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In Which Our Hero Embarrasses Himself Over a British Chef

By Jason Harris | Miscellaneous | November 9, 2010 | Comments ()

By Jason Harris | Miscellaneous | November 9, 2010 |


nigella-lawson-415x289.jpg

I am not a fanboy.

When I lived in Las Vegas, my friends who grew up there said that one simply does not acknowledge celebrities. Only tourists get starstruck and googly-eyed seeing Tom Jones (the kids still like Tom Jones, right?) on the street. You see Geena Davis in the crowd while your buddy's swing band plays the lounge at the Bellagio? Ask her to dance. She's just another dame.

Penn Jillette? I had drinks with him. I used to share a barbershop with Mike Tyson (and, I have to say, he never once raped me). The night the Forum Shops came to a standstill so Michael Jackson could shop at the Virgin Megastore was only important because his security was blocking the entrance to the Cheesecake Factory and I had reservations, dammit.

Keith Richards is a wraith. Scottie Pippen really does look like Eugene Eugeep and DeAngelo is really, really short. B.B. King in his 70s and Sam Butera in his 80s are cooler than you could ever hope to be.

That said, there is a Waterloo for every Napoleon. A Cleopatra for every Caesar.

I got to meet Nigella Lawson and, I'm ashamed to admit it, but I had to "Squee." Just a little.

The lovely Ms. Lawson is on tour for her new book, "Nigella Kitchen," doing signings and meeting other goofs. Now, I don't know whether she can cook. I kind of don't care. I just want to watch her pour oil into a pan. She sifts flour and I get weak. She breads chicken and I drool a little.

In any event, I got to my local Book Megalith for the signing early to avoid the crowds (Me: 1, Crowds: 0). The drones at Book Megalith had put copies of her new, $35 cookbook on display. But I am smarter than the drones at Book Megalith, so I went to the shelves and found a copy of one of her older paperbacks for $20 (Me: 1, Drones: 0).

But the drones were ready for that trick. You had to buy the new book to get in line for the signing. D'oh! (Me: 0, Drones: 1).

Well, dammit. This might be my one chance to sweep Nigella Lawson off her feet. Did I not have the fresh cut? Was I not rocking the fly suit? Did I not break out the Cool Water cologne? A trifle like $35 was nothing to stand in the way of true love, by thunder.

So, I got my book and got in line with the crowd (Me: 0, Crowds: 1). Things weren't trending my way, but what is triumph without tribulation? Besides, it's not like I was one of those poor chumps with the yellow wristbands. They had to wait downstairs until those of us with the pink wristbands got to meet Nigella. Suck it, chumps (Me: 1, Chumps: 0).

Standing in line and for all my hardbitten cynicism, all my general disdain of celebrities, I now know what teeny boppers screaming outside of Justin Timberlake's hotel room must feel like. Oh, I played it cool; I am ever like the snowman's nose. But, really? I kind of wanted to scream and rend my clothes.

Finally, it's my turn. Cool? Oh, I be cool. Smile and give my phone for the drone handling the pictures. Smile for, OH, SHIT. THERE SHE IS. OHMIGOD. OHMIGOD. SHE SPARKLES. SHE LITERALLY SPARKLES.

Really, she does. You know how they say the camera loves some people? Reality loves Nigella Lawson. She has presence. She's just more there. I know, I'm gushing shamelessly, but really, if she'd turned to me, with her beautiful hazel eyes and incredibly lustrous hair and flawless skin and told me to murder everyone at Book Megalith? Woulda been a holocaust at Book Megalith, y'all.

"Hello, Ms. Lawson. I hope you're enjoying Philadelphia."

Wait, what? That's your opening? What the fuck, man? Say something. Something suave, something debonair. Something to make her forget that . . . she's married to a billionaire. And lives in the U.K. With her kids. Blast.

We chatted for a few minutes. She has the remarkable ability to make you think you're the only one in the room. And then? The moment was gone.

NO. I would live a fantasy! I would . . . Touch Nigella Lawson. I extended my hand - a faux pas as a gentleman never offers his hand to a lady first - she shook it - her grip was light, her skin was both soft but clearly that of a woman who worked with her hands - and, now, officially, the moment was over.

But I still had my picture of the two of us together. Proof that for just a few moments, I had met (eeee!) Nigella Lawson. I checked my phone and . . . it was blurry.

Game, set, match. Drones.


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Jason Harris, also known as Tracer Bullet, lives in Philadelphia.


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