Wednesday, September 21, 2011
We were walking near the Spanish Steps, a famous place in Rome. It was late at night, the usually busy piazza was mostly vacant. Joe and I were a few steps ahead of our wives, Jannah and Michelle. We were on a vacation together, catching all of the sights of the ancient city. Then, we encountered a sight that, in the eyes of Jannah and Michelle, trumped all of those places. It was something more beautiful than the Vatican, the Colosseum, and the Pantheon.
Joe and I didn’t notice it at first, but the girls had stopped and veered off.
What we missed out on was this conversation:
Jannah: Oh my gosh, is that Jon Hamm?
Michelle: I think it is.
Indeed, Mad Men’s Jon Hamm was walking by with his girlfriend arm in arm. Jon Hamm is known as a heartthrob. He is a good actor, in a popular show, and, I have to admit, very handsome, especially in person. I haven’t watched too much of the show, but Michelle was, and is, a lover of all things Mad Men.
Joe and I turned around when we heard the commotion. Before I can figure out what is going on, Joe has a camera shoved into his hand, while we’re left trying to figure out who that handsome guy is between our wives.
Here is how the conversation went after that:
Jannah, Michelle, and Jon are getting ready for the picture.
Jannah: We love you in Mad Men.
Joe: I liked you better in 30 Rock.
Then, it all of the sudden hit me who was standing with us.
Jeff: John Hamm’s John Hamm!
It was a sketch on Saturday Night Live when he hosted. The bit was that while you’re sitting on the John, you could be enjoying a slice of ham. So, rather than toilet paper in the stall, there was a roll of sliced ham in it’s place. It’s really funny. Here it is. There was no time that existed from realization of who he was to me yelling out the sketch he was in.
The best part?
What Michelle said to the guy from a show that she loves, who she thinks is dreamy, and has his arm around her. Immediately after my exclamation excitedly proclaimed to Jon Hamm.
Michelle: That toilet paper is amazing!
Then, poof, the moment was over. He and his girlfriend walked off into the Italian night. Our girls were giggly about it most of the night. They kept looking at the picture. It was perfect, he looked good, and they both looked good too.
The worst part?
A few nights later we were in Brussels for the second leg of our journey eating dinner at a restaurant when Jannah’s purse, with her camera inside of it, was stolen off the back of her chair while we ate dinner. All of their European vacation pictures were gone, along with the picture of Michelle and Jannah with Jon Hamm. Joe and Jannah were devastated. So was Michelle.
Now, she’s asking me to talk to John Hamm for her.
Why? Because I got cast as an extra for an episode of Mad Men next week. I’m excited, and Michelle is even more so. I’ve complained on here about Central Casting, because I’ve rarely found any parts listed that even fit my very plain, perfect for background work self. Now that TV shows are filming again, I’m seeing more, so I called and submitted myself for the Mad Men listing. I got a call back in the afternoon saying that I had been selected for the role of a 1960s businessman.
In Hollywood, extra work is about the lowest form of acting you can do. It’s looked down upon. It’s like someone trying to become a chef, taking a job at a McDonalds. I’ve also heard that extras are treated horribly and herded around like cattle. But, screw that, I’m excited about it. Maybe it’s no fun, but I want to know that for myself. Maybe it’s not that highly regarded, but I’m going to be on a TV set, dressed like my grandpas in their heyday. I may not get paid much, but I’m going to be getting paid. Yes, I would love to be creating exquisite dishes, but I don’t mind making some quarter pounders in the meantime.
It’s one of those things that when I moved I thought, “In the least I’ll do some extra work and it will be cool to be exposed to real sets.” I’ve been frustrated that I haven’t been able to do my “at least” goal. Now, I can check it off.
Plus, it makes my wife very, very happy.
Hopefully, there will be a time when Jon Hamm are both in the bathroom. He’ll stand up after doing his business and walk to the sink to wash his hands. I’ll time it so that I’m doing the same thing. Then, we’ll dry our hands and walk to the door. He’ll grab the door and hold it open for me, because that’s what nice Missouri boys do. I’ll slowly pass by him in my high waisted ’60s pants. While I’m passing by I’ll say, in a cool Don Draper sort of voice, “That toilet paper is amazing.”
I’ll take a couple of steps and then I’ll turn and see a look of remembrance fall over his face.