CHiPs, dentists, douchebaggery, Erik Estrada, Erik Estrada > Larry Wilcox, Fonzie, gluttony, Keanu Reeves, Kevin Costner, Larry Wilcox, Steve, Tardsie's True-Ass Tales, washed-up celebrities, Where Are They Now?, with friends like these
I’ve told you before about my friend Steve, a guy I met in college. Steve is a nice guy, but back in our school days there was something about him, some weird quirk in his personality that went all the way to his DNA which made a person want to fuck with him. If a dude was gonna get decorated with a permanent marker, stuck with an ugly nickname or have a figurative rug yanked from beneath his feet during a moment of male bonding, it would be Steve. It’s hard to write this without sounding like a complete asshole (not least because at times we were complete assholes), but Steve brought a lot of it on himself. He was our pal, but there was an anger, an abrasiveness to him that, when combined with his constant need to impress, created an irritating cocktail that could sour even the sweetest nature.
One day, a bunch of us decided to go to McDonald’s for $0.25 hamburger day. We invited Steve, but as was sometimes his wont, he was being a whiny little dick, and for whatever reason didn’t want to go. Later, as we gorged upon a needlessly-massive pile of crappy burgers, we got to talking about how much of an anal wart Steve was being, and somebody remarked that it would be cool if we ran into a celebrity while we were eating lunch (not technically impossible–however unlikely–as we lived in the Greater Los Angeles area). “How pissed would Steve be if he missed out on seeing a celebrity?”
Pretty pissed, it was agreed. And so an idea began to form. What if we just told Steve we’d seen a celebrity? He’d never be the wiser. The possibilities for wicked fun rapidly began to suggest themselves. We knew we would have to choose our celebrity wisely, as this particular McDonald’s was in the ‘hood and about 20 miles from Hollywood. It was highly unlikely Steve would believe we’d seen the likes of Keanu Reeves or Kevin Costner¹ in this shithole. We’d have to think smaller.
But the Latino Fonzie was still too big for our McDonald’s. However, Larry Wilcox, the forgettable white dude who played his partner wasn’t. We had our ‘celebrity.’
My friend Giuseppe had the best handwriting,² and writing on McDonald’s napkins, he made individual “Larry Wilcox” autographs for everyone in the group, adding a personalized message at the end. After some thought, he made one for Steve as well.
When we got back to campus and told him the story of meeting Larry Wilcox, as we hoped, Steve was pissed at having missed meeting Officer Jon Baker in the flesh. However, his disappointment quickly turned to joy when he saw we’d remembered to bring back an autograph for him along with our own. He proudly displayed the forged document on the front of his dorm room door for all to see. It remained there for the rest of the year.