7 Times I Almost Changed the World; Featuring James Garner, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Dubya’s Daddy

I came close to changing the world at least seven times.

1. George Herbert Walker Bush — He was running for his second term. He was dog-tired and disappointed that Americans didn’t give him props for whupping Saddam in Gulf War 1. And he was being hammered by a vibrant, young Bill Clinton.

One of my PR clients was a wealthy Texas real estate mogul, and I was invited along to meet Dubya’s Daddy. While standing in line, I decided what I was going to say.

“Mr. President, America needs you, not that slimeball Slick Willie. But he is kicking your sagging bottom and making you look like a farty old loser. Mr. President, you need to get your mind right. Quit whining, and go win the friggin’ election, would you please?”

When I was the second in line to shake his hand, the Secret Service guys shuffled him off, before I could rant. And the rest is history. He lost the presidency. And I was not fired for going mental around POTUS.

2. Dave Barry —  In about 1990, I was in Dallas at a Dave Barry book-signing. I bought three copies of his book “Dave Barry Does Japan” for me and a wonderful client.

After waiting in line for an hour, I asked Dave to write: “To Barbara, a world class real estate PR gurette. From your greatest admirer, Dave Barry.”

Dave asked me what a “gurette” was (answer: “a female guru”. Duh.). But before he could personalize the book, Dave’s annoying P.R. Barbie stormed up to say that this was NOT ALLOWED.

Sadly, after weeks strumpetting his book, Dave was too weak to resist. Worse, he failed to seize the moment, to grasp that he and I were destined to become the next great humor guru writing team.

Which is why Dave Barry went on to achieve nothing in life.

3. James Garner — I was born and raised in Norman, Oklahoma.  My Mom, on a few occasions, dated another Norman resident – James Bumgarner. My Dad, also on a few occasions, snuck his Dad’s car out so he and Jim could go booze it up.

Had Mom been faster on the draw and married James Garner (he dropped the “Bum” in Hollywood), I could have been way taller and much better looking.

Sure, there might not have been a HogsAteMySister, but that’s a sacrifice the world would have had to bear.

4. Alan Alda —  In 1986, I had just returned from Singapore,  flush with cash and ready to become a famous writer. So when I heard that Alan Alda was attending a black tie function in Dallas, I decided to stalk Hawkeye. It was my destiny.

I waited by his limo for hours,but about midnight I gave up. But first, I handed his limo driver a brown envelope that held my resume and a note that clearly explained why Alan and I were meant to be a writing team.

Sadly, Alan’s Dad died soon after that night, so he did not call me.  But about a year later, I did get a hand-written note thanking me for me “interesting” approach, but politely explaining that he did not require my services, and that he had obtained a restraining order. Kidding about the last bit.

Tragically, Alan’s career, like Dave Barry’s, has gone downhill ever since he spurned me.

5. Jerry Lee Lewis — Which brings us to the Killer.

As a reporter in Waco, ack, Texas, I got the chance to interview legendary singer and complete ass-hat Jerry Lee Lewis.

This was about nine months after he’d had emergency stomach surgery and almost died. But because he is meaner than a snake, Jerry Lee did not die.  Instead, he was on the comeback trail yet again, this time performing at the Cowboy Club in Mexia, Texas.

I drove 42 miles to Mexia and waited and waited and waited, in a ginormous bar jammed with 12 billion cowboys smoking ceegars and wearing Stetsons, and 12 billion cowgirls wearing denim skirts, big hair and bad makeup.

Finally, two hours late, Jerry Lee entered the bar. After another hour’s wait, I was begrudgingly granted a brief audience with the cousin-marrying Killer.

In our short, but unpleasant interview, Jerry Lee and I developed a mutual understanding.  He thought I was a butt wipe reporter.  I thought he, more than anything in the world, needed me to break a cue stick over his fat head.

Had I properly thumped the enormous douche bag, the world would have been a much better place, goodness gracious, great balls of fire.

6. Phil the Idjit Razorback, — In my defense, I had no idea people from Arkansas were such idiots. So when I was in Singapore, and an Arkansas friend’s brother needed a traveling companion, I saw no harm in touring through Malaysia with Him and drinking many adult beverages with him in a rural bar in Kuantan.

I did not expect Phil to drop his pants and moon the entire bar when we left, or for two carloads of VERY insulted Malaysians to jump us.  Had I been a step slower, I would have died before getting married and raising *Junior, my awesome musician son.  And, truly, the world would be a much poorer place.

7. Dean “the Stream” Blevins — Back in 1972, when I was a junior at Normal High School, I heard that I was FINALLY going to suit up for the football-playing Tigers and play on the hallowed Astroturf of Owen Stadium, home of the OU Sooners.  Man oh man, was I ever fired up. And forgetful.

Just before the team bus left, I had to RACE back into the locker room to get my helmet. Unfortunately, Dean Blevins, the Tigers’ superstar quarterback, who was hobbled on crutches, happened to meet me in the doorway. I pole-axed him.

He fell backwards onto a desk in our meeting room, whimpering in pain, and elevating his already injured ankle. Had that collision been a split second later, I would have hit him in what our legendary coach called the jewel box.

And Dean would not have gone on to this, this and certainly not this, which is the most hysterical live radio interview ever. (Trust me on this.)

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*But wait, there’s more! Click here and here to enjoy two amazing original tunes from our No. 1 son, Eli.




4 Responses to “7 Times I Almost Changed the World; Featuring James Garner, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Dubya’s Daddy”

  1. Yeah, but if you had been James Garner’s son, you’d have had your first quadruple bypass when you were like 8. These things tend to balance out.

    • hams says:

      Maybe so. But being tall and studly is worth a few wee bypasses. Easily. Plus also, there’s going to see Uncle Clint and all the Hollywood Aunties. Whoa.

  2. Kris says:

    Happy sighs that I am able to say I know you now.

    I am just so certain that our meeting is the thing that will turn both our lives around and make us fabulously wealthy and famous.

    Hush.

    My dad was almost Chuck Norris.

    I will kick your ass.

    And that last link?

    Awesomely hysterical.

    Kris

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