Welcome to Freddie Mitchell’s Cousins Hall of Fame, a place to chronicle brushes with fame, or more accurately, brushes with near fame and distant non-brushes with fame.
Let me try to explain. Obviously, a brush with fame would be something like sitting next to Robert DeNiro on a plane. Or meeting Peyton Manning at a charity event, getting your picture taken with him and perhaps some officially licensed gear autographed. But that’s not what we’re talking about. In keeping with the football analogy, Manning is a very famous and accomplished athlete, a future Hall-of-Famer and one of the most marketable athletes in sports. Freddie Mitchell was a marginal-at-best wide receiver who’s forgettable tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles is only remembered by the bizarre fact that Mitchell thought of himself as the next Jerry Rice. The guy is a nobody, he’s not even a trivia-question answer like fellow wideout David Tyree (unless you think we should count catching “4th and 22” from Donovan McNabb against Green Bay).
And so Freddie Mitchell is the perfect namesake for our mundane list of near encounters with B-listers as well as our twice removed associations with people who had real brushes with fame. Also, our very own Jr.Worthy actually worked with Freddie Mitchell’s cousin.
As for my credentials… I once served hummus to Crispin Glover. He was doing some strange spoken word performance art tour thing back in the mid-90’s and I was supporting my drumming habit by working part-time at a vegetarian restaurant when Glover’s “show” came through town. Apparently he was a vegan or a macrobiotic or whatever, I don’t remember. But my boss and chef extraordinaire Sue was tasked with making his dinner. Late in the afternoon, the screen door slams and in creeps Crispin Glover, grinning not quite ear to ear, hair framing his face while his skeptical eyebrows tried to make sense of the salads and sides we had displayed in our front cooler.
Finally, the meek man who once played McFly asked “is that… hummus?”
It was in fact hummus, and I served some to Hollywood actor Crispin Glover. He asked for water, and back then we used to just serve it up in a mason jar, straight from the sink. It was safe and clean, but sometimes it just needed 20 seconds to settle after appearing cloudy. In my haste to serve this visiting megastar as fast as possible, I handed him some still-cloudy water in a jar. Crispin Glover raised the glass, not in toast or tribute, but close to that signature pointed nose of his and gave it a quick, disappointed examination and slowly turned to find a seat.
Years earlier, when I was probably 16 or 17 and working at Record World, Joan Baez was signing her new book elsewhere in the mall. I knew who she was, but had little interest beyond the fact that she was a “famous singer” and had allegedly slept with Bob Dylan. So I figured, what the hell. On my lunch break I walked over to the bookstore to meet the lady who hung out with Dylan and get her autograph. So I stand in line among the people who’d purchased what I assume was some autobiography of sorts, a large hardcover book that looked weighty beyond its $17.99 suggested retail price and my disinterest in the subject matter.
So I get up there and say hello to Joan Baez (I guess I said “hi,” maybe we shook hands, I don’t remember). I hand her a generic Record World business card for her to sign, and she looks up at me and says “What, you didn’t buy the book?” I didn’t know what to say. It all happened just fast enough; I think she quickly signed the back of the card and gave it back and I managed to leave unscathed from this brush with near-fame.
I do have other credentials: I not only work with someone who’s wife’s cousin went to Joe Flacco’s wedding but I also have a co-worker who’s cousin’s wife was a nanny for Kate Blanchett. So yea, I’m pretty major. I’ve chased Linkin Park out of our shared dressing room, spent time in our parked van with members of the band Papa Roach, and hung out with G. Love’s dog while his owner performed. My brother once used a picture of himself with Darrius “Hootie” Rucker as his Facebook profile pic. And just the other day, a friend of mine posted on Facebook that she’d just walked by Howard Stern at Whole Foods!
I doubt anyone will build a website chronicling this stuff, like someone did with ?uestlove’s stories. So we’ll put ’em here and dedicate it to Freddie Mitchell, the infamous wide receiver who thought the world of himself.
So who’s in your Freddie Mitchell’s Cousins Hall of Fame? Leave your stories in the comments section below. As for the rest of the Bums Logic crew, the day I asked them about this subject, Mike Eddy texted back hours later to say he’d just seen Jesse Jackson walking down the street! Other staff picks:
Jr. Worthy: My brushes with fame? First and foremost has to be that I really do work with the cousin of former NFL Wide Receiver and UCLA Graduate Freddie Mitchell. Mitchell, a cherished son of Lakeland, Florida, finished his professional football career with 90 receptions for 1,263 yards and 5 TDs.
While I am not sure if this next encounter exactly counts as a brush with fame, but I will share it here today for all of the commentariat to determine its fame-brush worthiness. As you might imagine, growing up in West Virginia does not exactly lend itself to coming into close contact with ‘famous’ people. To be honest, it rarely happens. That is why I can say that I am completely surprised that I have, in fact, seen Hollywood icon Nick Nolte… naked. Thankfully, this has nothing to do with me sitting by his home with a pair of binoculars in a beat up Chevy [Editor’s Note: it was a late-model Ford]. Actually it is much tamer than that. Without too many details, it turns out that Nolte is an avid swimmer and he used to frequently swim a few laps at the same place that I had swim practice.
Over the course of a year or so, he would come in every morning and it was only a matter of time before our fates crossed paths and I happened to be in the locker room getting ready for school when I turned around and saw Nick Nolte toweling off and drying his unit before he got dressed and went about his day. Nick Nolte’s balls.
Despite my WV comment about not having many opportunities to brush with fame, I will say that I did attend the same school and graduate alongside the wife of silver screen hunk actor Ben Affleck.
Additionally, I also happen to share a tailor with another former NFL player Eddie George and none other than screen acting legend Steven Segal.