Assaulting Tom Cruise-Part 1: Hit and run

Way before he was jumping on couches and eons before he was considered crazy – not creative – I met Tom Cruise. Well, met is a subjective term and I bet his security team remembers it a little differently than I do, but I’ll share with you how I remember our meeting.

I was studying abroad in London in the Spring of 1997 and Tom & Nicole Kidman were filming Eyes Wide Shut there so I just knew we were destined to meet – me and Nicole that is. You see, I had been carrying on a very elicit, top-secret romance with Nicole Kidman since the Fall of 1989. It was Dead Calm and I was anything but. I’m not one to kiss and tell, but we were hot and heavy. It was one of those timeless stories where the very sight of me would have her so overcome with passion and uncontrollable urges that she would just lunge at me right there. The only thing I needed was to get her to actually see me so that she could have that reaction and I could let her in on our secret romance.

They were having the premiere of Jerry Maguire in Leicester Square that night and I got all my friends to go. We were spread out across the crowd angling to get the best spots to see people, but I knew just where to go. I grabbed my friend Kate and we headed for the doorway. It was early, so we buddied up to these Swedish women at the front doorway and settled in for a wait until they arrived. More and more people started filling out the area and it got to be a really big crowd. The square was closed for the event and jam-packed with people.  

So you can get a clear picture of the area, the front doors of the theatre were the start of a red carpet that rolled out to the area where the cars let everyone out. On either side of the carpeting was the crowd fencing about three feet high and set up to keep the masses at bay. It looked like a big T with the doorway we were situated at being on the very bottom of the T and the cars drove up and let people out at the top of the T. We were in a good spot because everyone needed to come to us to get in and then back out to their waiting cars.

As time went by, we could spot certain friends through the crowd scattered all across the divide trying to get the best view and access. In the mean time, there was the guitarist from the New Power Generation (Prince’s old band) and there was Cube Gooding Jr (who would win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Jerry Maguire shortly after – I’m not saying that I was responsible for him winning in any way, but I have always thought of myself as a lucky person) and then Woody Harrelson (who would go on to lose the Oscar for The People vs. Larry Flynt to Geoffrey Rush for Shine shortly after) came along. I looked over and there is my crazy friend Janet not getting an autograph from Woody, but writing down her phone number for him. This was amazing on so many levels, but mostly because Janet neither had a great smile and personality nor was she attractive at all. She was a very cool girl, but not something you’d want to hit one night in London if you were famous and had your choice of anyone…I’m just saying. 

(I know she gave him her number because later that night when she had gotten back to her apartment, her roommate’s boyfriend had just hung up the phone twice when he answered and the voice on the other end said “Hi is Janet there, this is Woody Harrelson” – He thought it was a joke! She came busting in saying that she just met Woody Harrelson and gave him her number as the phone rang again. She answered that time and he invited her and her friends to an after-party at a private club so they all got to hang out with Woody, Cuba, and the guitarist from New Power Generation all night. I on the other hand went bar to bar through the night sharing my Tom Cruise Story with everyone who would listen and even some who wouldn’t)

So as I was waiting for the sight of Nicole so we could make our love connection known to the world or just make out depending on how she felt, I saw Tom and he wasn’t with Nicole – he was with Jonathan Lipnicki, the little boy from the movie. Not one to be deterred, I threw the two Swedish ladies in front of us out of the way and then got onto the crowd fencing and started screaming for Tom to come over. As we were right by the front door to the building, the security guards started to heckle me. “He isn’t coming over, he’s already gone. Where are you from New York, screaming like that. Do you see anyone else here yelling? He’s not going to come over…” With that I stood straight up on the crowd fencing and screamed at the top of my lungs “HEY TOM…TOMMMMMMM – GET OVER HERE!!! At this point he stopped dead in his tracks (as did the crowd who all of a sudden got a little quieter and turned towards me) and started walking towards me. I quickly turned to the security guards and said “what do you think of that!” and looked over to see Kate hysterical crying at the sight of Tom Cruise literally steps away from her and I turned back to see Tom stepping up to me with a huge smile.

