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Phyllis Diller portrait

Image via Wikipedia

The list is endless: invisibility, x-ray vision, and the ability to turn anything into gold. These are just some of the super powers a famous actor has in his/her repertoire. They are able to turn the head of any sex, interrupting normal conversation, and setting nerves on fire like a child glimpsing Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

Last night I went to dinner at a local place that has been in existence for over 60 years. This kind of establishment has become exceedingly rare in Los Angeles but that’s another story. This restaurant is a notorious old folks hang out because the early bird special kicks ass and the food is just as good as the price. Seriously, I was stunned at how good my steak was, and needless to say, the martinis were perfection. As bar scenes go, this one is very interesting. The clientele is, as I said, mostly over 65 but there are a smattering of young’ns who have figured it out too. Inevitably, actors wishing to remain anonymous have also discovered the low-key atmosphere void of giggling girls in platform shoes.

Personally, I don’t trust a bar that doesn’t have at least one old timer in residence. The more old timers the better the bar because the presence of more old timers indicates there’s a good bartender in attendance. There is no snot-nosed kid with jangling bracelets and numerous tattoos’ being revealed by a belly shirt or pierced brow trying to intimidate you. It’s just a man who has probably been there since the doors opened. No muss, no fuss.

Anyway, our dinner was going along at a mediocre pace -wholly dependent on my constant verbal jibes, when in walked one of the magical beings who supposedly walks on water: an actor. He was heavily bearded and kept his head down but you know how these people are—they glow. It’s as though they are dipped in fluorescent goo. I looked up as I would at anyone walking by, noticed a handsome shaggy man and went back to my conversation. My dinner companions reacted a bit differently. Even one of the men at the table got excited, the most excitement to come from his mouth or body since his arrival. The only thing I can honestly say I was jealous of or excited about was that this “super being” sat at the bar and opened a book.  How many times have I wished I could do that? Just sit quietly at a bar, read a few lines, sip some scotch, and people watch?

Our dinner continued and heads uncontrollably bobbed up and down as if in seizure. Then the magician’s brother arrived. He too was an actor albeit not as famous as his brother, but just as handsome if not more so. Two hot guys at a bar of blue hairs. Eventually they got up to leave and a slight pall fell over our table. We had not been touched; a spell had not been cast! We were not saved! A few minutes later, I heard a guffaw from the front door of the restaurant and thought it sounded familiar. I looked up and saw Phyllis Diller. She really does have that laugh, a great happy (guffaw? cackle?) laugh. Nobody believed that it was she and they didn’t’ really seem to care. But I did.

Phyllis Diller had magic back in the day and clearly still does. She made me laugh as a child with her crazy hair, big laugh and outrageous outfits. I think she referred to her husband as “Fang”. A very funny lady. The manager of the restaurant confirmed her identity and that she is 94 years old. I was happy to see her because she reminded me of a simpler time, a time when people had more manners and we didn’t have to know so much about movie stars. One can’t avoid them in this city. It is nearly impossible.

So maybe I WILL gather my courage for an early bird special all by my lonesome, bring a book, sip a scotch, and people watch. I’m certainly getting old enough where I won’t be a spectacle but might still get a few pitiful stares. At this point, who cares? I have a special cloak that can deflect evil, bracelets that can stop bullets- and am working on my invisible airplane.

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