Blowing twenty-five years of dust off of one’s memory requires an elephantine gust of air. This was this weekend’s caveat, anyway, when I celebrated the occasion of my twenty-fifth high school reunion. Standing against a generously heaped hors d’oeuvres counter at one point, plying the caterer’s corkscrew to my bottle of Argentine bonarda, I was approached by a former classmate, who I recognized and greeted by name. He was caught off guard by this, and his cheeks reddened as he struggled to place me. Laughing genially, I tipped the bottle forward with cognizance, aiming its contents toward the lip of his red plastic cup. There was no way I would expect anyone to recall my identity, given the maturation of locker bays and school books into marriage, children, and second mortgages.
The process of distinguishing another person depends on many sensorial cues. A worried mother can find her wandering child oftentimes by merely calling his name, eliciting the child’s attention. The same caretaker can discover her youngster in a dark room by feeling the contours of a wall and eventually locating his crib. However, no cues exist on rare occasion, and only a unique head of hair can aid in the visual identification of the most noteworthy of people.
“The phone rang one night,” began Rosebud on Taylor partner Danny Miller.” ‘Danny,’ my host said,’ there’s a man on the phone, a limo driver who’s not familiar with the area. He claims he has Mike Tyson and Don King in the car [and] needs to talk to you.’”
Danny dubiously took the receiver in hand, then laid it in its cradle, thinking the thirty-seven year old restaurant was being prank-called.
“He called me up again a little while later, and I gave him directions.
As Mr. King dined with the famous heavyweight champion, a crowd of two hundred adolescents amassed at the corner of Taylor and Laflin.
“This was when Tyson was the ‘It Guy’. And I was surprised at how nice Mike Tyson was, because he had a reputation for being ornery and mean. But he went into the kitchen and signed autographs, and then signed autographs [for the kids out front] by the time he left.”
…Kids who were undoubtedly tipped off by the fiery white spikes of Mr. King’s hair, which they viewed as the pair left later that evening.