Musings of the Reverend Meduri and Dr. Jackass
"Elden Tyrell bought me lunch"
Normally, living in Los Angeles is not the Star-speckled circus that the 'Great Glass Tit' would have you believe. In the last 5 years that I have been living in LA, I have not been privy to an abundance of celebrity sighting, nor have I cared. Once, when at Universal Studios with my parents, who, being from the wild and ass-backwards state of Oregon, thought that seeing Jay Leno interviewing for his "Jaywalking" segment was about the coolest thing you could see in the infinitely diverse sprawl of Southern California. Upon see that I replied "It's just
Jay Leno." Needless to say about such things, I don't give a shit.
Yesterday I was walking to the Whole Foods Market on my lunch hour. The grocery strike is in full effect and my solicitation of the "healthy" supermarket is only due to the fact that I don't want to be spit on by striking box boys. Grabbing some "organic" bagels and some red pepper hummus (how the hell do they make so many wacky kind of hummus?... the world may never know) I was cruising down the natural-stained wood aisles, dodging the olive bar and trying to stay clear of the menagerie of sage-scented hippies, Brentwood housewives and other working stiffs in shirts-and-ties. I spied this thin, old guy walking around who looked remotely familiar. He was wearing gray slacks and a black zip-up windbreaker coat. He also had enormous specs, whose prescription seemed strong enough to kill a donkey, that had the Dwayne Wayne flip shades option.
I finished browsing and got into the Express Lane only to find that he was in line in front of me. Looking closer, I began to feel the tiny twinge of recognition that I had before blowing up into a revelation. My brain began working on drudging out a name from the depths of it's cob-webbed abyss. He made a comment to the lady in front of her that the Whole Foods Market was probably happy about the strike because of their increase in business. I smiled courteously because the woman at the register didn't look amused (she'd probably heard that a dozen times already that day). Then, this guy pulled out a wad of cash, that, when doubled over, was around 2 inches thick. He thumbed through trying to find the correct bill and a 'Washington' slipped out of his hand and feel to rest at his feet. He did not seem to notice it happened. I then spoke up and said, "Sir, I think you dropped a dollar." He looked up at me, smiled and exclaimed: "You're an honest man!" I smiled. I would never be so stupid as to filch a dropped dollar in front of 8 staring people in the express line behind me. Plus, is a dollar worth the guilty conscience? No. Then, the rusty cogs started turning and his name flashed into my brain: Turkel.
If I was right, I was standing in front of Elden Tyrell. President of the Tyrell Corporation and inventor of those devious Replicants. A gleaming representative from what I consider to be the best movie ever made (yet), Blade Runner. I had to ask. "You're name wouldn't happen to be Turkel would it?" He looked up again and said, "Yes. Joseph Turkel." Then, fumbling for words I prosletized shaking his hand, "Blade Runner is the best..." "The best movie ever made? Yes it is." He interrupted. By this time, I probably looked like a dumbfounded mammal wandering onto the freeway. He then asked, "Did you see the Shining?" And before I could respond he added, "I played Lloyd." I exclaimed, more of an afterthought, "Yes, the ghost bartender..." and trailed off.
Seeing that we were holding up the line, he looked at the cashier and said, "I'm going to buy you lunch." I started to argue "No, no, that's not necessary... please." At this point we talked over one another and all I wanted was to end the embarassment. For sake of the people behind me in line, (and of course, my desire to not spend my remaining money, which in comparison to the man I was standing next to was as insignificant and insect dung) I agreed. He then explained, "I want to buy you this because you're an honest man, and there aren't many of you left." I replied, beaming "Thanks, but I would have done it for anyone." Paying for my lunch with a twenty he asked: "Are you an actor?" "No, I'm a documentary filmmaker," trying to not sound as pretentious as any struggling film pleb sounds in these situations. "Great, great, keep it up," he replied with surprising vigor in a genuinely encouraging tone.
He grabbed his groceries and said, "Look out for me, I'm doing a movie soon and if you call me up, you'll be first in line." He smiled once again, patted me on the shoulder and exited stage right. As he walked off, the lady waiting in line behind me snuck up and observed: "What a great investment. Giving back a dollar for an 8 dollar lunch." (Nevermind that wasn't an accurate estimate of the price). I grabbed my food and began to walk out of the store, smiling wide and half-laughing at the coincidence.
Clearly, Turkel was most likely impressed that someone remembered him and his name. I assume that it's still an ego-boost to get recognized by a complete stranger even if your greatest role is in a movie over 20 years old (barely younger than myself). I could be wrong and he has a USC or UCLA film student drooling on his loafers at every corner. Or maybe honesty is a welcome change when your lifestyle is inexorably peppered with people determined to make money enough to fuck other less-shark-like fellows over. It seems as if being good-natured has earned me a little bit of respect. Even a little bit is enough for me.