This is an authentic Late Night with David Letterman collapsible drinking cup, just like it says on the thing. It was given to me in college in the early 90’s by a guy named Charles “Chuck” Connors. He had come to own it because he had done an internship there. Which was pretty amazing for a guy from the University of Florida.
Chuck (who was much more handsome than the name might suggest, hubba hubba this guy was a cutie by all standards: black hair, baseball cap, white Izod polo, talked out of the side of his mouth) was introduced to me by a sorority sister of mine who knew he and I would hit it off because he was funny and she knew I was a fan of those types. The funny guys I knew up to that point would exercise their comedy chops by drawing Florida to look like a penis or by being their fraternity’s mean Santa. This guy was a cut above all that; he was clever enough to finagle an internship with the funniest man in America. And he did it adorably in that hat and that shirt probably.
Charles Chuck was a doll and all, but what I really wanted to score was that internship. I thought, if I could somehow manage to get it, it would launch me in a direction that I had only dreamed about. Some of my sorority sisters were getting married right out of college (in the 90’s!), and although I dreamed about that as well, I really wanted to work in comedy, which seemed more likely than getting someone to date me for a while. I had co-written my sorority’s round 3 rush skit, a send-up of “Into The Woods” where each of the characters was considering pledging Chi O, because a dream is a wish your heart makes, and that dream is Chi O, ladies. I also performed in the round 2 “Chi Omega Choo Choo” sketch as half of the conductor duo, the straight man, the heavier one with the short perm and the ungroomed eyebrows.
I then created a plan: I would finish all my credits but three, then do an internship in the summer and graduate right after. Then a showbiz job would just come because that’s for sure how things worked.
I headed to the resource room in the Journalism & Communications building and quickly descovered the only “resource” available was a binder full of outdated internship applications. There was one for Late Night, but since it was from the 80’s I picked up the phone and called the show and requested a new one, like I was the Queen of England. They said they would send it and that I needed to send it back in January.
I created a pie chart of reasons why I should be chosen (Letterman not only had top ten lists at the time, but he also did pie charts; I thought ha, all those idiots would all do top ten lists, so I’d do a version of the other thing he did, because no one else would ever think of that). Oh, and also, I put my resume* on dayglo pink paper. That’s right; the kind you can’t even really read off of and was also obnoxious. But I wanted to make a statement, and that statement was, Pick me, the one in the pink!
* my resume was basically a list of super-impressive collegiate accomplishments; you know: Order of Omega, Florida Ciccerones, Chi Omega Pledge Trainer, WRUF-AM’s “Most Improved” on-air talent, etc. etc.
So I put it all in the mail and waited for the phone to ring. It did not. Perhaps because I mailed the thing February 2nd, and I was supposed to send it back in January?
I called and asked if my application was received. They told me they had already filled the slots. I was crushed. But I really had no one to blame but myself! Although I really wanted that gig, I put it off until the last minute. Not even — it was a few hours after! Charles Chuck even called Barbara Gaines on my behalf to no avail. Where was my life going to start then, in Orlando?
Yes, was the answer to that, I moved to Orlando and interned for Universal Studios, where I schlepped sandbags and ran errands in a golf cart. Also, I got to have lunch with Jason Hervey and show Cathy Moriarty to the bathroom. And I got to ride “Back to the Future” whenever I wanted, and I learned how to man a cherry picker. So yeah, it actually it turned out to be pretty cool.
There will be no voting for this item, as I am absolutely keeping it.
Bonus: a picture of me from around that time with Billy Squier. Because, Billy. Because, eyebrows.
This is a list? composite? of everyone who worked in my building in downtown New York City in 2004, the year I lived there. I was given this in early-to-mid December, and I thought, yay — I no longer have to do that rude thing where you don’t use a person’s name when speaking to them.
Once I got to work that next morning, people told me that this was for tipping purposes. People in NYC tip usually up to $50 to their doormen for the holidays. But most people I worked with weren’t total divas/babies like me and didn’t need a staff of tens to run their buildings, so it was no big whoop to them to shell out $50 or $100 if it was two guys. But I HAD to pick the building with the awesome view and the parquet floors that was attached to an Equinox gym that I never went to.
As sometimes happens, no one offered me any sound advice on what I should do about this, so I ended up spending WAY to much money on these people (I actually interacted with but four of them regularly). What you see by each person is how much I tipped them.
And yes, you’re seeing that right — I shelled out over seven hundo! Sweet Rutger Hauer that’s a lot of damn money!
But, can you really put a price on guilt avoidance? On not being thought of as mean? On that not-at-all-overrated feeling of giving until it hurts? And who knows, maybe Spesa Smajlaj was working for me behind the scenes somehow… Maybe Michael Cosgrove fixed a lamp in the lobby that ended up not falling on me or something. That hair I’m sure I shed in the hallway didn’t sweep up itself, Walter Namecek had to do that.
I actually shelled out a little extra for some cards to put the tips in, ’cause I wanted to make it special, come on, it’s Christmas.