) to whip-up the best arrangement she could configure, FAST, and I threw-together a virtual grocery cart full of freebies and brought all of this goodness up to their room … within the ten minutes.
I did everything but bow. I was a pro. I handled it as gracefully as I knew how, even though this woman had just utterly sought to humiliate me. I smoothed it over, but I’ll tell you yet another thing: I obviously have never forgotten that experience.
They were at our establishment for a week and it was “kid gloves” handling all the way. They loved the obsequiousness and I frankly felt it had to be done. My company (at the time) could well have been on the line.
My boss nearly pooped a kitten the next day when he came in and learned who they were, and remembered that, yes, he had been a little terse with “Johnny”. I guess that was the most crucial thing: after being stomped-on by someone else’s self-imagined superiority and feeling like a sub-human, it was good that I had to sort of troubleshoot the matter and be motivated to help my boss dodge a bullet that would have been totally undeserved, but which would have probably hit him smack between the eyes.
It was not a good week. For me. How was it for Johnny and his Hollywood BIG Hollywood gal? Why, they loved their stay because I made sure everyone knew to kiss their a$$es with extra lip-action, for the sake of making a living. That’s what you think about.
Making a living. In my case, it was not only my job, but the jobs and livelihoods of the people who worked for me/with me.
You need to frankly make a living in this world and, sad to say, but some people who feel themselves so superior, can indeed make or break you. And they can walk all over you. It might be grand and noble to say, “I will not stand for this kind of treatment! I quit!”
Honey, that only happens in the movies … and the movies are being made by the people who are saying: “DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?”
Anyhow, I have only shared this experience with the people who were obviously there at the time and I have never written about it, until now. I won’t name the guy and his Lady. You would immediately recognize the name, but not likely put a face to that name … just as we didn’t.
I’m not famous and do not want fame. I’m just another author trying to find a home for my stories, trying to find a place for the characters I create. I can sleep at night with that plan.
The “sobering” thing is that these little instances wherein the mask of “fame” comes off of someone, you truly do see how selfish and deluded we can be, as a species, based upon how we perceive ourselves. It’s all so freakin’ fleeting, as it is.
I suppose I wouldn’t have expected Reese Witherspoon, specifically, to haul off and take a dump over her entire reputation the way she did. I guess I might have expected some, um … skeevier type to pull a stunt like that. But then I would be thinking outside my own experience! Hello?
Hollywood people. BIG Hollywood people.
Witherspoon may have a hard time living it down, if anyone has an attention span that renders her boozy life-burp relevant for more than five minutes, but the point of my post ought to be obvious.
It’s galling when one of these cultural deities says something so damnable and they’re drunk.
I am here to tell you that people will walk right up to your face and say ‘DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” and they will be stone cold sober.
It’s beyond humiliating, but I think I may have to give Johnny a call and see if he can help me out, now that I’m book-writin’ and stuff.
One witty 2,800 year-old warlock. A suspicious storm that hurls him to earth near London. A goddess who wants to destroy the world. The catch? She needs Rowan’s face. REMOVED.
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