Tonight most of The PO Life crew had a softball game. We lost in a heartbreaker, squashing any chance at the playoffs and really putting our collective athletic prowess into a realistic and humbling framework. About an hour before the game I was walking into a California Pizza Kitchen when I bumped into none other than the Chosen One, Bryce Harper. The conversation went something like this:
Me: “Bryce, (as I reach out for a handshake) it has been a real pleasure watching you play this year.”
Bryce: “Thanks man, that really means a lot” (while moving a plastic bag full of what seemed like a barbeque chicken pizza to his left hand).
Me: “Good luck the rest of the year.”
Bryce Harper: “I appreciate it”.
That was the entire conversation.
But you know what was a weird feeling? I was truly star struck. This kid is 19 years, he has never spent a day at a University (Not counting this http://www.csn.edu/pages/716.asp), he says things like “That’s a clown question bro” and wears t-shirts with the words “BEAST MODE” in huge black letters across them, and yet he is such a celebrity to me that the entire encounter with him is almost a blur, some strange distant reality that I had to text all my friends about and immediately bring up upon entering the softball field (and of course introduce the Friday Five with). What does this say about me as a person? Am I so ordinary that the mere sight of someone that significant literally puts me into a daze? I suppose so. The entire concept of celebrity is really laughable when you think about it, but I am as intrigued as the next guy. I digress; American’s obsession with the concept of “fame” is another topic for another day (and clearly a topic that shouldn’t be addressed by me as I am just a contributing member of the insatiable masses). I should also note that for what its worth Bryce seemed like a really nice guy.
More importantly, the meeting with the Chosen One got me thinking – is Bryce Harper the biggest celebrity I have ever met? I met Joe Paterno once, (insert some strange pedophiliac-themed joke referencing everything from Jerry Sandusky to Kitty Genovese here…. too soon? (Kitty, not Jerry) Either way, meeting JoePa didn’t really mean anything to me at the time because I was so young. I actually think Bryce Harper might be the biggest celebrity I have ever met…if there is some strange people met/celebrities met calculation, I believe I would belong in the “Holy Shit Bryce Harper is the Most Famous Person You Have Ever Met?” category.
All these considerations inspired today’s Friday Five. Since the top of my list is Bryce Harper – what would be the ultimate list? In the words of Plato; let us begin again – The Five People I Would Most Like to Meet:
I can’t stress enough how happy this picture makes me.
5. Albert Einstein
Many initial reactions may be: “way too low”; I should clarify that I am not a science guy at all. For a lot of people the conversation would be something like “how did you possibly dream up the theory of relatively?!!??!!” Then Einstein would reply with some weird technical bullshit and the conversation would be off. With me, that conversation would end abruptly and disappointingly. The singular reason big Al appears on this list is because I would want to be able to say “I met the smartest human being that ever lived”. Plus I speak a little bit of German so I hope we could relate (but wait, you are thinking, doesn’t this list HAVE to be working under the assumption that you can communicate with all of the individuals, after all, surely you can’t speak Aramaic…and we all know it’s coming. Yes, your thought is accurate, I just wanted to shamelessly plug that I know about 35 words of the language that the smartest man who ever lived spoke.)
4. Adolf Hitler
Sticking with the German theme (I know he was born in Austria -calm down), Hitler lands at number four on the list. Hitler is best known for two things:
1 – A crazed and misguided obsession with world dominance at any cost and by all possible means, coupled with an illogical and strangely ironic attempt to “vanillafy” Germany.
2. – Bad facial hair.
Der Fuhrer makes the list because he epitomizes all that is wrong with the human race. Lust for power, hubris, bigotry, racism, sexism, chauvinism, and any other evil “ism” you want to throw in there, all present with Adolf. Plus, he was just an awful painter. As terrible of an impact as he had on the world, it would be interesting to have a conversation with him. This meeting would allow me to make the claim “I have met the smartest human being who ever lived, and the man with the worst mustache of all time.”
*Not a real life image of Socrates
“The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways — I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.” Could you imagine actually saying something like that? I got excited when I didn’t botch my speech to run for President of the 6th grade, this dude was about TO DIE for corrupting the youth, and those are the words he left us with. It is tough to even comprehend what types of life lessons must have flown out of his daily vernacular considering this is the type of line he said on a regular enough basis to come up with minutes before his own people were going to kill him! Well, I would find out if I had a chance to meet him.
Some interesting topics that might be addressed:
“What do you think of your country’s current economic status?”(ohhhh)
“Is everyone in Greece gay?”
“Why do you refuse to write anything down?”
Sticking with my themes I now have the most intelligent, the most evil, is it fair to say that Socrates was the most logical? I think so, and that rounds out the bottom three nicely.
2. Abraham Lincoln
Honest Abe, such an iconic, epic, legendary man. Many people may be surprised by some of the lesser known facts about Abe Lincoln: only one of his four children survived to adulthood, he was clinically depressed for much of his life, he hunted vampires (amidst the cluttered and always expanding world of bad popcorn flicks that often take themselves too seriously, you almost have to tip your hat to Hollywood for that concoction). Lincoln is and will likely continue to be the President by which all other Presidents are measured. A guiding light in a time of murky prospects. The silent guardian, the watchful protector, the dark knight. Oops, wrong column. Anyway, there is nothing I can say here about Lincoln that won’t be repeating the blatantly obvious so I will leave you with this: when our country was at its darkest hour, Lincoln did what had to be done, rose to the occasion, was at his best, and changed our lives forever. Is it possible to be more American than that? So then if my list contains the smartest, most evil, and most logical, might we say that Lincoln is the most American? Sounds good to me.
Raised Catholic, I now find myself at that nebulous slightly Agnostic middle ground that frequently pops up in the religious checkbox of 20 somethings who don’t want to have to go to church on Sunday because they have 5 fantasy football teams. Nonetheless, I think anything but Jesus Christ in the #1 slot would be a travesty.
Consider the following:
– Many biblical scholars believe that none of the Gospel writers had ever actually met Jesus. (which makes the whole thing actually MORE impressive to me).
– Jesus died at age 33 (*source Nas)
– 1,985* years after his death, there are an estimated 2.1 Billion Christians on earth.
*For those of you at home that are checking my math, I am aware that due to a strange recording error Jesus was actually born in 6 BC.
All of these factors come together to show the absolutely astounding impact he had on this world. First of all just being able to concretely know that the guy existed would certainly be something to talk about. Regardless of your take on the historical Jesus, the definiteness of a meeting with him would be quite enticing. Secondly, you could find out if he is packing. I really don’t know what question I would ask Jesus to be honest, but I still can’t escape the idea that he is without a doubt that the most fascinating human being that has ever lived. I am once again not sure of the adjective to follow most with in regards to Jesus – holy? generous? influential? Whichever is chosen, I think it is tough to come up with a more interesting person to have a conversation with (and as noted earlier, we get to speak Aramaic!).
Obviously, I will never get to meet Jesus Christ, and likely the celebrity run ins I have will be more akin to the one earlier today. That being said, hypothetical situations such as these allow us to imagine what it would be like to take someone as ordinary as you and I and place us next to someone so incredibly extraordinary. I can only consider such things with the hopes that maybe some nugget of wisdom or word of advice would rub off (likely not from Hitler) and that I myself might be able to benefit from such inspiration. Hopefully we can all impact the world in some way to be considered significant… or at least get to the point where we are not at a near loss for words when we run into Bryce Harper at a California Pizza Kitchen.
So, who did I miss? What is the biggest snub? What say you?