He put out his hand to shake mine and I don’t exactly know what came over me but instead of shaking his hand, I leaned across the crowd fencing I was standing on and grabbed his upper arm and pulled him about two feet closer right up face to face and got all up in his grill. My immediate thought was – what a great suit – nice material – but then I started screaming (literally inches from his face) “WHERE’S NICOLE – WHERE”S NICOLE – I LOOOOOOOVVVVVVE HER!!!” and everyone around us just went silent. He bust out hysterically laughing and tried to adjust his suit that I had just grabbed and then he goes “She’s filming, I love her too!” and started laughing at me. That’s when I really got out of control. I started screaming, to no one in particular, about how he was going to go home and tell her about me. (Of course, someone just grabs you and gets all up on you screaming about your wife and you don’t tell her?) I just  knew that Nicole would know about me in a matter of hours and it was just a matter of time now before she came looking for me and all sorts of crazy ramblings that make sense when you’ve had a bit much to drink as well….A reporter from Access Hollywood tried to come up and interview me but I was too hyped up and Kate was still hysterical crying at having just met him…She tried to ask us questions, but I ripped the microphone out of her hand and screamed in her face – “What’s wrong with you – Didn’t I just tell you he’s going to go home and tell Nicole about me???Nicole knows about me!!” Tom looked back at me still screaming and carrying on like one of those nine-year old Asian girls with the Hello Kitty knapsacks in the Michael Jackson videos and then he laughed and got into his car and pulled away.  

Then it hit me – I’m going to take the cardboard movie placard that he just leaned on and bring it to the Rosie O’Donnell Show – she loves Tom and she’ll get Nicole on to meet me. It’s amazing how the dynamics of a twisted mind work – because this seemed like such a reasonable plan to me. I ripped that placard off the crowd fencing and the thing was as wide and long as a dining room table, but I didn’t care. We took that placard to every bar that night as we went to celebrate meeting Tom and my eventual intro to Nicole.

I brought that to our apartment and hung it above our mantle. Anyone and everyone who was on our Study Abroad program heard about that placard and story on a daily basis. The day we were flying back home, everyone told me that they would never let me get the placard on the plane and I knew it would get ruined if I shipped it. I did the only thing a reasonable person would do in a situation like that: I forged Tom Cruise’s signature on the back of the placard and told the British Airways people that I was auctioning it off for charity in NY and it was Tom’s autograph and very valuable. The stewardesses let me put it in  back of the last row of seats on the plane home so nothing happened to it and I got it back to NY intact – now, how to get it to Rosie…Stay tuned later this week for the continuation of this story and hear about what happened when I told Rosie all about it!

I hate birds: Part One – London (long but worth it)

I have fear and loathing and more than just a mild disgust for birds. More than disgust, I actually hate all kinds of birds: cardinals, pigeons, vultures, thunderbirds, anything.  It’s not the movie that did it to me because I actually really like anything by Hitchcock, and when Darlene dressed up as Tippi Hedren on Roseanne‘s Halloween episode it was genius. Like I said, it isn’t the movie that made me hate birds – it’s the birds that have actually attacked me. Not just circling the car at the McDonald’s by the water that my mother used to take us to when we were little, but I have actually been attacked more than once by vigilante birds looking for trouble. Here is part one of my vendetta against birds…

 

When I studied abroad in London, we didn’t live in dorms on campus. We lived in apartment building across the way from Marble Arch and the Speaker’s Corner section of Hyde Park. Now, I will go into the stories about that building with the poor tenants that we terrorized, Neville the always drunk doorman, and the convenience store at the foot of the building where Crazy Mary and I forced the cashier to hang a photo of us on the register at another time or this entry will be ten pages long.

 

The building was in a great location, and from the outside looked perfect, but the place was filthy and infested with roaches the size of matchbox cars. I would get out of the shower and see my towel speeding down the hallway on the back of what looked like a small toy yorkie. Anyone that knows me, is scratching their heads right now and saying with my Extreme OCD – how the hell did I live with roaches and I hear you. Wanna know how – ALMOST DAILY ALCOHOL BLACKOUTS. It was either that or go back home…

 

There were five of us living there and the rooming situation was like this: Me and Jeff shared a room because we got along really well and he used to sleep at his girlfriend Laura’s room across town a lot so it was almost like having my own room half the time, Gregg and Brian shared a room because Brian’s girlfriend got the single room in  her apartment on the ninth floor and Chris ended up with the single in our apartment because none of us really liked him or wanted to share a room with him. Stop it right now, I know what you’re thinking and that is not a mean thing to say because in this world, we don’t have to like everybody and something was really wrong with him!

