The story you're about to hear is true.
The names were not changed to protect the innocent. Because this is a story about Sly. And Sly is anything but innocent.
Sly's a dick.
I know you're wondering.
Yeah, it's that Sly.
Mr. Tough Guy, Sylvester Stallone.
On the eve of his newest crappy movie, Driven-gee, I hope this one doesn't bomb like every other one of his movies in the last ten years-it's time to tell my story.
If you know me and you've heard this before, I apologize.
But the fact is…I just feel the need to start hating him again.
You see, last summer I was in Toronto with my family. It was one part work and one part family vacation. Thanks to the one part work part, we were able to stay in a really nice hotel. A really, really nice hotel. The Four Seasons.
Because of the value of the Canadian dollar, there's often quite a bit of television and movie production in Canada. So in a major town like Toronto, in a hotel like the Four Seasons, it's not surprising that you might run into a couple of celebrities in the lobby or on the elevator.
Our first couple of days there, we saw Mike Myers and Richard Dreyfuss.
Our third day, we were at the pool when this guy walked over, took off his robe off, and jumped in wearing a bright red thong.
Loser, I thought.
It was Gregory Hines.
He had a nice ass, by the way.
Later that night, the kids were sleeping, and my wife and I were lying in bed watching tv when she decided that she needed some chips and salsa. And a margarita.
Much to my delight, chips and salsa and margaritas weren't available on the menu at the hotel, but the concierge was kind enough to suggest a little place across the street where I could find what I was looking for.
So I got dressed and walked across the street. To the Latino dance club.
I can't begin to tell you how white I felt.
How can people move their bodies like that?
Thankfully, the bartender saw the fear in my eyes and got me what I needed. As I made my way back across the street, I noticed something strange.
Please understand, I pride myself on being an observant guy, and I was quick to pick up the fact that something was a little different.
"That's odd," I thought. "I don't remember four fire trucks and a dozen firemen in front of the hotel when I walked out."
Not everyone would've noticed this.
As I made my way into the hotel, I saw my wife and kids sitting on the floor in the lobby. They seemed ok, just a little shaken.
What happened, I asked.
My wife explained to me that after I walked out, a voice came over the intercom saying that smoke had been detected on the first floor, and everyone needed to exit their rooms. Because of the smoke, however, they asked everyone to leave via the stairwell.
By this time, both kids were up, frightened and crying. My wife was obviously scared, too, probably because her big, strapping incredibly handsome husband wasn't there to help.
Either that, or she was thinking about Gregory Hines's banana hammock again.
Anyway, my wife grabbed both kids in her arms, made her way to the stairwell, and started to walk down eight flights of stairs.
Suddenly, she heard someone coming from the stairs above. Thank God, she thought! Someone for comfort. Someone who may be able to help.
She looked up, and guess who came around the corner?
Yep. Sylvester Stallone.
She looked at him and said, "Oh my gosh, Sylvester Stallone."
He looked at her, saw two crying kids in her arms, and did the only thing you'd expect Sylvester Stallone to do at a moment like this.
He walked right by her.
As my wife later said, "I almost started laughing. Here I am, carrying two screaming kids down eight flights of stairs and Rocky is three steps ahead of me the whole way."
By the time she was telling me the story, she was actually giggling about it. Everybody was safe. And we had a good story to tell everyone back home.
But wait. There's more.
The next day, I was telling everyone what happened. Someone casually said to me, "Y'know, The Enquirer or the Star would love something like this."
Everybody laughed. Except me. I thought it was a really good idea.
So I found a copy of the Star, I opened it, and wouldn't you know, I saw an ad that said, "Got a story? Call the Star."
Well, I'm pretty good at following directions. I had a story. So I called the Star.
I got an operator. An extremely indifferent operator.
"Hi," I said. "I'm in Toronto and my wife had an experience with Sylvester Stallone last night that wasn't very pleasant."
Suddenly, she lost her indifference.
"One moment please, sir. I'll connect you."
She put me in touch with one of their reporters. He took down my name and number and said that if they ran our story, we'd get a little bit of money.
Cash? Now we're talking my language, baby.
He asked me to recount the whole story. And so I did. Just like I'm telling you.
I went to get chips. Fire alarm. Wife carrying kids. Stallone. Stairwell. Walked right by. Didn't help.
Blah. Blah. Blah.
The beauty of the whole thing, however, was that while I was telling him the details, he was re-interpreting it as only the Star can.
ME: So then my wife is in the stairwell with both crying kids. Sylvester Stallone comes down, looks at them, and just keeps going.
REPORTER: So what you're saying is…as your terrified family was huddled in the corner of the barren stairwell fearful of the burning blaze below, Sly whipped around the corner, pushed them aside, and then did everything he could to escape to freedom.
ME: Um, OK. I kinda said that.
It went on and on and on like this. I was in awe.
This man was a genius.
ME: Y'know, when it was all over, my wife said to me, "It was fun seeing Sylvester Stallone. But jeez, any decent human being would've asked to help me, don't'cha think?
REPORTER: So what you're saying is…Cathy said, "Stallone may be a hero on the big screen, but he's a cowardly little man in my eyes."
ME: You're good.
REPORTER: Thank you.
The next week, there it was. Page 8 of The Star:
STALLONE BRANDED COWARD IN HOTEL FIRE DRAMA.
It's now framed and hanging in my basement.
Sly, on the even of the opening of your new movie, I truly wish you all the luck in the world. I hope it's a big success.
So what I'm saying is…see you on the 99 cent five-day rental rack at Blockbuster.