I had this whole lengthy, slightly dismissive takedown of a customer written up. Late thirty-maybe-fortysomething guy wanted to be a rapper, hadn't the slightest bit of rhythm, no poetry in his soul. Spent all of his time on a MacBook in our cafe, sharing his demo CD with any student or barista who came close enough to take it.
I framed it wistfully: oh, to be that idealistic! Cram all the idealism of a fresh-faced college grad in a face closer to forty than twenty-one. Hairdo like the top of a carrot. No connections, no prospects, nothing but spare time, and he thought he'd be the next Jay-Z. Told us, at length, about his plans once he had studio space, his release schedule once he found a distributor, his preferred venues once he went on tour. For him the world waited, and boy howdy, once he opened the right door and shook the right hands things would take off!
Ha ha ha, oh wow, right? Man, I wonder why no one ever--
CUE FLASHBACK TO JIM MEETING A COMEDY LEGEND BACK IN 2008.
I'd screwed up his drink three times. Three. And still I had the gall to say, as he picked up his cup: "Sir, I'm sorry, I have to ask you..."
And I was That Guy. I had no demo CD, just a gushing, nervous description of my improv and comedy and some half-formed sketches sloshing in my brain. I gave it all to him, unsolicited, along with his latte and asked: should I move to LA now or later?
This man was Comedy Incarnate. He'd seen a thousand different versions of me, and he could have brushed me off like dandruff, but instead he smiled and told me to keep at it; my career would tell me when it was time to make the move.
CUT BACK TO PRESENT DAY.
--oh, right. Because he should never stop being that idealistic.
Man. I hope he's the next Jay-Z.