In my last post, Mission from God – I’m the long lost sister of Jake and Elwood Blues, I paid tribute to Blues Brothers, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. Like Elwood and Jake, I am on a Mission from God – but – my mission is all about spreading laughter, not reuniting a blues band to benefit orphans. Potato-potatoe.
On Friday, February 3, 2012, hundreds of Aykroyd fans congregated at Total Wine in Claymont, Delaware to get a glimpse of the laughter legend up close, very, very close.
I drove to Total Wine thinking I owned the joint or rather, owned the state. With my Philadelphia, Pennsylvania snobbery in place (PA is a real state, DE is a pimple on another state), I thought: “There can’t possibly be much of a wait to see Aykroyd. It’s DelaWHERE?! Our population is about 451 people, tops.”
When I arrived in the parking lot at Total Wine I noticed organized Ghostbuster insanity. Dan Aykroyd groupies, fans with proton packs and vodka aficionados lined the sidewalk hundreds deep. I start thinking “Oh. Crap”, “I have to pee already” and “Abandon Mission.”
Based on local news reports the day after “Aykroyd landed in DE” I learned people gathered from miles to get their autographed Crystal Head Vodka bottles.
This either means we’re big alcoholics in the Delaware Valley or we’re simply starved for attention from Hollywood. It’s probably both.
After two hours of standing in the cold, yukking it up and laughing with anyone in my proximity, I finally gained entrance into the warmth of the Total Wine store. My feet were almost frozen solid in my red cowgirl boots. I considered cracking open a bottle of vodka as soon as I bought it just to warm up my piggy toes. (Note: I didn’t.)
Confessions: Live Aid and Queen of Vodka
The last time I stood in line for anything was in 1985 for Live Aid tickets at the Springfield Mall. Yes, I am that old. Shut your pie hole about it. I’m not coping with the aging process well. My official age is (and has been) 39 for the last few years. Capiche?
When I saw the line at Total Wine I had flashbacks of waiting 12 hours for Live Aid tickets. I wanted my Blues Brothers shot but there was no way in hell I was waiting longer than it takes to digest pizza to get it.
While I working on the concept for my Mission from God/Jake and Elwood Had Boobs post, I was also trolling and multi-tasking on
Crackbook Facebook. Thanks to my buddy Bait’s Facebook feed I learned I had a bigger than a small chance in hell of meeting Elwood Blues at Total Wine. At that moment I decided I was on a mission to meet Dan Aykroyd.
I decided to stop thinking wussy thoughts about freezing on sidewalk and becoming an adult sized girl-sicle. Suck it up Christa and put your big girl panties on! As long as photos were permitted I was going to get the damn shot. Period.
I refused to go back to the City of Wilmington ‘hood-burbs without proof I met Elwood Blues.
Back in my professional partying hey-day I was the Queen of Vodka. We were very close. You could say we dated. No, we went steady. Vodka was my sauce of choice before my liver started to audibly laugh at me. If I have more than one cocktail these days, I’m annihilated. My friends call me the “light weight”. It’s embarrassing.
Once I got close to Aykroyd I learned photos were permitted and encouraged. I could see the goal. I had the ball and I was ready to SCORE!
The guy behind me in line, JR (or was it RJ?) offered to take a picture of me with Elwood Blues with my not-so-trusty cell phone camera.
Before I left my house to attend the only other event in the area bigger than a UFO sighting or Punkin Chunkin, I grabbed one of my Laffy Laffalot toys. I thought it apropos for Laughter Icon Aykroyd to meet Laughter Icon Laffy (my fiance). I knew Dan Akryoyd was a native of Canada and read somewhere he had done some work supporting kids charities in his native land.
Dan Meet Laffy
I wasn’t nervous about meeting Dan as I approached him. I was more interested in acknowledging him as a laughter icon and introducing him to Laffy.
When I pressed one of Laffy’s buttons, he looked up and smiled. He seemed genuinely intrigued. I told him Laffy was invented by Steve Islava, a paramedic/firefighter from California. I explained I was gifting him a Laffy to honor the work he’s done for children’s charities and sick kids and because he is a laughter icon.
Whether by humor, comedy, jokes or toys, laughter is a force for great joy and healing.
Time spent laughing is time spent with the Gods.— Japanese Proverb
I know Dan Aykroyd meets thousands of people. I know he was at the event selling vodka. I also know he is an actor. That said, I honestly got the sense he was truly touched by being thanked. I think he and Laffy connected for a couple seconds. The moment was truly priceless for me.
Thanks Mr. Aykroyd for being receptive to my gesture. I DO hope you interact with Laffy. Show him to your kids. Share him with your favorite charity. Let me know if you want 100 cases. Capiche?
Note: I am not employed by the Laffy company but I think I could get you a great deal. *wink*
I still can’t believe it!
I chatted with an original Saturday Night Live cast member!!
I met a Ghostbuster!
I had my picture taken with a BLUES BROTHER!!!!!!!!!!!
*insert angelic music*
I am not one to get star struck. Actors do the same things we do: eat, sleep, and play the kazoo. My dad is an actor (Screen Actors Guild and all that). I am two degrees from James Gandolfini, three degrees from Al Pacino and 4 degrees from Brad Pitt. And no, I’m not counting how many degrees I am from Kevin Bacon. Too damn easy.
I left this event flying high, not from vodka, but because I connected with someone who spent decades peddling laughter all over the world. Dan knows how to help people get their Giggle On!! (and so do I)
I did want to taste test my Crystal Head Vodka but I wasn’t going to crack that puppy open and ruin the autograph, not after waiting two hours for it. I put my pretty vodka head into a box and headed home. A few days later I met up with a friend at Crowmells Tavern in Greenville where I tasted Crystal Head for the first time.
To the right —->Jim the bartender from Cromwells Tavern posing with the Crystal Head bottle and my drink. I opted for the girlie cosmo option for my maiden CHV voyage.
Sorry for the fuzzy shot. My cell phone camera was on life support.
Aside from the vodka being on the pricey side ($17.00 each at Cromwells), I would absolutely recommend Crystal Head to a vodka connoisseur.
Image acknowledgment: Thank you Dave Beaver for creating the On a Giggle Mission from God image and thanks for photoshopping out the sad looking guy standing behind me an Dan at Total Wine.