 

The only good part about the apartment was that we had a housekeeper, but the negatives far outweighed that: the stove and the oven were very ghetto and didn’t work and the washing machine only sporadically worked and there was no air conditioning; it was like the London version of Clayton Street. My other big gripe was that there were no screens on the windows. We were on the fourth floor and we were always hanging out those windows to heckle people on the street or to throw things at our friends below and having screens on those windows would have kept us restrained inside the windows. Or kept other things out…

 

As a preface to this next bit, I need to tell you that I am a very heavy sleeper. I have slept through policemen & firemen, alarms & sirens, and one time, an actual fire. I put my blinders on and I’m out! (Brookstone Tempur Blinders are amazing by the way – it is literally as if you took your head and shoved it right up a sheep’s ass – They are that comfortable!) I also don’t move when I’m asleep, so I’m a little bit like a dead body laying there with my mouth open as if rigor mortis has just set in. People have made fun of me for years, but I just cannot sleep without the blinders. In addition to the blinders, I desperately need air conditioning or an open window with a cool breeze because I am a very hot person. (Yes, I know that is what all those girls in college always used to say about me, but I am talking about temperature right now).

 

One night after a particularly drunk evening, I was wasted and needed to get some rest. I took out my contact lenses, took off my clothes, opened the window because the room was so hot, put on my blinders and passed out. My roommate Jeff was away in Paris with his girlfriend, so I didn’t have to contend with his usual snoring.

 

I awoke from my dead sleep at about 8:30 AM to my shoulder being repeatedly poked very hard. My immediate thought was that it was one of my roommate’s ready to get his ass kicked for disturbing me, but I lifted my blinders to find a pigeon on my shoulder pecking me with its beak. A fucking filthy pigeon was attacking me! I thought that I was hallucinating again and was squinting because I didn’t have my contacts in. That pigeon was all up in my grill shaking its beak and staring me in the eye as if to say “What’s up, Dude.” I started screaming like a little girl and tried to get it off me with my hand, but it freaked out and went nuts! That pigeon clenched its claws and dug into my shoulder and really scratched me up (it drew blood!) and then it really freaked out! I threw that mother fucker off me and it landed onto Jeff’s bed. As it got it’s bearings, it tried to fly away and started crashing into walls and was making the most terrible screeching imaginable.

 

I was on the floor by this time, since I had fallen out of the bed in the commotion and was trying to get out of the door and see how badly that pigeon tore up my shoulder. At the same time that I was trying to get out the room, my roommate Gregg burst in and smashed me in the head with the door. He turned on the light, saw me on the ground, the pigeon crashing from wall into wall into wall shitting everywhere and he ran out the door and shut it behind him. He almost closed my head in the door because he tried to slam it shut to lock the pigeon in.

 

I got free and ended up in a ball trying to compose myself on the hallway floor while our other two roommates came to see what was going on. I couldn’t even tell them what happened because I started to get myself worked up and freaking out that it might have shit in my mouth (because I sleep with my mouth open) and started gagging. They, of course, thought me getting attacked in my bed was the most hysterical thing ever but I was like “get that fucking thing out of here.” And of course, I was bleeding from where it got me in the shoulder.

 

Gregg went to open the door very slowly when the noise had settled down because he said it probably flew out the window, which must be how it must have gotten into the room. He looked in the room and saw the pigeon perched atop Jeff’s dresser. Apparently, the banging we heard was the pigeon knocking everything off of Jeff’s dresser. Gregg shut the door and turned back to me and said “the window is closed – how could it have gotten in here?” I thought about it and remembered that I had gotten up at about 5:30 AM and closed the window because it was raining…Oh my God, how long was it on me? It had been in the room for almost three hours with me…

 

Between the four of us, no one would go into the room to get the pigeon out. After round one with my flying friend, I was certainly not going back in there or anywhere near that thing and I would have gladly slept on the couch and left it in there. Finally, my friend Crazy Mary came over and said she would get it out. She went into the room with a loaf of bread and I thought she was going to feed it but she was throwing the slices of bread like a frisbee at the pigeons to get it to move. That pigeon just sat there staring at her with a quizzical look as if to say “what are you doing, crazy girl?” She connected with one good shot and that slice of bread whacked the pigeon right in the head. That pigeon let out such a screech and kamikaze pilot flew right at her and almost hit her in the face. It whizzed right past her and into the bathroom and she didn’t even flinch. I, on the other hand, was once again screaming like a little girl and almost shit my pants as I dove down the hallway to get out of the pigeon’s way as it zoomed past.

 

The pigeon flew out the bathroom window a little bit later on, but not before it left a ton of shit all over the bathroom in addition to the lovely gifts it had left earlier in my bedroom. Fortunately for me, the pigeon shit mostly on Jeff’s stuff and his side of the room. The unfortunate news was that when Jeff came home the next day, he didn’t find that as funny as we did.  He kept blaming me as if I invited that pigeon to come in and date rape me. I had a really big scratch on my shoulder for a long time where the pigeon attacked me and for the rest of my time in London I NEVER slept with the windows open again. To this day, I still get uneasy whenever I sleep with the windows open…