One of the things I liked best about living in Los Angeles was that there was always the possibility of running into a big Hollywood Star. Not that I ran into many, or any at all, for that matter, although I did see Johnny, the mean kid who sweeps Danielson’s leg in the final showdown of The Karate Kid, on Malibu Beach one day. He was wearing a big Mr. T-type gold chain around his neck, which would have otherwise been a turnoff, but on Johnny from The Karate Kid? I wouldn’t have kicked him out of bed over it.
All day long, I sat there on my beach blanket and launched smoldering glances at him, all of which hit that invisible barrier that separates Stars from Nobodies and plopped dejectedly into the sand, a good 15 feet short of his beach blanket. But, it was L.A., Home of the Stars, and it was fraught with possibility. It was exciting just to be there.
Thus, when the entire Guess? Sales Department was invited to work the Silent Auction at the Carousel of Hope Ball, which raises millions of dollars in support of treatment and research programs for Childhood Diabetes, I felt like my moment had finally arrived. All the big stars turned out for the Carousel of Hope. Yesssss!! This is why I’d moved to LA: time to party with the stars, and maybe even marry one of them!
In a surprising twist, we, the volunteers, were not only given permission to drink while working the event, but were given the drinks for free. It wasn’t what I’d been expecting. I’d been looking for a little more structure, rules to be followed and obeyed: i.e., no drinking on the job, and I’d have been fine with that. I hadn’t been planning on drinking. However, while the rest of my coworkers had the sense to save the drinking until the end, I, unfortunately, did not, and kept availing myself of the handy little men who came wandering by every few minutes with their little silver drinks trays.
I’d been so excited about the event that I hadn’t eaten a thing all day, so I had quite a nice little buzz going in minutes flat, which gave me all the confidence I needed to not only approach every Star in Hollywood, but to think that they actually wanted to be approached by me, a crummy little volunteer from the Guess Corporate Headquarters, all dressed up in her little black dress, two sheets to the wind within the first five minutes.
Kevin Nealon was my first target. “Kevin!” I gushed. I was effusive, I was familiar, and I acted as if we were long lost friends. We even hugged! I gave a brilliant performance, Oscar-worthy, and I could see him struggling, really trying hard to remember how he knew me, reaching into the catacombs of his memory (“Where do I know her from? Where do I know her from?”) and then – of course – coming up with nothing.
And all poor Mike Myers wanted to do was look at the cute little purebred puppies that were being auctioned off in peace, but could I leave him in peace? Of course I couldn’t. I stood next to him for a half hour, pretending that I, too, was interested in the little purebred puppies. I don’t even like puppies!
“What are you DOING?” asked my coworkers, pulling me to the side.
“I’m driving up the bid,” I said, proud of my own brilliance, convinced that Mike Myers would be so afraid of losing the little puppies to such an interested party that his opening bid would be a record quarter of a million dollars alone. The Childhood Diabetes Society might even thank me personally!
Fortunately for the rest of the Hollywood Elite, the three glasses of wine pretty much knocked me out within the first half hour, and after that, I may or may not have spent the remainder of the night passed out in a bathroom under the counter. I have no recollection of the Silent Auction, and I completely missed the best part – the handing out of the goody bags, which I’m told the Stars really appreciated. When I re-entered consciousness, the night was practically over, and I was sitting at a dining room table, listening to my coworkers speak about me as if I wasn’t there. “How did she get so drunk?” “What are we going to do with her?”
All I know is I needed to be home now, in my own bed, before I completely passed out. The last thing I wanted was to be someone’s drunken responsibility. I slurred something unintelligible, pretended I was just going to go to the bathroom for a moment, and then took off, stumbling through the corridors of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, listing to one side like a sailboat. I don’t need to mention how scandalized the rest of my coworkers, bosses, and employers were over my condition or the fallout I experienced on Monday morning, back at work. It’s a wonder I still had a job.
And don’t ask me how I got out of the hotel, how I got to my car, or how I got to my apartment 30 miles away in South Pasadena. While I’d like to think I did the responsible thing, like handing Brad Pitt my keys and asking George Clooney to follow us in his Benz so Brad would have a ride back, that may be a bit of a stretch.